Darts star who caused World Championship upset took bus to Ally Pally

Grant Sampson produced the first shock at World Darts Championship by catching the bus to knock out Ireland's rising star Keane Barry.

The 40-year-old South African nicknamed 'Samurai', a 1,000-1 long shot with the bookies, needed only a 77.29 average to eliminate Barry, a UK Open semi-finalist this year, 3-1 in the first round. After his dream debut in front of 3,000 fans, Sampson gushed: “This is amazing – back home we play in front of 30 people.

“I caught the bus here – the W3 from where I'm staying in Wood Green – and I've got to catch it back again.”

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Sampson, whose trip to Britain was partly financed by crowdfunding on the Western Cape, will now earn a minimum £15,000 for reaching the second round, where he meets Kim Huybrechts on Friday.

After the match, Sampson admitted he was struggling to take it all in.

“Wow,” he said. “I’m still pumped with adrenalin. That was amazing, the crowd was awesome.

“Playing in front of a crowd like that was beautiful, I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s the biggest night of my life. I won’t be able to sleep tonight.”

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Sampson defeated South African darting legend Devon Petersen to reach the Ally Pally.

“All my dreams came through in that moment so I had nothing to prove when I came here,” he said. “I hope I can give Kim a beautiful game.”

In another surprise result, 2021 World Youth Championship runner-up Nathan Rafferty marked his Ally Pally debut by knocking out Jermaine Wattimena in a 3-2 thriller. Rafferty will face Grand Slam champion Michael Smith in round two.


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