Raymond van Barneveld will compete in his first European Tour event for almost two years in March after being amongst the qualifiers for the year’s opening two events, as three-time BDO world champion Glen Durrant produced a series of stunning displays in the first qualifier to seal his European Tour debut.
The UK and European Tour Card Holder Qualifiers for the opening two European Tour events took place at the Barnsley Metrodome, with four separate events staged on Friday as the players battled to secure spots in Leverkusen and Hildesheim. Each UK Qualifier saw 18 players secure places in each event, with six players winning through each European Qualifier.
World Youth champion Dimitri Van den Bergh was the only player to qualify for both events, after progressing through a high-quality field. However, five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld recorded three straight 6-3 wins over Marko Kantele, Benito van de Pas and Tytus Kanik to qualify for the European Darts Open – a tournament he won back in 2012.
Former European Tour winners Kim Huybrechts and Vincent van der Voort also headlined the six European Qualifiers, along with World Matchplay semi-finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan and former World Masters champion Krzysztof Ratajski.
‘The Polish Eagle’ spurned six match darts to defeat Van den Bergh in the second qualifier, as the young Belgian continued his fine form. ‘The Dream Maker’ reached his first senior PDC final at Players Championship Four last week, and he’ll now feature in Leverkusen and Hildesheim in March.
Ron Meulenkamp and Gabriel Clemens posted ton-plus averages to prevail in the final round of ET2 qualification, whilst Mario Robbe claimed the scalps of Van Barneveld and De Zwaan to qualify. Elsewhere, Kanik edged out Jose De Sousa to seal his spot in Hildesheim, whilst Madars Razma defeated Van de Pas in a last-leg shootout to claim the final qualification berth.
Glen Durrant will make his European Tour debut after progressing through the first UK Qualifier in sublime style on Friday afternoon. The three-time world champion posted averages of 116.40, 103.70 and 106 as he defeated the trio of Mark Wilson, Mark Dudbridge and John Henderson.
Former European Tour winners Mervyn King and Steve Beaton enjoyed a qualifying double in the UK Qualifiers, and were joined by Josh Payne, Scott Taylor and Leeds’ Martin Atkins in securing spots in both events.
Elsewhere, Ted Evetts landed a sensational nine-darter en route to qualifying for the European Darts Open. ‘Super Ted’ landed the perfect leg in his first-round win over Patrick Lynskey, averaging 109.90 in the process, before seeing off Adrian Gray and Ryan Joyce to confirm his qualification.
Ricky Williams, Adam Hunt, William Borland, Ross Smith, Ritchie Edhouse, Jason Wilson, Matthew Dennant, Matthew Edgar, Wayne Jones, Ryan Meikle and former European Tour winner Justin Pipe were the remaining stars to qualify for the opening European Tour event of 2019.
In ET2 qualification, Dutch Darts Championship finalist Ricky Evans landed the first nine-darter of his PDC career to book his spot in Hildesheim. ‘Rapid’ completed the magical nine to wrap up a 6-4 victory over Justin Pipe, before breezing past John Goldie 6-2 in his decisive last 36 showdown.
Two-time PDC major winner Robert Thornton was among the other names to qualify, with World Championship semi-finalist Nathan Aspinall and Development Tour winner Luke Humphries also making the cut.
Former World Youth champion Keegan Brown also claimed qualification for the German Darts Championship, alongside James Wilson, Dave Prins, Andrew Gilding, Jamie Hughes, Mark Dudbridge, Simon Stevenson, Andy Boulton and Mickey Mansell- who claimed the scalp of Durrant in the final round of qualification.
The European Darts Open will take place from March 22-24 in Leverkusen, while the German Darts Championship will be held from March 29-31 in Hildesheim. The list of qualifiers for the respective events can be viewed below.
Photo Credit: Michael Cooper/PDC
UK ET1 Qualifiers: Mervyn King, Justin Pipe, Scott Taylor, Ricky Williams, Adam Hunt, Steve Beaton, William Borland, Ross Smith, Glen Durrant, Ritchie Edhouse, Josh Payne, Jason Wilson, Ted Evetts, Wayne Jones, Matthew Dennant, Ryan Meikle, Matthew Edgar, Martin Atkins (Leeds)
UK ET2 Qualifiers: Mervyn King, Martin Atkins (Leeds), James Wilson, Ricky Evans, Steve Beaton, Dave Prins, Luke Humphries, Andrew Gilding, Jamie Hughes, Josh Payne, Mickey Mansell, Mark Dudbridge, Scott Taylor, Simon Stevenson, Nathan Aspinall, Andy Boulton, Robert Thornton, Keegan Brown
European ET1 Qualifiers: Kim Huybrechts, Jeffrey de Zwaan, Krzysztof Ratajski, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Raymond van Barneveld, Vincent van der Voort
European ET 2 Qualifiers: Tytus Kanik, Mario Robbe, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Ron Meulenkamp, Gabriel Clemens, Madars Razma