Wizard’s Wizdom (II)- Q School, The Challenge Tour & Into 2020.

Colin Osborne is a previous UK Open finalist, League of Darts Winner and multiple Pro Tour winner. Known as ‘The Wizard’ his thoughts appear regularly in Darts World magazine. Below is his review of the early part of 2020:

Colin encountered new tour card holder Aaron Beeney in a previous Q School.

Well, it’s been a hectic start to 2020. The PDC season kicked off with the annual Q School in Wigan. To say it was a weekend of mixed fortunes is an understatement. Congratulations to everyone who won one of the cherished Tour Cards, they are hard seriously hard to earn and will reward those who can dedicate themselves to making another step up! 

A special mention for Aaron Beeney. Some were surprised by his superb effort in gaining an automatically, but not me! A couple of years ago, at Q-School 2018, I encountered Aaron in one of the early rounds. He started the game superbly hitting many 140s and finishing off legs cleanly. I got a foothold in the game it seemed I may get back in into it, but Aaron stepped forward again and closed out the game very well. Later in the day, Canadian player Ken McNeil said that Aaron was a really difficult opponent as he was impossible to read and gave nothing away. Well done on a superb effort Aaron

On a personal level I had one of those weekends that leaves any player both pleased and puzzled. Despite a poor start, on the Thursday, I played very well overall. My averages are increasing all the time and me game is coming together strongly. My run, to the last 16, on the Saturday featured some really good stuff, I was somewhat disappointed not to hit a 9-dart leg, in a very high-quality game against Paul Rowley, but finishing it in 10 was a reminder that things are coming together nicely. 

Darryl Fitton on his way to becoming World Trophy champion.

The downside of Q-School was simply that I did not put together enough of my best darts in a row. Myself, Daryl Fitton and others, ended up in a similar boat after playing very strongly at times. Knowing that you’re playing very well and falling just short can be very frustrating, but the sheer number of quality players, who are capable of the standard needed, to gain a card, means that there are few easy matches and you need to play your best the entire time. 

The Challenge Tour kicked off only a few days later and proved a very similar tale. Again, my averages were still improving, and consistent, but they were not translated into enough results. Scott Mitchell must be given huge credit. As a former World Champion he must have been very disappointed to miss out on a Tour Card. But, regrouping so quickly to claim an event, and leading the Challenge Tour rankings, will provide him with plenty of opportunities, on all the PDC Tours, this year.  

For those embarking on the Pro Tour, and top level PDC, I would offer a small but of advice:  

“Play your own way, work hard, don’t change too much and don’t take any part of it for granted”. 

Wizards Wizdom for Tour Card Winners!) 

For me, it’s a matter of carrying on doing what I am doing and building toward being at my very best for the next Challenge Tour weekend in April*. I hope to see you out and about in the darting world between now and then. 

The Wizard! 

*Sadly, due to the effect of Covid-19, the Challenge Tour events have been postponed/cancelled.

Q School 2020 Day Four: Big Names Battle for Top Tier Return!

The final day of the PDC Q School of 2020 sees several ‘big names’ battling to secure a return to darts top division. Premier League Players, World Championship and major finalists as well as other former stars are amongst those still in with a chance of claiming a tour card:

The Points table, from which at least another 12 players will gain a card, looks like this with one day to go.

1Ryan Murray14
2Andy Hamilton12
3Damon Heta11
4Peter Jacques11
5Steve Brown (Eng)10
6Martin Atkins (Wigan)9
7Alan Tabern9
8Adam Hunt9
9Lisa Ashton9
10Darryl Pilgrim8
11Darryl Fitton7
12William Borland7
13Lee Evans7
14Paul Nicholson7
15Gary Mawson7
16Robert Modra7
17Niall Culleton7
18Ritchie Edhouse7
19Tony Newell7
20Seigo Asada6
21Jarred Cole6
22David Ladley6
23Lewis Pride6
24Tony Richardson6
25Darren Davies6
26Wayne Jones6
27Robert Collins6
28James Richardson6
29Daniel Lauby6
30Ryan Hogarth5
31Colin Osborne5
32Frankie Ansell5

Former World Finalist Andy ‘The Hammer’ Hamilton leads the way for the well known players and is almost certain to regain his tour place. Major winners Paul Nicholson and Daryl Fitton (World Trophy) are within striking distance as is Lisa Ashton the four time Women’s World Champion.

The Wizard is within striking distance of a return to top.

Major finalists Colin Osborne and Wayne Jones could gain cards, with strong final day runs, and former top ten player Alan Tabern is looking good to to remain in the top flight.

Seigo Asada is carrying the flag for Japan and looking to confirm his World Championship & Asian Tour performances at the highest level. Many will also wish James ‘Ruthless’ Richardson well.

So far the tour card winners have been split between players with a strong pedigree and those who are relatively unknown. Jeff Smith, former BDO World Finalist and World Cup Champion, claimed one of yesterday’s cards, whilst the other was claimed by a lesser known Aaron Beeney, a prison officer who represent London.

The points list is a similar mix of the known and lesser known players. It seems that the Q School, despite its critics, produces a well balanced group, of additional players, for each new season!

Smith, Sedlacek & Beeney Triumph on Day Three. Q School 2020.

Jeff Smith, Karel Sedlacek and Aaron Beeney secured Tour Cards on Day Three of the 2020 PDC Qualifying Schools in Wigan and Hildesheim on Saturday.

The Silencer return to the top tier after an extended gap.
Jeff Smith Pic: Christopher Dean / Scantech Media Ltd

Canadian Smith will return to the PDC ProTour for the first time since 2013 after landing a 110 checkout in the deciding leg of his 5-4 defeat of Seigo Asada in their Tour Card play-off.

Former BDO Championship runner-up Smith, who represented his country at the 2013 World Cup, began the day with a thumping 5-0 win over Alan Norris before averaging 103.6 in his penultimate victory over William Borland.

“It’s so nice to be back finally, it’s life-changing,” said Smith, who saw his automotive painting business burnt to the ground in August 2019.

“It’s not the first time I’ve won a Card but this time I intend to use my Card better than I did last time.

“I suffered a blitzing from Damon Heta yesterday which set me back a bit, but that pushed me on to come back stronger today knowing I had to get points on the board.

“The possibilities are endless now, I can’t wait to get back over and play, I’m excited to show what I can do.”

Smith was joined by surprise package Beeney in the winners’ enclosure in Wigan, as the London-based player won his Tour Card for the first time.

Beeney, a 36-year-old prison officer who won just £150 in prize money on the 2019 PDC Challenge Tour, edged out Jarred Cole 5-4 in their Tour Card decider to book his place on the ProTour.

“I’ve lit just competed the greatest thing that I ever expected to happen in my life,” said Beeney, who was overcome with emotion after his shock triumph.

“I’ve had the worst time ever here, I was nervous on Thursday and went out in the first round in the worst game I’ve ever played.

“I played even worse on Friday and now I’ve played really well all day today.

“I have no words, I have no idea how I’ve done this at all. To hit a bullseye to earn a Tour Card is the stuff dreams are made of.

“I’m still a pub player, I’ve only played for my county three times so this is unreal.”

At European Qualifying School, Sedlacek made history as he became the first Czech player to win a PDC Tour Card.

Sedlacek, who has represented his nation three times at the World Cup, claimed a 5-1 victory over Berry van Peer in the Day Three final at Halle 39.

“I am so happy, I don’t have the words to describe what this means to me,” said Sedlacek, who reached the quarter-finals of his second European Tour event in April 2019.

“It’s a fantastic moment for me and for Czech darts.

“I said to myself ‘you are playing well and you must wait for your chance,’ and I took it.”

The 2020 PDC Qualifying Schools conclude on Sunday with Day Four in Wigan and Hildesheim.

A further three players will secure automatic PDC Tour Cards, with the last two players in the UK Qualifying School joining the European Qualifying School winner in winning a place on the PDC circuit.

The top 12 players on the UK Qualifying School Order of Merit and the top seven players on the European Qualifying School Order of Merit at the end of play will win Tour Cards.


Click here for full results from Day Three of UK Qualifying School

Click here for full results from Day Three of European Qualifying School

UK Qualifying School Day ThreeLast 16
William Borland 5-4 Ryan Murray
Jeff Smith 5-3 Lee Evans
Ryan Hogarth 5-3 John Bowles
Seigo Asada 5-1 Paul Nicholson
Darryl Fitton 5-2 Colin Osborne
Jarred Cole 5-2 Frankie Ansell
Martin Atkins (Wigan) 5-2 Andy Hamilton
Aaron Beeney 5-3 David Ladley

Last Eight
Jeff Smith 5-1 William Borland
Seigo Asada 5-0 Ryan Hogarth
Jarred Cole 5-1 Darryl Fitton
Aaron Beeney 5-3 Martin Atkins (Wigan)

Last Four
Jeff Smith 5-4 Seigo Asada
Aaron Beeney 5-4 Jarred Cole

European Qualifying School Day TwoLast 16
Zoran Lerchbacher 5-3 Wesley Harms
Michael Hurtz 5-3 Mario Vandenbogaerde
Steffen Siepmann 5-2 Cody Harris
Karel Sedlacek 5-0 Daniel Larsson
Derk Telnekes 5-4 Lukasz Sawicki
Berry van Peer 5-1 Romeo Grbavac
Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-1 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Krzysztof Kciuk 5-1 Jeremy van der Winkel

Michael Hurtz 5-3 Zoran Lerchbacher
Karel Sedlacek 5-2 Steffen Siepmann
Berry van Peer 5-3 Derk Telnekes
Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-3 Krzysztof Kciuk

Karel Sedlacek 5-3 Michael Hurtz
Berry van Peer 5-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode

Karel Sedlacek 5-1 Berry van Peer