Unicorn Challenge Tour 2020 To Get Under Way.

Over 300 players will compete in each of the first four events on the opening weekend of the 2020 PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour season.

PDC-Unicorn-Challenge-Tour
Bumper entry for 300+ fir the 2020 tour.

The four £10,000 tournaments will be held at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan on January 25-26, open to PDPA Associate Members who did not win a PDC Tour Card at Qualifying School.

Play on each day will commence around 30 minutes following the close of registration at 0930 GMT, with each tournament being played with an open draw and over the best of nine legs.

The events will be played using the DartConnect scoring system and with 32 markers, although with entry numbers are higher than previously encountered for the Challenge Tour the PDC will monitor the events ahead of future weekends.

Menzies makes another attempt at the PDCs 2nd tier
Pic: BDO

The competitors include a number of former Challenge Tour event winners, including Darren Beveridge, Cameron Menzies, Kyle McKinstry, Burton, Andy Jenkins, Berry van Peer and Boris Koltsov, as well as international stars including Brazil’s Diogo Portela, America’s Chuck Puleo and New Zealand’s Cody Harris.

Former Players Championship Finals winner Kevin Painter and former Lakeside Champion Scott Mitchell are also in action, while Alan Norris and Ronny Huybrechts will make their Challenge Tour debuts after failing to win back their Tour Card.

JDC Junior World Championship winner Keane Barry heads up the field of teenage entrants, alongside 16-year-old Beau Greaves.

Fixtures and results will be available in the Match Centre at the PDC website.

Time Waites For No Man? Is ‘Too Hotty’ a Busted Flush or Undervalued?

Scott Waites is hoping a fully fledged tilt at the PDC will mark a new chapter in his career as he aims to challenge the sport’s elite on a regular basis.

Waites, winner of the BDO world title (Lakeside) in 2013 and 2016, came through the final day of UK Qualifying School, will become a full-time PDC professional for the first time in his career.

Our resident coach has long suggested that ‘Too Hotty’, as Waites is known, is possibly the most underrated, and or undervalued, player in the game. The 42-year-old appeared in the BDO around 2004 and is one of the most successful players in the history of that code. winning the World Masters, Finder Masters and more than 20 other ranked titles.

Despite being somewhat overshadowed by Glen Durrant, in recent years, Waites has still made major finals and proved both his longevity and class on the big occasion.

Waites, is also the only BDO player to have won a PDC major, after reaching the final the previous year, claiming 2010 Grand Slam. As one of a select group, to win multiple BDO world titles, you would think he would feature in many lists of pre-event favourites or at least biggest threats. Yet he is often discussed as if his titles were many years ago or from lesser fields.

Winmau thrower Waites will play PDC circuit for the next two years producing s superb run on the final Q School day. The final game saw him defeat JDC World Champion Keane Barry 5-0.

Waites clinched his Tour Card with a 5-0 of talented youngster Keane Barry.
PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG KEANE BARRY

Waites told the PDC: “To get through is amazing.

“I knew I had to come here today and just win it outright, and I’ve played my game all day.

“The time has never been right for me to move over before but now I think it is right to have a go, so let’s see what happens.

“In the last few weeks and coming up to the BDO World Championship, I put quite a lot of practice in.

“It showed with me and Scott Mitchell, when I played him in the World Championship our game was quite good, I played him again [at Q School] and I think he had a 101 average and I had a 99 and that’s the standard you’ve got to aim at now.

“I’m going to put a lot of practice in now, this is going to give me the ‘get up and go’ I need.

“This is what I wanted, it’s great.”

Scott was one of 31 players to gain a coveted Tour Card, He will compete for the first time as a PDC player at Players Championship Event One on Saturday February 8.

Too Hotty or Too late?

Ashton Creates History As Waites Triumphs on Day Four – Q School 2020.

Lisa Ashton made history by becoming the first woman to win a PDC Tour Card through Qualifying School on Sunday in Wigan.

Ashton became first Woman player to earn a (Q School) Tour Card. Legs won proved decisive.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG LISA ASHTON IN ACTION

Four-time BDO Women’s Champion Ashton will compete on the PDC ProTour in 2020 and 2021 after holding on to the final qualification place on the Q School Order of Merit on a landmark day for the sport.

Ashton, who starred in the 2018/19 World Championship, had to endure a nervous wait after going down 5-2 to Justin Smith in her second game of the day resulting in no points being added to her Order of Merit tally.

However, results over the course of the day meant that Ashton’s nine points, the bulk of which were won in her run to the last eight on Day Two, were enough to secure her place on the PDC professional circuit for the first time.

Ashton was one of six players tied on nine points, but she and Darren Penhall held the advantage in number of legs won over the four days to take the final two qualification spots.

I am so, so happy to finally get my Tour Card,” said Ashton, who missed out by one point at 2019 Q School,

“I was sat there all day with people trying to work out if I had qualified so I just said ‘tell me at the end, I can’t deal with the stress!

“So when I found out I’d done it, that was a great moment”.

I want to play all the tournaments I can. I’m going to have a damn good go at whoever I play, they need to be ready.

“To come through a field of over 500 men, I couldn’t be any happier.

“But I know I’ve got more in the tank and now I’m going to take my dreams wherever I can.”

A dramatic final day of action in Wigan and Hildesheim saw both UK and European Q Schools reach their climax as 22 players won two-year Tour Cards.

Waites claimed a Tour Card at his second attempt.

Two-time BDO Champion Scott Waites will compete on the PDC circuit for the first time in 2020 after winning his Tour Card outright on the final day along with Welshman Nick Kenny.

Having struggled on the opening three days of Q School, former Grand Slam winner Waites found his form on the final day, culminating in a 5-0 whitewash of teenage Irish sensation Keane Barry in their Tour Card decider.

“To do this is amazing,” said Waites. “I knew I had to come here today and just win it outright, and I’ve played my game all day.

“Keane is a fantastic player so to beat him 5-0 is amazing, but with a bit of experience he’s going to be an awesome player.

“The time has never been right for me to move over before but now I think it is right to have a go so let’s see what happens.

“I’m going to put a lot of practice in now, this is going to give me the ‘get up and go’ I need.”

Kenny has already won PDC Titles on the Development Tour.

Two-time Development Tour winner Kenny will also be a new addition to the PDC circuit after he saved his best performance till last as he averaged 110.5 to defeat Scott Taylor 5-2 in their Tour Card play-off.

Joining Ashton in winning Tour Cards via the UK Q School Order of Merit are 11 players headed up by former World Championship runner-up Andy Hamilton.

Junior Darts Corporation Chairman Steve Brown was unable to attend the final day of Q School due to JDC-related commitments in China, but his runs on the first two days were enough to ensure a return to the PDC Tour after a five-year absence.

Brisbane Masters winner Damon Heta was successful in his first Q School appearance and he will be joined on the circuit by fellow-Australian and surprise-package Penhall.

Scottish duo Ryan Murray and William Borland are also new names on tour, along with Wigan’s Martin Atkins.

Adam Hunt, Alan Tabern and Wayne Jones all secured immediate returns after losing their Tour Cards at the end of 2019, while Peter Jacques returns after a one-year absence.

At European Q School Germany’s Steffen Siepmann booked his place on the PDC Tour for the first time by defeating Wesley Harms 5-3 in the Day Four final in Hildesheim.

Wes Harms did enough over the four days.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG WESLEY HARMS IN ACTION

However, two-time BDO Championship semi-finalist Harms did enough over the four days to earn a PDC Tour Card for the first time.

“It has been a really tough four days,” Harms admitted.

“My goal was to make the quarter-final every time but after I went out in the last 32 on the first day I was worried, but my last day made up for it.

“Everything will be new for me but I am looking forward to playing in the PDC for the first time.”

Harms’ fellow-Dutchmen Derk Telnekes and Martijn Kleermaker also secured Tour Cards for the first time, while Dirk van Duijvenbode won back his card at the first time of asking.

Sweden’s Daniel Larsson, Croatia’s Boris Krcmar and Poland’s Krzysztof Kciuk also won Tour Cards for the first time via the European Q School Order of Merit.

The first three days of action saw six players win Tour Cards outright at UK Q School, along with three at European Q School.

All 31 PDC Tour Card winners will get their first taste of the PDC ProTour in 2020 at Players Championships One and Two which will take place at The Barnsley Metrodome from February 8-9.

UK Qualfying School Day Four
Last 16

Wayne Jones 5-4 Thomas Lovely
Scott Taylor 5-3 Alexander Morrison
Stephen Burton 5-0 Darren Johnson
Nick Kenny 5-3 Darren Penhall
Matthew Dennant 5-0 Wes Newton
Keane Barry 5-1 Graham Usher
Scott Waites 5-3 Connor Scutt
Adam Hunt 5-4 Steve Hine

Last Eight
Scott Taylor 5-1 Wayne Jones
Nick Kenny 5-1 Stephen Burton
Keane Barry 5-2 Matthew Dennant
Scott Waites 5-4 Adam Hunt

Last Four
Nick Kenny 5-2 Scott Taylor
Scott Waites 5-0 Keane Barry

European Qualfying School Day Four
Last 16

Steffen Siepmann 5-4 Zoran Lerchbacher
Jose Justicia 5-4 Gino Vos
Lukasz Sawicki 5-0 Wesley Plaisier
Danny van Trijp 5-3 Dennis Nilsson
Wesley Harms 5-3 Boris Krcmar
Kevin Blomme 5-3 Michael Unterbuchner
Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-3 Derk Telnekes
Cody Harris 5-0 Daniel Larsson

Quarter-Finals
Steffen Siepmann 5-4 Jose Justicia
Danny van Trijp 5-4 Lukasz Sawicki
Wesley Harms 5-0 Kevin Blomme
Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-2 Cody Harris

Semi-Finals
Steffen Siepmann 5-1 Danny van Trijp
Wesley Harms 5-1 Dirk van Duijvenbode

Final
Steffen Siepmann 5-3 Wesley Harms

Warren & Sherrock Head List as Q School Attracts Record Entries.

A record number of players have entered the 2020 PDC Qualifying Schools, with 853 players to compete for PDC Tour Cards in Wigan and Hildesheim from January 16-19.

Newly Crowned BDO Champion Wayne Warren will attempt to emulate Glen Durrant’s successful Q School bid from 2019.

Newly-crowned BDO champion Wayne Warren heads the list of BDO players taking part, alongside runner-up Jim Williams and former champions Scott Mitchell and Scott Waites.

FALLON SHERROCK Pic: Christopher Dean / Scantech Media 07930 364436 chris@scantechmedia.com www.scantechmedia.com

Global sensation Fallon Sherrock will hope to make more history by becoming the first woman to win a Tour Card, with a number of other female players also in action including Mikuru Suzuki, Lisa Ashton – who came close at last year’s Q School – and teenage prospect Beau Greaves.

Many experienced PDC stars will attempt to return to the PDC circuit, former World Champion John Part and Players Championship Finals winner Paul Nicholson. Darts World contributor Colin ‘The Wizard’ Osborne will also be in action.

31 two-year Tour Cards will be available, with play being held at UK Qualifying School, where 521 players will compete at Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan, and European Qualifying School, where 332 players will be in action at Halle 39 in Hildesheim, Germany.

Tour Cards will be won automatically by the final two players on each day at UK Q School and the final player on each day at European Q School.

Players will earn ranking points per victory in each full round of the event (not including Byes), which will be used to form Order of Merits for each Q School, from which a further 19 players will win Tour Cards (12 from UK Q School and seven from European Q School).

A number of international players who starred at the 2019/20 PDC World Championship will also compete, including Brisbane Darts Masters winner Damon Heta of Australia and Japanese duo Seigo Asada and Yuki Yamada.

Young talents Keane Barry, Nico Kurz and Danny Lauby are also among the list of entrants, alongside former World Youth Champions Arron Monk and James Hubbard.

Former BDO champion Mark Webster, who lost his PDC Tour Card at the end of 2019, has opted not to compete at Qualifying School in 2020.

BDO World Championship Review – Day 7. Suzuki & Barry Claim Titles as Williams & Warren to Make Up All Welsh Final.

Mikuru Suzuki retains her BDO Ladies World Championship title as she defeated Lisa Ashton in straight sets on Saturday evening. After coming through a tough encounter with Beau Greaves in the semi-final, the Japanese star saved her best stuff for the final.

Ashton had not dropped a set on route to the final, but found herself in trouble early on against Suzuki. With both players averaging in the high 80’s, it was the ruthless finishing of Suzuki that gave her the initiative.

‘The Lancashire Rose’ would have chances to close out the first set but couldn’t make them count, Suzuki once again showing her ruthless side as she powered into a 2-0 lead. It would be plane sailing for there on as the pressure heaped on Ashton. Suzuki winning the title for a second successive year, beating the number one seed in the final.

Warren defeated Scott Mitchell to advance to the final.


It will be an all Welsh BDO Men’s final as Wayne Warren and Jim Williams both won through their respective semi-finals on Saturday evening.

After a quick start from 2015 World Champion Scott Mitchell, Warren was able to peg him back going into the first interval. ‘Yank’ would take the lad for the first time in the contest as the 2-1 scoreline was reversed with Warren leading 3-2.

Despite six perfect darts in the pivotal leg of set six, a magnificent 121 checkout from Mitchell would peg him back to 3-3. From there on Warren would put down a marker, stamping his authority on the game as he reached a first World Championship final aged 58.

Jim Williams came through a tough semi in his attempt to emulate close friend Glen Durrant!
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG GROUP JIM WILLIAMS IN ACTION

He later found out he would face good friend Jim Williams in the final after he squeezed past (Super) Mario Vandenbogaerde. In a game of consistent scoring and the occasional missed double, it was impossible to separate the two as they went stride by stride in the opening six sets.


That was when Williams would make his advantage count, nailing two consecutive sets and making Vandenbogaerde pay for missed doubles. Despite a brief comeback from the Belgian, Williams would finally close out the contest, setting up that all Welsh final for Sunday evening.

Barry added another crown to his impressive 2019/20 collection.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG KEANE BARRY IN ACTION


In the World Youth Final, Keane Barry proved to have too much for 13-year-old Leighton Bennett as he recorded a 3-0 scoreline. ‘Boom Boom’ defeated Nathan Girvan to claim the title 12 months again but the superior big stage experience of the Irishman was a factor as he claimed the crucial opening set.


Bennett missed two darts at double 16 to make things square, allowing Barry to double his advantage as he steamed towards the title. It would all be wrapped up in the third set as confidence continued to flow for Barry, who adds another prestigious trophy to his cabinet.

Womens World Final: Mikuru Suzuki 3-0 Lisa Ashton

Men’s Semi Finals:
Wayne Warren 6-3 Scott Mitchell 
Jim Williams 6-4 Mario Vandenbogaerde 

World Youth Final(BDO): Keane Barry 3-0 Leighton Bennett 

Barry Claims JDC Crown!

Keane Barry defeated Adam Gawlas 5-3 to crown an impressive year with victory in the JDC’s Scott Farms International Junior World Championship final at Alexandra Palace on Saturday.

Barry & Gawlas.
Pic PDC

Irish teenager Barry, 17, has broken through in 2019 and made a big impression by winning the JDC’s DartConnect Junior International Open in September as well as the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay the following month.

Having also come through the early rounds of the Junior World Championship in Gibraltar in September, Barry took to the stage alongside emerging Czech Republic ace Gawlas to claim the newly-titled Tommy Cox Trophy.

Gawlas – the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship runner-up last month – took an early lead in the final and countered a 117 finish from Barry with a 120 combination to level in leg four.

Barry followed a 90 finish on the bull with a 14-darter as he moved 4-2 up, with Gawlas taking out 106 to reply before double four secured glory.

“It’s an amazing feeling – it’s everything you ever dream of to be a World Champion,” said Barry, who averaged 93. “This year has been very busy but very enjoyable as well.

“Everything’s going right for me and I’m playing really good darts, and the hard work is starting to pay off, so I’m really happy to get the win.

“There’s some amazing talent in the JDC, even in the Academies, and it’s great to see. The standard is really going through the roof and the JDC is brilliant.

“It gives you great opportunities and there’s a lot bigger things to come for the JDC.”

Pic – PDC

Gawlas has only been playing since February 2019, but after breaking through with a European Tour appearance in August has been tipped for a big future in the sport.

“It’s an amazing achievement for Adam – he’s a really good thrower,” said Barry. “He got to the World Youth Championship final and that takes some doing.

“He’s not even been throwing for a year so who knows what he can do in the next three or four years. It’s good to see and he’s a very good player, and I’d like to see how he’s going to get on in the next few years.

“Hopefully we’ll be playing more on the tour together.”

Barry’s Irish Matchplay success had secured his spot in the World Championship, where he took on Vincent van der Voort last Monday, and the teenager is now setting his sights on securing a PDC Tour Card at the 2020 Qualifying School.

“Having had the game against Vincent gave me more confidence,” added Barry. “This game was a different pressure – I wasn’t expected to win against Vincent but I got the feel of the stage and that was a big factor.

“Hopefully this won’t be my last time on stage and we’ll see what next year brings. It gives me the hunger to get my head down, get the practice in and hopefully be here next year and for the next few years.

“If I don’t get a Tour Card it’s not really the end of the world, I can play on the Challenge Tour and Development Tour and it’s a really exciting year ahead.”

Following the success of the JDC’s Festival of Darts in Gibraltar in September – which featured the early rounds of the Junior World Darts Championship alongside the Junior International Open and the Junior World Cup – the JDC have committed to staging events in the new Europa Point facility for the next six years.

The JDC’s 2020 Junior Darts Tour, for players aged 10-18, will feature ten events in the UK ahead of a Grand Finals in August, with the Junior World Championship then being held later in the year.

2020 Scott Farms International Junior Darts Tour

Events 1-2 – January 25, Rileys Solihull

Events 3-4 – February 15, Rileys Worcester

Events 5-6 – March 14, Rileys Wolverhampton

Events 7-8 – April 11, Rileys Coventry

Events 9-10 – May 9, Rileys Manchester

Events 11-12 – June 6, Rileys Worcester

For further details, visit www.juniordarts.com or follow @JDCDarts on Twitter. Entry and membership information can be seen at www.jdcshop.net.


ENDS

Anderson Eases Through – Day Four Round – Up.

Gary Anderson enjoyed a perfect start to his 2019/20 William Hill World Darts Championship campaign with a convincing 3-0 victory over Brendan Dolan on Monday at London’s Alexandra Palace.

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG
ROUND2 GARY ANDERSON V BRENDAN DOLAN GARY ANDERSON IN ACTION

Day Four of darts’ biggest event saw two-time World Champion Anderson get off to a slow start as he averaged under 80 in the opening set.

However, the Scot improved as the contest went on, piling in seven 180s and hitting a 144 checkout on his way to a straight-forward win.

“I’ve been playing really well on the practice board but I went up there tonight and I was nowhere near it in the first set because of nerves,” Anderson admitted.

“But there were some good signs there, the 180s and 140s are coming back and there were a few moments when I felt in full flow up there.

“I’ve not had a lot of stage time this year so I’m a bit out of practice and because of that I felt so nervous walking on stage.

“I’ve had four days solid on the practice board and I’ve been really happy with the way they’re going so hopefully we will see that come out in the rest of the tournament.”

Earlier in the night Keane Barry became the third youngest player to compete in the World Championship, but he was whitewashed 3-0 by Vincent van der Voort.

WILLIAM HILL PDC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2020 ALEXANDRA PALACE LONDON PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG ROUND1 VINCENT VAN DER VOORT V KEANE BARRY KEANE BARRY IN ACTION

Both the first two sets went to a deciding leg, with Dutchman Van der Voort showing his experience to hit crucial doubles at key moments to keep Barry at bay.

The young Irishman averaged 91.72 on his big stage debut, hitting three 180s but he was powerless to stop the Van der Voort assault, and he will now face tenth seed Dave Chisnall.

“It definitely wasn’t a comfortable game to play in, I’m so happy to win,” said Van der Voort.

“Keane is a quality young player with so much potential, the way he hits the treble 20 is frightening.

“But at the key moments he didn’t deliver and thankfully I managed to hit the big shots at the right moments.

“I’m known as a quick player but at one point I thought ‘I need to slow down’ because he’s playing too fast for me!

“Dave is a great player, he’s in the top ten in the world so I will be giving everything I have to win that one.”

Callan Rydz enjoyed a debut to remember as he came through a dramatic sudden-death leg with Steve Lennon.

Irish World Cup runner-up Lennon got off to the best possible start, winning the opening set 3-0, only for 21-year-old Rydz to win the next two sets without dropping a leg.

The fourth set was also won to nil by Lennon to take the tie to a fifth and final set, and after Rydz took the first two legs of the decider, Lennon produced back-to-back 15-dart legs to take the match all the way to a last-leg shoot-out.

Rydz was first to a finish but the Northumbrian wired the bullseye for a 161 finish, meaning Lennon had a chance to take out 87.

The Irishman missed two match darts at double 18, allowing Rydz a shot at 25 for the match which he took with a last dart double two.

There was better fortune for Lennon’s World Cup partner William O’Connor, who breezed past experienced Fin Marko Kantele 3-0.

Despite not being at his best, O’Connor managed to land six 180s and never allowed Kantele a way into the contest, and he will now await world number three Gerwyn Price in the second round.

The William Hill World Championship continues on Tuesday with two sessions of first and second round play, as rising Dutch star takes on Darin Young who ended Raymond van Barneveld’s career on Saturday.

Day Five will be broadcast live on the Sky Sports Darts channel and through NOW TV in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

Monday December 16 (1900 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round
Steve Lennon 2-3 Callan Rydz (First Round)
William O’Connor 3-0 Marko Kantele (First Round)
Vincent van der Voort 3-0 Keane Barry (First Round) 
Gary Anderson 3-0 Brendan Dolan (Second Round)

Tuesday December 17
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round
Ryan Searle v Robbie King (First Round)
Cristo Reyes v Lourence Ilagan (First Round) 
Rowby-John Rodriguez v Noel Malicdem (First Round) 
Krzysztof Ratajski v Zoran Lerchbacher (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round
Ritchie Edhouse v Boris Koltsov (First Round) 
Jose De Sousa v Damon Heta (First Round)
Ted Evetts v Fallon Sherrock (First Round) 
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Darin Young (Second Round)

ENDS

This Week – Darts World’s FlashBack Moments.

The thirteenth to the twentieth of October has included some exceptional moments in darting history. Perhaps the greatest of all such moments was produced by John Lowe (MBE) in 1984.

John Lowe is presented with his MBE.

‘Old Stoneface’ had looked like the most likely candidate to hit the first televised 9 dart leg and claim a slice of sporting immortality. That unemotional demeanour and fluid but steady style seemed unrufflable.

The platform was the MFI World Matchplay. One of the many TV events that had sprung up during darts’ first golden era (the 1970s – late 1980s), the MFI featured many of the worlds best and winning it was a tough road.

The sponsors had offered £100,000 for the first televised perfect leg and, in his match vs Keith Deller, Lowe delivered. His route of 180, 180, T17, T18 & D18 was one not seen since. Have another look at it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3M4p1LFcxSk

Not wanting to be seen as lucky, John vowed to win the event, which he duly did. Lowe claimed the £100,000 plus £4k for the highest checkout as well as a winners cheque of £12,000. A combined total of £116,000 not bad in 1984!

Daryl Gurney first rose to prominence during this week in 2012. ‘Superchin’ claimed the Tom Kirby memorial event in the corresponding week seven years ago. The TK is a very taxing event to win, with the final being played during the World Grand Prix, and carries a place in the PDC world champs as a testament to its standing. Winners have often gone on to great success.

Gurney’s victory brought him to the attention of the MDA management team, who thought he may have what it took to play on the PDC tour. Despite a slow start, they turned out to be correct! Gurney has claimed two major TV titles, a plethora of other crowns and a place in the worlds top five.

Perhaps this years winner Kean Barry will go on to emulate Gurney or match Micheal Mansell, another Kirby memorial winner, who has also had great success on the PDC tours.

This week also marked a milestone in what would prove to be the purple patch of Bob Anderson’s storied career. In 1987 Bob claimed the first major, The MFI World Matchplay, of what turned into a superb run. In defeating Cliff Lazarenko (Qtr), Mike Gregory (Semi) and John Lowe (Final) Bob won twelve sets and dropped only two.

The ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ was having a decent year already, reaching multiple finals and semis, but this victory was the turning point. During the next three months, he went on to retain the World Masters and then storm to a superb World Championship triumph early in 1988.

Over the next few years, Anderson claimed almost every available title, was ranked No.1 in the world, helped form the PDC and assured his place as one of the true legends of darts.

Barry Claims Tom Kirby Memorial & Ally Pally Place.

Keane Barry produced a rousing comeback to win the 2019 Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay final in dramatic fashion with a 6-5 defeat of Liam Gallagher in Dublin on Saturday.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
TOM KIRBY IRISH MATCHPLAY FINAL LIAM GALLAGHER V KEANE BARRY KEANE BARRY IN ACTION WINS

Teenager Barry will now compete in the William Hill World Darts Championship for the first time in December after claiming the top domestic honour.

Galway’s Gallagher, 23, impressed as he came from a leg down to lead 3-1 as a 68 finish broke throw either side of two tops finishes.

Barry, a 17-year-old from Duleek, responded with a 12-darter, but Gallagher took the next two legs to move to the brink of victory at 5-2.

However, he would pay for missing ten-match darts across the next three legs as Barry took out 96, double 16 and 106 to save the match as the tie went to a sudden-death leg.

Barry then missed two match darts himself as the tension inside the Citywest Convention Centre rose further, only for Gallagher to miss an 11th chance for victory as he failed to land tops for a 117 finish, allowing his rival back to land double six and complete a stirring fightback.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
TOM KIRBY IRISH MATCHPLAY F FINAL LIAM GALLAGHER V KEANE BARRY KEANE BARRY IN ACTION WINS

“It’s a dream come true and I’m over the moon,” said Barry, who landed five 180s in the contest. “I really enjoyed myself up there.

“Liam got ahead and had a lot of chances in the game but he didn’t take them, and when I got my chances I took them and scraped over the line.

“The 106 to go five-all really turned it over, the crowd was on my side and it was an amazing feeling to win. Hearing the crowd singing my name gave me goosebumps.”

Barry had already secured one Alexandra Palace appearance in December after winning through to the final of the Scott Farms International Junior World Championship on the JDC circuit.

He also sits tenth on the PDC Unicorn Development Tour Order of Merit this year, and is on course to be the youngest competitor in this year’s World Championship.

“I’m in the JDC final already so it was a free shot,” added Barry. “It’s a dream when you’re younger [to play in the World Championship] – you watch it every year and you think you’d love to be there so it’s really special for me.

“It’s a dream come true very early but I’m going to make the most of it and we’ll see what I can do there. I’ll try and enjoy it and I know that if I play my own game I can beat anyone.”

World Grand Prix – Semi-Finals.

Michael van Gerwen and Dave Chisnall will clash in the 2019 BoyleSports World Grand Prix final on Saturday following their big semi-final victories over Chris Dobey and Glen Durrant.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
SEMI-FINAL GLEN DURRANT V DAVE CHISNALL DAVE CHISNALL IN ACTION

Reigning champion Van Gerwen remains on course to retain the title for the first time following his imperious defeat of Dobey at Dublin’s Citywest Convention Centre.

The world number one punished three missed finishing doubles from Dobey in the opening leg, and asserted his dominance by taking the opening set 3-1.

Dobey – appearing in his first televised semi-final – hit back strongly to lead 2-0 in the second with legs of 13 and 14 darts, only to see Van Gerwen take the next two to level before a 156 checkout sealed the set for the Dutchman.

Van Gerwen also came from 1-0 and 2-1 behind to win the third set, hitting a 13-darter in the deciding leg, as he charged towards a victory which was sealed in ruthless fashion as he took the fourth set without reply.

“It feels phenomenal to be in the final,” said Van Gerwen. “I love this tournament and it’s a great feeling when you play well and reach the final.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
SEMI FINAL MICHAEL VAN GERWEN V CHRIS DOBEY CHRIS DOBEY IN ACTION

“Chris has done so well this week but I kept him under pressure. He had nothing to lose and has got a lot of talent, but it was difficult for him tonight.

“I think I did the right things at the right moments, like the 156 to win the second set. It wasn’t as easy as the score would say and I can improve, so I have to prepare myself right for the final.”

Chisnall, meanwhile, won through to his second World Grand Prix final at with a 4-1 defeat of Durrant, as he bids to erase the memory of a 6-0 whitewash to Phil Taylor in the 2013 showpiece.

The world number 11 was flawless in his finishing as he took the first set without reply, before Durrant took out 154 and 87 as he levelled in the same manner in set two.

Chisnall, though, landed the maximum 170 checkout as he came from a leg down to win the third set in a deciding leg, and the fourth went also all the way.

Durrant led 2-1 before Chisnall took out a 140 finish and then punished the Lakeside Champion’s miss at tops for the set in the deciding leg to open up a 3-1 lead in the match.

Chisnall moved to the brink of victory at 2-0 in set five, with Durrant then finishing 112 to save the game before landing double ten to level the set, only to see his rival take the deciding leg on top to seal the win.

“I enjoyed it and I’m over the moon to be in the final,” said Chisnall. “Glen’s such a good player and he made it tough for me. He’s a three-time World Champion and he never gave up.

“I scored well but my starting wasn’t brilliant and I struggled to hit tops tonight. Double 18 saved me a few times too and the 170 was special, but the fourth set was the crucial one.

“It was nip and tuck and Glen could have won that fourth set, so the 25 I took out was massive. I’m very happy to be through but I want to play better in the final.

“I was poor in the 2013 final and I only won two legs, but that’s gone now and I want to win the title this time.”

Van Gerwen has been installed as BoyleSports’ 2/9 favourite to take the £110,000 top prize on Saturday night, with Chisnall the 10/3 outsider as he chases his maiden televised title.

Those odds reflect Van Gerwen’s dominance in the pair’s career record, with the Dutchman unbeaten in 26 matches since 2016 against Chisnall, who last took victory in a televised tie between the pair in the 2013 World Grand Prix quarter-finals.

“My record against Dave is great but I still have to make sure I perform in the final,” added Van Gerwen. “I have to keep putting him under pressure to that he starts missing but he’s been brilliant in this tournament so far.”

Saturday’s decider will be preceded by the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay final between Keane Barry and Liam Gallagher, which will be televised live by Sky Sports from 1915.

The winner of top domestic honour will progress to compete in the William Hill World Darts Championship in December.

BoyleSports World Grand Prix

Friday October 11

Semi-Finals

Dave Chisnall 4-1 Glen Durrant (3-0, 0-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2)

Michael van Gerwen 4-0 Chris Dobey (3-1, 3-2, 3-2, 3-0)

Saturday October 12 (2000 BST start)

Final

Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall

Best of nine sets

Preceded by Tom Kirby Irish Matchplay final (1915 BST)

Liam Gallagher v Keane Barry

Best of 11 legs

ENDS