Newly crowned Masters champion Chris Dobey admits it will be a dream come true to feature amongst the world’s elite in the 2023 Cazoo Premier League.
Dobey celebrated his maiden televised title with victory at last weekend’s Cazoo Masters in Milton Keynes, defeating three TV title winners en route to glory at the Marshall Arena.
The Bedlington thrower overcame reigning champion Joe Cullen, World Champion Michael Smith and former World Champion Rob Cross in Sunday’s showpiece to scoop the £65,000 top prize.
Dobey also saw off fifth seed Luke Humphries and Dutch star Dirk van Duijvenbode earlier in the event, and his exploits have seen him rewarded with a place in this year’s Premier League.
“It’s not sunk in yet. My phone has not stopped ringing,” revealed Dobey, who featured as a contender during the 2019 and 2020 editions.
“It’s a great feeling to win my first TV title, but to get the call for the Premier League, it’s amazing.
“I remember getting the call a couple of days before the contenders in Newcastle a few years back.
“It’s kind of the same scenario, but this time it’s for the full duration, so it was a great call to receive!”
🗣️ "I've always said you've not made it until you're in the Premier League."— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) January 30, 2023
We spoke to Chris Dobey this afternoon after he found out he'd been selected for the 2023 @CazooUK Premier League. pic.twitter.com/uY6ulnCpYe
Dobey made history as the first contender to compete in the Premier League on the opening night of the 2019 roadshow, claiming a 6-6 draw against Mensur Suljovic in a high-quality tussle.
The 32-year-old received an incredible reception from the capacity crowd at the Utilita Arena as he made his entrance to Newcastle United anthem ‘Local Hero’.
Dobey is already relishing his homecoming on Night Eight in March, but this time he’ll be competing across Europe for 16 straight weeks, starting with Night One in Belfast.
“It is everybody’s dream to play at the top level,” added Dobey, who will take on two-time World Champion Peter Wright in his opening tie at The SSE Arena on Thursday.
“I’ve said from day one that you’ve not made it until you get in the Premier League, and I’m there amongst the best. It is a special feeling.
“I think the Premier League is going to make me a better player, whether I win or lose. This experience is going to be something else, and it’s a challenge I am looking forward to.”
Dobey comes into this year’s roadshow brimming with confidence, and his Masters success capped off a period of remarkable consistency on the big stage.
Since July’s World Matchplay, he has made the quarter-finals or better in four of his last five televised ranking events, which includes a run to October’s European Championship semi-finals.
Dobey also enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at Alexandra Palace last month, defeating former World Champions Gary Anderson and Cross to reach the quarter-finals of the sport’s flagship event.
“I’m happy with where my game is at. I am getting confidence with these big TV appearances and my game is coming on,” said Dobey, who is targeting further progress over the coming months.
“I want to push into the world's top 16. I’ve just been short in the last few years and I was very nearly there a few years ago.
“I want to build from my Masters win and I think my game can only improve. I’m going to put the time and effort in and hopefully I will get the rewards.”
Dobey is now bidding to follow in the footsteps of Jonny Clayton and Joe Cullen, who both excelled in the Cazoo Premier League having celebrated victory at the Masters just months earlier.
Clayton, a Masters winner in 2021, lifted the Premier League title on debut two years ago, while Cullen almost repeated the feat, missing double 16 for the title in an epic final against Michael van Gerwen 12 months ago.
“You look at what Jonny and Joe have done in the last few years at the Masters and the Premier League, it’s brilliant,” continued Dobey.
“If I can do what they’ve done, then who knows, it could be a good year for me!
“I believe in my own ability. I believe I can get to the top in the game. It’s just about performing on the night, and I cannot wait to get started.”
The 2023 Cazoo Premier League will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.
2023 Cazoo Premier League
Night One - Thursday February 2
The SSE Arena, Belfast
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Jonny Clayton
Michael Smith v Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright v Chris Dobey
Nathan Aspinall v Gerwyn Price