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 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.
The PDC Q School experiment appears to have been a remarkable success, from most perspectives. The huge entry this year confirmed its popularity. The European branch has grown rapidly and is becoming more and more important.
Jacco Krookis a dutch writer who looked at the event before its start and even sought our view on who would qualify. It should be noted DartsWorld did very well for a UK based publication! We called Sedlacek, De Decker and more. Jacco has produced a review and kindly allowed us to introduce you to it here:
With the European Q-School 2020 coming to an end I thought it is time to look back on what happened the last couple of days in Hildesheim. Eleven players from eight different countries have won a PDC tour card for the coming two years. In this review I will look back per country on the players who surprised and disappointed me. The focus is on the eight countries who have delivered one or more new PDC tour card holders and some countries which took my attention.
Czech Republic Karel Sedlacek was the top favourite for most fans, to earn a PDC tour card, if someone from the Czech Republic would win. Karel Sedlacek wrote history, because he is the first ever player from the Czech Republic winning a PDC tour card. Ondrej Kysilka also showed what he is capable of by reaching the quarter finals on day two, but this wasn’t enough for him to earn a PDC tour card. Adam Gawlas, the runner-up of the PDC World Championship youth, only got three points with his best result being a last 64 spot on day four. But, Gawlas might be a player to look out for in the future, since he still is very young.
France Thibault Tricole was one of the players to watch in my opinion after playing great on the BDO World Championship as first ever French player to make it to a World Championship. He already just missed out a tour card at Q-School 2019. The Frenchman had a great start reaching the last 16 on day one and last 32 on day two and three. Tricole however lost in the last 128 on day four which meant he just like last year just came short of a PDC tour card ending 10th in the European Q-School Order of Merit.
For the full review, including the efforts of Austria, Germany, Poland and many more nations, click here:
Linda Duffy PhD. (@sportspsycoach) has a unique perspective on the sport of darts. As a player, Linda, then known as Linda Batten, was World Number 1, England International (Captain) and World Cup Singles Champions.
In management, Linda assisted the careers of two World Champions (Keith Deller & Bob Anderson). Later, after a competitive retirement, she completed her Doctorate and can now be found at Middlesex University, that’s when she is not assisting Josh Payne in his rise through the PDC.
Our resident coach sought Linda’s opinion on Q School 2020, the BDO scenario and other current issues in the world of darts:
Coach: As a player, manger and coach, you have multiple perspectives on Q School. What’s it like attending and wearing multiple hats?
Linda: It’s a great event to attend with so many players of many different levels of skill, it’s fascinating because it’s not always the best players, that prevail.
Coach: Do you think Q School is an event that can be coached and prepared for and if so what are your top tips for those planning on an attempt in the future?
Linda: Yes, every sporting event takes meticulous planning and Q school is no different. Top tips are copious amounts of concentrated practice in the run up to the event. Timing is important, not too far away from the event but not too close either – you need to peak for the four days of the event. Stamina is also key so pacing yourself and practising to concentrate for a long period of time is important, not many players know how to do this effectively.
Coach: Do you think Q School is an accurate indicator of the likely success, long term, of a player on the professional tour?
Linda: No not necessarily, records will confirm this. Getting your tour card at Q school is not necessarily an accurate predictor of still having it after 2 years. I think many Tour players have to return to Q school to try to regain their cards.
Coach: Do you watch the players your connected too directly, from a distance or do you stay away from the board?
Linda: I get as close to the board as I can – I watch every dart thrown.
Coach: Do you think anyone should be able to enter and play Q School or should there be a level of assessment or qualification?
Linda: I think historically it’s been an effective way for players to have the opportunity to get a Tour Card but these days I think there are too many players who are not to the required level and maybe there should be some type of pre-Q school qualifier.
Coach: Is there anyone who, in your view, is less well known and might gain a card this year?
Linda:I wouldn’t like to say, I think it’s a bit of a lottery.
Coach: DW suggested Josh Payne for a ‘Challenger’ slot in this years PL. What do you think?
Linda: I think Josh would acquit himself well and his game would certainly stand up to the scrutiny but I prefer to focus on what is in a players own hands, not selection.
Coach: As a former BDO Champion and England International how do you view the current struggles within that code?
Linda: I think it’s very sad. The BDO is a valuable resource for the “amateur” game and a good provider of future PDC champions. The BICC is a perfect platform to hone your skills and, if adjusted, could get back to its former glory days when venues were filled all over Britain.
Coach: Glen Durrant performed superbly after getting a Tour Card last year. Do you see him doing so again in 2020 and could anyone in the years Q School repeat his achievements?
Linda: He did very well and I don’t really understand why so many people were surprised, he was a 3 time world champion with multiple titles to his name. I was more surprised by the success of Rob Cross. Both men are quality players are I don’t see why they wouldn’t do well every season.
Coach: Our columnist (JR Lott)http://www.dartsworld.com/?s=decade) has picked Lisa Ashton as one of the players of the decade, and it seems that female players are making more of an more impact across the game, would you like to have had played in this era or was being part of the first golden era satisfying enough?
Linda: I’m happy with my playing career and I achieved everything I set out to do and more. I played in an era with some great women players as competitors and had the privilege of playing with, travelling with and watching brilliant men such as Eric Bristow, John Lowe, Bobby George, Leighton Rees, Bob Anderson, Jocky Wilson, Keith Deller, Cliff Lazarenko and Tony Brown – I love competing so I would like to still be playing but I had a brilliant time playing back in the day so I’m more than happy.
Coach: Linda is one of the best informed people in our sport. Her huge experience, now allied with academic research and alternate perspectives of player, manager and coach, make her an almost unique resource. We don’t always agree on every nuance, but as you can see from the above, she is more than likely correct!
• Dr Linda Duffy is a former World No.1 dart player, England captain, World Cup singles champion, two-time British Open champion, European Champion and is now a consultant sport psychologist at Middlesex University.
Steve ‘Bomber’ Brown has opted to miss the finals days knockout at Q School 2020. The Bristol man also heads the JDC (Junior Darts Corporation) and had previously arranged business abroad.
Bomber surprised many with a superb first two days and has amassed ten points on toward the overall table. A minimum of the twelve player will advance from this section and bomber is currently ranked number five. He appears to be in with a strong chance of regaining his place on the Pro Tour.
However, Steve is a risk of being pipped to the post on two counts. Firstly, there is a large group of players who move past him, and with points gained on the last day, with Steve unable to respond. Secondly, should players manage to tie with Steve they could move past him on leg won or leg difference due to his absence on the final day.
Trying to operate several business enterprises, as well as family commitments, may prove a challenge to Steve should he succeed in gaining a card. However darts is one of the few sports where a top level career and another profession seem, just about, manageable!
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.
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.
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
Quarter-Finals 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
Semi-Finals Karel Sedlacek 5-3 Michael Hurtz Berry van Peer 5-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Gary Blades, Jason Lowe and Harald Leitinger were the first three players to win PDC Tour Cards on Day One of the 2020 PDC Qualifying Schools.
The trio all won a Tour Card for the first time with their successes in Wigan and Hildesheim as over 800 players began their quest to secure spots on the PDC circuit.
Lincoln’s Blades, a 39-year-old planner for Anglian Water, makes his return to the circuit after seeing off Tony Newell 5-1 to win their decider in the UK Qualifying School in Wigan.
Blades had previously competed from 2005-2010 on the PDC circuit – competing in the 2005 and 2007 UK Opens – before stepping away from the top level for eight years.
However, his success in claiming eight victories on Thursday – including a 5-2 win over four-time Women’s World Champion Lisa Ashton – saw him claim a coveted two-year PDC Tour Card.
“I’m feeling like this is a weird dream,” admitted Blades. “I didn’t expected today to happen but it has – I’m surprised and ecstatic.
“I stepped away partly because of work and partly because I wasn’t playing well enough. I had a go last year and did okay, but in the last few months I’ve been playing really well.
“I’ve been consistent all day, which isn’t like me! I’ve hit good scores when I needed to and finishes when I needed to. It’s exciting knowing that when the ProTour starts I’ll be there playing the best players in the world.
“We’ll see what happens in the next two years now. Gerwyn Price and Rob Cross are the perfect examples of what can happen when you start testing yourself and get better, so hopefully I can follow in their footsteps.”
Lowe, a 47-year-old builder from Cradley Heath, will also compete full-time on the circuit for the first time since Tour Cards were introduced in 2011 after he was a 5-1 winner over Steve Brown in their final.
Lowe averaged over 100 in wins over Corey Burton and Andrew Foster, before seeing off recent World Championship qualifier Ritchie Edhouse, former Challenge Tour event winner Peter Jacques and 2012 World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton.
Lowe previously reached the last 32 as a qualifier at the 2018 UK Open, but had opted out of the 2019 Qualifying School and only decided to enter this year’s event an hour before the entry deadline on Tuesday.
“I’m totally shocked,” said Lowe. “I only entered at the last minute and there’s nobody more shocked than me today – I’ve played well and I’m thrilled.
“I’ve had some fantastic averages but in some matches I’ve missed some doubles and I’ve been lucky in a couple of games, but you need a bit of luck.
“I’ve got to up my game to stand a chance but I’ll put the practice in, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Austria’s Leitinger, 35, edged past Martijn Kleermaker 5-4 in their final in Hildesheim, after the Dutchman missed his chance to claim a Tour Card in their deciding leg.
Leitinger has only previously competed twice in PDC events, in 2011 and 2017, but will now get his chance to become a full-time professional in 2020 and 2021 after securing his status on the PDC circuit.
He won eight games on the day at Halle 39, including defeats of Austrian World Cup representative Zoran Lerchbacher and former World Youth Championship finalist Berry van Peer in deciding legs.
Leitinger also overcame Dutch duo Wesley Harms and Kay Smeets as well as Belgium’s Brian Raman in the latter stages as he progressed to claim a coveted Tour Card.
“Today was my first day at Q School and I’m very happy,” said Leitinger. “It was very hard for me, I had three games which were 5-4.
“It’s a surprise. I’ve been playing mainly [electronic] darts and now I’ll take the chance in steel darts.”
Kleermaker gained valuable ranking points in his bid to claim a PDC Tour Card, while Raman and Croatia’s Boris Krcmar were semi-finalists on Day One of the four-day Qualifying School in Hildesheim.
Fallon Sherrock, who made history as the first woman to win at the William Hill World Darts Championship last month, claimed three wins – including a 5-4 defeat of returning Paul Nicholson – as she won through to the last 64, before losing out to Darryl Pilgrim.
Ashton joined 2019 Brisbane Darts Masters winner Damon Heta and experienced pair Wayne Jones and Mark Dudbridge in reaching the last 32, while American prospect Danny Lauby joined Andy Hamilton, Robert Collins and Ryan Murray in the last eight.
The 2020 PDC Qualifying School continues on Friday with the second of four days of play, with a further three automatic Tour Cards on offer alongside valuable ranking points for players on the Q School Orders of Merit.
With the PDC European Q-School coming up our associate Jacoo Krook has asked some dartsfans, who could be regarded as experts, to offer their insights for previewing this event. For this first preview he selected Czech Republic and Poland as the most upcoming countries and therefore I gave them a separate section.
Poland If one thinks about an expert about Polish darts, Franky Pol is probably one of the most suggested names. That’s why I’ve asked him which 2 Polish players he would name to win a tourcard. Franky answered: ‘’Really difficult question in my opinion. I mean obviously Kanik is the big hope to get his Tourcard back you know. But then I would say either Steyer or Kciuk is the other big hope or maybe even Sawicki who lives in England. Białecki(16 years old) is there to get more confidence and I am convinced that he will play the Development tour which would be awesome.’’
If we look at the other experts picking a Polish player to win a PDC tour card it will probably be Sebastian Steyer or Krzysztof Kciuk. As Jacopo Ghirardon points out: ‘’From Poland I think Steyer it’s the best player over there not having a card and he’s a serious player so he can go for it’’ High Roller Radio says: ‘’I’ll say Krzysztof Kciuk. I’ve seen him put in some solid performances and on ‘Any Given Sunday’ who knows?’’ Andrew Sinclair admits: ‘’Sebastian Steyer and Krysztof Kciuk are better known, but I’ll tip Luaksz Sawicki. He has continued to improve and he’s a veteran of local English tournaments.’’ While Dan Hutchinson gives Tytus Kanik, who held a PDC tour card in 2018 and 2019, a good chance as well. Kanik is the favourite of Faria Darts Index as well. Martin Hawkins will pick Krzysztof Kciuk despite knowing ‘’Lukasz Sawicki has been doing well in some of the opens around the UK’’……
Our resident coach has eyes and ears all over the darting scene. For a little while he has been telling us about a few players he feels may come through to the next level. One of those he keeps coming back to is Rob Collins.
Collins’ record shows potential but is nothing to really get excited about. Yet ‘Coach’ is adamant that he is one to watch. Last year saw a definite improvement in his results and his late season BDO and open form was certainly eye catching.
Rob claimed the New Forest Masters, which is a tough, long standing event, at a cantor and seems to have attracted the interest of Red Dragon darts at some point, so perhaps ‘Coach’ is on to something.
We will keep an eye on Rob at Q School this year and see if he is ready to add to ‘Coach’s rep as a talent spotter!
Three time World Champion, and current PDC Premier League member, Glen Durrant offered his support to those at Q School this week. He may even visit to support BDO runner up and close friend Jim Williams.
Fans and friends present at Robin Park in Wigan in the next few days may catch a word or two with Glen. He is sure it will be a more relaxed visit this time round!
In a conversation with JR Lott, for next months print edition of Darts World, Durrant recalled the intense scrutiny of last years event.
I’ll be there, probably on the first day, to cheer on Jim. There was a huge amount of scrutiny last year which made it a tough few days
Glen Durrant to Darts World
Williams also made his Q School bow last year and, although not successful he, gained valuable experience which may serve him well in this years event.
Reigning BDO champ Wayne Warren will be looking to emulate Glen’s success, both at Q School and within the PDC, the 57 year old Welshman will have considerable less playing capital after the BDO’s first prize was reduced to £23,000. The lowest prize since 1989 was greeted with general disappointment amongst darts fans.
With well over 500 entrants it will be as important to manage your performance over the day as it will to play world class darts!
Our contributor, former UK Open finalist, The Wizard will also be attempting to gain the highly valued Tour Card and hopefully we can tempt him to a few words over the coming days.
There will be much more from JR’s conversation with Duzza over the coming days. So stay tuned and don’t forget to get your subscription to the longest running darts magazine in the world here: https://www.dartsworld.com/subscribe
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 heads the list of BDO players taking part, alongside runner-up Jim Williams and former champions Scott Mitchell and Scott Waites.
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.
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