White hoping to replicate his form on the floor on the big stage to push his career on

DARTS
Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Ian White picked up his third Players Championship title of the season in Barnsley on Sunday to make 2016 his most successful year since moving over to the PDC.

The world number 11 edged past Benito van de Pas 6-4 in the final of Players Championship 13, which completed a hat-trick of wins on the Pro Tour.

And ahead of the final four months of the season, which sees no fewer than five ranking tournaments being staged on the TV, White is aiming for a big run to bolster his chances of being picked for the Premier League in 2017.

“I wanted it last year,” the Stoke-on-Trent thrower said.

“I think going into the World Championship last year I knew if I had a good run I had a chance of getting in the Premier League.

“But I went out in the first round and I think that was on my mind, so I’ve said to everyone this year it’s not going to be on my mind.

“I want to be in the Premier League, but when I go to tournaments now it’s a case of chasing number 10, chasing number nine in the rankings, rather than ‘I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that to get in the Premier League.’

“The Premier League and the World Series is the place to be now. I’ve done everything else, I’ve been in the BDO World Championship, I’ve been in the PDC World Championship.

“I’ve done the World Matchplay, I’ve done the World Grand Prix, so there’s only two left now.”

White is aware that one good run in a TV tournament before the end of the season could secure him his Premier League debut next year.

In this year’s tournament, Robert Thornton’s victory in the World Grand Prix last October, which saw him beat Michael van Gerwen in the final, virtually sealed his spot.

“Robert beat me in the quarter-finals so it is something like that,” White said. “You’ve just got to have one good run and at the moment I’m sitting around £45,000 from being up there in the top eight.

“One good run, like getting to the semi-finals or a final, and you’re in there.”

White burst onto the darts scene with his run to the final of the News of the World Championship in 1997, but it was not until 12 years later that he first tasted ranking title success.

Victories in the Antwerp Open, England National Championships and Denmark Open saw him qualify for his first World Championship at Lakeside in 2010.

A straight sets defeat to Stephen Bunting in the first round sent White to an early exit, but his fellow Stoke thrower, Adrian Lewis, had already seen enough.

“The Premier League and the World Series is the place to be now”

“Adrian said to come over to the PDC,” White recalls.

“I was playing in the BDO World Championship at Lakeside against Stephen Bunting, and were practising.

“I think Adrian had just hit a 102 average in the Worlds against Phil Taylor and he said he’d pay for me to come across.

“If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be where I was. I wouldn’t have taken that step, as I’d been made redundant so I didn’t have the money to do it.”

Lewis sponsored White for his first eight months on the PDC circuit, before sponsors came calling and it’s fair to say he has not looked back since.

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