Bamba – Jaikob Selby-Rivas
Unlike the first few player profiles I’ve written (with the exception of Jack Males), I’ve seen first-hand what Jaikob can do at the oche. I first saw him play darts back in 2018, when our respective youth county teams clashed in the opening weekend of the new season. In what I later found out to be his debut for Leicestershire Youth, he dismantled our player to claim a 3-0 win, averaging over 90 on his way to the whitewash victory.
Starting out his darting career at the age of 12, Jaikob was inspired to play after watching Phil Taylor on TV, subsequently asking his dad whether he could play in the old dartboard they had in the garage. The neglected board was swiftly moved to Jaikob’s room, where he could begin to hone in on his abilities, epperfecting his throw and style from the comfort of his home. “I spent hours in my bedroom playing darts”, he informed me, “while most kids were playing on their PlayStation’s!”. This commitment at such a young age is, for Jaikob, a key contributing factor to his success, and shows again that hard work really does pay off.
The pay-off in question came when he won the Central England Darts League on his debut, rising above proven champions, such as 2019 PDC Players Championship 16 winner Harry Ward, and 2014 PDC Challenge Tour 10 winner Jay Foreman, to claim his maiden victory. For Jaikob, “it really helped [him] to establish [himself] locally”, and that by winning the title, it allowed him to “get [his] name out there”, as he sought to establish himself as one of the top players in the area.
His most defining moment, he told me, was facing off against 16 times World Champion, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor in an exhibition match in Derby, back in November 2019. While the match didn’t go to plan, for Jaikob, the experience and confidence proved invaluable to him. “Despite losing 4-2 to ‘The Power’, I realised I could hold my own against my childhood idol, hitting a 144 checkout to break the throw against him”. The whole experience, to Jaikob, felt surreal, stating “I couldn’t believe that I had gotten to the point of playing Phil in front of hundreds of people”, and that “it gave me the hunger for more and to kick on even further”.
So what’s next for the 2 times PDC Development Tour quarter-finalist? In the short-term, he aims to “continue to improve, getting better all the time”, in order to push for a “few finals [on the] PDC Development Tour”, and eventually to go “a few steps further than this year in the PDC World Youth Championships”, as he looks to improve on his L16 placing this year, where he defeated Josh McCarthy, Ben Cheeseman and Man Lok Leung, before falling to a 6-2 defeat at the hands of eventual finalist Joe Davis. In the long term, Jaikob aims to secure a PDC Tour Card, in order to compete with the very best in the world, and “cement [his] position as a top professional in the fantastic sport of darts!
Up la Bamba!”
Thank you to Jaikob for taking the time to answer my questions – best of luck in the current CEDL season! I, for one, can’t wait to see what’s next for ‘Bamba’, as he looks to assert his dominance further afield – the PDC awaits!
Author – Joe Reid