RAPID Ricky Evans admits he’ll always be a bit “mad” as he aims to finally shake off the oche joker tag with major titles. The Kettering ace is never short on laughs as arguably the wackiest star of the oche and has spent lockdown dressed as a cheerleader and in a blue morph costume on social media.
As per usual with the World No.29 it has been a wacky few months as he’s got kitted up for the Clap For Carers every Thursday night. Evans, 29, said:
“My dad and I have done three Clap For Carers dressing up nights. He collects masks and anyone who knows us knows I am just my dad 30 or 40 years ago. He’s nuts. “He’s got at least 100 masks. He’ll go on ebay and see a Donald Trump mask and buy it. He’ll buy any old rubber latex mask.
“On one Thursday night, I was in a blue morph suit, wearing a PDC shirt on an exercise bike. I’ve been a cheerleader so far as well.” “My dance I did at the Ally Pally in December has been watched a few times and turned into a GIF. I still don’t know what happened then.”
Evans – who threw a 180 in 2.16 seconds in the Worlds three years ago – also also feared he’d be too quick for his own WiFi in the PDC Home Tour.
He added: “My board is in a little darts room that my mum and dad made for me when I was a teenager. I had to tell my mum and dad to stay off WiFi after 6.30 pm.
“Because I’m a quick player it was hard. Usually, I’m always on my tiptoes ready to throw against my opponent. It was weird having no one in front of me. It slowed me down a bit and certainly upset my rhythm.
“The biggest problem was that my phone camera wasn’t able to keep up with my throw, my throw is too quick for WiFi to trust me.
“I was looking forward to all the tournaments and trying to qualify for the big TV events. I’m usually away for 40 weeks a year, I was in 2019 and that was very successful for me.
“I had hit form for a few months just before the lockdown. Now it’s a weird one whether to practice hard or not.“Last year was awesome for me, I qualified for everything apart from the Grand Slam. I was a seed for the Europeans which was great.
“I ran into Michael (van Gerwen) in the Worlds. It wasn’t a 4-0 defeat game, I missed some big chances. But that’s why he’s World No.1 and I’m World No.29.”
Evans also admits that he’s unlikely to stop being the oche madman – unless he starts winning majors. He said: “I’m just me and that might not change ever. I’m serious on the oche. I’m never going to be the most serious player in the world. If I started making semi-finals and finals that jovial stuff would wear off a bit I’m sure. “I think people would get bored of my silly walk-ons and facial expressions. Maybe I could wear a mask!
“Until then I won’t change, I’ll always be a bit mad.”
In the spirit of Ricky Evans reputation as the fastest darter in the west, or any other place for that matter, Darts World hit the world number twenty-nine with a rapid round of intimate but fun questions to help you get to know him better:
FULL NAME: Ricky Evans
NICKNAME: Rapi and Evs.
HOBBY: Darts, watching sports, playing snooker and pool. Music of all genres, quizzing.
MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT? Losing my passport/wallet numerous times on airplanes and in airports.
BEST CHAT UP LINE? Are you from Ireland? Because when I see you my penis is Dublin!
FAVOURITE CHILDHOOD MOMENT? Watching Kettering Town at Wembley, visiting Old Trafford and getting picked for England Youth.
FAVOURITE MATCH EVER? Versus Simon Whitlock 2016 PDC world champs
FAVOURITE MAGAZINE? The TV guide that comes in the Saturday paper.
Jeff Smith won Group 16 of the Unibet Home Tour in stunning fashion on Saturday night, pinning a vital 147 checkout in the final leg of the night.
Canadian number one Smith began the night with an emphatic 5-1 defeat of Christian Bunse, before going down 5-4 to Wigan’s Martin Atkins in his second game of the night.
Subsequently, Atkins had the chance to seal the group win in the penultimate game of the night against Bunse, but the German youngster ran out a 5-2 victor.
With a second chance handed to Smith and Ricky Evans, it was all to play for in the final match of the night.
At 4-4, Smith knew he needed to win the deciding leg to top the group, while an Evans win would’ve meant victory for Atkins.
With Evans waiting on 121 for the match, Smith sensationally took out 147 to ensure he ended the night as group winner.
The Unibet Home Tour continues on Sunday night with Group 17, which will see popular Scot John Henderson in action, along with Brisbane Darts Masters champion Damon Heta, Lincoln’s Gary Blades and Poland’s Krzysztof Kciuk.
Unibet Home Tour Group 16 – Saturday May 2 Martin Atkins 5-2 Ricky Evans Jeff Smith 5-1 Christian Bunse Martin Atkins 5-4 Jeff Smith Ricky Evans 5-3 Christian Bunse Christian Bunse 5-2 Martin Atkins Jeff Smith 5-4 Ricky Evans
Group 17 – Sunday May 3 (1930 BST) John Henderson v Krzysztof Kciuk Damon Heta v Gary Blades Krzysztof Kciuk v Gary Blades John Henderson v Damon Heta Damon Heta v Krzysztof Kciuk Gary Blades v John Henderson
Our first selection is the Diamond, Ian White. Whitey has been consistently on the vrge of the Premier League (by right) for quite a few years. It seems very unfair that he does not even get an opportunity to get used to it. He is a very funny guy and a player who adapts and improves to every situation. This tester session could be just what he needs to jump up another level. Kryzstof is a major champion and he has claimed PDC titles already, it is only a matter of time before he qualifies and this would give him a chance to show he can do it under these conditions.
Selecting two Germans is both sensible for the development of the game and keeping up the standard of those selected. Clemens is a seriously hard working player who gets better on the time and Hopp know how to win matches and titles.
Ricky Evans is the such a singular player that it would be good to see him in these conditions. If he could retain his composure and relaxation he would be superb entertainment, the crowd would love him. Baby Shark anyone?
Asada gives the Asian tour a focus within the Premier League and may lead to a visit there very soon! He is a quality player who has performed well both on tour and in World Championships.
Josh Payne has developed strongly. He has taken his time and matured through each stage of the modern game. Talented, though a little under rated, Josh is a fine example of what a new generation young player should be in attitude, presentation and professionalism. It would be wise to reward this.
WILDCARD – Ted Hankey
We cant help thinking, that if Ted is fit enough, The Count would be a superb guest star. In many ways Hankey, at the Grand Slam, showed the way in terms of a darts villain. It would certainly be a challenge for his opponent and great fun for the crowd.
Rob Cross claimed a third televised ranking title, the second this year, and the £120,000 top prize on Sunday night as the 2019 Unibet European Championship came to a dramatic conclusion in Göttingen, Germany.
The world number two denied Gerwyn Price of a second televised title in the decider beating his Welsh opponent 11-6 in front of a packed crowd.
The final began with Cross striking the opening blow, breaking the throw in leg three to take a 3-2 lead in to the first break.
A further break of throw followed with Cross moving 7-3 clear and four legs away from securing the European title.
It was a 4th televised final for Gerwyn Price, who would have moved up to a career-high world number 3 with a win. However, the 34-year-old was unable to find the same kind of form that won him the Grand Slam title almost a year ago as Cross continued to edge closer to the victory.
Cross, who had made three previous TV finals in 2019, having been runner-up in the Premier League and UK Open before going on to win the World Matchplay, secured his first European Championship on double 16.
The victory sets up a fascinating end to 2019 with the World Series Finals, Grand Slam and Players Championship Finals all to come before the year ending World Championship, with Cross looking to put pressure on world number one Michael van Gerwen.
“I’m here to be number one in the world. I don’t play to make up the numbers and I believe I will be number one at some point,” said a bullish Cross after the final.
“In fairness to Gerwyn he wasn’t his normal self in the final but I’m delighted to walk away with this title.
“It’s also another learning experience for me, they’re long gruelling days and I’m happy to prove that I can win matches with a C or B game now.
“I’m playing great, I’m having to dig deep at times and I’m more feeling like myself. It’s amazing and it’s everything I wanted it to be.”
Cross began the day with a 10-6 win over Ricky Evans where the former World Champion averaged nearly 100 to progress to the semi-finals where he would meet Daryl Gurney.
The encounter between the pair was arguably the match of the day with the pendulum swinging both ways before Cross eventually secured an 11-9 win.
Gerwyn Price awaited in the final after the Welshman had first defeated Vincent van der Voort 10-8 and then World Championship runner-up Michael Smith 11-7 in the last four.
The final was a match Cross always seemed in control of but a run to another final for Price signifies that he will be a threat to the field in the remaining events in 2019.
Televised darts returns on Friday as the World Series Finals heads to Amsterdam for the first time in what will be Raymond van Barneveld’s final competitive appearance in Holland before retiring.
Sunday October 27
Afternoon SessionQuarter-Finals Rob Cross 10-6 Ricky Evans Daryl Gurney 10-5 Dave Chisnall Michael Smith 10-5 Jeffrey de Zwaan Gerwyn Price 10-8 Vincent van der Voort
Evening Session Semi-Finals Rob Cross 11-9 Daryl Gurney Gerwyn Price 11-7 Michael Smith
Dave Chisnall produced the performance of day two at the 2019 Unibet European Championship, averaging 109.75 to see off Jonny Clayton in a 10-4 win.
The victory sets up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash with Daryl Gurney who survived a late Simon Whitlock comeback to progress.
The star of the night was Chisnall though, as he fired in 11 maximums to blow away his Welsh opponent.
It was Clayton who started the better of the pair, hitting two 121 finishes in the opening two legs to begin in style.
This seemed to inspire Chisnall, who at 3-2 down put together a run of four straight legs, which included a 142 checkout to wrestle control away from Clayton.
Despite averaging over 101 himself, Clayton was no match for his opponent as the World Grand Prix runner-up went on to seal a 10-4 victory.
“Once I got in my stride that treble 20 was like a magnet, they were all going in,” said Chisnall.
“Jonny started well and he brought the best game out of me, so this result is a bit tough on him.
“We all know my scoring game is there, it’s just doubles that have let me down over the years but I’ve been practicing hard on my doubles and it’s been working for me.”
Chisnall will now face Gurney in Sunday’s quarter-final after the Northern Irishman survived a late comeback from former European Champion Whitlock.
Gurney began the match in scintillating form taking the opening five legs, with an average of over 117.
The 2018 Players Champion continued his form after the break, racing in to a 9-2 lead and looking certain to progress to the quarter-finals.
Whitlock had other ideas though and began a fightback that threatened to derail Gurney’s quest for a third televised PDC title.
The Australia managed to win five consecutive legs to put the pressure on Gurney but an 11-dart hold of throw in leg 17 secured a 10-7 win for the 33-year-old.
“I was in the zone for the first five legs, I would’ve been 5-0 up against anybody in the world.
“In the break I told myself ‘don’t let your standards drop and don’t give him a chance’ but unfortunately that’s exactly what I did!
“Fair play to Simon, he’s a fantastic player and he had the crowd behind him, so I was mighty relieved to see that winning double go in.”
Former European Championship finalist Rob Cross secured his place in the quarter-finals with a 10-7 victory over Joe Cullen.
The pair were evenly matched through the majority of the game with the contest tied at 5-5 at the second break. The world number two then took control of the game stringing together a run of three consecutive legs to put him in control.
Cross would go on to win the required to legs to claim the victory and move into the last eight.
“I’m just happy to get over the line really, I missed chances early on and so did Joe,” said Cross.
“We weren’t at our best but I think the best player won a bad game and sometimes that’s what you need to do.”
Cross will now face Ricky Evans after the Englishman overcame Michael van Gerwen’s conqueror, Ross Smith 10-7 in the final match of the night.
An average of 92.22 and 34% on the doubles was enough for Evans to progress in to his first televised quarter-final.
“I’m just so happy to get the win, I was just thinking ‘please let me win the last leg’.
“When I got to 9-4 I knew I was getting close but he did well to fight back to 9-7,” said Evans.
“I’ve got to get ready to face Rob on Sunday, he’s in the same stable as me and we get on very well but I believe I can beat him.”
Earlier in the day, the afternoon session saw the final eight first-round matches take place, as rising Dutch prospect Jeffrey de Zwaan heaped further misery on Champions League runner-up Peter Wright.
Former World Matchplay semi-finalist De Zwaan, who ended the match with a 101.78 average, defied a Wright comeback to advance to the last 16.
“You know you have to play well against Peter and I think I played really well,” said De Zwaan, who is making his first European Championship appearance since 2015.
“If you want to win the tournament you have to beat them all.
“I want to be in the final and win the tournament, and with the world number one that helps my chances of course.”
The most impressive performance of the afternoon saw Michael Smith average 106.09 to blow away second seed Ian White 6-1.
Nathan Aspinall landed a 170 checkout on his way to a 6-3 victory over Steve Beaton, while World Grand Prix semi-finalist Chris Dobey defeated Krzysztof Ratajski by the same scoreline.
Vincent van der Voort enjoyed a thumping 6-1 win over a below-par Mensur Suljovic, and there were also 6-1 successes for Stephen Bunting and Jermaine Wattimena against Keegan Brown and Jamie Hughes respectively.
Gerwyn Price was pushed hard by debutant Ted Evetts but the Welshman held his nerve in the closing stages to claim a 6-4 win.
The 2019 Unibet European Championship will continue on Saturday with the remaining second round matches taking place in Göttingen, Germany in front of a packed out crowd.
Friday October 25 Afternoon Session First Round Jermaine Wattimena 6-1 Jamie Hughes Stephen Bunting 6-1 Keegan Brown Chris Dobey 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Steve Beaton Vincent van der Voort 6-1 Mensur Suljovic Michael Smith 6-1 Ian White Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-4 Peter Wright Gerwyn Price 6-4 Ted Evetts
Evening Session Second Round Rob Cross 10-7 Joe Cullen Daryl Gurney 10-7 Simon Whitlock Dave Chisnall 10-4 Jonny Clayton Ricky Evans 10-7 Ross Smith
Saturday October 26 Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST) Second Round x4 Vincent dan der Voort v Chris Dobey Michael Smith v Stephen Bunting Gerwyn Price v Nathan Aspinall Jeffrey de Zwaan v Jermaine Wattimena
Sunday October 27 (1245 local time, 1145 GMT) Afternoon Session – Order of Play TBC Quarter-Finals Ricky Evans v Rob Cross Dave Chisnall v Daryl Gurney M Smith/Bunting v De Zwaan/Wattimena Van der Voort/Dobey v Price/Aspinall
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT) Semi-Finals & Final
RICKY EVANS claimed a shock 6-0 win over Michael Smith, while Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross were among the winners in round two of the German Darts Grand Prix in Munich on Sunday.
Day Two of the third European Tour event of 2019 saw fast-throwing Evans sensationally knock out World Championship runner-up Smith in just 10 minutes 12 seconds to advance to Monday’s last 16.
Evans, who reached the final of the German Darts Championship in March, restricted Smith to just two darts at double as he got his bid for a first PDC title off to a flying start.
“Michael is normally the one doing that to me so I’m not going to get complacent, but I’m very glad to be through,” said Evans.
“I’ve never beaten Michael in the PDC so it’s nice to get that monkey off my back and it’s a great feeling to beat such a top player.
“I’m delighted to be in the next round and hopefully I can go one better than last time.”
Evans will face Ted Evetts in round three, after the multiple-Development Tour event winner produced another confident display, landing two ton-plus checkouts in a 6-2 win over Jonny Clayton.
Sunday’s second round of the £140,000 tournament saw Saturday’s 16 winning Qualifiers take on the 16 seeded players, as seven seeds suffered defeat at the Kulturhalle Zenith.
Reigning champion Van Gerwen was made to work hard for his 6-4 victory over Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski, but a 114 winning finish ensured the World Champion remains on course for an incredible 30th European Tour title.
The world number one will now meet Stephen Bunting, who once again caught the eye in his second successive 6-1 win of the weekend against Danny Noppert.
A resilient display from Joe Cullen saw him recover from 4-1 down to defeat Glen Durrant 6-5 in a gripping contest.
Durrant got off to a flying start and led 3-0 before Cullen took out a 146 checkout to get his first leg on the board, only for Durrant to restore his three-leg cushion.
Cullen dug deep to take the match to a deciding leg which he ended with five consecutive treble 20s before finding double five for a 130 finish to win the decider against throw in spectacular style.
“The European Tour brings the best out of me every time, I love playing in Germany,” said Cullen.
“No matter how tough the draw is I play well in these events, and even though I was 4-1 down I noticed Glen was struggling to find the treble a bit which gave me confidence.
“To win it with that 130 at the end was pretty special and gives me extra belief going into tomorrow.”
Cullen will take on Ritchie Edhouse who claimed a shock 6-5 win over two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis, winning the deciding leg with a stunning 160 finish.
The sole German representative heading into Sunday, Max Hopp delighted the Munich crowd with a 6-3 success over Keegan Brown and he will now meet Kim Huybrechts, who survived a match dart before taking out 70 to knock out European Champion James Wade 6-5.
World number two Cross began his quest for a maiden European Tour title with a 6-3 victory over Austria’s Michael Rasztovits and he will now face world number five Daryl Gurney, who saw off Kyle Anderson 6-4.
European Tour fans’ favourite Mensur Suljovic will meet Dave Chisnall after the pair claimed 6-2 victories over Josh Payne and Arron Monk respectively, with Chisnall averaging 108.96, the highest of the tournament so far.
Simon Whitlock claimed a much-needed 6-4 win over Cristo Reyes and he will now come up against in-form Ross Smith, who got the better of third seed Peter Wright 6-4.
Darren Webster returned to form with an emphatic 6-1 triumph over Nathan Derry, and he will take on Czech Karel Sedlacek, who defeated second seed Ian White 6-4 in a game of missed doubles.
Monday’s third and final day of the German Darts Grand Prix will see the last 16 matches take place in the afternoon session, before the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in the evening.
All the action will be broadcast on video.pdc.tv, and through a series of bookmakers’ websites worldwide.
2019 German Darts Grand Prix Schedule of Play Sunday April 21Second RoundAfternoon Session Karel Sedlacek 6-4 Ian White Ted Evetts 6-2 Jonny Clayton Darren Webster 6-1 Nathan Derry Stephen Bunting 6-1 Danny Noppert Daryl Gurney 6-4 Kyle Anderson Dave Chisnall 6-2 Arron Monk Kim Huybrechts 6-5 James Wade Ritchie Edhouse 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Evening Session Max Hopp 6-3 Keegan Brown Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski Rob Cross 6-3 Michael Rasztovits Ricky Evans 6-0 Michael Smith Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Josh Payne Joe Cullen 6-5 Glen Durrant Simon Whitlock 6-4 Cristo Reyes Ross Smith 6-4 Peter Wright
Monday April 22Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT) Third Round Michael van Gerwen v Stephen Bunting Ricky Evans v Ted Evetts Rob Cross v Daryl Gurney Mensur Suljovic v Dave Chisnall Karel Sedlacek v Darren Webster Kim Huybrechts v Max Hopp Ritchie Edhouse v Joe Cullen Ross Smith v Simon Whitlock
Evening Session (1915 local time, 1815 GMT) Quarter-Finals Van Gerwen/Bunting v Evans/Evetts Cross/Gurney v Suljovic/Chisnall Sedlacek/Webster v Huybrechts/Hopp Edhouse/Cullen v Smith/Whitlock
Monday’s games played in Draw Bracket order
Format All games up to and including the quarter-finals are the best of 11 legs, with the semi-finals the best of 13 legs and the final the best of 15 legs.
Prize Fund Winner: £25,000 Runner-up: £10,000 Semi-Finalists: £6,500 Quarter-Finalists: £5,000 Last 16: £3,000 Last 32: £2,000 Last 48: £1,000 Total: £140,000
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