Andrew Gilding hopes to draw on his previous success at Minehead this weekend in a bid to secure his place at the William Hill World Championship.
The Walsham-le-Willows Sports Club thrower is back in Somerset today for the start of the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals, the last tournament before the cut-off for the World Championship.
The top 32 players on the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) Order of Merit, as well as the leading 16 players on the Pro Tour Order of Merit who have not already qualified through the other list, are guaranteed a place at the Alexandra Palace.
Gilding heads into this weekend in 32nd place on the PDC Order of Merit, but even if he drops out of the top 32 he is still 16th on the Pro Tour Order of Merit, meaning it would take a surprise winner or finalist at Minehead for him to miss out on a return to London next month.
“I’ve entered the (PDPA) qualifier on Monday just in case,” the 45-year-old said.
“I think Keegan Brown is the closest to putting me out but he needs to get to the final I believe, so fingers crossed I’ll qualify.
“I enjoy playing on all the stages but the World Championship is the big one, and you never know, I might have a bit of luck and go on a run like I did at Minehead last year.”
Gilding enjoyed his best run in a major tournament when he reached the semi-finals of the Coral UK Open in Minehead last year, where he was narrowly beaten 10-8 by Michael van Gerwen, despite finishing with a three dart average of 108.37.
A potential rematch with the world number one could await Gilding in the second round tomorrow, but first the man nicknamed ‘Goldfinger’ will focus on a clash with Vincent van der Voort in the last 64 this afternoon (approx 3.30pm ITV4).
“I’ve not played Vincent for a while but we did have a very good game when we last played,” Gilding said.
“Obviously it will be hard not to think about it (possibly playing van Gerwen in the last 32).
“It was a close game when we played in the UK Open last year, and I would quite like a great run like that this weekend.
“It’s not been an outstanding year for me but we’re getting there. I’m feeling great and I’m practicing hard.”