AFTER watching Rob Cross complete his rags to riches tale by winning last year’s William Hill World Darts Championship, Cody Harris gathered his possessions and travelled from the other side of the world in a bid to become New Zealand’s first professional darts player.

Harris, a prolific winner in his homeland and on the DPNZ and DPA circuits, attempted to gain a PDC Tour Card at Qualifying School in January but was unsuccessful.

Refusing to give up on his dream, the determined Kiwi opted to ply his trade on the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour and remained in the UK.

Harris went on to win a Challenge Tour title in May and reached two further finals to finish third in the end-of-year Order of Merit, earning him a return to Ally Pally following his debut last year.

Having won his preliminary round match 12 months ago, Harris went one better on Thursday as he caused something of an upset in defeating Germany’s Martin Schindler in a thrilling opening night clash.

“That was a massive result for me and it makes the sacrifice all worthwhile,"  said Harris, who is over 11,000 miles away from his wife and five children. 

“It’s all for them. It’s all for my family and I’m determined to make this work. They support me fully and I want to pay them back.”

Harris will take on Jamie Lewis in the second round on Friday and admits he takes inspiration from the Welshman’s run to the semi-finals in last year’s event.

“What he (Lewis) achieved and especially what Rob Cross achieved by winning the tournament shows that anything is possible," added Harris.

“First you dream it then you achieve it and I’m here living my dream.” 

The tournament will be broadcast live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel from December 13-January 1 and worldwide through the PDC's international broadcast partners.