JAMIE HUGHES defied a fire alarm scare and admitted a year in the darting wilderness made him “mentally stronger” to make it through Q School.
The double BDO World Championship semi-finalist booked his PDC Tour Card with a fine run in Wigan yesterday.
It’s been dubbed as “Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket” to obtain a card which could be worth over £1million for the next two years.
The event was held up for an hour by a fire alarm which saw all the players and officials evacuated – some even mid-match.
But Hughes, 32, admitted: “The alarm went off first of all during one of my earlier matches and we just carried on.
“Then it went off again and we all had to get out. I’d finished my match but some others were still playing and in the middle of their matches.
“I just put my coat on, wandered about outside for half an hour and prepared myself for the rest of the day.
“It’s been really tough since missing out at Q School a year ago. But I think that has made me mentally stronger.
“The strange thing now is that the hard work begins now. Q School was hard but the toughest job is ahead of me.
“This is such a hard thing to get through now. I know some big names didn’t make it today but I still think the cream will come to the top, I hope so anyway.
The Tipton thrower was in sensational form kicking off with wins over Jamie Barrowman, Sean Bell, John Bryan and Scott Dale to reach the Last 32.
There, Yozza produced sensational averages of 109.8, 109.3 and 108.5 to see off Callan Rydz, Kevin Thomas and Dafydd Edwards, before a resounding 5-1 win over ex-World finalist Kirk Shepherd secured his status as a full-time professional on the PDC circuit for 2019 and 2020.
Hughes looked leaner and meaner on his return to the big time. He added: “I have lost weight, I don’t know how much, I don’t go on the scales.
“But I’m eating better stuff now and at the right times and I feel so much fitter. I’ve got more energy and stamina.
“I will plan my year now. I didn’t bother to look ahead any further than getting to Q School, there was no point.
“Now I can start to look ahead and that’s a big relief. I’m buzzing to have go through.