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PDC April Events Added To The Postponed.

The Players Championship double-headers, European Tour Qualifiers and the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour events planned for April have now been postponed.

With restrictions being imposed across the world at present and further to this week’s postponement of the non-televised events in the remainder of March, the following tournaments also will not now take place as planned:
Players Championships – April 4-5
European Tour 5-6 Qualifiers – April 6
PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour 5-8 – April 10-12
European Tour 7 Qualifier – April 17
Players Championships – April 18-19

Whilst the PDC had hoped to retain events across the ProTour, Challenge Tour and Development Tour during the coming weeks, the postponements will ensure the integrity of the various Orders of Merit due to the travel restrictions for non-UK players.

Rescheduled dates for the above events will be confirmed in due course, with the three postponed European Tour events which had been set for March and April already rearranged for later in 2020.

Player entries for postponed tournaments will also remain valid for any rearranged equivalent dates. Players can see further updates from the PDPA via www.pdpa.co.uk.

Further updates in relation to PDC events will be issued at pdc.tv/Coronavirus.

PDC Unicorn Development Tour

More PDC Tour Postponements: Player’s Championship & Second Tier Tours Hit.

The forthcoming PDC Unicorn Development Tour events on March 21-22 and the Players Championship weekend on March 28-29 are to be postponed.

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The PDC has moved swiftly and hopes to rearrange later in 2020

Three nights of the Unibet Premier League and a trio of PDC European Tour events have already been postponed due to the ongoing worldwide situation.

With restrictions being implemented in the UK alongside further worldwide measures, the PDC has opted to postpone the next two weekends of non-televised events.

This means that the year’s second Development Tour weekend, which was set to feature four tournaments in Wigan, as well as the new Players Championship double-header in Milton Keynes have now been postponed.

PDC Chief Executive Matthew Porter said: “The health and wellbeing of players, fans, officials and staff at events has been at the forefront of our thoughts over the past week during an unprecedented time for everyone worldwide.

“We issued precautionary measures around last week’s Unibet Premier League night in Liverpool and Players Championship events to keep everyone as safe as possible.

“However, following Monday’s announcements and further discussions with stakeholders including the PDPA and venues, we feel it is in the best interests of everyone involved in the sport to postpone the forthcoming Development Tour and Players Championship weekends during March.

“We had hoped to provide as many playing opportunities as possible for players in the coming weeks, and will work to rearrange these events during 2020.”

Player entries for postponed tournaments will also remain valid for any rearranged equivalent dates. Players can see further updates from the PDPA via www.pdpa.co.uk.

Further updates in relation to PDC events will be issued at pdc.tv/Coronavirus.


PDC Appoints Rippleffect and Streamamg

Lowe and Kleermaker Gain Double Euro Tour Places.

Five players enjoyed a qualifying double last Friday in Barnsley, as Tour Card Holder Qualifiers took place for the European Tour Events 3-4.

Jason Lowe continues his superb start to 2020.

Friday’s Tour Card Holder Qualifier for the year’s third and fourth European Tour events saw 24 spots up for grabs in the European Darts Open (ET3) and German Darts Grand Prix (ET4).

Jason Lowe, who came within a leg of defeating Michael van Gerwen at the UK Open last weekend, qualified for both events alongside fellow-new Tour Card Holder Martijn Kleermaker of the Netherlands.

Another Dutchman, Maik Kuivenhoven also enjoyed a double success, along with Portugal’s Jose De Sousa and Latvia’s Madars Razma.

Both the European Darts Open (ET3) and German Darts Grand Prix (ET4) have been postponed due to current restrictions, and will be rearranged for later in 2020.

The PDC ProTour weekend in Barnsley continues on Saturday and Sunday with Players Championship event 7-8 from 1200 GMT.

ET3 Tour Card Holder Qualifiers: Devon Petersen, Steve Lennon, Adam Hunt, Mervyn King, Jason Lowe, Steffen Siepmann, Jonathan Worsley, Darius Labanauskas, Jose De Sousa, William O’Connor, Derk Telnekes, John Henderson, Maik Kuivenhoven, Martijn Kleermaker, Harry Ward, Madars Razma, Scott Waites, Ryan Joyce, Damon Heta, Darren Webster, Vincent van der Voort, Luke Woodhouse, Chris Dobey, Kim Huybrechts

ET4 Tour Card Holder Qualifiers: Kai Fan Leung, Kyle Anderson, Jamie Lewis, Andy Hamilton, Jason Lowe, Jesus Noguera, Madars Razma, Jelle Klaasen, Jose De Sousa, Martin Schindler, Stephen Bunting, Maik Kuivenhoven, Dirk van Duijvenbode, Ron Meulenkamp, Danny Noppert, Ross Smith, Brendan Dolan, Ryan Murray, Niels Zonneveld, Benito van de Pas, Martijn Kleermaker, Steve West, Toni Alcinas, Scott Baker

European Darts Grand Prix Re -Shceduled

The 2020 European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen has been rescheduled for May 29-31.

PDC Appoints Rippleffect and Streamamg
More European Tour changes may be unavoidable.

The tournament had been planned as the year’s second European Tour event and was due to be held from March 20-22 at the Glaspalast, before being one of three events postponed earlier this week due to the current global situation.

With restrictions in Germany currently in place until April 19, the European Darts Grand Prix is now set to take place from May 29-31, and will remain at the Glaspalast in Sindelfingen.

As a result, the planned Players Championship double-header in Hildesheim on May 30-31 will be rescheduled, with details to be announced once finalised.

Rearranged dates for the European Darts Open (ET3) and German Darts Grand Prix (ET4) are still being finalised, and will be announced once confirmed.

Tickets for the original European Darts Grand Prix dates will remain valid for the equivalent session of the new event. Any fans with queries about tickets can contact their point of purchase.

Further updates in relation to PDC events will be issued at pdc.tv/Coronavirus.

PDC European Tour: More Postponements and New Events Added.

THIRD EUROPEAN TOUR EVENT POSTPONED

The European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen has become the third PDC European Tour event to be postponed due to the Coronavirus epidemic.

The PDC announced on Tuesday at that the European Darts Open in Leverkusen and the German Darts Grand Prix in Munich would not be taking place following measures put in place by federal governments in the regions of Germany.

This measure has also been adopted now in Stuttgart, meaning that the year’s planned second European Tour event in Sindelfingen from March 20-22 will be postponed.

The PDC are working with PDC Europe to schedule new dates for the events, with the possibility that other planned tournaments may move in the calendar to accommodate the rescheduled European Tour events.

Tickets already purchased for the events will remain valid for the equivalent session of the re-arranged event, or refunds will be available.

A Players Championship double-header has been added to the PDC calendar on March 28-29 in Milton Keynes, with further schedule amendments to be confirmed in due course.

NEW PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND ADDED

A new Players Championship weekend will be played on March 28-29 in Milton Keynes to replace the postponed European Tour event in Germany.

The European Darts Open in Leverkusen, which was originally planned for March 27-29, has been postponed following measures put in place by the regional federal government in Germany.

As a result, the PDC will now stage two £75,000 Players Championship events at the Marshall Arena on Saturday March 28 and Sunday March 29.

The tournaments will be streamed live online through PDCTV, with two streams available simultaneously throughout each event.

PDC Tour Card Holders and PDPA Associate Members can now enter these events online through the PDC Online Entry System at www.pdcplayers.com. Entries will close at 1400 GMT on Friday March 20.

The events are currently titled for player entries as Players Championship 9MK and Players Championship 10MK. However, following the close of entries, subsequent Players Championship events in 2020 will be renumbered accordingly.

Rescheduled dates for the postponed European Tour events will be confirmed in due course.

ENDS

PDC Appoints Rippleffect and Streamamg

Breaking News – Corona Virus Causes Double ET Postponement.

PDC Appoints Rippleffect and Streamamg

The PDC European Tour events scheduled for Leverkusen and Munich in the coming weeks will be postponed due to the Coronavirus epidemic.

DOUBLE POSTPONEMENT FOR PDC EUROPEAN TOUR

Following a decision by the federal governments in North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria to prevent gatherings of over 1,000 people, the following European Tour events will now not take place as planned:

European Darts Open (ET3) – March 27-29 in Leverkusen

German Darts Grand Prix (ET4) – April 11-13 in Munich

The PDC are working with PDC Europe to schedule new dates for the events, with the possibility that other planned tournaments may move in the calendar to accommodate the rescheduled European Tour events.

Tickets already purchased for the events will remain valid for the equivalent session of the re-arranged event, or refunds will be available.

Players are advised not to book travel or accommodation for these European Tour events. The PDPA have also advised all players to check that they have appropriate travel insurance.

The PDPA can assist players with any queries relating to travel or accommodation bookings.

In addition to the two postponed events, PDC Europe remain in dialogue with the venue and local authorities in Sindelfingen regarding the forthcoming European Darts Grand Prix, which is planned to take place from March 20-22.

The planned opening three weekends of the 2020 PDC Asian Tour have already been cancelled due to the Coronavirus epidemic, with the season now set to begin in May with events in Seoul and Kobe.

ENDS

Home Players Thrive In Belgian Open!

Brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts enjoyed home wins as the 2020 European Tour season got underway on Friday with the first round of the Belgian Darts Championship.

The Brothers Huybrechts are both through after day 1. Pic: PDC

The £140,000 tournament at Expo Hasselt opened with wins for four Belgian hopefuls, as the Huybrechts brothers were joined in the last 32 by Dimitri Van den Bergh and Mike De Decker.

Former World Cup finalist Kim Huybrechts enjoyed a 6-2 win over Ryan Harrington to begin his bid for a third European Tour title.

The Antwerp thrower led 3-0 before Harrington hit back to 3-2, but he crucially missed four darts to level in leg six as Huybrechts capitalised on the let-off to close out victory, setting up a second round tie with Jeffrey de Zwaan.

Elder brother Ronny was in clinical form as he landed six doubles from nine attempts in a big 6-1 win over World Youth Champion Luke Humphries, and he now plays Michael Smith.

DVB completes a Belgian foursome heading further into the Belgian Open. Pic: PDC

Two-time World Youth Champion Van den Bergh picked up a 6-3 win over Derk Telnekes, creating a second round meeting with 2019 Czech Darts Open champion Jamie Hughes.

Youngster De Decker, meanwhile, was a narrow 6-5 winner over Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp, setting up a tasty tie with world number one Michael van Gerwen on Saturday.

There was disappointment, though for Geert De Vos as the qualifier went down 6-2 to Danny Noppert, while Steve West whitewashed newcomer Jeffrey van Edgom 6-0.

2019 Brisbane Darts Masters champion Damon Heta enjoyed a superb European Tour debut with a 6-0 whitewash of Michael Barnard, averaging an impressive 102.48 in the win.

Dirk van Duijvenbode also posted a ton-plus average, seeing off Luke Woodhouse 6-4 with six doubles from ten attempts and a 101.59 average in moving through to meet number two seed Ian White.

Germany’s Gabriel Clemens now plays Krzysztof Ratajski – the winner of last year’s final European Tour event in Gibraltar – in round two after defeating Callan Rydz 6-3.

Steve Lennon defied finishes of 151 an 124 from Rowby-John Rodriguez as he came from 3-2 down to win 6-3 and progress to a second round tie with James Wade.

Mervyn King was a 6-4 winner over Justin Pipe in a clash of former European Tour event winners, securing a meeting with Glen Durrant on Saturday.

Dutch debutant Martijn Kleermaker survived a fightback from 5-1 down by Stephen Bunting before claiming a 6-4 win in his first European Tour appearance, and he now plays Joe Cullen in round two.

Wesley Plaisier was another Dutchman to progress, edging out Slovenia’s Benjamin Pratnemer 6-5 in a tight contest to earn a meeting with world number three Gerwyn Price.

Recent Players Championship winner Ryan Searle was too strong for debutant Darren Penhall with a 6-3 success, setting up a second round tie with Mensur Suljovic.

Steve Beaton now plays Nathan Aspinall in round two after seeing off Hong Kong’s Kai Fan Leung 6-4, while Andy Hamilton made a winning return to the European Tour stage with a 6-5 defeat of Andy Boulton, moving himself through to a meeting with World Champion Peter Wright.

Saturday’s second round will be followed on Sunday by the final day of action as the £140,000 tournament culminates. For tickets, visit www.pdc-europe.tv or purchase at Expo Hasselt.

Coverage of the Belgian Darts Championship is available for all PDCTV Subscribers worldwide, as well as through a series of bookmakers’ websites.

2020 Belgian Darts Championship

Friday February 28

  • First Round
  • Afternoon Session
  • Ryan Searle 6-3 Darren Penhall
  • Andy Hamilton 6-5 Andy Boulton
  • Steve Beaton 6-4 Kai Fan Leung
  • Ronny Huybrechts 6-1 Luke Humphries
  • Damon Heta 6-0 Michael Barnard
  • Wesley Plaisier 6-5 Benjamin Pratnemer
  • Martijn Kleermaker 6-4 Stephen Bunting
  • Mervyn King 6-4 Justin Pipe
  • Evening Session
  • Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-4 Luke Woodhouse
  • Mike De Decker 6-4 Ron Meulenkamp
  • Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Callan Rydz
  • Danny Noppert 6-2 Geert De Vos
  • Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Ryan Harrington
  • Steve Lennon 6-3 Rowby-John Rodriguez
  • Steve West 6-0 Jeffrey van Egdom
  • Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Derk Telnekes

Saturday February 29

  • Second Round
  • Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)
  • Michael Smith v Ronny Huybrechts
  • Joe Cullen v Martijn Kleermaker
  • Krzysztof Ratajski v Gabriel Clemens
  • Glen Durrant v Mervyn King
  • Rob Cross v Damon Heta
  • Ian White v Dirk van Duijvenbode
  • Jermaine Wattimena v Danny Noppert
  • James Wade v Steve Lennon
  • Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)
  • Nathan Aspinall v Steve Beaton
  • Gerwyn Price v Wesley Plaisier
  • Peter Wright v Andy Hamilton
  • Michael van Gerwen v Mike De Decker
  • Jeffrey de Zwaan v Kim Huybrechts
  • Jamie Hughes v Dimitri Van den Bergh
  • Mensur Suljovic v Ryan Searle
  • Jonny Clayton v Steve West

ENDS

Belgian Championship – Schedule and Details.

Former European Tour event winners Justin Pipe and Mervyn King will clash on the opening day of the 2020 Belgian Darts Championship on Friday:

William Hill World Darts Championship - Night Seven Round-Up
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

The 2020 European Tour will begin with the series’ first visit to Belgium, as Expo Hasselt hosts the £140,000 tournament from February 28-March 1.

Friday’s first round in the tournament – streamed to PDCTV Subscribers worldwide as well as through bookmakers’ websites – will feature five Belgian players amongst 32 competitors in action.

Two-time World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh will headline the Belgian challenge, taking on Dutch debutant Derk Telnekes in round one ahead of a possible clash with 2019 Czech Darts Open winner Jamie Hughes in the last 32.

Former European Tour winner Kim Huybrechts will be up against one Ryan Harrington, who was one of the two PDPA Associate Member Qualifiers on Thursday night, while three other places for Belgian players were won in the Host Nation Qualifier.

Former World Champion Beaton takes on latest Tour card holder Leung.

Pipe and King meet in a clash of two former winners on the European Tour circuit, while Steve Beaton – another former champion – takes on Hong Kong’s Kai Fan Leung.

Recent Players Championship winner Ryan Searle meets debutant Darren Penhall, while Australian ace Damon Heta, last year’s Brisbane Darts Masters, makes his first European Tour appearance against Michael Barnard.

Reigning World Youth Champion Luke Humphries, former BDO Champion Stephen Bunting and 2019 World Cup runner-up Steve Lennon are also in action in Friday’s first round, while Andy Hamilton makes his European Tour return after winning back his PDC Tour Card last month.

The 16 seeded stars, including World Champion Peter Wright and world number one Michael van Gerwen, enter the action in Saturday’s second round, with the tournament then concluding with the final stages on Sunday.

Tickets for the Belgian Darts Championship are available through PDC Europe and at Expo Hasselt.

The Belgian Darts Championship can be watched through PDCTV at video.pdc.tv as well as through a series of bookmakers’ websites worldwide.

2020 Belgian Darts Championship

Draw Bracket

  • Michael van Gerwen (1) v Mike De Decker/Ron Meulenkamp
  • Michel Smith (16) v Luke Humphries/Ronny Huybrechts
  • Glen Durrant (8) v Justin Pipe/Mervyn King
  • Joe Cullen (9) v Martijn Kleermaker/Stephen Bunting
  • Peter Wright (4) v Andy Boulton/Andy Hamilton
  • Jermaine Wattimena (13) v Danny Noppert/Geert De Vos
  • Krzysztof Ratajski (5) v Callan Rydz/Gabriel Clemens
  • Rob Cross (12) v Michael Barnard/Damon Heta
  • Ian White (2) v Dirk van Duijvenbode/Luke Woodhouse
  • Jeffrey de Zwaan (15) v Ryan Harrington/Kim Huybrechts
  • James Wade (7) v Rowby-John Rodriguez/Steve Lennon
  • Nathan Aspinall (10) v Kai Fan Leung/Steve Beaton
  • Gerwyn Price (3) v Wesley Plaisier/Benjamin Pratnemer
  • Jamie Hughes (14) v Dimitri Van den Bergh/Derk Telnekes
  • Mensur Suljovic (6) v Darren Penhall/Ryan Searle
  • Jonny Clayton (11) v Steve West/Jeffrey van Egdom

Schedule of Play

Friday February 28

First Round

Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)

  • Darren Penhall v Ryan Searle
  • Andy Boulton v Andy Hamilton
  • Kai Fan Leung v Steve Beaton
  • Luke Humphries v Ronny Huybrechts
  • Michael Barnard v Damon Heta
  • Wesley Plaisier v Benjamin Pratnemer
  • Martijn Kleermaker v Stephen Bunting
  • Justin Pipe v Mervyn King

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)

  • Dirk van Duijvenbode v Luke Woodhouse
  • Mike De Decker v Ron Meulenkamp
  • Callan Rydz v Gabriel Clemens
  • Danny Noppert v Geert De Vos
  • Ryan Harrington v Kim Huybrechts
  • Rowby-John Rodriguez v Steve Lennon
  • Steve West v Jeffrey van Egdom
  • Dimitri Van den Bergh v Derk Telnekes

Saturday February 29

Second Round

Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)

  • Michael Smith v Humphries/Huybrechts
  • Joe Cullen v Kleermaker/Bunting
  • Krzysztof Ratajski v Rydz/Clemens
  • Glen Durrant v Pipe/King
  • Rob Cross v Barnard/Heta
  • Ian White v Van Duijvenbode/Woodhouse
  • Jermaine Wattimena v Noppert/De Vos
  • James Wade v Rodriguez/Lennon

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)

  • Nathan Aspinall v Leung/Beaton
  • Gerwyn Price v Plaisier/Pratnemer
  • Peter Wright v Boulton/Hamilton
  • Michael van Gerwen v De Decker/Meulenkamp
  • Jeffrey de Zwaan v Harrington/Huybrechts
  • Jamie Hughes v Van den Bergh/Telnekes
  • Mensur Suljovic v Penhall/Searle
  • Jonny Clayton v West/Van Egdom

Sunday March 1

Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)

  • Third Round
  • Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)
  • Quarter-Finals
  • Semi-Finals
  • Final

Format

All games up to, and including, the quarter-finals, are the best of 11 legs. The semi-finals are the best of 13 legs and the final is the best of 15 legs.

Sunday’s games played in Draw Bracket order.

ENDS

Taylor and Van Barneveld to meet in UK Open Round 4

This Week – Darts World’s Dip Into Darting History.

This Week has been looking back through the darting vaults to for our latest selection of historical highlights. February 23rd-29th has featured some great events over the years:

20 years ago:

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This week was the first holding of the (PDC) Irish Masters. The event could be classed as a forerunner of the Pro Tour circuit, even though it was classed as catagory 2 at the time, Chris Mason claimed the title defeating Shayne Burgess in the final. The event featured a very strong filed including Priestley, Warriner-Little, Deller and Colin Lloyd. The Irish Masters continued in the same format for the next six years and was claimed by a wide range of players including Dennis Ovens, Peter Manley and James Wade. Chris Mason had a superb career, in both the BDO and PDC, and claimed titles against the best players of his time. His TV career and social media presence often hides the fact that, in his pomp, he could really play!

11 Years Ago:

Betway Premier League - Night 15 Round-Up
Taylor’s utter dominance, of the professional game, was demonstrated at the German Open in 2009.
Pic: PDC

Phil Taylor gave a demonstration of his total dominance, over PDC darts, at the German Open. These early season events were a type of forerunner to the modern European Tour, they allowed local players to join the PDC members and even had selected stage matches. Joining at the 128 stage ‘The Power’ Defeated Dave Fatum (6-2) before whitewashing Patrick Loos, Steve Beaton and Mensur back to back. MVG was dispatched 6-3 and then Vincent Van de Voort 6-1. Phil then trounced Adrian Lewis 6-0 to claim the title. Fifty-Four legs played over seven matches for with a forty-eight to six split. Three World Champions and two major finalists were simply crushed. Just for good measure Phil repeated the feat the following day to claim back-to-back Pro Tour wins.

5 Years Ago:

Gert De Vos Captured His First ‘Major’ Title Five Years Ago This Week!

Gert De Vos began his quest for the BDO’s World Trophy. It would be fair to say the Belgian player (then 33) was not exactly one of the favourites, and yet, one-by-one the illustrious names either fell by the wayside or were removed by De Vos himself. He worked his way to the later stages by defeated Rick Hostra and Jim Widmayer with relative ease. Dutchman Wes Harms was dispatched in the Qtr before a pair of epic encounters with Mark McGeeney (Semi) and Jeffrey De Graff (Final). Both were won in the deciding leg after titanic struggles. De Vos had finally claimed a major title after many near misses. He has claimed many smaller titles but rarely can one have been so hard earned as the 2015 World Trophy!

PDC Appoints Rippleffect and Streamamg

This Week:

Sees the start of the European Tour for 2020. It will be interesting to see if the broader division of titles, that began in 2019, will be maintained or will MVG, Whitey and a few others dominate this tour again?

Diamond White Aiming to Recover from Matchplay Blow.

Despite winning multiple 2019 PDC titles Ian ‘Diamond’ White has struggled to capitalise during the major TV events.

BETFRED WORLD MATCHPLAY 2019 WINTER GARDENS, BLACKPOOL PIC; LAWRENCE LUSTIG ROUND 2 STEPHEN BUNTING V IAN WHITE STEPHEN BUNTING IN ACTION

In his 2nd Round defeat to Stephen Bunting White missed five match darts and let slip a 9-4 lead. Although pleased for “Bullet” who is an old friend, White admitted the loss was tough to take.

Writers on the dartsworld.com team have been predicting a Whitey surge for a while now and it seemed that the Matchplay was a likely place for him to kick on.

In an interview with Live Darts “Diamond” admitted:

“I’m still not over it. It was just a killer for me”.

“I know I’ve got to get over it but it was just so annoying. I’m still gutted now,” White, currently ranked 10 by the PDC, admitted.

“I’ve been playing well all year, so going into the tournament I was on the first page of the betting odds and that’s never happened, so everyone must recognise what I’ve been doing in the last few months”.

His recent form had obviously increased Ian’s confidence going into the event, he continued;

“I just thought that was my tournament, I really felt good.

“I thought that was my chance but it just didn’t happen.”

His comments seem to suggest he has not yet reconciled these factors;

“I’ve had another semi-final and a quarter-final since on the floor.

“But I’m doing that quite regularly, so I just need these TV tournaments,”.

“There are four more European Tours coming up and hopefully I can do well in them.

“I’ve won two already this year and if I can win two more, it’s like winning a major, because it’s a hundred thousand pounds.

“If I can win another two of them then that’s really going to push me on.

“The second half of the year is where I usually fall down, so hopefully this year, if I can keep doing what I’ve done in the first half, then I should be quite comfortable in the top ten.”

If Whitey is correct then yet again he will be headed to Ally Pally on the verge of a Premier League place. In recent years that has not boded well for the Stoke resident. Yet many are convinced that he would shine in the format.