Quick catch up with Kyle McKinstry – Kyle despite not holding a PDC Tour Card reached the Last 16 in the UK Open recently.
McKinstry started his career in the BDO and still is battling it out on the NIDO circuit. On the main BDO circuit he did quite well winning the HAL and England Opens and also winning the British Pentathlon. In 2019 he reached the Quarter-Finals of the Lakeside World Championship losing out 5-2 to Glen Durrant and he recalls facing the now Premier League leader.
“I started off playing county darts for Armagh in Area 9 County team and doing a few BDO events and got a few wins; Gareth Chambers from Ballymore Inn and David Heasley from Indigo Fleet sponsored me and gave me the opportunity and I grasped it.”
“County level is a high standard and it gets you picked for the Northern Ireland team and three years in a row I finished top of the county averages,” he added.
“I won the Hal Masters (2017) in Holland the first time I went to it – I won the Northern Ireland Open twice and got beat in the final once.
“I’ve won the England Open which is a big one and three years in a row at Lakeside was a good experience.
“Winning the Northern Ireland Open in your own country is a big thing.”
“I made three Lakesides (BDO World Championships), lost out to Glen Durrant in the quarter-finals in 2019 then Matthew Ward from MDA Promotions came along and put me to Q (Qualifying) School and it snowballed from there.
“Coming up against Glen in the quarter-final on a Friday night at a packed Lakeside – the hair was standing on the back of my neck was standing up.”
“I played well, I could have went off 2-1 up at the break in sets but went off 2-1 and then Glen kicked on when we went back on stage.
“Growing up, the Lakeside was the one you’d gear up to watch ever year, I’d have always sat with my dad watching it and I always said to him I’ll be there one day.
“It was my dad that started me off playing darts in the house; he would have went to a few competitions with me, then I would throw myself into the deep end and go to all the big ones put the practice in and it has paid off.”
Switch to PDC
In terms of the PDC he made the decision to switch after the 2019 BDO World Championship and spoke of the difficulty of getting into Q-School.
“It didn’t matter what happened, whether I won it or went out in the first round I was going to the PDC; after the Lakeside I was home two days then I went to Q School.
“It was a big step up and it took me two or three days to adjust; because I had a good Lakeside I felt I had a target on my back. In the second round I played Jim Williams, averaged 97 and got beat 5-2 – it’s all in the luck of the draw.
“Last year I missed the first week of the challenge tour and the top two automatically get a tour card and a place at the Ally Pally (World Championship) and if I hadn’t missed the first weekend I’d have got it; I finished seventh and that got me into the UK Open.”
Facing Fallon Sherrock at UK Open
Speaking of facing Sherrock at the UK Open, he eased past ‘The Queen of the Palace’ and admitted nerves though beforehand despite not showing them on the stage.
“From (when) I saw the draw I was really nervous with the way she’d played at the Worlds and the way the crowd reacted. Where they going to give me hassle?
McKinstry drew the player that nobody would have wanted in the first round the ‘women of the moment’ Fallon Sherrock who’d created history by beating Ted Evetts and the big Austrian Mensur Suljovic at the World Championships in December.
However, the Moygashel man was well prepared for a female opponent as he practices with his 13-year-old daughter Cathlin Rea, who is already an accomplished thrower, having won three Northern Ireland youth events and has adopted the nickname the Village Woman.
“Even backstage before the match I was practising with Fallon and she was missing nothing, so I knew I’d have to be on the top of my game.
“Luckily I got on the stage and my finishing got me through it, I had six out of seven (6-1 victory) on the doubles and it is an experience I’ll not forget.”
For the Northern Irishman after previously playing at Lakeside only one main dream remains for him at least in the near future.
“I had one dream to get to the Lakeside and I conquered it and the next dream now is the Ally Pally and a tour card.”