Vive Le Touche Francais

Red Dragon Darts

Thibault Tricole made another piece of French sporting history Lakeside in making his Alexandra Palace debut. The popular Frenchman earned his place in the second round after a hard-fought 3-1 over Mario Vandenbogaerde. Harry Masterson caught up with him before his Ally Pally journey began:

It was not easy for The French Touch to be drawn against a good mate in the 1st Round, they two had even played pairs together in competitions. The reward for winning is a 2nd Round clash with 2018 World Champion Rob Cross just before the three-day Christmas break. 

“There is no easy draw at the PDC World Championships and playing Mario isn’t the best draw because I know him well. In the past we have clashed several times and we even played doubles together a few years ago.”

“I will have to ignore feelings and stay focused on my game. I train daily but with only a few days until the deadline, I have to work on my mental side more than my arm. My motivation is to try to play a former world champion in Rob Cross.”

The French Touch on his Lakeside debut played very well, coming in as the Number 2 seed after impressing on the WDF Circuit prior to the event. Now though will be a much different challenge, playing in the noise of the Ally Pally as well as getting to grips with the famous world stage. 

“The PDC World Championships are another dimension” said Tricole to Darts World. “Everything is multiplied by 10: the public, arena, media coverage and prize money. I’m going to discover the Professional World Championships and I can’t wait!”

Tricole defeated the likes of Tour Card holder Cameron Menzies on his run to the Final back in April last year after initially battling through a real test versus Shawn Burt in the 1st Round, claiming a 3-2 win in sets against the Canadian. 

Thibault has raised his game since, helping to navigate his home country to a Quarter Final finish on debut at the 2023 PDC World Cup of Darts, with partner and Tour Card holder Jacques Labre. The French duo topped their group to qualify for the knockout stages with wins over Northern Ireland and Ukraine. 

The dream debut run came to an end at the hands of eventual Runner’s Up Scotland, but it was a huge eye opener to the rest of the world that the sport was growing in France, with Thibault’s achievements in the game being a factor in that. 

“My year was up and down because I didn’t always have time to train properly. I have a 15-month-old baby among other things to think about and because I had a series of defeats in Players Championships, I lost a little confidence in myself.”

“But since September, things have been better, and I managed to reverse the trend. I have to rely on experiences at the World Cup and MODUS even though the World Championships are still a different context.”

History will be made as Thibault competes, becoming the first French international to play at a PDC World Championship since the competition started back in 1994. The French Touch will be the first of many to grace the biggest stage in the sport and is proud of what he will achieve in North London. 

“You need pioneers in sport to develop it in your country. Becoming the first Frenchman, I am making a mark on the minds/ history of darts in France and I’m very proud of it.”

The Winmau player earned his spot via the West Europe Qualifier held in Kalkar last month. Thibault defeated recent WDF World Championship Quarter Finalist Wesley Plaisier 7-4 in the Final, going one step further than he did 12 months ago. 

“What’s funny is that I lost in the final of this same tournament last year in Spain against Jose Justicia, but it was a tournament reserved only for players from Southwest Europe. There I managed to win a tournament where potentially the level is even higher, and it was unexpected. I obviously wanted to go to the end but if I failed, I figured it would have been good training/ preparation for Lakeside.”

Thibault Tricole will attempt to extend that remarkable palmares of ‘French Firsts’with a win in the opening match of Monday’s evening session, with the Paddy Power 2024 PDC World Championship making its long-awaited return on the 15th of December Live on Sky Sports Darts. 


Original piece published in Darts World Extra 14: Ally Pally Special

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