BEN Ward is confident that by the end of the year his game will be at a level which allows him to mix it up with the world’s best darts players on a regular basis.

The Dorchester arrowsman has already had a taste of taking on the sport’s top dogs, though he is still very much finding his feet in his first year on the PDC’s Pro Tour.

Ward lost to Brendan Dolan in the second round of the Austrian Darts Open last Saturday, but he has a chance to redeem himself at the Gibraltar Darts Trophy, which starts tomorrow.

A shot at the likes of Phil Taylor or Michael van Gerwen could come Ward’s way if he can find his A-game at the Victoria Stadium.

And while he would take that challenge head on, the 25-year-old reckons he should be able to compete with the bigger names more frequently as 2015 hoves into view.

When asked how long it is going to be before he can go toe-to-toe with the elite, he said: “I would give it until the end of the year.

“For me, it’s all about holding my nerve and getting used to the atmosphere at tournaments – as long as I can do that I will be fine.

“I’m going to get used to it whatever happens, I just don’t know when that will be.

“It’s no different to when I started playing county darts, I was a nervous wreck then but soon got used to it.

“When you then start beating people others begin to take notice.”

Ward’s qualification for the event in Gibraltar means he is guaranteed of collecting at least £1,000 and taking another step in his bid towards reaching the World Championships in December.