I quit my job helping chickens hatch to become a professional darts star, now I’m competing at PDC World Championship
JOSH ROCK has been tipped for future glory – but he is not one to count his chickens before they have hatched.
Even though that is exactly what he used to do for a living!
You don’t have to be clucking mad to call Rock the brightest young sporting prospect to have emerged from Northern Ireland since golfer Rory McIlroy.
The 21-year-old has been in cracking form this year, notably that egg-cellent nine-darter in defeat to Michael van Gerwen at the Grand Slam of Darts.
And he is peckish for success despite this being his rookie appearance on Saturday at the PDC World Championship.
But it is only three months ago that he was responsible for ensuring chicks had the right conditions to hatch.
Rock explained: “I’m full-time darts now. I left my old job this year.
“I worked at Moy Park chicken factories. My job was helping the chicks hatch before they go to their farms to become bigger – and before they’re on your plate.
“I did the easy bit. I didn’t do the bad bit!
“It’s all about the heat. They go under these big massive heaters for three weeks and then they go under a different heater for three days.
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“You’re moving eggs around all over the place. I did that for a year-and-a-half roughly.
“I started that in the summer of 2021 after the lockdown rules lifted. But now it’s darts all the way.”
An astute judge as Barry Hearn – the darts supremo – has been watching Rock’s progress with close attention.
The Antrim ace – who hits balls in the same snooker halls as local hero Mark Allen – became world youth darts champion last month with an average of 104.13 in the final.
Having secured a Tour Card at Q School last January, he claimed his first Players Championship crown in October when he beat Luke Humphries in the final of event 28 in Barnsley.
Rock, whose sporting hero is Gary Anderson, would eclipse Van Gerwen as the youngest world champion in PDC history if he went all the way this Festive period.
There is a swagger about Rock, something that followers of UFC would recognise in fighter Conor McGregor.
The world no.47 – who plays Spaniard José Justicia – said: “In this sport you don’t end your career at 21, it’s all about learning.
“If I win the world championship this year, happy days, bonus, we will all be laughing. But at the same time you have to keep learning.
“If I could be world No1 and world champion at the same time one day, I’d bite your hand off for that.
“I’ll take it on the chin if it never happens.
“Rob Cross did it in his first year at world level – why can’t I do that, too? I’m fearless.
“You cannot be scared. If you are scared, there is no point you will put yourself under pressure every single time.
“You have to have the same attitude against everyone. It might sound bold but you have to. I am an old head on young shoulders as people might say.
“You have to be confident, if you are not then there’s no point.
“Last year I wasn’t here and now I am here. I am doing what I have always dreamt of doing. It’s inner self-belief.
“If you believe in yourself, you will achieve. I have hit massive averages, but that’s been on the floor. I know I can do it on the stage – I just have to show it.”
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