It's rare that a night out in Wan Chai puts you on the path to playing in a World Cup. But this is what happened to Scott Mackenzie who, with Royden Lam Ting-chi, found himself in the heat of the action in the World Cup of Darts in Frankfurt, Germany, last weekend. Few Hong Kong teams find their way to the peak of their sport, but Mackenzie and Lam not only reached it, but almost climbed to the top, bowing out in the quarter-finals to Scotland. Mackenzie might not be the well-honed athlete who pumps iron in the gym and sweats it out on the field, but he is no less committed, spending hours training and perfecting his aim For those who think darts is nothing more than a recreation one indulges in during a pub crawl, then think again. Mackenzie might not be the well-honed athlete who pumps iron in the gym and sweats it out on the field, but he is no less committed, spending hours training and perfecting his aim. He is the first to agree that at a social level the game is for pub-crawlers on a boozy night out with their mates. "Darts was born in a pub," he says. "A lot of bars have dartboards and it doesn't take up much room and it's a fun game to play with friends. "But there is a professional side to it and it is classed as a sport. Most non-physical sports such as shooting, snooker, archery, bowling, golf and so on are already either in the Olympics or Asian Games. They all have a recreational and a professional side which requires a lot of skill. It is the same with darts." You can't fault his reasoning, not when Mackenzie spends two to three hours a day practising. Like most Hong Kong athletes, he cannot find the time to train more - he works as an editor with a financial publication. Despite his restrictions - a professional dart player puts in close to eight hours of practice a day - Mackenzie found himself in the quarter-finals of the World Cup last week. It wasn't the first time he and Lam were in this position, having also qualified last year for the World Cup, but they were bundled out by Australia in the second round after beating Norway. They went one step further this time, reaching the quarter-finals after two monumental wins over Wales and Ireland in the 32-country World Cup. Unfortunately for Mackenzie, and Hong Kong, he suffered a bout of "dartitis" - similar to the yips when putting in golf - in the quarter-finals against Scotland. "I couldn't throw my darts properly and I was very annoyed with myself as Royden was playing well and I feel I let him down," Mackenzie said. "It is difficult to explain to anyone who hasn't been through something like the yips, but it was frustrating as I believed we could have gone all the way to the final." The most famous case of dartitis was former world champion Eric Bristow, who retired from the sport after failing to beat the shakes. Mackenzie, however, vows to come back even stronger. For most Hong Kong athletes, reaching a World Cup is a feat in itself. But Mackenzie, who arrived in Hong Kong in 1996, has already achieved that goal twice. Now he wants more. Mackenzie and Lam are the two highest-ranked Professional Darts Corporation players in Hong Kong, earning them an invite to the World Cup. The PDC runs a big-bucks league with millions of pounds in prize money up for grabs. England's Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis, who won the World Cup, are ranked two and four respectively on the PDC Order of Merit and have between them pocketed over a million pounds this season. Mackenzie and Lam took part in the PDC league in the UK but gave it up this year because of the expense of flying almost weekly to tournaments. But now there are plans to bring the PDC to Hong Kong later this year. This will be a huge shot in the arm for darts as the presence of some of the world's top players will always attract plenty of fans. Hong Kong has a vibrant darts community which plays in a number of leagues run by the Hong Kong Darts Association. And the deeds of Mackenzie and Lam will go a long way to boost the sport here, which according to a survey carried out by a UK television company is the second most-watched sport in the UK behind soccer. Mackenzie picked up the sport as a 10-year-old, and then gave it up in university because it was "not so cool". But thanks to a night out in the Wanch, Hong Kong has a potential world champion in its midst.