University of Sunderland darts player Josh Carr insists his team are treating every game from now until the end of the season as a ‘cup final’.
The Wearisders travel to Newcastle 1sts tonight as they look to keep their bid to reach finals day alive.
Sunderland are two points adrift of their local rivals in the Northern Division of the North East University Darts League and know a win will keep them firmly in the hunt for the second qualifying place for the league finals day.
Defeat will almost certainly end their quest for the league title, and Carr is confident the importance of tonight’s game is not lost on him or his team-mates.
“It’s a massive game as it’s a derby of course and we all know how important the result can be,” said Carr.
“If we win we still have a fighting chance of qualifying in those top two spots.
“We have to treat this and the remaining games as cup finals if we are to stand any chance of qualifying for finals.”
The Wearsiders head into the clash on the back of thrashing Newcastle 2nds 10-1, as well as reaching the final of the National Championships Shield competition.
Newcastle on the other hand were crowned National Champions that weekend, but Carr is confident that will count for nothing when the two sides take to the oche.
“If we take our form from the National shield into this game then we have an excellent chance of getting the result we want.
“We took Lancaster right to the wire at nationals and they are a great team so if we take that form into this game then we stand a great chance.
“I think it’s fair to say that both teams are in good form and both will be confident. Yes they were recently crowned National champions but a lot can change, it’s been a few weeks since then.”
The two teams have built up a good rapport throughout the season, competing and travelling with each other in a number of tournaments. Yet Carr believes that these friendships will be forgotten about when the two sides come to blows, and claims they can use the knowledge they’ve gained on their opponents to their advantage.
“I don’t think the fact we’ve built up some positive relationships with the Newcastle lads will make any difference.
“We know their games, we know their weaknesses and I know for a fact all the lads will be trying to exploit them on the oche come Wednesday night.
“We were close in the home leg, it was just our doubling that let us down. Friendships will be pushed to one side during the match and I’m confident we can come away with a victory.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle ace Luke Bradley is confident that the pressure on Sunderland’s shoulders will prove too much, although he acknowledges his side will need to be at their best to seal the all-important two points.
“Sunderland are a great side and Sean (McCormick) played outstandingly in the singles event at nationals making the quarter finals so I’m hoping he won’t reproduce that form,” said Bradley.
“However, the scoreline against our seconds flattered them slightly and we will be looking to get revenge on behalf of our second team.”
The Newcastle man added: “I believe a win should seal our place in finals day, but I also believe we could still recover if we were to lose, with a big week of fixtures ahead of us.
“I believe it’s a bigger game for Sunderland as if they lose, they will near enough be out of contention for finals day. I’m hoping this will play on their minds and the nerves kick in come those key doubles.
“This will be our first fixture since becoming National Champions, so we will still be on a high from that and hopefully the momentum will carry on despite the Easter break. We also have Jack (Almond) returning to the side too which can only improve our team.”
Sunderland take on Newcastle 1sts at the Newcastle University Student Union bar tonight, with bull-off at 7.30pm.
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