John ready to play his part

John Part is determined it will be he – and not rookie sensation Kirk Shepherd - who will make history in tonight’s Ladbrokes.com PDC World Championship final at Alexandra Palace.

John Part is determined it will be he – and not rookie sensation Kirk Shepherd - who will make history in tonight’s Ladbrokes.com PDC World Championship final at Alexandra Palace.

Qualifier Shepherd, 21, has been the talk of the tournament and stands on the brink of becoming the sport’s youngest world champion.

But victory for 41-year-old Part will see the Canadian join an elite group to have won either version of the world title more than twice.

Only 13-time champion Phil Taylor, Eric Bristow (five) and John Lowe (three) have completed the feat.

Having seen off the form players of the week – James Wade and Kevin Painter - in his last two matches Part is the strong favourite.

“Just to be in the final is fantastic, and to be in position to close out another title is really exciting,” said Part, who won the BDO crown in 1994 before edging Taylor in a classic PDC final in 2003.

Shepherd, a sheet metal worker from Kent, insists even if he is beaten tonight he is already a winner.

A 500-1 outsider at the start of the tournament, qualifier Shepherd has shocked five seeds on his debut, the latest being Phil Taylor’s conqueror Wayne Mardle in Sunday night’s semi-final.

“I know I’m in the Grand Slam of Darts and hopefully I have pushed into the top 32 of the world,” said Shepherd, who gets £50,000 for reaching the final and double that for winning it.

“The £50,000 means a lot to me and it could change my life for the better.

“I knew if I played the darts I could I would go far but I never dreamed of reaching the World Championship final.

“I really do think I can win this now. I won’t fear John – he has got to beat me.”

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