FORMER Oxfordshire player Ian Moss said he loved every minute of his World Championship de-but at Alexander Palace, despite missing out on his chance to meet reigning champion Phil Taylor.
And the 50-year-old from Witney vowed to get back there again next year.
Leading New Zealander Rob Szabo 3-2 in Friday’s preliminary round, the qualifier was just a double top away from setting up a meeting with Taylor, only to be off-target.
Szabo went on to lose 3-1 to Taylor in the best-of-five-sets first round.
Moss made a confident start to the match to win the opening leg, before Szabo found his range and won the the next two legs to lead.
The New Zealander looked on course to win the fourth leg for a 3-1 lead, only for Moss to convert a 118 finish to level.
He went on to claim the fifth leg to move one away from a memorable victory.
However, Szabo held his nerve to land double five in the sixth leg after his opponent missed a dart at tops for victory, before securing the match in style thanks to a 100 finish.
But Moss said his near-miss made him even more determined to get back to the finals again.
The Witney plasterer, who was watched by several members of his family, said although he enjoyed the experience, he admitted he was disappointed to miss out on facing Taylor.
“The day was brilliant, it was electrifying walking out there,” said Moss.
“I enjoyed the banter with the crowd, but I didn’t enjoy the result.
“I was just a bit gutted.
“I had a lot of my family down there and I was disappointed to let them down.
“It was my biggest payday in darts (he pocketed £3,500), so that was good, but I should have beaten him 4-2.
“But it was not to be and I just have to make sure I get back there next year.”
Moss also missed out on having his chosen tune A Kind of Magic by Queen played at Alexandra Palace.
“You only get to play your music if you get into the first round, but never mind.
“I think Taylor’s going to win the title again. I watched him beat Szabo and then went home.”
Asked if he would do anything differently, Moss added: “A double-top would have been nice.
“I got the break in the first leg, but then lost the next one.
“I think if it had been the best of 11 legs I would have beaten him.
“But with the shorter best of seven format you have to be up and running quickly.
“Now it’s back to the qualifying school and then try to get my Tour card.”
Oxfordshire’s Dennis Smith takes on Adrian Lewis in Wednesday’s first round.