Tag Archives: UK Open

Three Degrees Of James Wade – The Machine Claims Third UK Open

In any sport to play successfully though three different eras is unusual, to play through three of the best in the history of your chosen field and still be winning major titles is quite remarkable. Yet The Machine has done just that:

JAMES WADE landed his third Ladbrokes UK Open title in Milton Keynes on Sunday, defeating Luke Humphries 11-5 in the final. Almost 13 years on from his first UK Open title, Wade’s success sees him join Phil Taylor in winning televised PDC titles across three decades.

In addition, the £100,000 winner’s prize sees him move up to fourth in the PDC Order of Merit, overtaking Rob Cross as the highest-ranked Englishman.

Now a winner of ten televised ranking titles, Wade expanded his impressive trophy haul with a first UK Open crown since 2011 thanks to a weekend of consistent performances at the Marshall Arena.

His first TV success since November 2018 was secured with a typically clinical display in the final against Humphries, who knocked out reigning champion Michael van Gerwen in the semis with a brilliant display but was unable to repeat the feat in the decider.

Experience won the day as Wade – who averaged 102.52 and was on target with 41% of his checkout attempts – made the former World Youth Champion pay for 20 missed doubles.

“To win TV titles across three decades is something I’m very proud of,” said Wade. “I’m enjoying it again, I think I’ve reinvented myself.


“I’m very happy to be in the world of darts, it’s a great place to be when you’re winning.

“I’m here to provide stability for my son and winning these allows me to do that”.

“Luke is quality, he’s a gentleman and he showed his quality in the way he dismantled Michael [van Gerwen] in the semi-finals.”


In reaching the final Wade was at his unflappable best in defeating world number one Gerwyn Price 11-6 in the semi-finals, having produced a 10-8 comeback win over Simon Whitlock in the afternoon’s quarter-finals.

Wade’s route to the title began with a scare from Ryan Joyce in round four as he came through a last-leg decider, before defeating Cross and Germany’s Gabriel Clemens in rounds five and six on Saturday.

Despite coming up short in his first televised final, two-time World Youth Champion Humphries continued his progression and produced a sensational 107.41 average in his 11-5 semi-final win over Van Gerwen.

Humphries, who edged out Dave Chisnall 10-9 in the quarter-finals, pockets the £40,000 runners-up prize moves up eight places to 33rd on the PDC Order of Merit. The 26-year-old reflected:

“It’s been an incredible weekend for me, an emotional weekend,”
“To reach a TV final is the most unbelievable feeling. I think James is the best player in the world under pressure and he showed it in that game.

“I’m here to achieve big things in darts and this run puts me in good stead going forward.

“I want to be playing the best players week-in, week-out. I know I’ve got the game to do it. Tonight it wasn’t my night, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.”

The Ladbrokes UK Open reached its climax on Sunday after 151 players competed in the tournament’s opening day on Friday.

South Africa’s Devon Petersen reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 2015, while Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski made it to the last eight for the first time before losing to Van Gerwen.

2021 Ladbrokes UK Open
Sunday March 7

Afternoon Session

Quarter-Finals
James Wade 10-8 Simon Whitlock
Gerwyn Price 10-9 Devon Petersen
Luke Humphries 10-9 Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen 10-7 Krzysztof Ratajski
Evening Session

Semi-Finals
James Wade 11-6 Gerwyn Price
Luke Humphries 11-5 Michael van Gerwen

Final
James Wade 11-5 Luke Humphries

—–ENDS——

Picture: L Lustig (PDC)

Riley’s UK Open Qualifiers 2019 – Pro’s Finding it Tough.

Former Pro’s and ‘Name’ Players are being given an increasingly hard time at grassroots qualifiers.

colin-osborne-blue-square-uk-open-semi-final
Colin Osborne: UK Open Finalist
Can “The Wizard” adjust to open qualifiers?
Pic: PDC

The annual scramble for the ‘amateur’ places in the is well and truly underway. For the last few years, these have been decided via several knockout events staged at Riley’s clubs across the country. During this time it has become more a more difficult to get through these events and there are fewer & fewer spots available.

Recent changes to the professional qualifying events have further restricted the spots and increased the number of current, or recent, tour/elite players having to use this route. This throws up some superb quality fields in smallish venues with few of the creature comforts they are used to. Very long days, that vary in terms of organisational skills, few practice boards and little free space, mean anyone who qualifies via this route has certainly earned it! The evidence of Rob Cross and his astounding progress proves what’s out there. So Ego beware!

rob-cross-win_13gyls7tw3m2x12iweg36ktdkd
Rob Cross: Voltage’s journey began with a Riley’s qualifier win!
Pic: PDC

Wes Newton became the latest ‘Star Name’ to reach the 2019 finals. The Warrior came through a very long and tough day in Chorlton. Kevin Thoburn triumphed, after 10pm, over a field that included Colin Osbourne, a former UK Open finalist, and current form horse Richie Edhouse. Other tour players including Scott Taylor & Mark Barrilli also qualified through quality fields. In other qualifiers, however, players such as Ian McFarlane Shaun Fox & Micheal Burgoine used their extensive open event experience to triumph on similarly difficult days.

richie edhouse
Richie Edhouse. MadHouse, current form horse fell short in Nottingham qualifier. Pic: PDC

The long and short of this is that a reputation means a lot less than it once did in such events. The fact that there are usually a few big-name players, with a good history in each event rather than one or two is a factor, but also the challenge tour, and other events, have given a wide range of payer a lot of semi-professional experience. They are therefore less intimidated, more familiar with big games and more confident than ever before. Team Riley’s should be stronger than ever for 2019.

The remaining Riley’s Qualifiers will have more and more concentrated fields with ‘Name’ players struggling to grab one shrinking numbers of places. It promises to be difficult, but an intriguing couple of weekends. With the constant evolution of the game, and players experience banks, means the breadth of quality is getting higher every year.

Former, or semi, professionals need to prepare better, adapt to the different conditions and accept the difficulties of such day, if they are to resist the hordes of quality players who in many ways have them at a disadvantage.


Coral UK Open – Day 2 and Qtr Final Preview

Matters moved up a gear, or three, on day two of the FA Cup of Darts. The Green Machine added his latest piece of darting history. Amateur qualifiers made names for themselves and created unforgettable moments, a couple of old favorites threaten to stage remarkable returns and another Aussie looks to stake his claim.

In the meantime “The Power” simply kept on winning, quietly, almost without anyone noticing.

MVG Runs Wild.

Robert Cross, pulled a tiger by the tail!

Robert Cross, pulled a tiger by the tail!

In his first game MVG had looked at little out of sorts, almost as if he was struggling to produce his best form, His recent epic efforts mean expectations have risen, but MVG seemed to find it hard when his young opponent was not quite up to it. Many feared the same again, when The Green Machine drew another qualifier, in the person of electrician, Robert Cross.

Cross though was to confound this view. His quality play and positive attitude could teach many his professional counterparts a thing or two. He hit seven maximum 180’s and was certainly up with MVG early on. Cross gave the big celebrations and generally refused to be cowed despite what MVG was building up to.

Next though showed what happens when you pull a tiger by the tail! Suddenly MVG responded to Cross and the crowd. Toward the end of the next leg he set up a 170 finish with a 130+ score, then the 170 was duly taken out. This was followed by 180, 180 and 141 for a perfect 9 dart leg. Not content with this, and with the crowd going mental, he opened the next leg with another 180! This could be described as 18 perfect darts and is unprecedented.

MVG returned to the stage later in the evening to dispatch Kim Huybrechts with relative ease. No need for history, unlike Cross Kim did not rise to the occasion this time.

Biggest Darts Shock Ever?

Lynn defeats World Champion, easily?

Lynn defeats World Champion, easily?

While this was happening on the main stage, an even bigger drama was unfolding on stage two. Qualifier Barry Lynn had threatened to smash reigning World Champion Gary Anderson, all over the board, when surprised with his draw by the TV presenter the previous night. Many thought he must be joking, some even though him arrogant and too cocky.

A more careful look however shows a player who has totally committed to the event and where darts may take him. The binman from Essex was completely focused and had a solid belief in what he was about to do. Leading from early on in the game Lynn never held back, never wobbled and finally checked out to complete the most shocking, and comprehensive, defeat of a reigning world champion you are likely to see. This from a player who, despite a few notable results, does not regularly play at any official high level.

Continuing his exploits, Lynn then returned to the lesser boards to take on and defeat Stuart Kellet in the last 16. Again, despite what is an exhausting event for those not used to the nerves, adrenaline surges and the concentration needed for multiple long games in a single day, Barry outlasted his opponent. Coming through strongly in the later part of the game and producing a fine 9-5 win capped off with a Bull, 25, Bull finish.

In another revealing but rash interview Lynn revealed he was happy to take on anyone except MVG, who he said would smash him up! The draw, for the first qualifier ever to reach this stage, was listening. Lynn will take on Mighty Mike later today!

The Lakesiders return!

Cometh the hour, cometh the Spider?

Cometh the hour, cometh the Spider?

Both Mark Webster & Jelle Klassen have won the Lakeside/BDO, World Championship. Both had good spells in the PDC after making the switch. Then they hit the buffers. Klaasen lost form and was involved with scandal, Webster meanwhile simply seemed to fade away. Both dropped to the edges of the elite group and looked desperate. Yet over the last year each has completely reemerged. Klassen has been in Qtr Final after Qtr Final and Webster has rolled back the years looking almost back to his very best.  Could they maintain this resurgence over the weekend?

The answer appears to be a resounding yes. Webster made the Qtr’s again here with a superb win over the very in form Mensur Suliavic. Meanwhile “The Cobra” looked as if he was going to destroy Adrian Lewis, a bit of needle crept into the game and Adrian began to stage a comeback. Jelle was not to be denied and, after a down spell, managed to stamp his authority on the last leg to win 9-7.

Snakebite’s Turn?

The best player not to have won a major? The title is bandied about in all sports, but Peter Wright would certainly be in contention in darts. Wright is a crowd favorite and the party loving Minehead supporters would love to cheer him home. Not quite pulling up trees so far, but Snakebite has had to defeat a varied batch of opponents, on all boards and with no gimme games. He has been efficient and relaxed so far. Peter defeated the tenacious Darren Webster and in the Qtrs he will meet Joe Cullen, after “The Rockstar” defeated Bullit Bunting.

Anyone noticed Phil?

Whilst all this phenomenal action has been happening the five time champion seems to be quietly carrying on regardless. After a slow but effective start, against Aaron Monk, yesterday Phil Taylor drew RVB in the last 32. The Power turned up, won the first few leg easily, RVB wilted, and Phil strolled out a comfortable winner. Although games against such rivals are never as easy as they appear.

A few hours later he was back again, this time to tackle Vincent Van de Voort. Again a solid start, picked up after the break and despite VVV’s valiant efforts, at dragging himself back in,” The Power” completed a 9-7 win with a superb bullseye out-shot.

As if by right, Phil is in the Qtrs where he will take on the aforementioned Webby! This could be the key to the event. If either player could get a good early lead and win relatively easily they could go on and win the championship. Yet the likelyhood is a tough drawn out affair decided by the odd leg or two. Thus both will then have to play two more highly ranked and in form players who may have had an easier afternoon!

Aussie Rules?

Kyle Anderson

Kyle Anderson is finally showing, what he do, on our screens. If you think MVG is impressive, it may interest you to know that Kyle Anderson’s record competitive average is a full 9 points higher than that set by MVG on TV a couple of weeks back. Anderson averaged over 132 in a pro tour event. Despite slipping under the radar, in this event, dart fans have been aware of “The Original” for quite some time. His gamble of leaving a young family in Australia to become a success in PDC darts may finally be about to pay off.

Finals Day

With Qtr’s, Semi and Final played almost back to back, across two sessions, winning will be at least as much about stamina as great darts. MVG could get a quick result against anyone but should Bary Lynn take any time to adapt to the big stage things could go very quickly indeed. If however Lynn can get amongst it, and drag MVG into any type of tussle then, the others should thank him for it!

Snakebite is capable of defeating anyone, but the more energy and adrenaline he retains early the better. Webster and Taylor could drain each other and take a long time doing it. Klaasen & Anderson could make a thriller of a match. The winner of it may do so in double-quick time even if the scoreline is close.

It would be predictable and safe to nominate MVG, to claim the title again, but I suspect that he may not. Klaasen has a decent record against him and its nearly always a crunching encounter. Phil had darts to win their last encounter and Wright has lost out narrowly a couple of times before. Webster is not that MVG scarred, due to his poor spell, and may be able to retain his composure.

If I were forced to nominate a winner, let’s go for “The Cobra”.

Jelle K

Coral UK Open 2016 – Days 1 & 2

The 2016 Coral UK Open is certainly living up to expectations.

The 2016 Coral UK Open is certainly living up to expectations.

The UK Open lived up to it reputation as the FA Cup of Darts again on the first two days of the 2016 edition. Riley’s qualifiers gave it their all and many Pro’s were given a tough time. Even MVG was subdued, and The Power struggled, in the early the early rounds.

The Giant Killing Starts
Robert Thornton, the 2012 champion, became the biggest casualty of Day 1. The world number seven bowing out to Aaron Monk even after starting strongly. Alex Roy, one of only eight ever presents, looked like he may be the story of the day. Roy, who had had to qualify through Riley’s, got off to a great start, defeating fellow veteran Dennis Smith on the main stage and then coming from behind to win his second round game. Sadly Roy could not make day two, running out of steam in his third game vs Justin Pipe.

Clash of the Titans.

With the initial skirmishes over the last 64 draw was made. As always, the draw provided some uncomfortable moments. Ian “Diamond” White was paired with Simon Whitlock, world ranking number 12 vs number 18. Peter Wright was paired with the evergreen Steve Beaton, Wright emerging a 9-5 winner. Even more mouth-watering, for the five thousand fans, was the clash between Gary Anderson & Dave Chisnal. Two Premier League players , ranked two & ten, who normally could not meet until at least  two rounds later in any TV event.

Old foes clash early. Whitlock defeats white in the last 64.

Old foes clash early. Whitlock defeats white in the last 64.

 

White vs Whitlock did not even rate a TV slot and saw the Aussie overcome a two – five deficit to win through. Mensur Sulivic the inform Austrian repeated his previous wins over an out of sorts James Wade. The machine was deeply unhappy with the board, although his complaints fell on deaf ears.

The main event proved to be worth the wait. Chizzy started strongly and got into a lead, both players seemed to have a little too much respect for the others, it was almost like a couple of prize-fighters waiting to let rip. Finally, despite not being in the lead throughout the match, Anderson kicked into life and produced a tremendous ‘last round’ finish to emerge a 9-7 winner.

Beware “The Spider”.

Cometh the hour, cometh the Spider?

Cometh the hour, cometh the Spider?

After a torrid time, Mark Webster has been cooking with gas again for a few months, better floor showings and, great runs in the last few TV events, have seen the confidence return and the old control and consistency is back. His last 64 victory over Matt Edgar was a demonstration of understated skill and control. In this shape “Webby” could be the man to watch.

Rise of the Amateurs

Altogether five “Amateur” qualifiers made it through to Round 3, a pretty good showing. Sadly the enigma that is Les Delderfield did not even appear, thus a possible fairy story petered out. Most notable were Rob Cross who defeated two very in form and experienced players handily, neither Ken McNiel nor Wes Newton would have been expecting to be so ruthlessly dispatched, and Barry Lynn who, after defeating Claydon and, UK Open veteran, Dean Stewart, would take on “The History Maker” Brendon Dolan, for a place in the last thirty-two and a chance of an even bigger draw.

Robert Cross, earned a monster draw, against MVG, with 3 superb wins on day1

Robert Cross, earned a monster draw, against MVG, with 3 superb wins on day1

Cross did a fine job in removing, the in form, Geoffry de Graff, in a last leg thriller, and moved on into the hat with the big boys, only to get the worst draw imaginable in MVG. Lynn put in another tremendous shift, at the end of a very long day and out lasted Dolan 9 -6. Indeed, it was so late, the draw, for Day Two, had already been held. It was left for the TV presenter to tell Barry that he had drawn reigning world champ Gary Anderson! His response? “good I will smash him all over the board” joking or not Lynn seems to have what many qualifiers, and lower ranked pro’s, lack, genuine confidence and belief.

Rileys Qualifier Barry Lynn wins through day one and threatens to smash Gary Anderson, on day 2. Joking or deadly serious?

Rileys Qualifier Barry Lynn wins through day one and threatens to smash Gary Anderson, on day 2. Joking or deadly serious?

Day Two would show us, and Barry, whether this was misplaced or not!

UK Open 2016 – PDC & Coral’s FA Cup of Darts – Preview

Coral Uk Open Logo

The Coral UK Open is one of many darts fan’s favorite events. The only TV tournament that offers a random draw, re done after every round, and genuine opportunity for newer faces and genuine amateur players to make a name for themselves.

With seven different winners and a different runner-up in every event, thirteen in total, the UK Open provides much-needed variety and interest. It has become known as The FA Cup of Darts!

The last few years have seen the event screened by iTV4. This years edition takes place from Friday March 4th – Sunday March 6th and thus reaches a large audience of terrestrial viewers.

 Qualifying routes, for both 96 PDC “Professional” players and 32 places secured through winning open knock out events in Riley’s sports bars across the UK, the field of 128 contains a mix of players from all walks of life as well as the many start names of modern TV darts. Taylor, MVG, and Anderson will all be there in the later stages.

The Green Machine. Winner in 2015 was pushed all the way by Andrew Gilding in the Semi Final

The Green Machine. Winner in 2015 was pushed all the way by Andrew Gilding in the Semi Final

The event takes place over three intense days and sees play on multiple boards that can be covered, or switched too, for moments of high drama. The two main stages provide live TV and streamed matches and are often scheduled to give lesser known faces or interesting matches greater exposure.

Players are scheduled to come into the draw at various stages, over the first two days of the event, with the higher ranked professionals entering in the last 64 stage. A good number of David vs Goliath match ups results, as well as star players meeting different, and sometimes tougher, competition at earlier stages than in many major events.

The Wizard gave his career a huge boost reaching the UK Open Final

The Wizard gave his career a huge boost reaching the UK Open Final

Early Highlights.

Several star names will be seen earlier than usual on Friday. Wes Newton , a former finalist, will open up the main stage and former Champion Robert Thornton will appear a few matches later. Both should have enough to win their first games, although Mark Cox could trouble Wes, if he settles quickly, and the winner of Aaron Monk v Stuart Rattray will have had the benefit of playing a match before taking on The Thorn.

Young Nathan Aspinall playing the role of David to James Wade's Goliath in 2015

Young Nathan Aspinall playing the role of David to James Wade’s Goliath in 2015

There are some good-looking clashes scattered around the outside boards. The vastly experienced, and resurgent, Mick McGowen will take on World Youth Championship runner-up Nathan Aspinall and former world number five, Dennis Smith will take on Alex Roy in a battle of the young veterans!

Rising “Amateurs”

Can "The Rock" a success via Riley's qualifiers?

Can “The Rock” a success via Riley’s qualifiers?

The group of Amateur / Rileys qualifiers is as strong as it has ever been for the 2016 event. Several former PDC players have used this route. Alex Roy has been an almost ever-present in the UK Open and has played in more than fifteen world championships. Peter Hudson has extensive experience on both PDC tours and has had several great moments at this event. Steve Maish, Jason Hogg, Ian McFarlane, John Scott and Daniel Day also have extensive PDC experience.

In addition, to these more seasoned players, some very strong players are coming through after “learning their trade”. Andy Brown has huge talent and, having taken some time to re group, could be a serious threat. Darren Layden will give it nothing less than 110% and if he shows his true ability could worry many. Mike McFall is lesser known to many but, at his best, has competed with world-class players before. Paul Hogan always seems to enjoy success at the UK Open and will be joined from the BDO ranks by recent England cap Dave Parletti.

The Delderfield Dream!

Hidden in among these players of great talent is a potential sporting fairytale to cap them all. Larry Butlers’s  recent resurgence would be nothing if Les Delderfield could reproduce the form he showed in the Liverpool qualifying event. Many there described “an old bloke having the day of his darting life”, however they should have checked their darting history books! Les was a semi finalist in the World Masters in 1997! Les has had the longest stop start career you are likely to see. Some superb results, in events often five or more years apart, with nothing in between, make a very unusual story. Let’s hope for more, on this superb tale, if Les can get deeper into the event. If you fancy keeping an eye on a potential super story then look out for Les on board six in the first round, were he plays another qualifier in Mark Wilson.

Typically the trophy in this pic was won six years apart by the enigma that is Les Delderfield

Typically the trophy in this pic was won six years apart by the enigma that is Les Delderfield

Overall then, the early rounds are looking as interesting as always for the darts fan. For the casual viewer there are some good stage games on the first night and a few possible shocks. But for those willing to look a little closer there are some great stories and at least one possible darting legend!

Look out for Part II where we will see who has survived and how the big boys are likely to make out.

What does it take to win a Pro Tour darts event?

lewis-uk-open1 - 2015

Many amateur darts players and fans wonder what it takes to play and win at the professional level. Some wonder if they are good enough or to what standard they must get? Answers are usually vague and consist of saying that you must get a certain number of legs in less than 18 or 15 darts. Other answers centre on averages and suggest that a consistent average of say ninety five points for every three darts over the duration of the competition would be a high professional standard.
Whilst these answers are all well and good and give a general idea they do not illustrate the full requirements of winning events at the highest level.
I decided to follow the first PDC UK Open qualifier event from Wigan this weekend. These events are open to a huge number of entrants and the top players in the world have to qualify just the same as the rest. Thus the only concession to ranking is that the top 32 players on the PDC order of merit are exempt until the last 128.
In order to see what it really takes to qualify for this major TV event, and indeed to win the £10,000 prize on offer each day, I elected to follow a player from the middle of the draw who was not exempt and would start in the round of 256.

I select a match from the middle of the draw, the only factors I used were that the board looked like it would flow smoothly and that the match statistics would be available all through the draw. I then selcted the player who won the bull to be the one we follow. From here on in it will be somewhat like “the road to wembley”. We shall follow our player ( Player A) or his conqueror through the rounds and see what is required at every stage.

Round 1 (256)
Stats:
Player A 6 vs 2 Player B
100+ – 14 v 13
140+ – 3 v 8
180+ – 1 v 0
Average: 83 vs 76
Darts Used (Winning Legs)- 99

Round 2 (128)
Player C 6 vs 4 Player A
Stats:
100+ 10 v 16
140+ 13 v 7
180+ 2 v 1
Average 94 vs 92
Darts Used (Winning Legs) -95

Round 3 (64)
Player D 6 vs 3 Player C
Stats:
100+ 11 v 16
140+ 8 v 6
180+ 1 v 2
Average 97 v 104
Darts Used (Winning Legs) 90

Round 4 (32)
Player D 6 v 3 Player E
Stats:
100+ 15 v 9
140+ 8 v 5
180+ 2 v 4
Average 91 v 95
Darts Used (Winning Legs) – 91

Round 5 (16)
Player F 6 vs 2 Player D
Stats:
100+ 6 v 10
140+ 7 v 5
180+ 4 v 3
Average 94.5 v 94
Darts Used (Winning Legs) – 93

Round 6 (Qtr Final)
Player G 6 vs 3 Player F
Stats:
100+ 12 v 10
140+ 1 v 8
180+ 1 v 3
Average 91 v 102
Darts Used (Winning Legs) – 94

Round 7 ( Semi Final)
Player H 6 vs 5 Player G
Stats:
100+ 7 v 12
140+ 6 v 4
180+ 5 v 3
Average 97 v 91
Darts Used (Winning Legs) – 91

Round 9 (Final)
Player I 6 vs 1 Player H
Stats:
100+ 12 v 9
140+ 2 v 6
180+ 3 v 1
Average – 106.5 v 104.5
Darts Used Winning Legs (83)

Additional Stats:
Bull up winner wins 5 times out of 8 games.
For Player A to go all the way:
Average : N /A (would not work as a stat as the player with the higher average lost the match on 3 occasions and on 2 more it was within 1 point.)
Darts Used : 98, 94, 89, 90,92, 93, 90 and 82 (one less than the winner in every match)
Total 730 Darts for 48 legs which is a fraction over 15 darts per winning leg over 8 matches.

The imaginary Player A would therefore be best advised to win the bull more than half the time, and complete the legs in 5 / 6 visits in the early rounds. This must then be reduced to consistent 5 visits or add in some 4 visit ( 12 dart legs). This will get you to the final, once there you must win the bull and then hold in 5 visits or less. This will result in a 5-5 match and a last leg shoot out with you having the darts whilst averaging well over 100 against Adrian Lewis who will also be averaging at least the same.

Good Luck in your last leg!