Wayne 'Woody' Jones
17th March 2007
Bigwigs, Audenshaw @ UK Open NW Regional Finals
DartsMad - So Wayne, how are the kids and your very friendly dog who wouldn’t stop shaking my hand when we last met?!
Wayne Jones – Haha – the dog hasn’t been too well actually. She’s had problems with her left leg and needed an operation. Three grand it cost! Thankfully she’s insured or there would have been some extra pressure on to win some darts matches! She’s still friendly as ever and wants to shake everybody’s hand! She’s actually going swimming now as part of her physio and she loves it!
DM - How’s your form so far in 2007? And how are you doing with your new, evenly weighted(!) darts?
WJ – I have thought about going back to my old ones but I’m going to persevere with these. I’m practising really well and I’m so near to some good consistent form. I just want to start reaching some quarter finals and semi finals. When you don’t quite get there you do doubt yourself and that’s why I consider changing back to my old darts, but it’s not far away. When it clicks in competition just watch me go. I’m playing some competitions where I hardly throw over 14 darts a leg and then come up against somebody I should always beat and throw it away. All my hard work undone in a couple of sloppy legs. I am a confidence player so I just need to get on a run. At the moment I’m on the cusp of qualifying for all the big tournaments, I now need a good few weeks to get my prize money up and it should all flow from there.
DM - You’ve qualified for the Grand Slam with your WC semi final appearance. You must be looking forward to it? How do you rate your chances?
WJ – Yeah I’m really looking forward to it. It’s on ‘home turf’ and the crowd in Wolverhampton for the Premier League were fantastic. I think that’s why it was chosen as the venue – it’ll be some atmosphere. I’m confident of doing well if I play like I’ve been practising. My main problem is going to be finding tickets for all my family! The allocation for players is rubbish so I’ll be looking to cadge some of the other players I think!
DM - Since you moved from the BDO can you sum up your time so far on the PDC circuit. Has it gone to plan? Are you happy you made the right decision?
WJ – It was definitely the right decision. There’s more money and more opportunity with the PDC. It has gone pretty much to plan – I think I should be top 16 but I’m not far off. I’m currently 23rd and close to more success – I can feel it. I’m in a good position and now need to consolidate. It’s like a snowball, once it starts rolling – you qualify for the big tournaments and the guaranteed prize money helps you towards the next big tournament. If you miss out you lose both ways so its important to do well early in the season and qualify for the UK Open and then the World Matchplay, which should hopefully get you into the World Grand Prix and then the World Championship. You have to be thinking about it early on if you’re on the verges like me.
DM – So have you actually set yourself any targets for 2007?
WJ – To qualify for the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and World Championship. I’d like to break into the top 16 and basically prove that I can compete at the top level. I’m not too happy with the inclusion of the World Darts Trophy and International Darts league I have to say – the competitions themselves are fine but the allocation of prize money to wildcards is wrong. Awarding money that counts towards the Order of Merit for invites is unfair to the rest of us.
DM – Fair point, maybe the PDPA should be taking that up with the PDC. Where does the UK Open rank on your list of priorities/favourite tourneys?
WJ – I like the UK Open and I’ve never failed to qualify. I’m struggling a bit this year though, I’m 33rd and need a couple of good results. I’ve been close in previous qualifiers but I’m defending a grand this weekend so could do with making it to the Sunday. I’ve never played in the World Matchplay so that is my top priority this year. I’d say the UK Open is fourth after the Matchplay, Grand Prix and World Championship.
Post Interview Note – Wayne didn’t make the Sunday unfortunately so he needs a good showing on home turf in the Midlands Regional Final to avoid playing the Friday night at the finals in Bolton.
DM - What’s your record like in the UK Open? How did you do last year? What do you think your chances are this year?
WJ – I’ve got an ok record but could do better. My best is quarter finals and I’ve had two last 32’s. Average really. A lot depends on luck of the draw and last year I had Barrie Bates nailed. We went off for a quick break and when I came back I couldn’t hit a thing. He turned it around, beat me and went on to the final. It might have been me so I’m hopeful again this year and as I said a few minutes ago, once it clicks in competition I’ll be very hard to beat.
DM – Ok here’s a few random questions for you. In sport, generally over time standards rise. We are seeing 100 averages quite regularly now and I think the overall standard is noticeably on the up. 9-darters are almost expected rather than hoped for. One specific area that comes into focus for me is that period around 200-250 down where you need to set up your out-shot. Do you pay particular attention to this area in terms of practice and mental arithmetic?
WJ – I always have done personally. I’ve got good mental maths anyway so I always think like that. Hitting big 180’s at the right time can be a massive mental blow to your opponent but I agree sometimes its better to hit the odd number and leave yourself a 2-darter rather than a 3-darter, or a finish where your darts are grouped together.
DM - Premier League crowds – discuss.
WJ – Fabulous! I went to Wolverhampton in 2006 and it was a great atmosphere. I’d love to play in front of a raucous crowd like that!
DM – You wouldn’t be more nervous? It wouldn’t put you off?
WJ – No chance – that’s what you play darts for.
DM - Dennis Priestley with his Indian summer revival and Terry Jenkins with his late PL qualification must give inspiration to everybody. Who do you draw inspiration from?
WJ – You’ve got to admire them both for what they have done. As it happens though my record against the pair of them is pretty good! So that’s quite inspiring.
DM - Do you support a football team? How are they doing?
WJ – Man United and Wolves are my teams and they’re both doing pretty well. Hopefully Man U can win the title and then be playing Wolves next season when they go up through the playoffs.
DM – Being a red myself I couldn’t agree more and hope you’re right! Thanks for your time Wayne, good luck this weekend and we’ll catch up with you again in the near future.