Josh Rock enjoyed a memorable homecoming in Belfast on Thursday night, after being presented with a brace of PDC Awards on stage at The SSE Arena.
Emerging star Rock received the Moneybarn Best Newcomer and Winmau Young Player of the Year honours in the PDC Annual Awards, following a sensational breakthrough season in 2022.
The 21-year-old was treated to a terrific ovation on home soil, as he received his awards on stage in front of 8,000 fans ahead of the opening night of the Cazoo Premier League.
“It was very special,” admitted Rock, who was presented with his brace of titles by former Premier League star and Sky Sports commentator Wayne Mardle.
“When I got the phone call to say I’d be receiving the awards in Belfast I was buzzing, but I have never felt as nervous in my life, just accepting two awards on that stage!
“I got the buzz for it tonight, being centre stage in front of my home crowd.
“I really want to be in the Premier League in the future and experience it all, especially here in Belfast.”
Rock, who only secured his Tour Card last January, underlined his credentials with some stratospheric averages on the ProTour throughout 2022, celebrating his maiden Players Championship success in October.
The Northern Irish star announced his big stage arrival at November’s Grand Slam of Darts, landing a nine-dart finish in a titanic last 16 tussle against Michael van Gerwen.
Rock then lifted the Winmau World Youth Championship title just weeks later, before continuing his rapid rise with a run to the last 16 on his Cazoo World Darts Championship debut.
“I feel amazing. Coming into the PDC from Q School was hard, but I’m happy that I adapted pretty quickly,” added the Antrim ace, ranked 36th on the PDC Order of Merit.
“My aim was to try and get into the top 64 and I’m nearly in the top 32 after my first year, so it’s a big push from here.
“I want to try and make all the big TV events in 2023, but obviously I will try my best to become World Champion. That’s the ultimate dream.”