For many sport fans, Christmas is not only a time of giving, a time for family and friends, it is also a time for some of the best action of the year.

The football schedule is overflowing with top fixtures but, when it comes to the atmosphere and sparkle of festive sport, there is no better place to be than the PDC World Darts Championship at the Ally Pally (Alexandra Palace).

And this year, Exmouth will be represented in the showpiece event by one of our own, as Owen Bates has qualified for the tournament in dramatic fashion.

The 20 year-old reached the Ally Pally by finishing second on the PDC Challenger Tour Order of Merit, fighting back from 4-1 down to defeat Mark Warburton 5-4 and confirm his Christmas trip to the Mecca of Darts.

As well as place in the World Championships, the fantastic form of Bates has earned him a two-year tour card and a very proud achievement for the Country House Pub in Exmouth, where this new star of the arrows honed his skills.

“Words can’t describe how thankful I am to everyone around me and all the people who have messaged me and showed me support over the last year,” he posted last month.

“Absolutely over the moon to say I’ve secured a two-year PDC tour card along with a place at the PDC World Championships. Ally Pally.”

The World Championships begin on December 15 and run until January 3, with the current reigning champion Michael Smith looking to defend his crown against global stars like Michael Van Gerwen, Peter Wright, Gary Anderson, Gerwyn Price and now, Owen Bates from Exmouth.

As well as his magnificent sporting achievement, Bates has attracted national attention over the pas couple of weeks for his rude nickname, which he has been banned from using on his Ally Pally debut.

Formerly known as ‘The Master’, Owen has appealed to fans on social media for new nickname suggestions, with his unusual quandary prompting much amusement on the talkSPORT radio station and across the national media.

Whatever the nickname, it will be fantastic to see Owen sharpen his skills at the Ally Pally and hopefully the first of many visits to the biggest stage in darts.