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Fairytale continues for Kent darts player

KIRK SHEPHERD: "This is a dream come true for me"
KIRK SHEPHERD: "This is a dream come true for me"

KENT darts player Kirk Shepherd - nicknamed the Young Gun - has reached a world final and entered the history books.

Shepherd, already guaranteed a £50,000 pay day, is the youngest player to reach the final.

If the man from Ramsgate takes the crown against Canada’s John Part at the Alexandra Palace, London, on New Year’s Day, his legendary status in UK darts folklore will be assured.

The fairytale tournament for the 21-year-old sheet metal worker Ramsgate continued on Sunday night when he beat Wayne Mardle 6-4 in the semi final with a 62 finish that triggered emotional and raucous scenes at the venue.

Kirk, whose local pub in Ramsgate is the Australian Arms, said: "This is a dream come true for me. I have to pinch myself - I can’t believe it. I know all about the money and the record but all I am trying to think about is beating John Park."

He said he has been hooked on the game since he was introduced to it by his father when he was nine, and until recently used the same darts he was given as a ninth birthday present by his sister.

He said: "I started playing properly at the age of 13 years for a pub and went from strength to strength."

His record so far includes being crowned world youth master in 2003, playing for England youth team in 2003 and 2004; and being named British Darts Organisation player of the year in 2005 and 2006.

Kirk, his family and friends, and the legions of new fans he has won in his extraordinary journey to the pinnacle of the darts world, hope the best is yet to come.


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