A 17-YEAR-OLD schoolgirl is aiming for a lucrative career as a darts professional – thanks to winning her first match after taking part just to make up the numbers.
Kirsty Hutchinson has become a star in seven months since making that successful debut in a pub in Barnard Castle.
She now plays for four teams, often beating older and more experienced men and women, and has been selected for a young English squad to take part in a four-nation tournament in Ireland, in May.
Kirsty is studying childcare in the sixth form at Teesdale School and was working towards a career as a nanny or in a toddlers’ nursery.
“I don’t want to do that now – I’ve set my heart on becoming a professional darts player,”
she said at her Middletonin- Teesdale home. “I just love the game and want to do it for a living.”
She played only in the kitchen at home before her father, Gary Hutchinson, heard that a ladies’ team at the Beaconsfield pub was short of players and suggested she could make up the numbers.
Kirsty still plays for the team on Sundays, as well as a mixed team on Fridays. She also throws for Durham County senior team and youth teams. When not in matches, she plays in friendlies at the Bridge Inn near her home.
She also plays for up to three hours a night at home and regularly beats her father and brother Graham, both experienced players for local teams.
In the Irish event, a Youth Friendship tournament, she will line up against teams from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire.
“I’m just glad that my dad put my name forward for the pub team, otherwise I might never have got started playing in matches,” she said. “Everyone says I’m really good at it, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t work hard at it and turn it into a successful career.”
Sue Hill, landlady of the Beaconsfield, said: “Kirsty amazes everyone with her skill. Players from opposing teams in league matches often say they wish they had her in their lineup.”
She is now looking for sponsorship to help pay travel expenses and entry fees for tournaments.
Any firm interested can contact her on 01833- 640182.