A DARTER from Middlewich recorded one of the best successes of his career last weekend.

Simon Preston celebrated a victory on the opening day of the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) Unicorn Challenge Tour in Wigan, collecting a £2,000 first prize.

He defeated promising teenager Jarred Cole (5-2) in the final.

The first of five gruelling dates in the calendar, with four knockout tournaments split across two days, took place at Wigan’s Robin Park Tennis Centre.

And the Cheshire regular threated to follow his maiden success with another when he made it to the quarter-finals of the second competition later on Saturday.

Preston also reached the last 32 on Sunday, and occupies top spot in the Order of Merit – a rankings table based on money earned at Challenge Tour events – as a result.

His winning run started with a 5-2 victory against Stuart Kellett, a teammate at Rudheath in the Cheshire Men’s Super League, before he edged out Cameron Menzies in a deciding leg.

Andy Boulton and Michael Gillet were then dispatched (both 5-3) before Preston ended the involvement of Brett Claydon (5-2) and then Martin Bradbury (5-0).

He reached the final by seeing off young Dutchman Berry van Peer (5-3).

It is a boost for the 49-year-old, who narrowly missed out on retaining a card to play on the PDC’s ProTour after attending Qualifying School at the same venue the previous week.

He graduated for the first time in 2016.