By Phil Lanning
FIREMAN Alan Soutar is ready to blaze a trail at the Ally Pally like his pal Rob Cross.
The Arbroath ace takes on Jose De Sousa tomorrow (Weds) as he bids to continue his debut dream run in the World Championship.
Soutar, 43, has already beaten Diogo Portela and won an epic tie-breaker with Mensur Suljovic with a 144 finish, arguably the match of the tournament so far.
Now he hopes he can emulate practice buddy Cross who won on his debut in 2018.
He revealed: “I’m looking at it and seeing who I can get if I do this and then do this.
“I know everything that is in front of me and it is Carpe Diem isn’t it?
“For the last eight months, I have been friends with Rob on the Pro Tour.
“I had never met the guy before apart from exhibitions, but we have struck up a friendship straight away.
“His manager Rab Bain is Scottish as well, so it is sort of linked with me and him.
“Rob is just a great guy and I had about 12 hours practice in four of five days with him when I was down in London before Christmas.
“I knew I was ready to go out on stage after that. It didn’t all come out on the stage, but his level of darts is the next level above me.
“So if I can battle with him and push him and make him do what he does best, it is great practice.
“I know what you are saying about Rob walking in here for the first time and then walking out with the trophy.
“Let’s see. Let’s just say that 2022 is the year of the Soutar. Let’s go for it.”
The former Royal Marines commando turned firefighter, worked a whopping 30 hours night shifts on Christmas Eve and Day in Dundee before returning to London to prepare to face De Sousa.
The Portuguese star is another stern test having won the Grand Slam in 2020 and reached the Premier League final earlier this year.
But Soutar remains confident, adding: “Of course. I’m a good dart player and I know I am.
“I just want to try and produce good stuff in front of the TV cameras and crowds. I can do it on the floor and I’ve shown it.
“It’s a different animal on the stage, but I’m 43 years of age and I am still learning how to deal with it because nothing compares to it.
“It’s experience all the way, but let’s go and win it. Why not?
“In my head this year, I wanted to just go and win games on the Pro Tour.
“Then all of a sudden I’m in the Top 64 in the world, I’m pushing. The guys that came from Q School with me were a couple of big stars like Barney.
“But I think I came out and hit the ground running. I don’t know how to explain it. I think that’s me into the Top 56 in the world.
“Of course you look ahead. If anyone says they don’t, they are talking rubbish.”
Soutar has enjoyed an incredible year after winning his PDC Tour Card then going on to beat the likes of Raymond van Barneveld, Peter Wright, Dave Chisnall in big events – raking in almost £50k in prize money.
He added: “It has probably changed my life already. Just getting my Tour card changed my life.
“It changed my home life, it changed my work/life balance. I know from the interviews that came after the Mensur match it was a cracking game.
“It was nice to see what everyone was saying about it.”
Images by Lawrence Lustig.