Hollywood can really be the next big thing
Back in 2015, Chris entered PDC Qualifying School an unknown entity. A young lad from the North East, I had the pleasure of marking him and I went over to Gary Wood who was running my section of the boards and said “Watch this kid. He’s unbelievable.” I have held that opinion of Chris since Q- School. Being from the north east, Gary was aware of this fella’s talent but so we’re a lot of the talent on show in them few days in Wigan.
Chris has gone from strength to strength over the past couple of years. He knows as well as any how important it is to dig your heels in and grit it out. His first year was pretty uneventful in the PDC. His best showing of 2015 was just 1 last 16 appearance at a Players Championship in Barnsley, which I guess isn’t bad for a youngster in his first year in the PDC but he endured a tough end to the year and start to 2016 winning nothing between the end of September and the start of March. But if there’s anything to explain the progression of Hollywood it’s his performances since then. He started by getting to the last 16 of four consecutive tour events and sandwiched in between his great performances featured a quarter final appearance in the German Darts Masters and shortly after a last 32 appearance in the European Matchplay.
Chris was starting to become a bit of a last 16 man and it was frustrating knowing he was beating some of the best players in the world but was struggling to go to the next step. His name was well known amongst his rivals as he continued to prop himself up the world rankings taking many scalps and turning many heads along the way.
Chris had two great afternoons in Barnsley on the 20th and 21st September reaching another last 16 before he finally got over his quarter final bug, beating Devon Petersen in the last 16 before narrowly losing out to Ricky Evans 6-4 and this was just the beginning of a magical 2 months.
Qualification to the Grand Slam was secured along with qualification to the European Championship and Players Championship finals but his big one was finally going another step further to get to the semi final of a Players Championship event in his favourite place which is Barnsley. He faced 2 time world champion Adrian Lewis and at 5-5 it looked like Adie was to qualify for the final to face the inform Simon Whitlock. He missed 3 darts at double and Dobey was sat on 120 which he hit to take his place in the final. Dobey went on to lose to the Whitlock 6-4 in a high quality final but this is only the beginning for him.
A impressive showing in Wolverhampton saw him reach the quarter finals on his debut and he will be looking forward to the Players Championships in Minehead where he will face Jeffrey De Graaf in the first round before his World Championship debut.
Here is why I think Dobey really is the next big thing.
This kid has bottle: The 120 finish under pressure against Lewis to reach his first ever final was unbelievable. He was booed by the majority of the crowd in Wolves as he hit local fella Jamie Hughes like Super John McGinlay hit David Kelly with a sweet left hook back in ‘95 with an amazing 180 to punish 3 darts missed at 24. Hughes then returned to the board where he missed 3 more darts at double 12 which Dobey took advantage of hitting a double 12 of his own.
It’s not just about the 140’s and 180s: This kid isn’t just a power scorer but he’s a huge checkout hitter. He can hit big scores and big finishes when it matters. It may take him a few TV competitions to start to perform to his best on TV but he will eventually get to grips with the difference in atmosphere and pressure of the big stage.
He’s got the backing: Listen to what everyone else has to say about him. Gary Anderson and James Wade both said how good this kid is. The potential he has and how far he can go. I personally think he is the next big player that we produce as a country along.
And finally he’s got the right mindset: You don’t see him getting frustrated with him, you don’t see him getting upset or agitated by the crowd. He takes his time. He plays the board and not his opponent.
So keep your eyes out for the talent that is Chris Dobey