Thibault Tricole, the first French player to make it to a World Championship
Thibault Tricole, the first ever French player to make it to the World Championships
Thibault Tricole was first ever French player to play in the BDO World Championship. He qualified by being the highest ranked player on the Western European ranking which hadn’t qualified yet by being in the top 27 at the cut-off date. For me this was a reason to have a look into his career and interview him about his own life and career and the status of darts in France.
Tricole won in 2019 the Greek Open and the Torremolinos Open. In Greece he had beaten Sebastian Steyer 6-2 in the final after being a runner-up at the Acropolis Open the day before. He won the Torremolins Open by beating Kay Smeets in the final. Thibault also made it to the finals of the Belfry Open in Bruges where he was beaten by Brian Raman 3-2 in sets after a deciding leg in the final set. Thibault Tricole have played nine times in the World Masters. His best result is reaching the last 32 in 2019. He also gave Q-School a try in 2019, something he will do again in 2020. Hopefully for him he will do better in 2020, because in 2019 he only got 6 points, while 10 points were needed to win a PDC tour card.
Who are you?
‘’I am Thibault Tricole for a living I am a landscape architect. But I have to confess it is hard to combine my work with playing darts. The last couple of months I have worked only a little. I am born in Auray in Bretagne in the west of France. I lived during my childhood in Pluvigner where started playing darts. At the moment, I live in Malguénac in the middle of Bretagne. I have a girlfriend, Marie, and two children. She owns the bar ‘le Ty Lou’ where I play darts in Malguénac.’’
When and how did you start playing darts?
‘’I’ve started playing darts when I was 13 years, because I want to be like my father who played only for a year back then. He introduced me into darts. I’ve started playing darts at bar du Stade in Pluvigner amongst Bob. That is a familiar club in French darts.’’
Which darts do you use?
‘’I use 23 gram Harrows Atlantis. Unfortunately, they don’t exist anymore in the market. So I hope they don’t get broken during the World Championships.’’
What are your best achievement(s) so far?
‘’I would say becoming the first French player in history to qualify for the BDO World Championship. However, I also reached the quarter finals at the WDF Europe Cup in the Nederlands in 2016 and the last 16 at the WDF World Cup 2019.’’
Who are the top 5 players from France (either man, woman, youth, may of course be players of the past as well)? And why?
‘’I would say: Cyril Blot, Jacques Labre, Carole Frison, Jean-Luc Leclerq and Glenn Brooksbank. Because the marked darts in France by their domination. I could have mentioned some others, mainly ladies.’’
Some background information about the players mentioned by Tricole:
Cyril Blot won the Mediterranean Cup 2007 beating Stathis Pathelidis from Greece 4-2 in the final, Cyprus Open 2008 beating Roy van Bilderbeek in the final and Italian Open 2009 beating the Italian Marco Apollonio in the final. In 2009 he again made it to the final of the Mediterranean Cup, where he lost 4-3 against Greek John Michael. He also made it to the last 32 of the WDF World Cup singles 2005 and WDF Europe Cup singles 2006. His best result at the World Masters in six appearances dates from 2007, when he reached the last 40.
Jacques Labre won the Mediterranean Cup pairs together with Michael Estevez beating the Romanian Gabriel Pascaru and Adrian Frim 4-2 in the final. Labre represented France at the PDC World Cup 2014 together with Lionel Maranhao, where they lost the first round 5-4 against Mark Webster and Richie Burnett from Wales. Jacques Labre played the World Masters five times with his best result reaching the last 48 in 2017.
Carole Frison has won three BDO-ranking titles. She won the Gibraltar Open 2009 beating Paula Jacklin in the final. She also was the best player at the Italian Open 2009 beating Elisa Brunetti in the final. She also took the trophy at the Austria Open Vienna 2009 beating Zsofia Lazar-Kontos. She played four times at the World Masters. At the WDF World Cup singles 2014 she made it to the quarter finals eventually losing against Lorraine Winstanley.
The results of Jean-Luc Leclerq go way back. Therefore it is hard to get much information about him. He won the French Open back-to-back in 1987 and 1988 beating Raymond van Barneveld and Paul Reynolds respectively. Dave Askew prevented Jean-Luc Leclerq from making it three in a row at the French Open final 1989. His best result at the WDF Europe Cup dates from 2002, when he reached the last 32.
Glenn Brooksbank made it to the semi final of the News of the World 1985 and reached the last 16 of the World Masters 1999 where he lost against Denis Ovens. His best result at the WDF Europe Cup was reaching the last 32 in 2004, while he booked the best result at the WDF World Cup in 2001 when he reached the last 64.
For many readers the News of the World is of course a concept, but for the younger readers, including myself, I will give some information about this once held major tournament. The News of the World Championship was one of the first major organised darts competitions, which began in 1927. In 1947 it became England’s first international darts competition, becoming gradually international until its demise in 1990. It has long been regarded as ’the tournament every player wants to win’ and might be seen as the first world championship of darts with players from different countries. Players like Bobby George, John Lowe, Eric Bristow, Mike Gregory and Dave Whitcombe have won the event. The Swede Stefan Lord won it twice being the only winner from outside Great-Britain. With Rick Ney from the USA being the only finalist outside Europe.
For more information about the Mediterranean Cup I would refer to the information offered in my post about the Romanian Gabriel Pascaru or feel free to contact me if you want to know more about that event.
What is your favourite tournament and why?
‘’I love the Dutch Open, however I only went there in 2017. It was unbelievable to see so many players at one location. The atmosphere was tremendous as well and it was well organised.’’
What is your goal for 2020 and the further future?
‘’My goal is to stay in the top 20 of the BDO if I don’t succeed qualifying for the PDC during the upcoming Q-School.’’
How often do you practise? How do you practise?
‘’This year I practised very litte, because I played almost every weekend a tournament. The tournaments are the best way to practise. I think I practise more or less one hour a week. I play games on my own, because I have nobody to practise with.’’
What is your favourite moment in the history of French darts?
‘’My favourite moment is very personally. I would say the Coupe de France 2015 in Pluvigner and the Coupe de France 2018 in Malguénac. Those are the two national events I have organised. The Coupe de France is the biggest tournament in France with some 500 players each year. I wanted to organise that tournament and was inspired by what I had seen across the border. I gave it a personal touch by organising some concerts and spectacles as well throughout the weekend like a festival. Besides from being a darts player I also want to help develop the game of darts in France. I love organising events.’’
‘’I would add playing for the national team and being commentator during the PDC World Cup 2019. It was the first time a darts event was available in France on a free channel. Unfortunately, since then there hasn’t been any event broadcasted in France.’’
Have you ever hit a 9-dart leg? If so when and against who?
‘’No, I never hit a 9-dart leg. By the way when I practise I play 501 very seldom. I play games where I need more focus.’’
What are your good and bad sides within darts?
‘’My good sides: I never give up. I am very steady. My bad sides: I am a bad loser, but I am trying to cope better with defeat. I am still a little bit too nervous at the big tournaments and I need to improve my high checkouts.’’
What do you think about darts in France?
‘’The number of players in France is increasing the last couple of years after it tumbled around 2000. We have now an equal number of players as we had in 2000. It is very little for a country like France. Softtip is slightly more popular in France. I have hope that one day France will be like Germany or even the Netherlands. Of course it depends on the results by Frenceh players. At the moment the French media isn’t interested in darts. There are four major national tournaments in France: the National Open, the Federal Open, de Coupe de France and the National Masters. Besides those you have the French Open, which is an international tournament.’’
Thanks Thibault Tricole for taking the time to answer the questions.