'Emotional' Robb set to revel in World Series return

Ben Robb (Kais Bodensieck/PDC)

Ben Robb is dreaming of creating another memorable moment at the World Series of Darts, as he prepares to feature on home soil in Hamilton this weekend.

Following a three-year hiatus due to Covid-19, the TAB New Zealand Darts Masters returns as part of this year’s World Series treble-header Down Under.

Hamilton’s Globox Arena will play host to the £60,000 event from August 26-27, as Michael van Gerwen bids to retain his crown.

Robb is among four New Zealanders set to headline this year's showpiece, after finishing top of the DPNZ Order of Merit courtesy of back-to-back Pro Tour wins in Christchurch earlier this month.

“I did it the hard way, but I was stoked to tell my family that I'd be back,” Robb told SENZ’s At The Oche.

“Once I won on the Saturday I knew I couldn’t be caught, and I felt emotional.

“I cannot wait to be back on the big stage in Hamilton.”

Robb made his televised debut at the World Series of Darts in 2018, and he impressed on his big stage bow in Auckland, succumbing 6-5 to Simon Whitlock after missing a match dart at double 16.

However, the 33-year-old gained revenge 12 months later, defeating Whitlock 6-4 in Hamilton to become just the third New Zealander to win on the World Series stage, following in the footsteps of Warren Parry and Mark McGrath.

“It was the most memorable night in my darts journey so far,” Robb told SENZ’s At the Oche.

“When I beat Simon and looked over and saw my Mum and Dad, it was special.”

Robb was the solitary Oceanic qualifier to win his first round game in 2019, only to be beaten 8-3 by former World Champion Rob Cross in the quarter-finals.

“I was the only Kiwi [to play on the second day]. The arena was sold out, and when I walked up I had goosebumps,” added New Zealand’s World Cup star.

“The arena was shaking. I was the man of the night for the home crowd and it made it extra special.” 

Since then, Robb has featured twice at the World Darts Championship, while also making his debut at this year’s Cazoo World Cup of Darts in Frankfurt.

The 33-year-old will line up as one of eight Oceanic representatives in this year’s extravaganza, alongside Whitlock and his team-mate Damon Heta, who guided Australia to a first World Cup title in June.

PDC Tour Card Holder Gordon Mathers will also feature, having defeated Fallon Sherrock and Michael Smith to reach the semi-finals of the PalmerBet Queensland Darts Masters earlier this month.

Robb, meanwhile, will be joined by his World Cup partner Parry, former World Championship qualifier Bernie Smith and Kayden Milne, who will make his televised debut in Hamilton.

They will pit their wits against the biggest names in the PDC, including world number one Gerwyn Price, three-time World Champion Michael van Gerwen and top seed Dimitri Van den Bergh.