Darts: Kiwi Ben Robb qualifies for world championships

Ben Robb will compete at the PDC World Darts Championship for the first time.
Ben Robb will compete at the PDC World Darts Championship for the first time. Photo credit: Photosport

Kiwi Ben Robb will make his Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) World Darts Championship debut in December after winning the DartPlayers New Zealand (DPNZ) qualifier in Porirua on Saturday.

The Cantabrian, known as 'Big Rig', won the DPNZ top-16 playoff to book his ticket to Alexandra Palace. 

He'll be the lone New Zealander competing at this year's event, which features 96 of the best arrowsmiths in the world. 

"It's surreal to achieve this massive goal," he told Newshub. "I've sacrificed so much to get to this point, it's made it all worth it to get to the 'Ally Pally'. 

"I can't wait to get back on stage and make more noise in the game of darts." 

His qualification for the world championships completes a rapid rise up the DPNZ ranks over the past 18 months, making his World Series of Darts debut in Auckland in August 2018 and going on to compete in Brisbane and Hamilton earlier this year.

In Hamilton, he beat Australian Simon Whitlock 6-4 to become just the second Kiwi to win a World Series match on New Zealand soil. Robb then lost to former world champion Rob Cross in the quarter-finals. 

Robb will be the 13th Kiwi to represent New Zealand at the World Champs, joining Cody Harris, Craig Ross Warren Parry, Mark McGrath, Rob Szabo, Craig Caldwell, Koha Kokiri, Dave Harrington, Warren French, Preston Ridd, Phillip Hazel and Alan Bolton. 

The top 16 playoff saw players split into four groups of four before the top two progressed to a second group stage.

Robb eased through the first round, beating Paul Harper Alex Wade and Brett Walters to top his group. The 31-year-old then claimed comfortable wins over Szabo, Tukina Weko and Mark Cleaver to reach the semi-finals. 

In the final four, Robb overcame Parry 6-2, before beating Cleaver 7-3 in the final to qualify for the 27th edition of the world championships. 

The World Darts Championship runs from December 13 - January 1.