Earlier this week I was lucky enough to catch up with Ryan Harrington following his success at the Professional Darts Corporation’s Qualifying-School. Ryan is of course the son of the former World matchplay champion and Sky Sports pundit Rod Harrington. The 27-year old from Essex secured his tour card in the first time in his career after coming fourth in the Q-School order of merit. Harrington has had runs in the UK Open in previous years as well as winning a PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour event and he is very confident on contending with some of the best players in World darts.
Hello Ryan, thanks for taking time to chat, firstly congratulations in gaining a tour card. You had a good run in day one did take pressure of you in later days?
“ It did indeed. Playing so well and so consistent the first day not only took pressure off it, but it also gave me a lot more self confidence and belief for the other three days. “
You are no certainly no stranger to Qualifying-School Ryan, just how relieved did you feel after securing a tour card for the first time ?
“ I’m so very relieved, I’ve said to everybody that Q-School is a tough tournament which does funny things to your brain. Getting through has shown to me that the hard work is really paying off and I look forward to starting the main pro tour. “
In 2017 you picked of course picked up a PDC Challenge Tour title. Has that given you confidence that you can take into this year?
“ Most definitely, winning that challenge tour amongst a field of great players proved that I had the game to be a great player and to carry on pushing myself to be better, and to hopefully one day soon win a pro tour event. “
Do you feel like you and your game is now ready to face the challenges of the tour and facing the top 128 players in the world week in week out?
“ Of course, I can’t wait to show the guys on the pro tour that I’m not just another number, I’m here to be a contender. I think now I’m more mature about the game and I could really do some damage. “
What are your aims for 2018 Ryan ?
“ My aims for this year are to qualify for the UK open, qualify for a good few European tour events and ultimately get myself well into the top 64. “
Is this year a test to see how you progress, and next year will be more of a year to judge where you are at ?
“ To me personally no, I think playing a few pro tours in previous years and also doing the other tours, that I sort of know where I am with my darts at the moment, and also how much more I have to give in my future performances. I’ll take every tournament this year very seriously and give 110% in every leg I play. “
You had a taste of the European tour back in 2016, just how much would you like to taste it again in 2018?
“ I would absolutely love to play in the European Tour events this year, I love travelling and seeing new places and getting up on stage to do the job I love in those countries. It really makes me more determined to practice more to qualify for them. “
How much if any pressure do you feel being compared with your dad Rod?
How helpful has he been in the development of your career to date?
“ It actually hasn’t put a lot of pressure on me, from day one of playing on either of the tours I noticed that no-one looks at me as ‘Rod’s son’ they see me as an individual. He has been a tremendous help with me mentally and understanding the conduct of what it takes to be one of the greats and always being there for me when I haven’t perfomed to my capabilities. “
I do believe you played Football quite a bit in your younger years, Is Darts something that’s quite new to you ?
“ Watching darts no, obviously I have grown up around darts and watching my father play. But playing darts in tournaments is kind of new to me as I only took it serious about seven years ago when I realised the love for the game is in my blood. “
Of course with your dad being such a popular figure in the darts world as a fantastic player and a very knowledgeable expert in the game, does that help ?
“ Yes, of course. His knowledge in my opinion is second-to-none and having that information and experience at my disposal for free is very helpful indeed. “
Do you play a lot of local leagues and super league to gain competitive experience ahead of PDC events ?
“ Yes, I play essex super league and another local league as I believe match practice is the best practice whatever standard your opponent is, with such talent in the local leagues these days you don’t often get too many easy games. “
I believe that you fell ill leading upto Q-School in 2017, did the extra preparation this time around stand you in good stead this time around ?
“ Yes, last year my preparation wasn’t up-to-scratch due to being ill but this year allowed me to focus fully on my darts. “