The Redtooth Darts qualifiers headed for Wigan on Thursday full of confidence after battling their way past thousands of hopefuls at pub level, regional qualifiers and finally at the Redtooth Darts National Final in Leeds.
Catford’s Paul Amos had already topped his pub league, won a difficult South East regional final at London Victoria Rileys; and, of course, he was also the comfortable 4-0 winner of our National Final on stage at the Alexandra Palace during the Ladbrokes World Darts Championships in December. Paul would have been forgiven for not playing well at Wigan; alas the real “moo moo” certainly turned up.
Qualifying School for the Professional Darts Circuit is a step up for any pub players, with over 300 of the best darts players from around the world competing this year for only 25 tour cards. That said, all of our players did themselves proud with some sterling performances over the four days. Leicester Rileys’ Jay Wilson (61st) and The Sir John Barleycorn’s (Hitchin) Lionel Sams (32nd) both finishing in the top 64; and many of our other qualifiers recorded some terrific results along the way. The two Scottish lads, Darren Beveridge and David Sharp, both recorded a number of wins, including a memorable 6-0 from Sharp on Saturday and a couple of 6-1’s from Beveridge over the course of the four days, making their trip down worthwhile and a cause for a beverage or two…
David Murphy also made his trip over from the emerald isle worthwhile, beating Clive Lewis 6-1 in the first round on Saturday and Andy Blackwell 6-3 in the first round on Thursday, only to narrowly lose out to South Africa’s Charl Pietersen in the second round, who went on to hit a 9 darter and qualify for Q school on the very same day. A case of ‘what might have been’ for David… And, like his Murphys…he’s not bitter!
What might have been and what the future holds are very positive contemplations for our players as they look back at a terrific experience and bright futures in the sport. The four lads from Stoke all have age on their side: 21 year-old Jamie Landon the youngest of the four, having already qualified for the PDC World Youth Championships taking place in March. Scunthorpe’s (Rileys) Mark Wilson and Barrow upon Humber’s (Six Bells) Jamie Ellam both showed what dangerous players they can be.
Gary Rigby and Stuart Williams travelled over from Abu Dhabi to take their place at Q school (Gary qualifying in Leeds and Stuart the organiser of the original Team Taylor out in the UAE deciding to fund himself). Both players’ did not regret their decision to travel as they hit a plethora of 180s and played some memorable darts. Both Gary and Stuart embody the spirit of Redtooth Darts, powered by Protege Events, and it was a pleasure to spend time with them.
From a Redtooth Darts/Protégé Events’ perspective, Q School belonged to Amos as he MOOOved forcefully through the field over the four days, starting on Friday as he reached the last 8, winning no less than five matches on the day and recording a 10 dart leg in one of these. This 5 match feat was repeated on Sunday as another 5 scalps were taken by Paul as he reached the last 16. The performances on these two days were enough to see Paul 5th on the Q School Order of Merit and comfortably on to the PDC tour. On Friday and Sunday, in the matches he won, Paul recorded 60 successful legs of darts and conceded only 31 – an average result of 6-3 which is testament to the fantastic standard of darts he threw throughout the week.
Paul is aiming to MOOve up the PDC rankings and qualify for next year’s PDC World Championships, where he hopes to grace the Ally Pally stage for a second time and milk an-udder packed crowd! We are all behind you, Paul, as the steaks have suddenly become a lot higher!!! Best of luck, MOO MOO!!!