Unibet Home Tour: Footballers Special. This Sunday!

James Maddison, Declan Rice, Charlie Austin and Paul Gallagher are set to star in a special footballers edition of ‘Darts At Home’ this Sunday to raise money for the NHS.

‘Darts At Home: Footballers Special’ will be played from 1400 BST on Sunday May 10 as four household name footballers swap their boots for arrows.

Broadcast live on the PDC’s YouTube channel, fans will be able to donate vital funds to NHS Charities Together throughout the event – CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO NHS CHARITIES TOGETHER.

The competition is based on the PDC’s popular ‘Darts At Home’ concept, which has seen PDC players around the world playing each other remotely via a live video broadcast.

Sunday will see four of the PDC’s most high profile fans from the football world take a rest from training as they battle it out to be crowned English football’s top darts player.

England internationals Maddison and Rice, of Leicester City and West Ham United respectively, will go head-to-head in a highly-anticipated opening game of the tournament.

West Bromwich Albion striker Austin and Preston North End’s former Scotland midfielder Gallagher will then look to prove their prowess on the oche in their first games of the afternoon.

All the action will be broadcast live on the PDC’s YouTube channel, with darts commentator Dan Dawson on hand to run through proceedings, along with live on-screen graphics to enhance the viewing experience.

The tournament will be played in a league format, with all competitors playing each other once over a best-of-three format, and all players beginning each leg on 301 and ending on a double or bullseye.

Darts At Home: Footballers Special Fixtures
Sunday May 10

James Maddison v Declan Rice
Paul Gallagher v Charlie Austin
Declan Rice v Charlie Austin
James Maddison v Paul Gallagher
Paul Gallagher v Declan Rice
Charlie Austin v James Maddison

Tournament Rules
* All matches are the best of three legs.
* The player listed on the left of the fixture will throw first in odd-numbered legs.
* Two Points awarded for a win.
* Should players finish level on Points, the Leg Difference will be used to decide positions. Should Points and Leg Difference be equal between two players, then the winner of the game between the two players will determine who finishes higher. Should Points and Leg Difference be equal between three players, the Overall Average of each player (across the three games on the night) will be used to determine who finishes higher.

​ENDS

Wright Picks Up Hatrick at PDC Awards. MVG Named Player of the Year

Michael van Gerwen has been named PDC Player of the Year for a fifth consecutive year after the PDC Awards for 2019 were presented on Thursday.

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN: PDC PLAYER OF THE YEAR for 2019.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG

World number one Van Gerwen enjoyed another year of glittering success in 2019, picking up 14 titles including a fourth successive Premier League crown.

The Dutchman also retained his World Grand Prix and Masters titles, along with other televised triumphs at the Champions League of Darts, World Series of Darts Finals, Melbourne Darts Masters and NZ Darts Masters.

Van Gerwen, who celebrated his 30th birthday in 2019, also won the ProTour player of the year award in recognition of his consistency throughout the year away from the TV cameras.

Newly-crowned World Champion Peter Wright scooped a hat-trick of awards, including Televised Performance of the Year for his stunning victory over Van Gerwen to win the World Championship Final.

The popular Scot has also been recognised by fans and fellow-players alike for his achievements by winning the Fans’ Player of the Year and PDPA Players’ Player of the Year awards.

GLEN DURRANT-NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR for 2019.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG

The Best Newcomer Award went to Glen Durrant, whose stellar first year in the PDC saw him reach the semi-finals of three televised events, including a memorable week in Blackpool at the World Matchplay.

Luke Humprhies was awarded Young Player of the Year after becoming World Youth Champion for the first time and reaching the World Championship Quarter-Finals for a second successive year.

Players who achieved a perfect leg in PDC tournaments during 2019 were recognised with places in the PDC Nine-Dart Club, with Van Gerwen’s televised perfect leg at the Players Championship Finals earning him a commemorative gold pin badge.

Silver pin badges are awarded to recognise the record-breaking 46 perfect legs hit away from the TV cameras on the PDC circuit last year.

2019 PDC Award Winners

Player of the Year
Winner:
Michael van Gerwen
Nominated: Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price, Rob Cross

PDC ANNUAL AWARDS 2019 PETER WRIGHT-PDC FANS PLAYER OF THE YEAR,PDPA PLAYER OF THE YEAR,TV PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Fans’ Player of the Year
Winner: Peter Wright
Runner-up: Gerwyn Price

PDPA Players’ Player of the Year
Winner: 
Peter Wright
Runner-up: Gerwyn Price, Nathan Aspinall (joint-second)

Televised Performance of the Year
Winner: Peter Wright (World Championship Final v Michael van Gerwen)
Nominated: Gerwyn Price (Grand Slam of Darts Final v Peter Wright), Michael van Gerwen (World Grand Prix Final v Dave Chisnall), Glen Durrant (World Matchplay Last 16 v Michael van Gerwen)

Best Newcomer
Winner:
Glen Durrant
Nominated:Jamie Hughes, Darius Labanauskas, Jose De Sousa

Pro Tour Player of the Year
Winner: Michael van Gerwen
Nominated:Ian White, Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright

Young Player of the Year
Winner: Luke Humphries
Nominated: Ted Evetts, Jeffrey de Zwaan, Max Hopp

PDC Nine-Dart Club
Gold Pins: 
Michael van Gerwen
Silver Pins: Dave Chisnall (x3), Geert Nentjes (x3), Michael van Gerwen (x3), Gerwyn Price (x2), Ritchie Edhouse (x2), Ted Evetts (x2), Peter Jacques, Chris Dobey, Ricky Evans, Scott Baker, Danny Noppert, Brian Raman, James Wade, Mark McGeeney, Harry Ward, Callan Rydz, Steve Beaton, Geert De Vos, Michael Rasztovits, Robert Thornton, Madars Razma, Lourence Ilagan, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Andy Jenkins, Kyle Anderson, Boris Koltsov, Simon Preston, John Henderson, Matt Clark, Jose De Sousa, Jeffrey de Zwaan, Rob Cross, Ian White, Cody Harris, Mensur Suljovic James Beeton, Keane Barry.


Winmau Scottish Open 2020 – Details.

The 2020 Winmau Scottish Open will take place at the Normandy Cosmopolitan Hotel, Inchinnan Road, Renfrew from Friday 14th February to Sunday 16th February 2020.

BDO Invitation Table Category A event for the men / BDO Category B event for the Ladies.

The Scottish Open has a long and venerable history!

The Scottish Darts Association are inviting players to enter the annual Scottish darts-fest that is the Scottish Open.  This is one of the hardest open tournaments to win as illustrated by the events history showing only two players that have ever won the men’s title twice, Robbie Green, in 2011 and 2014 and the defending champion Wesley Harms who previously won in 2013.

Cameron Menzies won the 2017 Scottish Open.
Pic: BDO

Will there be another Scottish winner to follow in the footsteps of Peter Johnstone (1998), Mike Veitch (2004), Gary Anderson (2007) and Cameron Menzies (2017)

Current Sponsor of the Scottish Open.
Winmau.

The Scottish Open was first contested in 1983, held on the same weekend as the World Cup in Edinburgh and was won by 23 year old Australian star Russell Stewart who defeated his fellow Australian Terry O’Dea in the final.  The ladies title went to Pat Connaughton from England who defeated Welsh ladies team captain Sandra Lee in the final.

The tournament was then moth-balled for twelve years and revived in 1995 when England’s Chris Mason took the title along with ladies singles champion Deta Hedman, who currently leads the way in the Ladies Open with five titles.

Others to watch out for include Anastasia Dobromyslova with four wins and Lorraine Winstanley with three titles.  Ann Kirk has been Scotland’s sole victor in the Ladies event winning twice in1996 and 1999.

FALLON SHERROCK Pic: Christopher Dean / Scantech Media

Fallon Sherrock has been in four out of the last five ladies finals and would love to finally take the title.

This year’s event will kick off on the Friday night with the traditional ice-breaker tournament, the Mixed Triples, followed by two sessions of Singles play on the Saturday and finishing on the Sunday with the Open Doubles competitions.

The Mens winner will take away £3000 while the Ladies champion wins £1000 and of course valuable ranking points can be accrued to take into the Ranking Tables.

The current champions are Wesley Harms from the Netherlands and England’s Lisa Ashton.  Winning duo in the mens pairs were Dogo Portela & Cody Harris while the ladies champions were Deta Hedman and Beau Greaves.

The Friday night triples competition was won by Allan Edwards, Claire Stainsby and Barry Davies.

Visit the SDA Website (sdaentry.com) to enter on line or download the tournament flyer to check full entry details and check out the accommodation offers from the venue.  Entry fee will be £16 for the Mens Open Singles and £13 for the Ladies Open Singles.


The Scottish Darts Association

Romanian Darts Festival Details.

The 5TH edition of the ROMANIAN DARTS FESTIVAL, 2020 will take place between January 24th and January 26th, at the Intercontinental Hotel 5* in Bucharest. The events will award over 18,000 euro in prize money.

Pic LAWRENCE LUSTIG
Former Romanian Classic Winner Jamie Hughes.

Two WDF SILVER ranking tournaments will be played at the Romanian Darts Festival!

RIDO 2020 – Romanian International Darts Open RCDO 2020 and RCDO 2020 – Romanian Classic Darts Open will be the first two WDF SILVER men and ladies events in Europe of the 2020 WDF season and also two of the most important events for WDF East Europe region.

The first event of the weekend is RIDO PAIRS Tournament that starts Friday 24th January at 17:00Saturday 25th January is time for RCDO and Sunday 26Th January the biggest event RIDO (Men winner will win a prize of 2500 Euro and Ladies winner 500 Euro). To sum it up, the weekend will see two singles men events, two singles ladies events, one men pairs tournament and one ladies pairs tournament.

For registration and players information visit www.federatiedarts.ro . Please note that there are two different registration sections, one for each event.

Last day for registration is Wednesday 22nd January 2020! The organizers recommend you to pay the entry fees by PayPal or bank transfer. A last minute cash payment will be available at the venue but will cost every player an extra 5 euro/ tournament.
A great news for all the participants and for the fans from all over the world is that this edition of Romanian Darts Festival will include also the DartConnect system for all the 40 boards! And that the most important matches played on the stage will be on Winmau.tv platform, Sunday from 17:00 (RO time).

Special accommodation prices at Intercontinental Hotel 5* are available: 94 euro/ dbl room and 84 euro/single room with breakfast and internet included. If you want to book a room at special price please send an email to simona.sercan@ihg.com , this is the only way to benefit the offer.
Two chances, one flight, one accommodation and a lot of fun in a 5 star venue that hosted WDF Europe Cup 2014!

See you in Bucharest!

BDO World Championships Preview – The Ladies.

Jacco Krook’s personal view of the BDO World Championship continues with a look at the ladies event. Follow Jacco (http://www.facebook.com/Dartfreak-Jacco-112347950269442) for more insights and interesting interviews.

Lisa Ashton will be looking to reclaim her crown.
Pic : BDO

FAVOURITES
Many people would say the champion of the ladies event will be Mikuru Suzuki and Lisa Ashton. In my opinion they are indeed the favourites after Fallon Sherrock had chosen to withdraw. Few people knew Mikuru before her qualifying for last years BDO World Championship and probably even fewer people expected her to win the first round match after she had drawn Lisa Ashton. Well, the rest is history. Lisa Ashton is a four times BDO World Champion and certainly knows what it takes to take the title and wants revenge for sure. 

OUTSIDERS
Deta Hedman is one of the most experienced and constant players in the ladies competition. However she hasn’t won the BDO World Championship yet despite playing three finals. Perhaps the change of location will help Hedman winning the title a player like she has to win at least once.

Never underestimate Anastasia her experiance could be telling this year.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG ROUND ANASTASIA DOBROMYSLOVA IN ACTION

Anastasia Dobromyslova is a three times BDO World Champion. She however won her last world title back in 2013. Of course she had played fewer tournaments for some time after becoming mother. However she still made it to five finals in 2019, including the World Masters.  The Russian star is always a player to reckon with. 

Lorraine Winstanley is one of the players who is in the top of the ladies competition for several years now. She started 2019 with a second place at the BDO World Championship. Since then 2019 wasn’t her best year, but who knows what she might bring on the big stage. 

Aileen de Graaf is also one of the players who is in the top of the ladies competition for some years. Aileen won the Finder Masters twice and also the World Masters 2015 and World Trophy 2017. So she know what it takes to win a big event, however at the World Championship her best result is reaching the semi final in 2016 and 2017.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Laura Turner has had a great 2019. Laura won the Isle of Man Open and reached the quarter finals of the World Trophy after making also her BDO World Championship. She however has a tough first round match against Deta Hedman, but if she can beat The Heart of Darts Laura certainly has a chance of going far.

The massively talented Beau Greaves could pose a threat.
PIC: EDO

Beau Greaves is known as a very talented player for some years now. In 2019 she played several events between the ladies despite being only 16 years old. Beau showed her class winning the Welsh Classic, Welsh Open, England National Championships and England Open which made her the number 6 seed. 

INTERESTING FIRST ROUND MATCHES:


Aileen de Graaf meets in Kirsty Hutchinson a player who developed enormously in 2019. In first instance Kirsty just came short of qualifying, because she ended just outside of the top 14. At the qualifiers she showed she deserves to be in the world championship and she made also clear that the field of the ladies world championship might be extended because there are more and more players breaking through. Aileen is of course the favourite in this match, but if Aileen doesn’t turn up Kirsty might certainly take her chances.

Deta Headman is vastly experienced and would be a hugely popular winner.

Deta Hedman against Laura Turner sounds very interesting to me. Deta is a player who certainly deserves to win a world title, but until now it haven’t happened for her. This year Deta has a tough first opponent in Laura, who have had a great 2019 and if Deta isn’t in top form Laura is certainly capable of beating Deta.

Mikuru Suzuki will be regarded as one of the favourites in the upcoming World Championship. However her first opponent Maria O’Brien is a very tough opponent, who is hard to beat and have made some upsets on the big stage in recent years. So if Mikuru can’t cope with the pressure she might feel as defending world champion and which Maria might put on her this could become a very interesting match.

A wide open event, with an ever improving standard and depth of field. This could be the best ladies event seen on TV.

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG MIKURU SUZUKI

BDO Worlds – Games of Unusual Interest!

Jacco Krook looks at a handful of games with more than the usual level of interest in them:

Exclusive Scott Mitchell interview.
Scott Mitchell, the 2015 BDO World Champion,. Is involved in one of the early matches that have got people talking this year. Photo: BDO

INTERESTING FIRST ROUND MATCHES:
Mario Vandenbogaerde and Sebastian Steyer will kick off the BDO World Championship. A match between two players to watch. Sebastian has made it to the semi finals of the World Trophy, while Mario was a semi finalist of the World Masters. Need I say more? (Mario emerged the victor from this one this afternoon!)

Number 8 seed Willem Mandigers from the Netherlands will meet Michael Unterbuchner from Germany. Last year they delivered a great match in the quarter finals, which Michael won 5-4. If they get close to their quarter final match of last year we will have a decent game on our hands.

Scott Waites against Martin Adams, the only players to win multiple world titles in the men’s event have drawn each other in the first round. A two times world champion against a three times world champion after a very interesting match in the ladies event. Is there a better way to spend the Monday evening?

A fairytale waiting to happen? Leighton Bennett will take to the senior stage aged 14!

Former BDO World Champion Scott Mitchell will play Leighton Bennett, one of the revelations of 2019. The 13-year old Leighton has had a tremendous year, but can he beat the experienced and popular Scott Mitchell?

BDO World Championship Preview – Mens Event.

Our friend & colleague Jacco Krook (http://www.facebook.com/Dartfreak-Jacco-112347950269442) has put together his preview of the World Championships from a continental perspective. There are some excellent suggestions for interesting game and much more information regarding mainland European players than is usual in these reviews. We hope you enjoy it.

Can Jim Williams fulfil his potential and claim The World title?
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG JIM WILLIAMS IN ACTION

FAVOURITES
Wesley Harms, Jim Williams and Richard Veenstra are three players changing the top spots of the rankings for a year or so, so I think it is obvious those three are the favourites. 

Wesley won the England Classic, England National Championships, British Open and Scottish Open amongst other so has certainly showed he is a player able to win the upcoming World Championship. Sparky however didn’t really shine on the big stage in 2019 with a quarter final at the World Trophy, last 16 in the BDO World Championship and ending fourth in the group stage of the Grand Slam of Darts

Jim seems not to have the top form he had in 2018 if we look at tournament wins. The Welshman however made it to the semi finals after losing against Glen Durrant and with the BDO World Trophy 2019 under his belt The Quiff is certainly a player able to win the upcoming World Championship.

Richard recovered well from a bad BDO World Championship 2019 by winning the Dutch Open 2019. Probably the hardest open event to win in BDO darts. He also made it to the final of the BDO World Trophy, however losing against Jim Williams. So that might be an interesting semi final if the both reach the semi finals of the upcoming BDO World Championship. Flyers also won the Luxembourg Open and Isle of Man Classic. 

OUTSIDERS
Martijn Kleermaker has had a tremendous 2019 and therefore is certainly a player in the form needed to win a world title. Martijn made it to the semi finals of the WDF World Cup singles 2019 and won the Welsh Open, Luxembourg Open and had a successful weekend in his home country winning both the West-Fries Open and West-Fries Masters. Martijn however has relatively little experience on the big stage playing the Finder Darts Masters only twice and losing his last 16 match at the BDO World Trophy 2019, which might be a disadvantage but I expect Martijn to be one of the players who might take the chance if the favourites don’t perform their best.

Waites seems to find his best for stage / screen events and should not be rule out.
Pic: Winmau

Scott Waites might be not the top player he has been. Scotty2hotty however is a player who is always dangerous on the big stage as he showed in 2019 making the final of the BDO World Championship for the third time in history after being crowned BDO World Champion in 2013 and 2016. Since his last world title he did it each year a little better with respectively a quarter final, semi final and runner-up spot so if he retains that line he will be the BDO World Champion for the third time in history. He was also the runner-up at the World Masters 2019.

Wayne Warren is in my opinion an often underestimated player, also sometimes by myself. I think that is because he rarely perform great stuff, but other players have to perform on their best to beat him. Because Warren is comparable to players like James Wade someone who does the right stuff at the right moment without playing extraordinarily well. This is also shown by the fact that he is almost always selected for the Welsh national team and made it to the semi finals of the WDF World Cup 2011 and 2013 as well as of the WDF Europe Cup 2010. In 2019 he added the Antwerp Open title to his honors list. 

Nick Kenny was longtime regarded as one of the talented youth players we had to look out for in the future. For example, he won the WDF Europe Cup youth back in 2010 and won two PDC Development Tours in 2014. In 2014 he also reached the last 16 of the World Masters. Since then he seemed to drop from the top of the rankings and it seemed he was one of the many talented players who wouldn’t make it in the world of darts. But he didn’t give up and made it to the semi finals of the World Trophy 2017 and retained climbing up the ranking. 2019 was very successful for the Welsh lad winning the Belgium Open, French Open and Bruges Open as well as the team event of the WDF World Cup. Therefore Kenny is back in the top of the BDO and will be one of the outsiders for the trophy.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Dave Parletti is a dangerous player. He won the Welsh Classic and Romanian Open 2019 and is the number four seed. He also beat William O’Connor at the Grand Slam of Darts 2019, which shows he is a very capable player. At the big stage he further however only reached the last 16 of the World Masters 2018. So he is certainly a good player but seems to need to up his performances on the big stage.

Mario Vandenbogaerde surprised me at the Darts Festival Sevenum 2017. A tournament in the south of the Netherlands with some known players and a huge field of players, however not a ranked event so only little top players. This Belgian player of whom I have never heard of before made it to the final, where he lost an extremely tense final and both players played a great match. I tried to find out who he was and where he came from after quite a lot of time I learned he had been a Belgian top player for years, before he had stopped playing darts for a while and just started playing darts again. The rest is history, because in 2018 Super Mario went playing some BDO-events and won the Luxembourg Masters 2018 and German Open 2019.  In 2019 he also reached the big stages reaching the last 16 of the World Trophy and the semi finals of the World Masters. So this Belgian player is certainly one to watch.

Steyer in Dream land?
Pic: Bulls.nl

Sebastian Steyer of whom an article will be posted very soon guaranteed himself a spot in the first round of the BDO World Championship by being the number 24 of the BDO Invitational Table at the cut-off date. He will be the fourth Polish player to participate in the BDO World Championship after Krzysztof Ratajski, Krzysztof Kciuk and Karolina Podgorska has played on the Lakeside stage. Steyer impressed at the World Trophy 2019, where he reached the semi finals eventually losing against number one seed Richard Veenstra. He also played PDC Q-School last January and came only one point short of winning a PDC Tour Card so he definitely is a player to watch.

Thibault Tricole is one of the players I have interviewed before to offer people some insight in his career and life and the status of darts in France. Thibault qualified by being the highest ranked player on the Western European ranking which hadn’t qualified yet by being in the top 27 at the cut-off date. I really think Thibault could have done even better but wasn’t able to play the whole BDO-tour. The Frenchman however won the Greek Open and Torremolins Open in 2019 and therefore is certainly a player to watch. However he has little experience on the big stage which I assume will be a disadvantage for him, definitely after he acknowledged he has to improve his playing under pressure.

Andreas Harrysson of whom an article will be posted very soon qualified by being the highest player on the Baltic & Scandinavian ranking. Andreas is an experienced player and tough opponent. He however play only little outside of Scandinavia. He has already showed what he is capable of. He reached the WDF World Cup 2019 quarter finals after he already reached the semi finals of the WDF Europe Cup 2016. He also won the Finnish Masters 2018 and made it to the final of the Swedish Open 2018 and semi finals of the Denmark Masters 2019 and Polish Open 2018. 

INTERESTING FIRST ROUND MATCHES
Mario Vandenbogaerde and Sebastian Steyer will kick off the BDO World Championship. A match between two players to watch. Sebastian has made it to the semi finals of the World Trophy, while Mario was a semi finalist of the World Masters. Need I say more?

Number 8 seed Willem Mandigers from the Netherlands will meet Michael Unterbuchner from Germany. Last year they delivered a great match in the quarter finals, which Michael won 5-4. If they only can get close to their quarter final match of last year we have a decent game on our hands.

Scott Waites against Martin Adams, the only players to win multiple world titles in the mens event have drawn each other in the first round. A two times world champion against a three times world champion after a very interesting encounter in the ladies event. Is there a better way to spend the Monday evening?

A fairytale waiting to happen? Leighton Bennett will take to the senior stage aged 14!

Former BDO World Champion Scott Mitchell will play Leighton Bennett, one of the revelations of 2019. The 13-year old Leighton has had a tremendous year, but can he beat the experienced and popular Scott Mitchell?

BDO World Trophy – Draws & Details.

The draw has been published for the BDO World Trophy. This years event will be from 30th August to 1st September at the King George’s Hall in Blackburn.

Womens Isle of Man Open Results 2016
Lisa Ashton will lead the Women’s field.
Pic: BDO

Highlights of the first-round ties draw include top seed Richard Veenstra against Australian, Justin Thompson. Wesley Harms versus Paul Hogan and Dave Parletti, facing in form Dutch ace, Martijn Kleermaker.

In the ladies event, defending champion Fallon Sherrock will face World Champion, Mikuru Suzuki. Lisa Ashton takes on Corrine Hammond. Anastasia Dobromyslova matches up to Sharon Prins. Aileen de Graaf Lorraine Winstanley will both face qualifiers in the first round.

BDO World Trophy 2019

(1) Richard Veenstra v Justin Thompson
(16) Kyle McKinstry v Nick Kenny
(9) Wayne Warren v Qualifier 4
(8) Scott Waites v Daniel Day
(5) Michael Unterbuchner v Roger Janssen
(12) Mario Vandenbogaerde v Brian Lokken
(13) ) Ross Montgomery v Sebastian Steyer
(4) Scott Mitchell by Qualifier 2
(3) Wesley Harms v Paul Hogan
(14) Andy Hamilton v Adam Smith-Neale
(11) Chris Landman v Mark McGrath
(6) Dave Parletti v Martijn Kleermaker
(7) ) Gary Robson v Joe Chaney
(10) Willem Mandigers v Qualifier 3
(15) Derk Telnekes v Qualifier 1
(2) Jim Williams v Wes Newton

Ladies

(1) Lisa Ashton v Corrine Hammond
(8) Trina Gulliver v Casey Gallagher
(5) Fallon Sherrock v Mikuru Suzuki
(4) Aileen de Graaf v Qualifier 1
(3) Deta Hedman v Maria O’Brien
(6) Anastasia Dobromyslova v Sharon Prins
(7) Laura Turner v Paula Jacklin
(2) Lorraine Winstanley v Qualifier 2

Darts Slovak Open - x-bionic® sphere

Darts expands to Slovakia and Czech Republic in 2018

Darts Slovak Open - x-bionic® sphere
Fans and players will be treated to the state-of-the-art x-bionic® sphere as the venue for the inaugural Darts Slovak Open.
Photo: Martina Tomanova

The inaugural Darts Slovak Open will take place from February 23-25 this year, the first ever BDO tournament staged in Slovakia, and registration to both men and women in the senior, pairs and junior draws is still open for players to enter.

Further info is available on the event’s official website dartsslovakopen.sk.

Darts may new to the scene in the Central European nation, but there is certainly a rapidly growing interest in the country as well as neighbouring Czech Republic, which is evident by the vast amount of entries already.

Players from Slovakia, Czech Republic, as well as the UK, Ireland, Austria, Spain and Hungary have put their names down for the tournament in the hope of making history to become the first Darts Slovak Open champions.

It comes after the 2017 Czech Open – one of the BDO’s biggest events – saw over 1000 players register, including the likes of Scott Mitchell, Darryl Fitton, Corrinne Hammond, Trina Gulliver and Tony O’Shea. One of the stories of the 2018 BDO World Championship, German Michael Unterbuchner, even threw the competition’s first-ever nine-darter back in November!

Such is the growth in popularity for darts in the region too, that the 2018 Darts Slovak Open will be held at one of the newest and biggest multifunctional sports complexes in Europe – the x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, which is a short 30 minute drive away from Slovakia’s capital city Bratislava.

Czech Darts Organisation chairman Jan Prikryl (left) and popular commentator from the region Pavel Korda (right) pose with the all-star 2017 Czech Open champions.
Photo: Radek Benes

The state-of-the-art complex (which was Slovakia’s official 2016 Olympics training centre) would certainly appeal to players and fans, as would the accessibility to Bratislava’s airport – flights are currently available from London Stansted, Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Vienna in Austria is the next nearest airport, and is an hour’s drive away, while it is two hours from Budapest, Hungary.

You can view the x-bionic® sphere on their website www.x-bionicsphere.com/en/home.

It’s no secret that darts is expanding rapidly across the globe in both the BDO and PDC, with new players all over the world becoming more and more prominent in the sport.

Krzysztof Ratajski of Poland (which is directly above Slovakia) is a recent prime example, after he claimed the 2017 BDO World Masters trophy.

Other stars in the region – Darius Labanauskas of Lithuania and Latvia’s Madars Razma – have also made a name for themselves, while darts has now even reached South America with Brazilian Diogo Portela proving to be a great potential.

Slovakia and Czech Republic look set to be the next nations to unearth a talent to challenge the best in the game.

The latter country, as it happens, is also going to host the all-star Prague Darts Masters 2018 exhibition event on February 23, and will feature some of the PDC’s top names such as Dutch giants Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld, Australia number one Simon Whitlock and even blast from the past and fan favourite Wayne Mardle – together with some of the Czech Republic’s finest players.

Incredibly, the event at the Kralovka Hall is already sold out to fans, with 2500 tickets bought in just a few days. But, that same week, Prague will be hosting East Europe qualifiers for four European Tour tournaments too.

Further info is available on the event’s official website praguedartsmasters.cz.

With such events in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and other surrounding nations, darts can only get more and more popular in Central and Eastern Europe.

Czech star Karel Sedlacek in action against the Netherlands at the 2017 World Cup of Darts.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

TV broadcaster Nova Sport – who are partnered with darts website www.iam180.sk which is run by Michal Brestovansky – has played a big part in that too, as it has rights to show most Major PDC tournaments, allowing fans to view all of their darting heroes live on a regular basis.

Further work in the region to promote the game is being achieved by popular darts commentator Pavel Korda, who among many things is currently working on the translation and publication of Matt Bozeat’s book ‘Darts Greatest Games: Fifty Finest Matches from the World of Darts’.

While, Czech Darts Organisation chairman Jan Prikryl has done wonders for the sport in his country as well.

Be sure to look out for Slovakian players such as Peter Martin, who’ll be taking part in European Q-School, in future. Frantisek Sulc is another, and perhaps more familiar to handball fans being a former Slovakia international. Sulc, known as the ‘Slovak Gerwyn Price’ thanks to his switch to darts from another sport too, is also involved in the organisation of the Darts Slovak Open.

As for Czech stars, Karel Sedlacek, Frantisek Humpula and David Rosi will join Martin at European Q-School. Sedlacek has played at Lakeside twice, while he partnered Humpula at the 2017 PDC World Cup of Darts, where they managed to take a leg off eventual champions the Netherlands in the first round.

Many thanks to iam180’s Michal Brestovansky for his huge help, research and knowledge.