Darts: Capital duo are aiming to Power up the ranks

Ryan Murray, left, with Phil Taylor

Ryan Murray, left, with Phil Taylor

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“They have the ability as they can win tournaments, so it’s entirely up to them”

Murray, who won the Harrows UK Darts Doubles title with partner Darren Tiffney earlier this year, had the privilege of going head-to-head against 15-time world champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor in a recent exhibition match.

Admitting it as a “surreal” experience, the Edinburgh man is still pinching himself at a moment he will treasure for a long time.

Murray said: “It was an unbelievable occasion to play Phil Taylor and one I will always remember. I didn’t do too badly against him and finished on 85 when he checked out. I got the match board signed by Phil but hopefully I can play him again one day on a bigger stage if things go well.”

Taking on Taylor in the city’s Rileys/New Yorker establishment was just the icing on the cake for Murray, 24, who achieved his most lucrative prize to date as an amateur at the Darts Doubles tournament in Bolton.

“I’ve qualified for big competitions before and play for the local county team,” Murray said. “But this was the first big tournament Darren and I had played in so we didn’t go there (Bolton) with any great expectations. I told him to just go out and enjoy himself and if we won it would be a massive bonus. Victory has now given us a lot of confidence.”

One of the most prestigious events in the amateur calendar, the Capital pair fought off their opponents from Rileys Sunderland in the final to land the £2500 top prize. However, despite the satisfaction of landing a rather handsome sum of money, not forgetting a boost to the pair’s reputation, Murray admits his desire to move into the professional game is severely hindered by the difficulty in securing a sponsorship to assist him with his ambitions.

“A big factor in making that next jump to professional level is having some money behind you. You have to pick and choose what tournaments as it is costly to enter so it can be frustrating. But I’ve decided I want to start travelling down south next year where the quality is a lot better and see if I can improve my game and take a step forward in my career.

“If I was to receive a sponsor, no one would expect me to become the world champion tomorrow. It takes a couple of years to settle into the circuit, play these better players and then achieve what you want to in the game.”

Tiffney echoed Murray’s sentiments and thoroughly enjoyed the experience which has left the 23-year-old with a real urge to join Murray in a professional capacity.

However, with less experience than his close friend, Tiffney appreciates he may have to prove himself further at amateur level.

He said: “It means so much to win this competition and is a bit of a reward because I have been playing competitively since 16. But I was really nervous as I haven’t played in a lot of tournaments. I’m a keen rugby player too, so it’s about balancing my time right. I would also love to step-up to the professional circuit but unfortunately I would really need a sponsor, like Ryan, to help me get started.”

Taylor offered the duo support in their quest to reach the top. The 51-year-old knows all about the importance of gaining sponsorship as he himself was granted £10,000 from former world champion Eric Bristow to forge a professional career.

Taylor said: “I would advise them to join the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) if there’s money available for the circuit where they can reach the heights and start making their money.

“They have the ability as they can win tournaments, so it’s entirely up to them. They probably need a sponsor which would really help.”