Fallon Sherrock and Kevin Painter were among the players who made it through to the Final Stage of the 2021 PDC Qualifying Schools on Wednesday, as Stage 1A drew to a dramatic conclusion in Milton Keynes and Niedernhausen.
Former Players Championship Finals winner Painter was one of four players to seal automatic qualification at the Marshall Arena on Wednesday afternoon, accounting for former DPA No 1 Gordon Mathers and previous Tour Card holders Tony Newell, Chris Quantock and Peter Hudson.
Christopher Bent joined ‘The Artist’ in confirming his place in Stage Two and he did so in comprehensive fashion, averaging 99.1 to dispatch Ireland’s Shane McGuirk 6-1 in their decisive last eight clash.
Scottish duo Ryan Hogarth and John Imrie joined Painter and Bent as the final day’s automatic qualifiers, with Imrie – born in the Faroe Islands – whitewashing Sherrock 6-0 in the last game of the day, averaging 103.7 in the process.
Nevertheless, Sherrock’s run to the last eight assured her of a place in the Final Stage alongside 36 Order of Merit qualifiers, which include former World Youth champion Arron Monk, former Grand Slam semi-finalist Kevin McDine, New Zealand’s Haupai Puha and Australia’s James Bailey.
Despite this, there were a host of big names that failed to make the cut, including BDO world champion Wayne Warren, ex-Premier League star Wes Newton and former major finalists Darryl Fitton and Dean Winstanley.
In Niederhausen, Raymond van Barneveld was guaranteed a place in Stage Two via the Order of Merit ahead of day three, but the five-time world champion was one of four players to claim an outright spot in European Q-School on Wednesday, conceding just six legs in four games.
The Dutch legend posted a 102.1 average to defeat his compatriot Dennie Olde Kalter 6-3 in the last 32 – his fourth ton-plus average in three days – before easing past Belgian youngster Kenny Neyens 6-2 in the last eight.
Highly-rated Nico Kurz also claimed an automatic qualification place, having lost out to Van Barneveld on day two. The talented German youngster hasn’t been at his blistering best on home soil, but he still progressed convincingly alongside his fellow countryman Franz Roetzsch.
Dutchman Jeremy van der Winkel was the final man to claim automatic qualification, courtesy of victory over former BDO World Trophy winner Geert de Vos. However, the Belgian still safely progressed to Stage Two, topping the European Order of Merit due to Van Barneveld’s earlier win.
De Vos was one of 43 players to advance via the European Stage 1A Order of Merit, a list which included 2018 Grand Slam of Darts quarter-finalist Michael Unterbuchner, former Ally Pally participant Rene Eidams and 2020 BDO world semi-finalist Mario Vandenbogaerde.
Stage 1B begins at both the UK and European Q Schools on Thursday, the first of three days of action which will once again see four automatic qualification places up for grabs at the respective venues.
As with Stage 1A, ranking points will be awarded to non-qualified players based on the number of match wins from the first full round onwards to form an Order of Merit, where players will then proceed to the Final Stage, which gets underway on Sunday.
Tour Cards will be up for grabs across those four days, with 128 players competing at each venue made up of 1A and 1B qualifiers, 2020 Tour Card Holders and the highest ranked players on the 2020 Challenge Tour Order of Merit.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
UK Qualifying School Stage 1A Day Three
Christopher Bent 6-3 Jim McEwan
Shane McGuirk 6-0 Joey Palfreyman
David Wawrzewski 6-4 Jason Heaver
Ryan Hogarth 6-5 Graham Usher
Fallon Sherrock 6-1 James Bailey
John Imrie 6-3 Niall Culleton
Kevin Painter 6-3 Gordon Mathers
Peter Hudson 6-1 John Brown
Christopher Bent 6-1 Shane McGuirk
Ryan Hogarth 6-3 David Wawrzewski
John Imrie 6-0 Fallon Sherrock
Kevin Painter 6-4 Peter Hudson
European Qualifying School Stage 1A Day Three
Kenny Neyens 6-4 Patrick van den Boogaard
Raymond van Barneveld 6-1 Mindaugas Barauskas
Geert De Vos 6-5 Sebastian Steyer
Jeremy van der Winkel 6-3 Wesley Plaisier
Steven Noster 6-2 Remo Mandiau
Nico Kurz 6-1 Rients Visser
Sven Hilling 6-5 Ricardo Pietreczko
Franz Roetzsch 6-1 Rene Eidams
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Kenny Neyens
Jeremy van der Winkel 6-4 Geert De Vos
Nico Kurz 6-4 Steven Noster
Franz Roetzsch 6-4 Sven Hilling