Day 3 of Q-School 2020 in Wigan served up two tour card winners who couldn’t have been further apart in nearly every way. Canadian star and former BDO world championship finalist Jeff Smith regained his tour card after a seven year wait. Aaron Beeney, a prison officer from London was the other winner but who the heck is Aaron Beeney was the question on most peoples minds!
Back in February we had the pleasure of meeting Aaron in Barnsley on the eve of the first pro tour event of 2020. Coming straight from his new tour card holders meeting with the PDPA and PDC and from signing a management/sponsorship contract Aaron sat down to join us for a drink. Chatting with Aaron we were immediately struck by the sense that this was someone who was living his dream.
“I’m a Pub player” was the theme running through Aaron’s side of the conversation but a pub player living the dream and determined to make a go of things on the PDC Pro Tour. Determined to win a leg in event 1 Aaron completed that ambition in his defeat to Joe Cullen with the leg coming against the darts. After his loss Aaron joined us for a smoke outside the venue and when asked said his determination was getting stronger by the minute despite the loss, and at the same time signed his first ever autograph and had a selfie with a young local lad. The lad had stood outside in the rain with his mum for hours and was now the proud owner of a unique bit of darts memorabilia.
With the tour as yet not having yielded a victory for Aaron, and his first ever UK Open starting tomorrow (he faces Wesley Harms in round 1) we thought it is high time for a follow up interview:
When we first met you in the hotel in Barnsley just after your new tour card holders briefing we were struck by your jovial nature. Wide eyed and full of excitement of what was going to come for the self-proclaimed “Pub Player”
Now you have 10 matches under your belt on the circuit do you still see yourself as a pub player or are you starting to adopt the professional moniker?
I’m still a pub player! I’m only 1 month in and throughout February I doubled the amount of knockout tournaments I’ve played in my entire life, however I’m hopeful that the professional will sink in when the wins start rolling in.
Sitting in the hotel the night before your first shot at the bigv boys you told us you had set yourself some goals for the year. I know that on day 1 you achieved a little bit of what you set out to do and that was win a leg, notably a break against Joe Cullen.
How are you with regards the goals you set as you prepare for your first UK Open later this week?
My goals for the first 3 weekends were literally just to play for the win but avoid being whitewashed in defeat, hasn’t quite gone to plan but not so bad
You play Wesley Harms a fellow Q-School graduate in the first round in Minehead, have you had the chance to watch much of Wes on the tour this year and what are your thoughts going into the game?
I’ve only caught 1 of Wesley’s games so far on the Pro tour but I don’t need to watch him to know he is a phenomenal player and probably the most decorated player in round 1 due to his many tournament wins within the BDO circuit, I certainly have my work cut out to beat his darts and shoe style!
In Barnsley a sponsorship agreement and management agreement was announced. The darts you qualified for at Qschool have certainly seen better days, Have the Beeney darts been finished by the sponsor (remind me who it is sorry mate) and if so have you had a good practice with them yet?
Sadly the new darts are still not ready at this point so I am still using my old faithfuls, yes they have seen better days but it wasn’t that long ago they dragged me through 8 games in one day to be where I am now so don’t feel too bad for me as I know they still have wins left in them.
Working in a prison obviously won’t give you chance to train during the day as I cant imagine sharps being allowed into the facility? How many hours are you getting to practice on a daily basis?
The prison environment definitely isn’t catered towards having projectile sharp objects within its walls regardless of my standing in the world of darts, so practice has indeed been limited!
You had mentioned reducing work hours, is this still something you are considering or has the slow start made you think differently for the moment?
I am no longer considering reducing my hours, it is absolutely happening and I will be going part time so i can focus more on my practice.
I absolutely plan to give this my all in the next 2 years!
As you can imagine social media is full of people having a pop running bets on when you will win the first game etc, having met you I can’t imagine this affecting you in anyway but how do you see this yourself?
To be fair I genuinely haven’t seen hardly a bad word about me online, only massive support for someone with my darting background making it to where I am. Of course I am eager to win my first game, but losing on the Pro tour still tops winning back in the pub. I can accept bad press, at the end of the day I’m the one living the dream.
How have the other players and qschool graduates been towards you on tour? Have you made any good friends?
The other players have been more welcoming than I ever could have imagined. The support and acknowledgement of achieving what I’ve done with such little competitive experience has been a little overwhelming at times, but there are literally too many people in that room to name them all that are rooting for me to find my feet and start getting some wins.
OK some quickfire questions to round this off:
Favorite opponent so far?
Joe Cullen. No one forgets their first 🙂
Who would you like to play past or present?
Simon whitlock. Legend!
Have you ever eaten a fruit pastille without chewing it?
No but Gummi Bears for sure
Slipknot…no…Gun and roses….no….erm…too many to choose from! Too hard! Pass.
Favorite holiday location?
5 days in a hired fiat panda, touring main land Greece on my lonesome
80 needed, which route?
Whichever one I hit
Give up smoking or lose the beanie?
There are other hats…… Just put my name on and they’re all Beeneys 😉
Do you have a message for the darts fans?
Watch this space, slow start or not, I promise I have got big plans for my time in the PDC! Don’t give up on me yet!