Michael Rasztovits, Boris Koltsov and Jason Hogg were amongst the players to qualify for the Final Stage of the 2021 PDC Qualifying Schools on Day Two of Stage 1A on Tuesday, while Raymond van Barneveld also confirmed his qualification, despite losing out in the final round in Niedernhausen.
Five-time world champion Van Barneveld was denied an automatic place after succumbing to Austrian ace Rasztovits 6-4 in their last eight clash, while Rasztovits also defeated Sebastian Steyer, Chris Landman and Steven Noster as he booked his spot in Final Stage.
Van Barneveld posted two more ton-plus averages on Tuesday as he registered four victories, although his late defeat was immaterial, as he tops the Stage1A Order of Merit and will progress with five points – should he not gain automatic qualification on Wednesday.
There have been three ton-plus averages over the course of the two days across both Q-Schools and the Dutch legend is responsible for all three, but he is expected to feature on day three, despite confirming his status in Stage Two.
Russian star Boris Koltsov was another notable name to progress to the final phase of Q-School. The former World Cup quarter-finalist continued his bid for a maiden Tour Card by defeating Ricardo Pietreczko 6-3 in their decider.
Elsewhere, Germany’s Lukas Wenig produced a series of impressive displays to advance on day two. The two-time European Tour qualifier averaged 97 in his final two games, to account for Wesley Plaisier and Eimardo Van Engelen respectively.
Darts’ dream factory represents an opportunity for budding amateurs to take on the sport’s biggest names and 35-year-old debutant Davy Proosten duly took his chance, claiming the scalps of Michael Unterbuchner, Mario Vandenbogaerde, Mindaugas Barauskas, Moreno Blom and Franz Roetzsch.
Van Barneveld currently occupies top spot on the European Q-School Order of Merit, and he’s joined by German star Nico Kurz [who he beat in the L32], Dutch teenager Blom, Germany’s Pietreczko and Belgium’s Geert De Vos in being assured of spots in the Final Stage.
Nevertheless, there are a host of established names in danger of missing out on qualification at UK Q-School, with ‘Queen of the Palace’ Fallon Sherrock, BDO world champion Wayne Warren and former Premier League players Kevin Painter and Wes Newton all vying to remain in the tournament.
Jason Hogg stepped up his bid to win back a PDC Tour Card with a 6-3 win over Josh McCarthy in their last eight tie, having also defeated two-time major finalist Newton earlier in the afternoon.
Former BDO man Mike Warburton earned his crust in Milton Keynes, defeating his fellow Welshman Sam Cankett 6-1 to secure his automatic spot in the Final Stage, while Huddersfield’s Sam Booth defeated former World Youth Champion Arron Monk 6-5 to qualify automatically.
One of the best stories of the day saw 51-year-old Scottish-born bricklayer Ian McKenzie turn on the style to claim an automatic qualification place on his Qualifying School debut.
McKenzie, who was born completely deaf from birth, defeated Brett Claydon 6-2 to secure his automatic qualification to the final stage, and he’ll return to the Marshall Arena on Sunday for the right to scoop a coveted PDC Tour Card.
Josh McCarthy’s eight points assure him of progression to Final Stage, while Monk and Claydon are poised to qualify alongside Kevin Thomas, David Wawrzewski and John Brown, all of whom are on six points from two days.
Sherrock, Painter, Newton and 2008 Grand Slam of Darts semi-finalist Kevin McDine are in provisional qualifying places going into Wednesday’s day three, but BDO world champion Warren requires a strong showing to keep his Q-School hopes alive.
Wednesday will see Stage 1A conclude, with a further four automatic qualifiers at each venue to be joined by players from the respective Orders of Merit in securing places in Final Stage, which will be held from February 14-17.
Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
UK Qualifying School
Stage 1A Day Two
Sam Booth 6-3 John Brown
Arron Monk 6-5 Kevin Thomas
Ian Mackenzie 6-1 Carl Beattie
Brett Claydon 6-3 Christopher Bent
Mike Warburton 6-4 David Wawrzewski
Sam Cankett 6-5 Peter Hudson
Jason Hogg 6-4 Adam Shanks
Josh McCarthy 6-3 Shane McGuirk
Sam Booth 6-5 Arron Monk
Ian Mackenzie 6-2 Brett Clayton
Mike Warburton 6-1 Sam Cankett
Jason Hogg 6-3 Josh McCarthy
European Qualifying School
Stage 1A Day Two
Lukas Wenig 6-3 Wesley Plaisier
Eimardo Van Engelen 6-5 Jeroen Mioch
Franz Roetzsch 6-3 Marko Puls
Davy Proosten 6-4 Moreno Blom
Boris Koltsov 6-2 Stefan Taferner
Ricardo Pietreczko 6-1 Patrick van den Boogaard
Michael Rasztovits 6-5 Steven Noster
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Jeffrey van Egdom
Lukas Wenig 6-1 Eimardo Van Engelen
Davy Proosten 6-3 Franz Roetzsch
Boris Koltsov 6-3 Ricardo Pietreczko
Michael Rasztovits 6-4 Raymond van Barneveld