Kyle McKinstry is in confident mood at the England Open (Picture: Getty Images)Kyle McKinstry is heading to Selsey to defend his England Open title and he fully expects to be walking away with the trophy for a second year on the bounce.
The Northern Irishman has not played many events so far this year, picking and choosing the tournaments he needs to make the World Championship, but that does not mean he is short of form.
After having a crack at PDC Q School and playing on the Challenge Tour, the 32-year-old feels his game is as sharp as ever, and is ready to start claiming titles again.
‘I’m confident, I would say I’m playing better this year than last year,’ McKinstry told Metro.co.uk. ‘I’ve put a lot of practice in and the Challenge Tour have helped me, Q School has helped me.
‘I enjoy Selsey, there’s something about Selsey, every time I go there I seem to win. I won the Pentathlon in September there. If you like a venue you’re going to go with a load of confidence.
‘The way I’ve been practicing, I know that if I go out there and play the darts that I’ve been playing there’s nobody beating me.
‘People will say to me ‘oh, that’s cocky’ but why go to a tournament if you’re not going to go and win it? There’s no point going all the way to Selsey if you don’t want to win it, so I’m happy to say I’m walking into that room and there’s no one beating me. I’m defending champion, I’m there for a reason.’
McKinstry is ready to get his hands on trophies again (Picture: Getty Images)Due to his lack of tournament time, McKinstry is down at number 23 in the world rankings, which he believes is a completely false representation of his talents, having reached the Lakeside last eight this year.
‘I know myself, if I’d have done the competitions the top three or four has done, I would be in the top six, easy.
‘Dave Parletti is up there, I get on well with Dave, but he’d tell you himself I’m one of his bogey players, he can’t beat me, he cannot beat me. I had Geert de Vos, I could never ever beat him, everybody has one.
‘But I would say definitely my ranking is false, I would rank myself at least in the top six in the BDO. I would say, apart from the top four, I’ve been consistent as anyone. Last 16, quarter-finals, semis, I hardly have a bad result.
‘Lakeside this year I would be disappointed if I don’t get to the semi-finals, at least the semi-finals.’
McKinstry talks with clear confidence but without arrogance, just sure of his own skills on the oche, which he is looking forward to showing off again this weekend.
However, one thing he is far from sure of is the situation with the BDO’s World Trophy, scheduled for August, but without a venue yet.
In fact, the England Open champ even went as far to say that he does not believe the event will go ahead.
‘I’ve qualified for the World Trophy, but nobody knows where it’s at,’ McKinstry continued. ‘I’ve text and rang [BDO chairman] Des Jacklin, but he won’t even reply to my calls or messages.
‘My manager’s onto me looking to book flights and hotels and I don’t even know where it is! We can’t book anything, it’s frustrating, we’ve lost the points from last year because it hasn’t been played. I’ve lost 28 points.
‘I’m not confident about it, I don’t think it is going to happen, to be quite honest, I don’t think the World Trophy is going to go ahead.
‘And if the World Trophy isn’t going to go ahead, which is one of the main ones which Des signed this contract for last year, the World Championship, the World Masters and the World Trophy, if the first one doesn’t go ahead, it makes you think about Lakeside. Is Lakeside going to go ahead? It makes you think.
‘I don’t think he’s lying, but if he could just tell the players involved and say it’s going to be in Manchester or wherever, or even near there, if you book to Manchester you’ll be safe enough. You don’t need to do a whole big speech, just tell the players because it’s not fair on them.’
The uncertainty around the BDO at the moment is a source of frustration and concern for players and fans alike, with McKinstry speaking in terms very reminiscent of the original split in darts back in the early 1990s.
‘This is why I’d have to think if I won Lakeside, the BDO would have to guarantee bigger events and more televised events,’ said Kyle. ‘At the end of the day, everybody picks a dart up because they want it to be their job, and if you want it to happen, it’ll have to be the PDC.’
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