Wes Newton deserves all the success that comes his way!
And if darting rewards and awards handed out for hard work, Newton wouldn’t be far away in every category!
‘The Warrior’ is a battler and is destined to win one of the sports ‘Major’ titles...but the ultimate dream darting date has finally arrived for Newton.
A place in the 2013 Premier League....Newton was handed a wildcard in the new-look revamped 10 player event – a richly deserved honour for one of the good guys in the world of darts.
“I was shocked to get the call,” he admitted. “But this is why I play darts – to play in front of massive crowds in the big tournaments and the Premier League is a chance very few get.”
A regular in the World’s top ten over the last 18 months, appearances in two ‘Major’ finals, a magical 9 dart finish on ‘live’ TV at the World Matchplay, a second World Championship quarter-final and a run to the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix.
It’s fair to say that it’s been a brilliant year or so for the 35-year-old from Fleetwood, who has also become a Dad for the first time. His partner Stacey giving birth to their son Fraser....
It has taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears but if any player deserves success off the back of dedication and passion for the sport, it is Wesley Newton.
The next target is to finally win a TV ‘Major’ but the darting experts are in no doubt, his big moment will come and neither is Newton!
“I have to be patient,” he said. “I have come very close but I know I will take that next step. It will come, I’m absolutely certain.”
He has lost in the final of two ‘Major’ tournaments....the 2011 UK Open and 2012 European Championship.
In Germany, the Unicorn star beat Tomas Seyler, Kevin Painter, Andy Hamilton on his way to the semi-finals.....then came a terrific fightback against his roommate Brendan Dolan! Newton was 6-9 behind but turned it round to win 11-9.
However, there was disappointment in the final as he lost 5-11 to Simon Whitlock with the Australian winning his first PDC ‘Major’.
In June 2011, he reached his first ever TV Final at the UK Open in Bolton.
After victories over John Henderson and Michael van Gerwen, he then thrashed Raymond van Barneveld 9-1 with one of his best ever performances on TV….wins over Dave Chisnall and Denis Ovens in the quarter and semi-finals set up a final showdown with Unicorn stablemate James Wade.
Newton though, was edged out 11-8 as he ran out of steam.
And what about that never to be forgotten moment....a televised 9 darter!
It came in July 2012 at his home town tournament in Blackpool.....in the 2nd Round at the World Matchplay, Newton joined a very exclusive club – hitting his magical perfect leg in the 2nd Round against Justin Pipe....wild celebrations followed but it clearly affected his concentration because he ended up losing the match.
A first appearance in a World Grand Prix semi-final came in October 2012.....after victories over Ronnie Baxter, Ian White and Paul Nicholson, he lost 5-1 to Michael van Gerwen, who of course went onto win the tournament in Dublin.
The big disappointments for Newton have been at the Alexandra Palace.....twice in the last three years he has reached the World Championship quarter-finals, but twice he has lost in final set deciders.
At the 2013 tournament, Newton has dropped only one set on his way to the last eight.....he was two sets up against James Wade but lost 5-4.....crucially, he missed darts for a three sets to one lead and that was a big turning point.
In 2011, it was Terry Jenkins who pipped Newton in the 9th set at the Ally Pally....Wes was 4-3 in front but couldn’t close the deal.
Career earnings from prize money alone of over half-a-million pounds and that is sure to rise rapidly over the next few years!
It’s all a far cry from where he used to be....his career in darts was in the balance.
It isn’t so long ago, that Newton had dropped out of the elite top 32 and he was starting to question whether a career in the sport was the right path for him….he had hit a all-time low, spent a year without an appearance on television and the future looked bleak.
But from darting despair to darting dreams.....what sport is all about – his career completely turned around by hard work, dedication and no little amount of skill.
Newton has also agreed a long-term contract with Unicorn and was promoted to the ‘Maestro’ category at Team Unicorn as his rapid rise up the darting ladder continued.
“I am a great believer in loyalty. Unicorn is the best darts company in the world and they stuck by me when things were pretty rough a couple of years back.”
It has been a huge learning curve for Newton – from struggling to balance work and darts, to losing his job and the sudden realisation that the pressure was well and truly on to go and make a success of darts and to his credit….that is exactly what he has done.
He is also one of the most consistent performers on the circuit and one of the most feared players on the PDC Pro Tour.
We witnessed a glimpse of what he had to offer in 2005 and 2006 when as a qualifier, Newton reached the semi-finals of the Las Vegas Desert Classic.
But he has had to be patient and the rewards are finally coming.
“It was demoralising when I didn’t kick on from those two years in Vegas and for a while, nothing went right,” he said. “But there was only one person who could do something to change it and that was me!”
“When the job ended, things changed. I always knew that I had the game to give it a real go in the world of darts and I put the hard work in…..winning on the Pro Tour, qualifying for the Grand Slam and discovering that I didn’t like losing, all contributed to helping my confidence. I really started to believe in myself and what I was doing and it all started to click into place,” Newton revealed.
And results tell their own story!
In 2010, he won four tournaments on the Pro Tour, reached four other semi-finals and no fewer than seven more quarter-finals…..he was the best player in ‘floor’ events during the year!
And there was one magic weekend in Barnsley back in November 2010, when Newton joined another exclusive darting club.
He became only the fifth player to win both events on a Pro tour weekend…..and better than that, he also qualified for the Grand Slam of Darts as well….it was an incredible 48 hours!
Including the Grand Slam qualifier, he won 20 consecutive matches…..a fantastic achievement and in the two Players Championship Finals, Newton recorded convincing wins over Colin Lloyd and Mark Webster.
And more Players Championship success followed in 2011 with yet another tournament win, when Newton came from 0-3 down to beat Paul Nicholson in a final in Crawley!
And in February 2011, he reached the quarter-finals of the Players Championship Finals for the second consecutive year, only to lose to eventual winner Taylor in Doncaster.
More Pro Tour tournament success came in 2012 and it is a major surprise if he isn’t involved in the latter stages of Players Championship events.
‘The Warrior’ also battled his way through to the quarter-finals of the UK Open in Bolton in 2010, only to save his worst performance for the biggest game and he was well beaten by Denis Ovens on that occasion.
And it was at the Reebok that Newton was on the receiving end of a bit of darting history…..he was hit by a Phil Taylor 9-darter at the 2008 UK Open Finals!
But Newton also has happy memories of his own first 9-darter in competition…..he has missed several opportunities since as well, but at the last ever PDC trip to Las Vegas in 2009, Wes finally hit the magical 9-darter.
It came in a Players Championship event against fellow Unicorn star Colin Osborne….Wes actually lost the match, but it was another tick in the box for the man from Fleetwood.
And of course, the TV 9 darter at the Winter Gardens was the icing on the cake!
There is every reason to believe that his achievements over the last couple of years are only the beginning of something special.
Many years ago, it was Unicorn Managing Director Edward Lowy who spotted Newton’s potential. “I saw Wes play in the Las Vegas Desert Classic in 2005 and was very impressed. I thought he was tremendous again in 2006 at The Mandalay Bay. I introduced myself and it went from there! And he thoroughly deserves to take his place in the world’s top 10.”
As we mentioned earlier, Newton has a taste for the bright lights of The Strip in Vegas – reaching the semi-finals twice. In 2005, he lost to Taylor….and in 2006, having qualified again, he was beaten in a close semi-final by John Part.
Newton picked up the darting bug from dad Colin and by the time he was 16, he was winning local league tournaments, before graduating to county level with Lancashire.
That grounding has helped him to get where he is today…..but it isn’t enough for Newton.
From considering his darting future, to a place in the elite World top 10 and recognition for what he has achieved with that prized place in the Premier League.
It has been quite a journey but a darting road trip which has a long way to run!