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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Darren Fullerton

Northern Ireland world darts champ had to swap Alicante for Airdrie after Lakeside glory

Neil Duff has revealed how he had to swap Alicante for Airdrie after becoming Northern Ireland’s first ever world darts champion.

An emotional Duff made history when he beat Frenchman Thibault Tricole 6-5 in Sunday night’s dramatic final of the inaugural WDF Men's World Championship.

But while the Ballyclare joiner pocketed a cool £50,000 in winnings, his moment in the sun came at a price after he had to bin plans of a quick sunshine break with his wife.

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“Don’t even talk to me,” smiled Duff. “We had talked about jumping on a flight to Alicante tomorrow and going to Benidorm for a couple of days.

“Instead, my management have (decided) we’re going to Liverpool where we have an exhibition set up tomorrow night.

“And then on Tuesday morning we’re going up to Airdrie and we’re having an exhibition in Airdrie on Tuesday night. You’ve put me on the spot now because my wife doesn’t know!”

Last minute travel alterations aside, winning a world title on his daughter Hayley’s 18th birthday made it an extra special occasion for Duff at the famous Lakeside Country Club in Surrey.

“My wife and daughter were there but from about set two they stayed outside because they couldn’t watch,” Duff told the Online Darts YouTube channel.

“I’m absolutely over the moon. I know I predicted I’d be here, but I don’t think I actually prepared myself for the feeling of when it actually happened.”

Next up for Duff, who has worked on building sites since the age of 15, is a potential trip to Qualifying School where he will attempt to secure a card for the PDC Tour.

“I would like to go down and try it,” he said. “All the best players in the country are vying for a card and I would like to test myself.

“I’m 50 in July so I might also throw in some of the senior tours. Listen, the options are there as well as exhibition work.”

Past winners of the WDF world title - or BDO crown as it was previously known - have gone on to compete in the prestigious Grand Slam of Darts and Duff is eager to follow suit.

“I’d love to be in it, I’d love to be in it,” he said. “I’d love a crack at it. I’d love to be walking out to a PDC crowd.”

First on the agenda though is that trip to Airdrie.

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