THE owners of The Birchgrove pub will watch their son compete in the British Darts Organisation (BDO) World Darts Championship at Lakeside in January.
Tim and Pauline Reynolds have run the north Cardiff pub for 13 years and raised their son Dean in the pub environment.
Dean started playing for the pub’s darts team aged just 13. Now 23, he is going to play in the BDO’s biggest darts tournament against the number one ranked player Glen Durrant.
The event is covered by the BBC and has been held at the prestigious Lakeside in Surrey since 1986. Dean has played at the venue before, but never in a tournament of this stature.
Before The Birchgrove, Mr and Mrs Reynolds ran The Cornwall pub in Grangetown where Dean lived until he was ten.
Mrs Reynolds said: “From virtually the day he could stand up he started playing darts.
“When he was 18 months old on the balcony in Gran Canaria, he lined up all the empty bottles and threw toothbrushes at them.
“I told his father we had a darts player, he said ‘no he’s not, he’s going to play rugby!’”
“We don’t see him as often as we would like, but I know he wants to be number one in the world.”
Dean rose to number 18 in the BDO rankings when he won the French Open in August. After winning, he was invited to play in the World Championships which start on January 2.
The 23-year-old played for the Glamorgan youth team at 11, Wales youth at 17 and then the full Glamorgan county team after that.
Dean said: “Getting picked for the Wales youth team in 2010 was the best feeling.
“I think it took about 30 seconds of the national anthem to make me cry.
“Living in The Cornwall and The Birchgrove was the main reason I started playing darts. It was the last sport I took up seriously.
“I played for Cardiff City football until under 16s and played rugby to quite a high level at Whitchurch.
“But I would come home from training and then I would play darts with my brother and there were just people playing all the time.”
Dean moved to Guildford in Surrey two years ago and is now a sports coach there. He has always hoped to make a living from darts and feels this is his time to do it.
He said: “Now that I have had a little taste of success, I would like to become a professional darts player.”
Qualifying for the 2017 World Championships has already begun. He will travel to Belgium in two weeks time for the Sunparks Masters before going to Lakeside in the new year.