Faulty fire alarms aside, Damon Heta believes he has had the perfect build-up to his second crack at the World Matchplay darts in Blackpool.
The Leicester-based Australian has been dumped in the toughest portion of the draw for the Winter Gardens extravaganza. He begins his campaign against Premier League runner-up Joe Cullen on Sunday. Michael van Gerwen, James Wade and Luke Humphries are in the same section.
But as tough as Cullen, and any potential subsequent opponents will be, he shouldn’t have to deal with the interruptions he had to contend with during a Players Championship event last weekend. Heta was 4-0 up and coasting against Martin Schindler in the last 16 when what was believed to be a fire alarm began going off at the Barnsley Metrodome. It was a distraction which, subconsciously at least, ‘The Heat’ couldn’t damper as Schindler won six straight legs to go through.
READ MORE: Peter Wright warns darts rivals to get on the practice board ahead of World Matchplay
“It must have had an effect,” Heta told Daily Star Sport. “I tried to play through it. The way the momentum was going, I was playing really well, but then, I don’t know…
“Being 4-0 up, I thought I could get it over the line, but it must have played its part in my mind. At the time, I wasn’t really thinking about it. I was thinking ‘just push through and get it gone’. But it must have triggered something.
“I think it was a door alarm or something. It must have been faulty because it went on for a while. That’s only from a second person, I didn’t get an official come and tell me that. In that instance, we probably should have just dropped it all and gone outside and waited, because what if there was a fire?”
Heta was able to move on quickly from that bizarre incident and he reached the quarter-finals of Players Championship 21 the following day, the last of four days of action which determined the final line-up for the Matchday.
“I played well all those days,” reflected Heta. “My attitude [after the alarm incident] was ‘get over it, kick on with the next one’. I played well the following day, I came out firing I think. It was a really good lead-up to the Matchplay.”
Who will win the World Matchplay? Tell us in the comments section below.
Heta is proving adept at moving on quickly. Last month, alongside Simon Whitlock, he enjoyed the greatest moment of his career so far by winning the World Cup of Darts. It was Australia’s first-ever triumph in the tournament.
But any big celebrations will have to wait until he returns to his homeland for the first time in two-and-a-half years later this summer due to the pandemic.
“I think it was just all on the day when I was really high,” said Heta. “The following week was interviews and replying to all my messages, getting through it that way.
“There wasn’t a massive celebration, just a lot of phone calls with everyone back home. I’m sure when I go home in the next couple of weeks I’ll have a bit of a celebration.
“Hopefully I can kick on now and do as good as Jonny Clayton [who won the World Cup with Wales in 2020] now. That’s something that gets thrown around a lot. As long as I can do half of what he has done, I’ll be all right.”
- Read the latest darts from the Daily Star here
- Adrian Lewis defies faulty fire alarm to land first darts title in three years – and World Matchplay spot
- James Wade on 20 years at the top and rinsing a Blackpool stallholder
- Daryl Gurney slams 'disgusting' behaviour of fans at European Darts Matchplay
Source: Read Full Article