MIKE WARBURTON became something of a mini-internet sensation in Wrexham during the first lockdown.

Two years on, the father-of-four from Gwersyllt wants to make even bigger headlines by becoming World champion at the iconic Lakeside venue next month.

Turning his lounge into a makeshift darts studio, Airbus worker Warburton gave sports fans desperate to see some action the chance to watch the Modus Darts Icons League matches roll out on YouTube.

“I can’t believe it’s two years ago that I was re-arranging my lounge into a darts studio with wires here, there and everywhere,” said Warburton.

“But the Modus darts was the only sport that was taking place and I got great feedback from people in Wrexham and North Wales who were watching it and not to forget the great coverage in The Leader too.”

The Modus League has moved on considerably since and so have Warburton’s chances of making it as a darts professional.

More exposure will come at the World Darts Federation Championships at the Lakeside with Warburton boldly insisting: “I’m going there to win it.”

The Leader: Mike WarburtonMike Warburton

Seeded 13th, the Welsh international has already had a bye through to the second round where he will face either fellow Clwyd player Mark Graham or Dave Prins on April 4.

“I am going there to win it..no doubt about it,” added Warburton, who was in the top five of the WDF rankings before lockdown put a stop to competitions.

“I’d won the two Irish Opens and I’d just flown back from winning the Isle of Man Open when we went into lockdown.

“I was in the top four or five but I’m 13th seed for the WDF and I’m confident heading down there. I can’t wait.”

Warburton, who will head to Lakeside after competing in a Challenge Tour event in Germany the weekend before the World Championships, is expecting decent support from North Wales down in Surrey.

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“There’ll be a few going down to watch,” added the 37-year-old, who will walk on to ‘Come-on Warby’ chants despite the best efforts of his dad to change his nickname.

“I’m just known as Warby although my dad says I should just change my name to Mike The Pirate. There’s no family link to pirates, it’s just that he thinks we can make a bit of money by selling eye-patches, Jolly Roger flags and parrots!”

Warburton wants to let his darts do the talking when he enters the main stage and says playing in the Modus League has been a real boost.

“It’s moved on from us all playing in our own homes,” said Warburton. “They have tournaments every week and all the players go down to Southampton where the games are screened live in a proper studio.

“It’s been one of the real positives from lockdown. Darts is popular and the success of what’s happened with the Modus League proves that.

“I’m just looking forward to the Lakeside. Belgian Brian Raman is the top seed but I fancy my chances. There’s £50,000 for the winner and I want to win it!”

Gary Anderson defeated Michael Smith to claim his first victory of the Premier League season in Nottingham.

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Anderson averaged more than 104 in a 6-4 victory to climb off the bottom of the standings after six rounds.

Anderson had earlier edged past Jonny Clayton 6-5 in his first match of the night before defeating world champion Peter Wright 6-3 with a clinical display.

Smith reached a second successive final, beating James Wade 6-1 in the quarter-finals and then coming from 4-0 down to beat Gerwyn Price 6-4.

Price had ended Michael Van Gerwen’s hopes of a third successive victory with a 6-4 victory to start the night while Wright was a 6-4 winner over Joe Cullen.