Alan Soutar’s Players Championship dream ended early as he crashed to an opening round defeat to Daryl Gurney.
The Angus darts star, playing in his first Players Championship finals after a stunning debut season in the PDC, lost 6-3 to Gurney.
It was a disappointing night for the man called Soots.
But he’ll be flying the flag for Arbroath and Scotland again next month at the World Championships at Alexandra Palace.
Souar, quite literally, put his hometown Arbroath on the map before the tie.
The Dundee firefighter, known as Soots, wore a specially designed Mission Darts t-shirt and matching flights with a star pinpointing the Angus town on a map of Scotland.
“Arbroath means a lot to me,” Soots told Courier Sport. “It’s where I grew up and where I live.
“I’ll always belong to Arbroath. It was a natural choice to pinpoint the town on my shirt. I’ll wear it with pride over the next few weeks.”
— Alan Soutar (@soots180) November 23, 2021
But it was always going to be a huge task to see off Northern Ireland-born Gurney.
Gurney won the 2018 Players Championship and was ranked 23rd – a full 56 places above Soutar in the PDC Order of Merit – before the match.
He has earned £198,250, while Soutar has collected a hugely respectable £29,500 in his PDC debut year.
He has climbed 49 places in the rankings in just ten months.
That saw him qualify for the Players Championships finals and the World Championships.
Alan Soutar: Heckler puts Angus darts star off throw at key dart
But he has ambitions to break into the top 64 before January 3rd and had no intention of going down to Butlin’s Minehead to make up the numbers.
And he started well with game’s first 180.
He then had a chance to break Gurney’s throw in the fifth leg, but a heckler put him off as he went for a double nine finish.
That proved pivotal as Gurney raced into a 5-2 lead but he missed his double two match dart before clinching a 6-3 win.
It ended in first round disappointment for Soutar, who collected a £2,500 cheque for reaching the finals.
But he’ll be back on the big stage next month at Ally Pally.