FLEETWOOD’S Wes Newton is now the ‘Real McCoy’ when it comes to world darts.
His outstanding performances in 2012 have earned him a place in the elite field for the 2013 McCoy’s Premier League.
Newton, who recently reached the quarter-final of the World Championships at Alexandra Palace where he was seeded six, will make his debut in the televised tournament, which is growing in importance all the time and is played out in front of massive crowds and an ever larger tv audience.
Before the official announcement, Newton had remarked: “I would give my left arm to get into the Premier League.”
It was a variation on a common expression as his right is his throwing arm!
Now the Fleetwood man has discovered he will make his debut in the competition, alongside exciting new find Michael van Gerwen and Robert Thornton.
This year the Premier League has been extended and will now feature 10 players under a new format.
A radical change will see the field expanded from eight players to feature ten stars this year as they compete across 15 nights in the United Kingdom and Ireland’s biggest arenas.
The 10 players will face each other once over the opening nine weeks of the tournament, over the best of 12 legs, before the bottom two players in the league table are relegated following the ninth league night in Brighton.
The remaining eight players will then face each other again over the remaining five league nights before the top four progress to the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on May 16.
Reigning champion Phil Taylor – who won the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship on Tuesday – will head the field of 10 players, alongside 2009 winner James Wade and 2011 champion Gary Anderson.
They are joined by established Premier League stars Adrian Lewis, Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld, while Andy Hamilton retains his place in the tournament following an impressive debut season in 2012.
Newton’s status amongst the world’s best was confirmed when he reached September’s European Championship final.
Professional Darts Corporation chairman Barry Hearn said: “This new format is going to take the tournament to a whole new level
“Fans across the UK and Ireland will experience five spectacular matches on each night, and all 10 players have earned their spots with their achievements over the last 12 months.
“This new format will mean incredible competition both to avoid relegation and then for play-off places before the ninth McCoy’s Premier League champion is crowned at The O2 in May.”
The McCoy’s Premier League Darts, screened live on Sky Sports HD, will begin on February 7 at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast before travelling to Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Exeter, Nottingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow and Brighton for the first phase of the event.
The final five league nights will be held in Sheffield, Dublin, Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle before the top four players progress to the play-offs at The O2 in London on May 16.
There was another reason for Newton to celebrate.
He was among those honoured at the PDC annual Awards dinner, held at The Dorchester in London.
He received a commemorative silver badge for performing a nine-dart finish on the PDC tour over the past 12 months.
Taylor was named player of the year, while Dutchman Van Gerwen was hailed as best newcomer.