Current front line hero, NHS worker, Keegan Brown claimed his first cover position back in 2015. Brown had recently claimed his maiden PDC Pro Tour Title:
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Unibet Home Tour Group 12 – Tuesday April 28 Max Hopp 3-5 Mike De Decker Keegan Brown 3-5 Conan Whitehead – result void Mike De Decker 2-5 Conan Whitehead Max Hopp v Keegan Brown – match not played Keegan Brown v Mike De Decker – match not played Conan Whitehead 3-5 Max Hopp Mike De Decker 3-5 Max Hopp Max Hopp 5-2 Conan Whitehead Conan Whitehead 1-5 Mike De Decker
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Unibet Home Tour Group 12 – Tuesday April 28 (1930 BST) Max Hopp v Mike De Decker Keegan Brown v Conan Whitehead Mike De Decker v Conan Whitehead Max Hopp v Keegan Brown Keegan Brown v Mike De Decker Conan Whitehead v Max Hopp
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As well as being shown through a series of bookmakers’ websites, the Unibet Home Tour will also be broadcast live by a number of the PDC’s international broadcast partners listed below.
Keegan Brown will swap his white lab coat for his trademark pink darts shirt as he returns to PDC action by competing in the Unibet Home Tour on Tuesday night.
Brown has been part of the NHS workforce over the past month during the global Coronavirus pandemic, expanding his part-time role in a testing laboratory on the Isle of Wight for full-time shifts at the hospital.
The former World Youth Champion will be using one of his days off to compete alongside Max Hopp, Conan Whitehead and Mike De Decker in Group 12 of the Home Tour.
“We stopped playing tournaments in mid-March, so it’s probably the longest break I’ve had from playing since I was 13,” admitted Brown.
“I’ve tried to do some practice in my spare time at home to keep my arm in, but it’s not been that much. The last week or so I’ve tried to make two or three hours a day to make sure that I’m not playing from memory.
“We’ve planned me being on the Home Tour on the second of two days off so that I’ve been able to do some more practice to prepare.”
Brown has previously juggled part-time midweek hours in the blood sciences department with his playing career, but has put his skills to good use as a key worker in recent weeks.
“It’s more or less the same role, but the shifts are longer and different hours,” he said. “As we’re support workers, it’s a 24/7 rota so I’m still on call – even on Tuesday when I’m playing in the Home Tour!
“There are procedures in place for us to stay safe and we’re following the guidelines that are there to keep us safe and well.
“I’ve had a lot of supportive messages from other players and it’s been overwhelming. It’s a nice feeling and it shows that people appreciate what people are doing in these tough times.
“I take my hats off to all of the key workers who are working at the moment – it’s not just me. My life has not changed as much as others.
“I’ve found out about another PDC player, Aaron Beeney, who is working full-time still as a prison officer, and so many people are doing such amazing things.”
Brown is one of two former World Youth Champions in action on Tuesday, alongside Germany’s Hopp – the 2015 winner who succeeded the Isle of Wight ace in lifting the trophy – while Belgian youngster De Decker is a four-time winner on the PDC Unicorn Development Tour.
Whitehead, meanwhile, is a five-time UK Open Qualifier who is in his second stint as a Tour Card Holder on the PDC circuit.
JR Lott looked at who really could ‘Fight The Power‘. His ‘Six of the Best’ contains players from different generations with many differing styles. While some are relatively predictable. Others are less so:
Darts World’s ‘Six of the Best’ is not usually my type of writing. But, while researching a different article, I happened upon a review Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor’s career. It was interesting to note that only Rob Cross has a majority of competitive wins against Phil and even that was in their one and only encounter.
So who else performed best against the player many regard as the GOAT? Our friends at dartsdatabase.com offered some clues.
Six: Chizzy (Win rate 28%).
Dave Chisnall has a very solid record vs Phil. Although twenty eight percent may not seem very high, it’s close to one win in three, and includes some superb moments. Chizzy defeated ‘The Power’ in their initial encounters, both on the Pro Tour and TV.
The St. Helens man’s victory at the 2012 World Championship was quite the shock to watching audiences, although those closer to the game, thought it ‘on the cards’.
It is to be noted that Chizzy is a huge 180 hitter and can produce devastating scoring spells. (32 Matches).
Five: Gary Anderson (Win rate 20%).
The Flying Scotsman‘s record against ‘ The Power’ stretches back to 2007 when he won their debut encounter in the World Darts Trophy. Phil reversed this a few weeks later, at the Grand Slam of Darts, and held the upper hand for the next four years.
Between 2011 and 2017 Gary inched closer and won a higher and higher percentage of their matches. His 2015 World Championship victory, in the final, over The Power was, perhaps, the high-point.
Anderson too is a huge scorer. (57 Matches).
Four: Peter Wright (Win rate 33%)
Snakebite is the first in our list to claim wins more than a third of his encounters with the Stoke-on-Trent legend. Wright lost nine-out-of-ten of their early encounters, the tenth was a draw! Wrighty finally claimed victory in the, non ranked, Dubai Masters. Weeks later Peter gained an important win, the Qtr final of the UK Open of 2015.
The tide had turned, the Scottish thrower gained in successes until he too was winning around half of his tussles with Taylor. These wins partially offset the early defeats and enabled a fine record to be built. (33 Matches).
Peter also features heavily on 180 hitting tables.
Three: Micheal Van Gerwyn (43.33%)
MVG‘s rumbles with The Power cover more than a decade while also charting Micheal’s rise, slump and triumphant return. Early on the young Dutchman did well, claiming two, from three, of their early encounters. Phil, again, learnt adapted and defeated Micheal on the next fifteen occasions that they met. In 2012 a reversal of fortune began.
MVG began to get the upper hand and steadily improved his record against the player with whom he will always be compared. Michael racked up more than twenty wins between 2012 and 2017.
Even with this superb spell of form he could not totally conquer ‘The Power’.
Phil used his experience, professionalism and matchplay skills to limit the damage and score major wins during this time. Most memorable were Taylor’s 2013 World Championship (final) win, known to the the Darts World coach as ‘darting rope-a-dope’, and the demolition of Micheal in the 2016 Matchplay.
‘Mighty Mike’ clocks over 40% and solely in the modern PDC era! (60 matches).
Two: Rod Harrington (43.75%)
Harrington is a very unusual player in this list. The former World Master dominated Taylor during their early rivalries. Indeed, Rod claimed six out of eight initial skirmishes. Also unusually he claimed most of those wins in finals and semi finals.
Taylor then reversed the tables and completed a series of heavier and heavier defeats upon Harrington. During their last eight encounter it was Phil who clocked up a seven-one run. Again, most of these encounters were finals or later stage matches.
Their rivalry may not include as many matches others in the games history, but Taylor vs Harrington was conducted during a tough time for the sport and mainly at the highest level. To get even close, to a 50% record, is a remarkable effort and shared by only one other. (16 Matches).
One: Peter Evison: (Win rate 50%)
The Fenn Tiger sits alone in our table of those who fought ‘The Power’. Over a thirteen year time-span the two clashed in the Winmau World Masters, the early PDC (WDC) Lada Masters, The World Matchplay and The World Grand Prix.
Across all formats, both BDO and PDC events, and during different stages of their careers. Peter Evison comes out even.
Each player handed the other a terrible beating, or two, with Evison’s 8-1 demolition of Taylor, at his ‘home’ venue in Blackpool, at the World Matchplay being his high-point.
Later, Taylor (once more!) turned the tide and inflicted heavy defeats of his own. But, despite his best efforts, ‘The Power’ was unable to was unable to best ‘The Tiger’ overall. (8 Matches).
To illustrate how difficult it was to get even a single win, vs The Power, here are the six who suffered most his hands.
Nathan Aspinall produced an astonishing display to land his fourth senior PDC title at Players Championship 2 in Barnsley on Sunday.
World number eight Aspinall, who was in inspired form throughout the day, hit a nine-dart finish and a 117.5 average in his 6-4 quarter-final win over Peter Wright.
An incredible contest between Aspinall and Wright produced a combined average of 115.59, the highest combined match average recorded in PDC history.
Aspinall, who recovered from 5-3 down to defeat Keegan Brown 6-5 in the last 32, followed up his quarter-final triumph with his third ton-plus average of the day in whitewashing Gabriel Clemens 7-0 in the semi-final.
UK Open and US Masters champion Aspinall continued his scintillating form into an all-Premier League final with Gerwyn Price where he ran out an 8-3 winner against the Welshman to claim his second ProTour title.
“I’ve never thrown darts like that, the last two hours of play I just felt like I wasn’t going to miss,” said a delighted Aspinall.
“To throw such a big average against the World Champions makes it even more special.
“This weekend I’ve felt brilliant and I’ve beaten some quality players, I’m very happy to win my second ProTour title.
“I’m still on cloud nine to be in the Premier League. I’m still new to this game, I’m still learning.
“I know what I can do and I want to show it more consistently.”
The second of 30 Players Championship events in 2020 also saw nine-dart finishes hit by Keegan Brown and Scott Baker, making it five perfect legs in the opening weekend of the new season.
Canada’s Jeff Smith, who reached the final of Saturday’s Players Championship 1, continued his impressive return to the ProTour after a seven-year absence by reaching the last 16.
Two-time BDO Champion Scott Waites also made it to the last 16 stage, along with newcomer Jason Lowe.
The 2020 PDC ProTour continues with Players Championship Events 3 and 4 in Wigan from February 15-16, with live streaming on PDCTV.
See full Players Championship 2 results in the Match Centre.
Players Championship Two Sunday February 9 Last 16 Jamie Hughes 6-5 Michael van Gerwen Gabriel Clemens 6-4 James Wade Peter Wright 6-2 Jose De Sousa Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Jason Lowe Ross Smith 6-1 Scott Waites Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Jeff Smith Gerwyn Price 6-5 Michael Smith Mickey Mansell 6-2 Kirk Shepherd
Quarter-Finals Gabriel Clemens 6-2 Jamie Hughes Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Peter Wright Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-4 Ross Smith Gerwyn Price 6-0 Mickey Mansell
Semi-Finals Nathan Aspinall 7-0 Gabriel Clemens Gerwyn Price 7-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode
PETER WRIGHT and Daryl Gurney were among the four players to make it through to the second round of the 2019 Betfred World Matchplay in Blackpool on Monday.
Night Three of the summer’s biggest darts event saw the final four first-round matches take place, with 2017 runner-up Wright safely navigating his way into the last 16 thanks to a 10-5 victory over Vincent van der Voort.
World Cup winner Wright came into the tournament in sensational form, and after going 2-0 down the Scot produced a roof-raising 164 checkout to get his first leg on the board.
From there Wright warmed to his task and soon found himself 4-2 ahead, but a dogged Van der Voort stuck with the number six seed to trail 6-5.
That was as good as it got for the Dutch stalwart as Wright put his foot to the floor to reel off the final four legs, ending the tie with a 102 average, to set up a meeting with Simon Whitlock.
“I had to play really well because Vincent was fantastic,” said Wright, who posted the highest winning average of round one.
“It’s about time I come into this tournament feeling good, I normally come into it feeling tired and its felt like hard work. This time I’m feeling nice and fresh.
“Whoever I play in this tournament will have to play well, otherwise they’re going home.”
Earlier in the night, two-time World Matchplay semi-finalist Whitlock defied a six-point deficit in the averages to battle his way to a 10-8 success over John Henderson, with the Australian number one now having the chance to avenge his crushing quarter-final defeat to Wright in 2018.
A 112 checkout from Whitlock put him into a 5-3 lead, only for Henderson to burst into life and rattle off the next three legs to go in front for the first time at 6-5.
The pendulum then swung back in Whitlock’s favour as he won four successive legs, the last of which was won with a 124 checkout, to go within a leg of the match.
Henderson rallied with finishes of 97 and 81, but after the Scottish crowd favourite missed four darts to take the match to a tie-break, Whitlock found double eight with his last dart in hand to seal his path through to round two.
“That was a fantastic game,” said Whitlock. “Hendo is the nicest guy on tour but, jeez, can that guy play darts!
“I felt so good in practice and I’ve been pretty good in Blackpool. I feel comfortable on this stage.”
Whitlock has been struggling with tendinitis around his elbow,, but said: “I’m good now. It’s really affected me in the last few weeks and I’ve been a bit restricted.”
Former semi-finalist Gurney landed nine 180s on his way to a 10-7 victory over debutant Ricky Evans.
Missed doubles from the number three seed allowed Evans to keep in touch at 4-3, before Gurney found his range on the outer ring to stretch his advantage to 7-3.
Evans then began to settle onto the famous stage, winning four of the next five legs to go within a leg of the Northern Irishman at 8-7.
With Evans waiting on 24 to level and take the game to a grandstand finale, Gurney showed composure to find double six with his last dart in hand, before sealing the win in the following leg with another third-dart checkout, this time on double two.
“If I had gone off the boil and he was getting six darts at double per leg then I would’ve been panicking, but as it was I always felt quite calm and confident of winning,” said Gurney, who will now face Keegan Brown.
“I’m happy with the win. You’ve got to be in it to win it, and I’m still in it. I’ve got another couple of gears to go through and I’ll need to unlock those if I’m going to win the tournament.
“I know I’m in for a tough game against Keegan, I saw him on the practice board earlier and he was hitting everything, but hopefully I can come out on top and progress to the quarter-final.”
Brown landed four ton-plus checkouts to edge out 14th seed Jonny Clayton 10-8 in a nip and tuck contest.
There was never more than a leg between the pair in the opening 11 legs, before leg 12 saw Clayton fire in a 14-darter to break throw.
However, the Welshman failed to press home the advantage and Brown punished him with a third successful visit to double 16 followed by a magnificent 127 finish on the bullseye, adding to his earlier checkouts of 148 and 134.
At 8-8 Brown struck a pivotal 109 checkout to break throw and go 9-8 in front, before the former World Youth Champion found double top to book his place in the last 16 for the second time in Blackpool.
The second round begins on Tuesday, as two-time World Matchplay winner Michael van Gerwen faces Glen Durrant, while reigning champion Gary Anderson continues his quest for back-to-back titles against Mervyn King.
2018 finalist Mensur Suljovic takes on 2007 champion James Wade, while World Championship finalist Michael Smith opens up against Germany’s Max Hopp.
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