Stephen Burton, Adam Hunt and Aden Kirk all secured qualification for the 2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship by winning through the last-chance PDC Tour Card Holders’ Qualifier in Milton Keynes on Monday.
All three players will make their Alexandra Palace debuts at darts’ biggest-ever event from December 13th-January 1st, but their qualifications also saw a multitude of established faces miss out on World Championship spots.
Nine-time major finalist Terry Jenkins has recently slipped outside the world’s top 64, and he missed out on a World Championship place for the second consecutive year after losing out 6-3 to Scott Taylor in the opening round of qualification.
Former Lakeside world champion Mark Webster will miss out on his first World Championship since his debut in 2007, after suffering a 6-1 defeat to Latvian star Madars Razma in his opening game, whilst former UK Open semi-finalist Andrew Gilding- who recently qualified for the Grand Slam, was beaten at the same stage by Maik Langendorf.
Another high-profile name to miss out on World Championship qualification is three-time major semi-finalist Justin Pipe. ‘The Force’ has fallen to 34th in the world and narrowly failed to qualify via the Pro Tour Order of Merit, and he was beaten 6-3 in the second-round of qualification by 1995 Lakeside world champion Richie Burnett.
Kevin Painter has failed to qualify for his first World Championship in either code since 1997, after losing in the penultimate round of qualification to Stephen Burton. ‘The Artist’ lost 7-6 to Phil Taylor in the famous 2004 final, but his absence from the Alexandra Palace this year puts his status as a PDC Tour-Card holder in potential jeopardy.
Seven-time PDC ranking winner Jamie Caven will also be forced to attend Qualifying School to regain his Tour Card, after ‘Jabba’ was beaten 6-3 in the first-round of qualification by Canadian youngster Dawson Murschell.
Three-time world champion John Part missed out on a 22nd World Championship appearance after losing in the penultimate round of qualification against Burnett. Part defeated Kirk Shepherd 6-1 in the first round of qualifying, in a repeat of their 2008 World Championship Final at the Ally Pally.
‘Darth Maple’ then defeated Mark Wilson 6-5 to set up a tie against Burnett, but the Welshman ran out an emphatic 6-2 winner. Despite this, the 51-year-old was unable to secure a return to the Alexandra Palace for the first time since 2014, after losing 7-4 to rising star Adam Hunt.
As @ochepedia referenced, 27 current Tour Card holders who failed to qualify for this year’s World Championship will be forced to attend PDC Qualifying School in January in a bid to regain their PDC Tour Cards.
These include Part, Burnett, Caven, Gilding, Jenkins, Razma, Shepherd, as well as former World Championship finalist Ronnie Baxter, who did not compete in Monday’s last-chance qualifier.
Photo Credit: Christopher Dean/PDC