Corey Cadby’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 William Hill World Darts Championship are hanging by a thread after he was beaten in the last 32 of the Oceanic Masters on Sunday afternoon.
The 22-year-old was battling it out alongside a host of Australasian stars for qualification to this year’s World Championship at the Alexandra Palace, but his campaign was brought to an abrupt halt in the last 32 stage, as he suffered a shock 6-4 defeat to Andrew Townes.
The qualification event was won by veteran Kiwi Bernie Smith, who defeated last year’s Oceanic Masters champion David Platt en route to reaching the final, before seeing off Tahuna Irwin in a deciding-leg to secure his World Championship debut at the age of 53.
Earlier in the year, Cadby narrowly missed out on World Championship qualification by finishing third on the DPA rankings. He had the opportunity to top the Order of Merit going into the final weekend of action, but he finished just behind Gordon Mathers, who was crowned DPA Pro Tour winner which secured his World Championship debut.
As a result, Cadby must now retain his World-Youth Championship title at Minehead next month to qualify for Ally Pally. He defeated Berry van Peer in the 2016 final to confirm his World Championship debut, and he went on to make quite the impression.
The Australian produced the finest preliminary-round performance in the tournament’s history twelve months ago, sweeping aside China’s Qiang Sun without dropping a leg. He averaged 102.48, converted 67% of his attempts at double and dispatched finishes of 152, 121 and 108.
He then contested the tie of the first-round against an inspired Joe Cullen. Cadby was averaging 110 at one stage, but Cullen fought back superbly from a set down to record a 3-1 victory with a 100.88 average, six maximums and 38% on the doubles.
Nevertheless, after his exploits twelve months ago, it would be an enormous blow for the Australian hopeful to miss out on a spot at Ally Pally, particularly given his string of impressive performances on the World Series circuit this year.
The World-Youth champion rose to prominence by stunning Phil Taylor at last year’s Perth Darts Masters, but he impressed further in 2017. ‘The King’ defeated Peter Wright, Michael Smith & Phil Taylor to reach August’s Auckland Darts Masters final, losing out to his fellow countryman Kyle Anderson in a captivating last-leg decider.
Cadby also defeated five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld in round-one of the Perth Darts Masters and his performances across the Australasia triple-header saw him rewarded with a wildcard invitation for next week’s World Series of Darts Finals in Glasgow, whilst he will also make his Grand Slam of Darts debut in November.
He was also touted as a potential 2018 Premier League candidate by a certain Phil Taylor at September’s Champions League of Darts. The 16-time world champion claimed: “I tell you another lad who I want to do well. Corey Cadby from Australia. He’s a cracker he is.
“He’s going to come over and he’s going to give these lads a run for their money. I’m going to vote for Corey Cadby to get into the Premier League. I want Corey Cadby in the Premier League because he’s another Michael van Gerwen and as good a talent as him as well,” the Stoke legend added.
Reports suggest that the 22-year-old plans to move to the UK and try an earn a PDC Tour-Card in 2018, but his immediate focus will be on retaining his World-Youth title and returning to the Alexandra Palace. There is no denying Cadby’s prodigious talent and it would be a real loss for the tournament if he were to miss out on qualification.
Photo Credit: PhotoSport/PDC