Aberdeen darts player Jamie Bain is “more relieved than anything” to regain his Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) tour card.
Bain, 29, had lost his card after a difficult year, but came through a four-day, 400-player qualifying school in Wigan to get it back.
The Seaton player, who – after a run to the quarter-finals on the second day – almost had to pull out of the event due to a mysterious foot injury, can now look forward to another two years on the pro circuit as one of 30 Q school competitors to secure their PDC futures.
Bain, who first earned his card in 2014, said: “I’m more relieved than anything.
“I didn’t have a great year last year. There were a lot of things – I had a wedding to pay for, it was stressful.
“I had too many things on my mind.
“I’ve got a clear path in front of me now for the next two years, so hopefully it goes a lot better.”
Bain described his Q school experience as “torture”, explaining: “Before it started we were sitting looking at the numbers and it was close to 400.
“But it wasn’t the numbers, it was the sheer quality of the players who were there.
“You had world champions, finalists, major winners – it was just nuts.
“You just take one game at a time. It’s all you can do, really.
“It’s a new comp every day and every win you’ve got, you’ve got a point.”
Bain won five matches on the Friday, but thinks he deserved more from the first day.
He said: “It was weird. I played my best darts on the first day, yet somehow did better on the second day.
“On the first day my scoring was amazing, with mid-90 averages really steady, but my doubles were atrocious.
“Second day my scoring was ok, but my doubles were amazing.”
Disaster then struck, with the former carpet-fitter saying: “I almost pulled out on the Saturday.
“I woke up in the morning and couldn’t put weight on my right foot. It was a bit of panic.
“I don’t have a clue what I did to it.
“When I woke up in the morning, I walked along to the venue and just started to feel a pain.
“It was bruised and swollen.
“After that, I just had to grind through the last two days.”
Bain said he “just did enough” on Saturday and Sunday to make sure he secured his PDC tour card.
He is now preparing for his first event of the year, the Players Championship, which begins on February 9.
Of trying to push on through the next two years, Bain said: “My practice regime is back and I’m on the board a lot more.
“Just now it’s between three and five hours a day.
“Then I’ve got darts with my local team on a Monday and a Thursday, local comps as well, so that’s all practice as well.
“I’m at the Rowantree now, back in Seaton where I grew up, which is better for me.”
The world number 93 added: “If you get off the mark it sets you up for the rest of the year.
“It’s just consistency.
“I’ve been to events before and played great and the next day been atrocious.”