RITCHIE DAVIES found the right code to get all the way to the BDO World Darts Championship final.
But he could not formulate the rota software to give him the Monday off work.
And so the very next day after the biggest match of his life, the star was back at his desk for his job as a computer programmer.
Welshman Davies made his darts breakthrough aged 21 when he reached the last 16 of the Winmau World Masters way back in 1992.
But it was 11 years later that he enjoyed his stunning BDO run at Surrey's Lakeside.
'Lamb Chop' knocked out Albertino Essers in round one of the 2003 tournament then dumped former world champion John Walton out.
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He triumphed over reigning champion Tony David in round three and saw off Gary Anderson 5-2 in the semis.
But Davies came unstuck against Raymond van Barneveld in the final, going down 6-3.
The Abercwmboi-born star collected a £25,000 cheque for his efforts in Surrey – but within 12 hours he was turning up for his shift at the Harman Becker factory 150 miles west in Bridgend, South Wales.
As a result, he missed the full celebrations at Lakeside to ensure he wasn't late to the office.
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Speaking ahead of the final in 2003, Davies said: "There's a banquet after the final on Sunday, but I won't be able to stay around too long even if I win the title.
"I daren't turn up late for work.
"I've had a lot of time off work over the last couple of weeks and they've been very good to me ahead of the world championship."
Lo and behold, Davies returned to his job on the Monday morning to a standing ovation from his colleagues.
And it was his commitment to his professional career that ultimately won out – despite the fairytale run to the BDO final.
Davies completed a computing diploma at the Open University followed by a BSc honours degree in IT.
So 'Lamb Chop' cut his ties from darts in 2005 as he retired amid increasing commitments and pressure at work.
He added before his 2003 BDO highlight: "I haven't been out of college since I was 18 – and I don't want to chuck all that hard work away.
"I've always had the type of job where things are changing and I've had to keep up with the latest technology.
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"I've always gone on different courses and learned new subjects, but it's often been difficult to juggle with my darts and work commitments.
"I don't get round like the professional players because I can't let the game encroach on my job. But a lot of the top tournaments are UK-based, so I can pick up enough ranking points to qualify for the BDO World Champs.''
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