THE latest PDC Super Series of Players Championships proved fruitful for Belcoo thrower Brendan Dolan as he claimed one victory and reached two semi-finals over the four days of competition.

On the opening day he landed the Players Championship 5 – his eight-ranking success of his career – and only missed out on two other final appearances with defeats to world number-one and World Champion, Gerwyn Price.

It is no surprise, therefore, that Dolan was delighted with his week’s work.

“I felt that my scoring power was a lot better and my averages improved quite a bit, so I was pleased with that part of it and, obviously, pleased to get a win along the way as well.” he said.

Price was among the victims for the Fermanagh man as he swept all in front of him on his way to victory last Tuesday, and he says wins like that help with confidence.

“It does the confidence good and to know that I can compete with him, it’s a major boost.

“If you are mixing with the best and they are finding it hard to beat you, then you know that you are doing something right,” he added.

And he rounded off a successful day with a hard-fought win over world number-eight, Michael Smith, to secure the title.

‘A wee bit annoyed’

“I thought I maybe wasn’t scoring as well as I had done that day, and I was getting a wee bit annoyed, but I could also see that Michael wasn’t scoring the way he can either.

“So whatever was happening was happening to the two of us, and I just knuckled down and got the last two legs to take the win.

“That was the only difference’ there wasn’t much between me and Michael – it was just down to a leg here or there,” said Brendan.

Indeed, he carried his form into day two as he made his way to the semi-final before losing out to Price in a deciding leg.

“Wining that first day gives you confidence going into the next day, but I also felt a bit more pressure because you are trying to do back-to-back wins.

“I started the day really strong, but I felt for a couple of rounds that I didn’t play quite as well.

“Then I had one really bad game against James Wade but he was really bad as well, and I was able to get through.

“I ended up playing Gerwyn in the semi-final, and although I lost I played really well against him, and he just pipped me on the last leg again,” he commented.

The long days of competition though took their toll on the Thursday as Brendan made a first-round exit, although he felt this was a blessing in disguise.

“They are long days so I was a bit tired and I wasn’t sleeping great when I was over there, just with being away in a strange room.

“I felt that would cost me somewhere along the line and it did on the Thursday when I was a bit flat, and I wasn’t as upbeat about the day’s tournament.

“I was hoping to work my way into the day but I got beaten in the first game and, if I’m honest, it was a blessing as I was able to go back to the room and rest until the next morning.”

And the rest worked wonders for Dolan who bounced back to his best form as he again made the last four of the 128-player competition, only to go down to Price for a second time.

However, Dolan believes that he is reaping the reward of the hard work he is putting in.

“I got to the semi-final on the last day, and I had a couple of high averages in there as well.

“It proves that all my hard work and practising is starting to come to fruition now,” said Brendan, who feels that he is adding the consistency needed to compete against the very best in the business.

“I do have a strong belief now; I have shown consistency over the four days and I got to the latter stages of the tournaments and I won one.

“I know that I can beat the best and if I don’t win I’m going to push them all the way.

“I believe that my game is strong at the minute and my scoring power is a lot stronger than it used to be – the amount of high averages over a hundred that I did over the week, it is a major improvement on what I did in the past.”

Will work hard at home

Dolan is unsure of when he will be back in action, with uncertainty around a competition in Germany next month, but he says that he will continue to work hard at home to be ready for when the next tournament arrives.

“There is supposed to be a tournament in Germany around April 20, but we’re not sure if that will go ahead – it may be moved to England on the same dates, but there is no definite word yet.

“All I can do is keep the head down and keep practising. It is easier to practise once you’ve had that success and I’m not struggling in the way I normally can struggle in getting back at it when there is such a gap between tournaments.

“All is good at the minute,” concluded the in form Fermanagh man.