Simm cannot wait for his Reebok showdown

First published in Sport

KEVIN Simm has been trying for years to qualify for the Speedy Hire UK Open in his hometown – and now he has finally done it.

The 42-year-old delivery driver will line up at the Reebok Stadium alongside modern-day heavyweights like Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld and James Wade when the competition kicks-off on June 2.

He will play Geoff Whitworth in the first round and his reward for victory would be a match on board two, which is televised, against Brian Wood or Mark Hylton.

“I can’t wait for it,”

said Tyldesley-based Simm. “I have been trying to qualify for about five years - I actually got to the final qualifier a couple of years ago - so to finally be playing is a dream come true.

“It would be nice to get past the first few rounds and play on the big stage against one of the top names. None of them will faze me because this is a oncein- a-lifetime opportunity.

“Apart from Phil Taylor, I think most of them are of a similar standard.

“I might be 42 but I am playing better than ever. Hopefully I can give my supporters from Tyldesley plenty to cheer about.” Simm, who has played in some of the top tournaments on the British Darts Organisation circuit, added: ”Jockey Wilson is my hero.

“It’s a shame you can’t have a smoke and a pint on stage anymore.

“In all seriousness, it’s a fantastic opportunity for me and I have taken a couple of days off work to prepare properly.

“I am just going to try hard to progress as far as possible.”

"Walkden-based Matt Clark will meet qualifier Jamie Hagan in the first round, hoping to set up a clash with Brendan Dolan or Andrew Gilding in the next stage.

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