World Darts Championship: The majority of the World Darts Championship’s remaining players had a pleasant Christmas vacation, fine-tuning their preparations for the tournament’s final stages. Alan Soutar, on the other hand, is not your typical darts player.
The 43-year-old was starting on two lengthy stints in his profession as a firefighter over the festive period, 14 hours on Christmas Eve and 16 hours on Christmas Day, just hours after reaching the third round on his Alexandra Palace debut.
“It’s something I’ve done my entire life. I’ve been a firefighter for 17 years, so I’ve learned to deal with the challenges of my profession while still trying to strike a balance and put in enough time on the dartboard,” according to Sky Sports News, Soutar.
“The longer I stay in the tournament, it’s simply a matter of balancing work, and if I need additional time off, a lot of the guys at the station are willing to trade with me.”
Soutar is scheduled to return to work at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in Dundee on December 30, but he will be trying to keep his fairytale run going by defeating Jose De Sousa in the third round on December 29.
On his Alexandra Palace debut, Soutar defeated Diogo Portela before mounting a stunning comeback to defeat Mensur Suljovic in round two, surviving eight match darts in the process.
‘Soots’ was down 2-0 insets and legs at one point, but he refused to give up and finished off a spectacular comeback with a magnificent 144 finish to send Suljovic packing.
The Scot has excelled amid the capital’s cauldron-like environment, but he has been bolstered by the backing of his beloved Arbroath, who is now leading the Scottish Championship.
“Being from Arbroath is a dream come true for me. I am proud to be Scottish and am quite patriotic,” during his fight with Portela, Soutar, who was wearing tartan trousers, exclaimed.
“It’s incredible that they’re supporting me, and only a few days ago they posted a photo of my darts jersey in the Gayfield Park dressing room with team players [Michael] McKenna, [Thomas] O’Brien, and [Colin] Hamilton. It’s a massive structure.”
Soutar is a rookie to the PDC circuit, but he has plenty of experience, having earned 50 caps for his country and competing in two BDO World Championships.
The 43-year-old took the plunge early this year at PDC Qualifying School, and the rest is history.
He made his PDC televised debut in March at the UK Open, defeating five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld, and he’s also defeated Peter Wright, Nathan Aspinall, Dave Chisnall, Stephen Bunting, and Adrian Lewis this year.
Soutar’s performances at this year’s World Championship have propelled him to 54th place on the PDC Order of Merit, and no player who earned a Tour Card in February has won more money than the Arbroath arrowsmith.
“In the PDC, the Tour Card is regarded as the golden ticket. It has drastically transformed my life, but I still have a job, therefore I’m not a full-time professional darts player,” he stated.
“It’s just about combining my career and darts,” he says, “but now that I’ve advanced to the third round of the World Championship at Ally Pally, it may change my life forever.”
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