At the 2018 World Championships, Keegan Brown made it to the round of sixteen stage where he was drawn against the one and only Phil Taylor.
In his mid-twenties and only having stepped up from the PDC Youth ranks in 2014/15, he would have been forgiven for being in awe of facing the grand master of darts.
However, instead of fading into Taylor’s shadow, the man known as the needle promptly declared he intended on ending the Power’s career in the match.
What happened next was remarkable – he was thrashed 4-0 by the Power.
A lesser man may have shrunk away into embarrassment but not Keegan Brown as the 26-year-old has continued to go from strength to strength in his bid to make it to the very summit of the game.
He has a pretty useful mentor behind him too in the Wizard Simon Whitlock which has enabled him to build on his 2014 PDC World Youth title and make his mark on the PDC Pro Tour.
Although a quarter-final appearance at the 2014 Grand Slam of darts remains Brown’s best result in a major tournament to date, Brown has broken in the top 32 in the PDC order of merit this year and his performances at the Czech Darts Open are anything to go by, then Brown is a future star.
A 6-0 whitewash in the first round against home player Ondřej Plšek was followed up by Brown’s biggest scalp to date – Michael van Gerwen.
Brown scraped through against MVG 6-5 in the second leg despite few giving him a chance but his average score of 97.53 proved too much for the three-time world champion to handle.
Fellow rising star Danny Noppert was up next for Brown and a 6-4 victory soon followed for the Englishman when another stern test in Mensur Suljović was his opponent in the quarter-finals.
Both Brown and Suljovic averaged over 100 with the throw but the Needle was intense with the double’s and swept to a 6-2 victory to set up a last four clash with Stephen Bunting.
Unfortunately, Brown was off with his throw as he succumbed to a 7-4 defeat, but his point has been well made.
£6,500 richer and a head full of confidence, Brown can return to his job as a medical lab assistant in blood services on the Isle of Wight in the knowledge that it is only a matter of time before he is a PDC full time professional.
Watch out world – the Needle is out to get you!