NATHAN RAFFERTY won his first PDC ranking title and then admitted it must be a “springboard” to more glory.
The Northern Irish wonderkid beat highly-rated Dawson Murschell 5-3 in the final of the PDC Unicorn Development Tour in Wigan on Saturday.
It was another huge stride forward for Raff, 18, after his sensational Coral UK Open win over World No 2 Peter Wright just a month ago.
He admitted: “It’s obviously a big moment for me. I think it’s vital to get that first victory under your belt otherwise it becomes a monkey on your back.
“I played well all day and that’s particularly satisfying. But I know that consistency is vital at all levels of the sport now.
“I won on Saturday and that was it, onto the next one. It’s vital for me to keeping looking ahead and not dwell on the past.
“This win has to be a springboard for more. I’m confident I can do that because I’m learning every day.”
The 18-year-old from Coalisland overcame Carl Batchelor, James Carroll, Reece Colley, Liam Hill and Brian Raman as he reached the quarter-finals.
Then ‘The Natural’ comfortably saw off George Gardner 5-1 before delivering the same result over Callan Rydz in the semi-finals.
Rafferty made the early running in the final before Murschell hit back to 4-3, but the Canadian crucially missed his chance to level and force a decider as the Northern Irish ace eventually closed out the win.
That win was followed up by the news at Rafferty has also been snapped up by Target Darts, joining a stable headed by world champion Rob Cross and five-times world champion Raymond van Barneveld.
It’s another massive step for the Tyrone kid as he bids to claim his first PDC Tour Card in 2019.