Darts ace set for world-class series at 'home'
DARTS: Gordon Mathers is ready to stand toe-to-toe with the best in the world after securing qualification for the Brisbane leg of the World Series of Darts next month.
Mathers, 36, defeated David Platt in the second final of the qualification rounds in Warilla, NSW, this week.
He said the chance to play against the likes of World No.1 Michael van Gerwen, world champion Rob Cross and two-time world champion Gary Anderson would rank alongside his PDC World Championship debut last year.
"My goal at the start of the year was to play at the Brisbane leg of the world series of darts because it was my home event," said Mathers, who lost 2-1 to Japan's Seigo Asada in the preliminary round at the world championships in December. "To be able to play in front of your friends and family will be fantastic and I have achieved that goal.
"This will rank up there with playing at Ally Pally (Alexandra Palace), with more friend and family there to watch as well.
"The International Pro Darts Series event back in January was similar but the world series is a helluva lot bigger stage again, so it will be great.
"I'm excited to throw in front of a big crowd again."
Mathers, whose day job is a sales rep, said he was not fussed about who he plays at the Brisbane Exhibition and Conference Centre. He was confident of causing a huge upset.
It is his second appearance at a World Series event, having played in the Sydney Masters in 2013.
He said those appearances on the big stage would hopefully stand him in good stead but he wanted to do more than just take part.
"I want to get my first win in front of the TV cameras," he said. "I will be trying my hardest against whoever I draw. I have no preference on who I play.
"I believe I can beat anyone on the night. I think I am capable.
"It will be just a matter of whether the darts fall my way or not."
Mathers began playing darts at 14 at Carole Park.
He said the position he was in now, getting ready to perform at a tournament shown live across the world, would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
"Four or five years ago I would have never thought I would be in this situation," Mathers said. "But in the last three years and having the opportunities we have had through Darts Players Australia and the PDC to qualify for these events is amazing.
"I have had some great help from Harrows Darts Australia and Team Rebel, without whom I would not have got to the qualifiers.
"To have the chance to play in the world championships and now the world series is a long way from throwing darts at my local club in Carole Park.
"If you happen to get a win, the global exposure is fantastic."
Mathers has four young children and a wife to support and said he was unsure whether he could commit full time to becoming a professional darts player.
He said, however, playing at the World Series in Brisbane could potentially be a turning point for him in his darts career and he would not rule out a change of full-time occupation.
"It's (the World Series of Darts) beamed into Europe through Sky and ITV Sports in the UK and right throughout Asia, so to get a win over world champion Rob Cross or two-time world champion Gary Anderson it's only got to do you good," Mathers said.
"I couldn't go and leave my family here like Kyle (Australian professional Kyle Anderson) does.
"I miss my family when I go away for a weekend tournament, so it would be tough to be away for some three-four months at a time.
"If a move to the UK (with the family) could happen, I definitely would consider having a go at the Q (PDC qualifying) school.
"I am only 37 this year. In darts terms that's old at the moment but in the past it would be considered as young because you could play into your 50s as Phil Taylor proved.
"I haven't set any goals to do that at the minute but that could change if I have a successful run in Brisbane or qualify for the world championships again."
The Brisbane leg of the World Series of Darts runs from August 17-19 at the BCEC.
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