Mason starts PDC comeback with pub tournament

Former professional darts player Chris Mason has started a sensational career comeback after winning a national amateur skills league.

Chris Mason

Redtooth Winner – Mace the Ace

Chris, who reached back-to-back semi-finals in the World Championships in 1999 and 2000, is using the Redtooth Darts pub tournament – described as the X-Factor of darts – to make a remarkable return after nearly two years out of the sport.

The 42-year-old from Wolverhampton beat-off competition from hundreds of pub darts players across the UK to win the first stage of the tournament, which allows players to test their skills with challenges set by Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor over a 12-week period.

The Redtooth Darts tournament, powered by Protégé Events, involved more than 270 pubs across the country. The top 32 players from the skills league have now qualified for the National Final in Leeds on December 9 with Chris finishing top of the leaderboard after scoring 329 skill points out of a possible 480 from the 12 tasks.

A further 32 players will qualify for the National Final through regional tournaments taking place during the coming weeks.

Out of the top 64 players, the best 16 will have the opportunity of being mentored by Taylor and the chance to win a place on the 2013 Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) tour.

Chris, born in Bristol, said the prospect of being mentored by former rival Taylor, who he had a public argument with on stage at the 2007 World Championship following a 4-0 defeat, does not bother him.

He added: “I’ve known Phil for more than 20 years. We did fall out once in what was a heated argument. I didn’t act professionally, but I apologised to him afterwards and we moved on. I’ve always said that if losing doesn’t matter to you then you shouldn’t be playing.

“I’m a competitive person and always will be. I know I’m starting from scratch, but I have experience of playing competitively and I’m only 42, so we’ll see how things progress.”

Chris, who took part in the Redtooth Darts tournament at his local pub, The Cleveland Arms in Wolverhampton, said: “I’ve been out of the game for a couple of years and not played at a competitive level for some time, so I thought the challenge would be good for practice if nothing else. When I learned more about the opportunity to progress through the tournament and have the chance to reach the PDC tour, I decided to go for it.

“To gain a tour card can be a big risk due to the costs involved, with many players struggling to break even every year, so for amateur players to be given this opportunity is fantastic.

“There’s no guarantees I’ll get a tour card as there are so many decent players which are taking part across the country, but I thought it was worth giving a go.

“It’s a fabulous opportunity to get involved as an amateur darts player and for the pubs to bring darts back to their venues. It’s a great concept and important for more people to embrace it and get involved.”

The top two players at the National Final will play a match at Alexandra Palace during the 2013 Professional Darts Championships. The winner will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the World Cup of Darts in Hamburg, Germany in February 2013.

For more information about Redtooth Darts, visit www.redtoothdarts.com or call 01246 813713.

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