Getting to Know… Benjamin Smith
Tell us a little bit about yourself (name, age, where you’re from etc)
My name’s Ben Smith, I’m 21 years old although I’ll be turning 22 in the near future, and I’m from a little town called Abergele along the North Wales coast.
2019 was a good debut year on the Development Tour for you as you played in the PDC World Youth Championships. How did find the Development Tour and will you be doing it again in 2020?
2019 was a brilliant first year for me, I actually won £950 which was more than I was ever expecting. For me, the development tour was a learning curve which I needed to go on and I enjoyed every moment of it – I’ll definitely be participating in 2020.
You beat some good names over the year including Jarred Cole, Jack Main, Reece Colley as well as former and current PDC Tour card holders George Killington, Niels Zonneveld and William Borland? Which of those victories stands out most to you?
It’s difficult to say really because like you said they were all very good victories, but I’d probably be torn between Niels Zonneveld and Jarred Cole, as they both came in my first ever event and it gave me the belief that I had the ability to mix with the better players.
You recently reached the final of the prestigious Gwynedd Open, winning six games and coming through a field of 97 players before losing to Damon Heta. A showing like that must build your confidence for the year ahead?
Of course, after the event my confidence was sky high after going so far, if anything it has made me more motivated to get some wins under my name. Damon was the standout player in the room and having the opportunity to play against someone of his standard in a competitive game has helped me realise what I need to do to take that next step in darts.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
Firstly I’m hoping to have a better year on the PDC development tour, I want to push myself and hopefully if all plans out I’d like to more competitive and reach the latter stages more often. I will also be attending BDO events and I’ll be using them to gain more experience as you learn a lot about yourself and the game at those events.
Would you be interested in playing for your country at some point in your career?
I think everyone has that ambition. The chance to represent your country is an honour and one that very few get to do, so yes I’d love the chance to play for Wales.
Last year you joined David Evans, James Beeton, Harry Gregory and Nathan Care in the Sport Icons stable. What’s it like to be part of such a great team this early in your career and how helpful were they for you last year?
I’m so thankful for the chance I’ve been given by everyone involved with Sport Icons. To be involved in an ever growing team has been so beneficial to me, and it has allowed me to focus on the darts. Fingers crossed soon enough I’ll be able to repay them by being the best player I can be. It’s also such a rewarding opportunity if you look at the players involved we are all young, hungry and have time on our sides and I wish all the other lads the best.
What was your route in to playing darts?
I always enjoyed the darts, I loved watching it on TV when I was younger, but the real reason I got into it was my dad. He’s played darts for a little over 20 years and when I stopped playing football he convinced me to go and play for his local league team, and that’s where it all started. That was about 2 and a half years ago and look where I am at the moment, so I’m very thankful to him for helping me get to where I am.
What does a traditional practice routine look like for you?
It depends really. If I’m practicing alone I like to work on my finishing, so I’ll spend a bit of time on doubles and finishes between 40 and 100 – the ones that win you the games. Then I’ll move onto the ‘money’ finishes – the ones from 120 upward. After that I’ll just have some legs so my scoring gets some work too.
What is your ultimate ambition in the sport?
I think, like everyone who plays darts, the ultimate ambition is the become world champion, but as well as that I’d really like to be able to be playing on the tour and playing darts for living. Who wouldn’t want that?
Are there any sponsors you want to thank/mention?
I’d like to thank Billy and all the team at Sport Icons for everything they do and I’d like to thank frame smart and Cullen’s construction for all the support they give me too.
Quick – Fire Questions
Highlight of your career thus far?
Winning my first individual competition.
Who are your best friends in darts?
All the sport icons lads, we get along great.
Who has been your toughest opponent?
Ted Evetts. Nothing seems to phase him, quality player.
Favourite darts player, past or present?
I’m a big Gary Anderson fan, but also the Welsh lads, Gerwyn Price and Mark Webster, I always root for them to win.
Who would you want to play you in a film of your life?
Tough one, but Robert Downey Jr. You just can’t hate Iron Man.