Chris Dobey admits it would be “a dream” to succeed at home in the Cazoo Premier League as he prepares to headline Thursday’s Night Eight action in Newcastle.
Masters champion Dobey will be the main attraction at Utilita Arena, with world champion Michael Smith awaiting the home favorite in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
The Bedlington bowler defeated Smith en route to reaching the final of Nottingham’s Night Sevens last week, and is aiming to repeat his performance before his highly anticipated return home.
“Everyone knows that this is the most important thing for me, playing in front of a home crowd.” admitted Dobey, who appeared for Newcastle as a contender during the 2019 Premier League.
“It will be surreal. I will have a lot of friends and family there. Any game where you have a home crowd on your side is something special, so I’m going to enjoy every moment.
“It would be the last straw if I could get that win on Thursday. It will be the one I dreamed of.
“Let’s cross our fingers that he can do that. I will try hard and hopefully I can perform that night.”
Dobey made his entrance to Newcastle United’s ‘Local Hero’ anthem in his previous home appearance, a moment that remains one of the most iconic in Premier League history.
The 32-year-old insists the famous anthem will be aired again on its return to the Northeast, as he tries to steal the show in front of a sellout crowd on Thursday night.
“Everyone in the North East knows how much Local Hero means to me and the city of Newcastle.” added Dobey, a season ticket holder at St James’ Park.
“It was a pleasure last time I played for Newcastle, so it’s gotta be done!”
Dobey has received much applause since lifting his first televised title in January, with Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer among those following his progress.
“I woke up to a text (from Shearer) saying congratulations on winning your first big prize. I could not believe it”, revealed Dobey, who defeated Rob Cross to prevail at the Cazoo Masters.
“At first I didn’t believe it, then I put it on social media and he retweeted it and liked it so I thought it must be him! He also followed me on social media, which was a plus.”
Dobey made a dream start to his Premier League arc in Belfast, defeating Peter Wright, Nathan Aspinall and Michael van Gerwen to claim the spoils on Night One.
The debutant then suffered a sequence of five straight quarterfinal losses, despite posting ton averages in three of those matches.
However, he won again in Nottingham, beating Smith and whitewashing Van Gerwen before succumbing to Gerwyn Price in the Night Seven masterpiece.
“He gave me a lot of confidence. I have been playing well in the last few weeks without getting results.” said Dobey, the first player in Premier League history to whitewash Van Gerwen.
“I think there was a game against Michael (van Gerwen) in Dublin where I didn’t feel very good. That’s the only game where I felt like I played poorly.
“Michael (van Gerwen) has beaten me many times before so it was nice to get the win (in Nottingham) but he’ll be looking for me next time I play him, that’s for sure!”
The pair could clash in Newcastle’s decisive Night Eight, but Dobey’s first assignment will see him take on Smith for the second week in a row.
Dobey challenged a late rally by the St Helens star to close out with a 6-4 success last Thursday, and is relishing the prospect of renewing his rivalry with the world number one.
“I’m delighted with the way I’m playing and I hope to do better at Newcastle.” added Dobey, one of four players to claim night wins in the first seven nights.
“I normally have big games against Michael (Smith). You often relax when playing with your friends, but you have to turn that friendship off and just play the board.
“My averages show (what I can do), so it’s about getting results. Fingers crossed Thursday will be my night!”
The 2023 Cazoo Premier League will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, via PDC’s global broadcast partners including DAZN, Viaplay and VTM, and on PDCTV for subscribers in the rest of the world.
Night eight – Thursday March 23
Utilita Arena, Newcastle
Michael van Gerwen vs. Peter Wright
Nathan Aspinall vs. Dimitri Van den Bergh
Gerwyn Price vs. Jonny Clayton
Michael Smith vs. Chris Dobey
Van Gerwen/Wright vs. Aspinall/Van den Bergh
Price/Clayton vs. Smith/Dobey
All matches to the best of 11 stages