It has been a ‘nightmare’ 18 months for Colin Osborne but after hitting the darting depths, he has finally come out the other side.
The Unicorn star slipped from a career high 9th in the world to No.26 and was in serious danger of losing his spot in the elite top 32.
But now he is planning for the prestigious World Matchplay after a last gasp bid to qualify for Blackpool came off!
A week ago, Osborne was facing the prospect of missing the second biggest tournament in world darts....remember, he failed to make it to Dublin for last year’s World Grand Prix, which was the first TV tournament he had missed in five years.
He went to Dusseldorf for the European Darts Open knowing that he was in the last chance saloon to qualify for Blackpool through the Pro Tour Order of Merit.
“I knew I had to win three matches to qualify,” he said. “And I used my get out of jail free card! But to be fair, I played well and I deserved to get to the last eight. I lost in the quarter-finals to Mervyn King but it was job done and I was a relieved man!”
And now he is preparing to face Mark Walsh in the 1st Round of the Matchplay on Sunday as he aims to re-launch his darts career.
“I could feel the weight being lifted off my shoulder,” admitted Osborne. “The last 18 months haven’t been pretty to say the least and once you get on a slippery slope, it is hard to get back because the competition is so tough and I have seen other players suffer. I was determined that I wouldn’t be another one on that list.”
And Osborne has revealed that he has gone back to basics to find that winning tough and it has worked for him.
“I kept tinkering and changing things and woke up one day and wondered what the heck was I doing?!”
“So I have gone back to the same set up I used when I joined Unicorn six years ago and it has done the trick and my confidence is higher than it has been for a long time.”
But he is definitely on the rise once again and if he can qualify for the European Championship and World Grand Prix in September and October, the man from Derby will be on track to reclaim his place in the world’s top 16.
“There’s no doubt that I lost my way and got complacent. But I really have been putting the work in this year. It was a huge reality check for me. Playing darts is my job and it put a lot of things into perspective.”
And expect Osborne to prove the critics wrong over the rest of 2012 – starting with the World Matchplay and some Winter Gardens magic!
“I am enjoying it again....90 per cent of darts is in the head and confidence is key....mine is back and I am so determined to get back up there where I know I should be.”
• Meanwhile Team Unicorn ace Wes Newton is counting down to his ‘home’ tournament. Last year he reached the quarter-finals before losing to Phil Taylor....Newton, who lives just seven miles down the road in Fleetwood, takes on PDC Unicorn Youth World Champion James Hubbard on Tuesday at the Winter Gardens.
• And we will be hearing from both Gary Anderson and Phil Taylor on the Unicorn website before the action gets under way on Saturday night in Blackpool.
And tickets for the Betfair World Matchplay are still available, by ringing the Winter Gardens box office on 0844 856 1111
By STUART PYKE
Newton photo courtesy ‘visitBlackpool’.