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Darts 2018 Season

PL2015

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This is a new thread now for this year and season of PDC darts which is in the process of getting up and running so people can have discussion on the various events and player going-ons that take place throughout the year.

Here is a calendar of the year's major competitions and their winners which will be updated as they happen :
26-28 January - World Masters
1 Feb - 17 May - Premier League
2-4 March - UK Open
31 May-3rd June - World Cup of Darts
21-29 July - World Matchplay
21-22 September - Champions League of Darts
30 September-6th October - World Grand Prix
25-28 October - European Championship
2-4 November - World Series of Darts Finals
10-18 November - Grand Slam of Darts
23-25 November - Players Championship Finals
TBC Dec - TBC Jan - World Championship

2017 was seemingly dominated by Michael van Gerwen who won nearly every televised ranking event and he'll be looking to continue that streak but unfortunately he didn't win the big one as Rob Cross emerged to win the World Championships. Mensur Suljovic, Peter Wright and Daryl Gurney did win their first major events which were the UK Open, Champions League of Darts and World Grand Prix respectively while this is the first year without Phil Taylor not involved but no doubt the likes of Gary Anderson, Raymond van Barneveld and our new World Champion Cross will be involved in the latter stages of these events.
 


PL2015

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We're now at the first PDC event of the year which is Qualifying School (Q-School). It's different this year as they're two Q-schools, one in Wigan and another in Hildesheim in Germany to reflect the growing nature of the sport as over 600 darts players fight it out for 33 tour cards. The final two players at the end of each day at the UK qualifying school and the winner of the European will automatically seal tour cards while the remaining 21 will be granted according to the Q-School Order of Merit, the top 15 from the Uk Qualifying School and 6 from the European Qualifying School.

Here's my preview of all the most recognisable players taking part in Q-School and should have decent chances so I'm going to group them according to country to make them easier to find.

English Q-School :
Ireland - 2017 BDO World Youth Finalist Jordan Boyce is giving Q-School another crack this year after not doing so well last year but hopefully he has learned from that and can do better.

England - Former World number one and World Grand Prix and World Matchplay winner Colin Lloyd is the headline act here as he looks to try get back into the elite ranks. 1996 World Matchplay champion Peter Evison is back for another crack at Q-School after last year went awful. Former UK Open and European Championship finalist Wes Newton is seeking to get back into the upper echelons of the game by performing well here. Also former World Grand Prix and UK Open runner-up Shayne Burgess is making a comeback as he seeks a tour card while former UK Open finalist Colin Osborne is back in action after not featuring over the last couple of years. Former World Youth Champions Arron Monk and James Hubbard are back here once again this year after performing under par last year and they really need to get their careers on track. Former World Championships semi-finalist Andy Jenkins is yet another player looking to get back on to the PDC circuit. Andy Smith is back at Q-School again this year after failing last year so he'll be desperate for improved performances to replicate his previous exploits. Former World Championship semi-finalists Dennis Smith and his unique throwing style returns as he seeks a Tour Card. Former multi-Major semi-finalist Alan Tabern is back for another bite at this cherry as he's trying to win back his third card. After a year out of darts in 2017, former Grand Slam semi-finalist Dean Winstanley is back looking to return to the PDC tour. Another high profile BDO defector is world number three Jamie Hughes whose looking to forward his career here while joining him from the BDO is three-time finalist Tony O'Shea who is dying for a crack at some of the biggest players. Joining them are BDO stalwart and former World Masters semi-finalist Martin Atkins and former World Trophy and Finder Masters winner Daryl Fitton seek to crack the PDC. Dave Prins has been flitting between the PDC and BDO but is giving Q-School a go now this year. John Bowles is making his first Q-School appearance since winning his card way back in 2012 and lost it this year so he'll be desperate for a tour card. Steve Brown is another player looking to win back his tour card after doing some decent stints on tour a few years ago. Another promising young gun is Nathan Aspinall who really could use with a tour card to get back on track. Richie Corner is looking to win back his tour card after not doing too much with it while Kevin Dowling has done well in the UK Open but needs to perform well here. Sam Head made the move from the PDC to the BDO during 2017 and played decently on the Development and Challenge Tour so winning a tour card could really propel him. Ryan Harrington missed out on a Tour Card last year but won a Challenge Tour event during the year and surely will be in contention this year. Former Top 32 player Stuart Kellett is back trying to win a tour card after falling away and not winning one last year. Brothers Joey Palfreyman and Lee Palfreyman both only played sparingly last year so are looking for a proper comeback this year. Former World Championship qualifier David Pallett has been playing for the last couple of years but still needs that big breakthrough so a tour card could be really useful. Former World Championship qualifier Kevin Simm is back again this year to try win a tour card after playing the Challenge Tour in 2017. Terry Temple is seeking to become the first player to win four cards at Q-School and he's great at the floor events so he has a real chance. Another former Top 32 player and UK Open finalist Mark Walsh is playing here after losing his tour card so he'll be looking to bounce back. Ben Ward is another young starlet who played all the Challenge Tour events last year so is hoping to make it through while Rohit Rabadia is another young player in the same boat. Barry Lynn is another player desperate for a breakthrough as he made the UK Open quarter-finals as an amateur in 2016 when he proclaimed as the next big thing with Rob Cross but since then Lynn failed to win a tour card here last year and has mostly played on the Challenge Tour since then.

Wales - Former UK Open Finalist Barrie Bates goes out in search of regaining his tour card as he's renowned for his floor game and he plied most of his 2017 trade on the Challenge Tour so that should be beneficial here. Robert Owen has won two tour cards here at Q-School but hasn't done great on the tour but he has a chance here.

Scotland - One of the big BDO defectors this year is Cameron Menzies who made the World Masters semi-finals and won the Scottish Open last year so is riddled with talent. Mark Barilli is back to Q-School again looking to win his third tour card from here but he's made no use of them since he's won one. Mark Frost is another player seeking to relaunch his career after spending most of 2017 on the Challenge Tour.

Gibraltar - Dylan Duo comes back for another bite at the Q-School cherry which went fairly sour last year while Dyson Parody has been a mainstay on the Gibraltar World Cup of Darts team, generally with Duo, but the floor events haven't produced good results for him.

Australia - 2016 World Youth Champion Corey Cadby comes here to really kickstart his career after spending most of 2017 focusing in developing his game on the DPA tour in Australia so he should be able to show his class here.

New Zealand - Cody Harris is a player who's been showing lots of potential for a while now and he has a couple of World Cup appearances under his belt now too. He just recently made the Last 64 of the World a Championships so he should be going for it.

Canada - David Fatum is another player with massive experience but hasn't done much in the last 9 years or so so needs to prove himself. Another big BDO defector is 2016 Lakeside World Finalist Jeff Smith who recently made the Last 64 of the PDC World Championships and wants to launch a successful career here. Dawson Murschell is a good young player who made the US Masters quarter-finals so he has some talent. Ken MacNeil is another notoriously good Q-School player but he didn't win it back last year so he's looking to win his third tour card here this weekend. Dave Richardson also made the US Masters quarter-finalists in 2017 and is someone who could be suited to Q-School.

Japan - Keita Ono is a good player who plays a good bit of soft-tip darts but has played in the World Cup, World Championships and World Series but floor events don't seem to be his strength. Haruki Muramatsu didn't miss on a tour card by much last year so he'll be determined to win one here and he'll need to use all his big stage experience from the same events Ono has been in.

South Africa - Two former World Championship qualifiers return once again to Q-School as Nolan Arendse and Warrick Scheffer return with Scheffer nearly winning a tour card last year but falling short so they'll be hoping for more success this year.


European Q-School :
Netherlands - Arguably the biggest BDO defector is 2017 Lakeside World Finalist Danny Noppert who is looking to follow in many great Dutch dartists footsteps by launching his career in the PDC. Ryan de Vreede and Jeffrey de Zwaan are both highly regarded players who just need to move on now and make that big break. Jerry Hendriks has twice played in the PDC World Championships and is a flamboyant player which may not be well suited to Q-School. Vincent Kamphuis is another player looking to win back his tour card at the first time of asking after a quiet 2017 as is Dirk van Duijvenbode who didn't do much except reach the Last 32 of the U.K. Open despite having loads of potential. 2017 World Youth Finalist Berry van Peer is looking to also win back his Tour Card after just missing out on the Top 70 after he made the Grand Slam Last 16. Dick van Dijk is back to try win his Tour Card after winning it two years ago but he didn't do much with it.

Sweden - Dennis Nilsson is another player to cross codes from the BDO and he'll fancy his chances here as he's played in nearly all of the BDO majors and won the Lithuanian Open last year.

Finland - Ulf Ceder is an experienced player who's won several events on the Scandinavian Tour so is looking to try further his career on the PDC circuit. Marko Kantele is another experienced player who had a good 2017 with some SDC Tour wins and qualifying for the World Championship as did Kim Viljanen who's aiming to regain his tour card.

Germany - Youngester Nico Blum became the first player born this Milennium to play on the European Tour in 2017 while he also won the BDO World Youth Masters so he has an abundance of talent. Kevin Munch will have high hopes after making the Last 32 of the World Championships where he is hoping to become the star Germany are craving. Bernd Roith has been unsuccessful at his last few attempts at Q-School but surely his experience will count for something while another former Tour Card holder Tomas Seyler is looking to get his career back on track. Michael Rosenauer is another of the German old stock who has only competed sparingly in recent years and will be hoping for a comeback here. Previous long-term German number one Jyhan Artut has played in 5 World Championships and several World Cups but took 2017 off. For,ready World Championship qualifiers Rene Eidams and Dragutin Horvat also participate here looking to regain some momentum.

Austria - Recent PDC Junior Darts World Champion Rusty-Jake Rodriguez comes here alongside his brother Roxy-James Rodriguez as they seek to emulate oldest brother Rowby-John Rodriguez by winning tour cards here but it didn't go well last year but they're quickly improving. Michael Rasztovits has been playing on the PDC tour for years but never actually has won a Tour Card so is coming here looking to end that streak after a mixed 2017 but he has previously qualified for the PDC World Championships.

Belgium - Mike De Decker is back looking to reclaim the tour card he won two years ago and he was just outside the Top 64 but he did ok last year making the Players Championships Finals but will have to improve his floor game. Kenny Neyens recently made the World Championships prelims where he acquitted himself decently so he'll be hoping to develop on that while Davy van Baelan has also made the BDO World Championships so is ready to kick on.

Brazil - South America's darting star Diego Portela aims to consecrate himself as the first Brazilian tour card holder and he wants to improve on his 2017 where he made his first appearance at the World Cup and World Championships.

Croatia - Recent World Championship qualifier Alan Ljubic comes here to prove himself further to try win his tour card.

Poland - Kryzstof Ratajski is a great floor player as he's won 11 Eastern European Tour events in 2017 while also winning the BDO World Masters and qualifying for the PDC Worlds so he should fare well here. World Cup partner Tytus Kanik comes here in search of his first Tour Card while Radoslaw Szaganski played a lot on the Challenge Tour so is a threat here.

Hungary - Regular World Cup team member Nandor Bezzeg comes here in search of laying down a steady and solid year.

Russia - Boris Koltsov is another developing player as he missed out on a Tour Card last year but he made the World Cup quarter-finals and has twice participated in the World Championships along with winning the Finnish Open.

Czech Republic - Two of their World Cup stars Frantisek Humpula and Karol Sedlacek are in action here with Humpula only starting out and Sedlacek has been involved in numerous BDO majors so is well-equipped.

Switzerland - Another BDO defector here in the form of Thomas Junghans who is a former World Masters semi-finalist and will want to kickstart his PDC career here.

Croatia - Robert Marijanovic is a good player but has had a mixed career with a couple of World Championship appearances to his name but he's really fallen off the wagon somewhat and needs to get back on track.

Greece - John Michael is back at Q-School after winning a tour card two years ago but he had a mixed 2017 after failing to qualify for the World Championships but made the Last 32 of the U.K. Open.
 

PL2015

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Q-School Report :
It was another manic weekend of action at Q-School as the players vied for the 33 tour cards available across the two qualifying schools.

English Q-School Tour Card Winners :
Day 1 - Corey Cadby & Eddie Dootson
Day 2 - Robert Owen & Alan Tabern
Day 3 - Arron Monk & George Killington
Day 4 - Dawson Murschell & Bradley Brooks
Order of Merit - Nathan Aspinall, Terry Temple, Ross Smith, Ryan Harrington, Simon Stevenson, Gary Eastwood, John Goldie, Matthew Edgar, Ryan Meikle, Ryan Joyce, Tony Newell, Kevin Burness, Luke Woodhouse, Peter Hudson, Mark Wilson

European Q-School Tour Card Winners :
Day 1 - Jeffrey de Zwaan
Day 2 - Mario Robbe
Day 3 - Tytus Kanik
Day 4 - Gabriel Clemens
Order of Merit - Danny Noppert, Robert Marijanovic, Dirk van Duijvendobe, Vincent Kamphuis, Jose Justicia, Davy van Baelen


Overall then, out of the 33 players who won tour cards, 16 won tour cards which is a 48% hit rate, down from 57% last year.

Meanwhile, 16 out of the 91 players in my preview won a tour card which is a 18% hit rate which is down from 23% last year.
 

PL2015

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The first big televised event of the year was the World Masters which took place recently in Milton Keynes.

World Masters :
It was very much return to the status quo as Michael van Gerwen triumphed to claim his fourth successive title. He was massively impressive throughout as he won all four matches with a 100+ average and managed to overcome compatriot Raymond van Barneveld in a titilating final 11-9 in a really entertaining tussle. MVG had early wins over Huybrechts and Wade who he averaged 111.14 against before he beat Gary Anderson 11-5 in the semi-final. Barney had a welcome return to televised finals as he dumped out Dave Chisnall in a last leg decider and then Peter Wright in the quarters to make the semi-finals where he beat Mensur Suljovic 11-7 in another impressive showing.
For Anderson and Suljovic, it was a solid outing to begin their season as Anderson overcame Benito van de Pas and Gerwyn Price relatively well while Suljovic defeated Michael Smith and Rob Cross 10-8 in two top class affairs.

We move on to a good dose of floor events to lead up to the next major of the UK Open while the Premier League is also ongoing.
 

PL2015

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The first big major of the season took place last weekend in the form of the UK Open, also known as the 'FA Cup of Darts' for its open draw format. For the first time though it was played without a crowd due to the impacts of Storm Emma but it was still televised.

UK Open :
It was a weekend full of thrills and shocks but ultimately it was two-time World Champion Gary Anderson who reigned supreme with an excellent victory and great tournament. He overcame debutant and rising talent Corey Cadby in the final 11-7 with both players giving it their all which was very entertaining. Anderson was composed throughout the competition as he disposed of Ricky Evans and Jermaine Wattimena to make the quarter-finals where he impressively beat defending World Champion Rob Cross 10-5 and then saw off surprise semi-finalist David Pallett 11-7. It was also an excellent result for Cadby and may be the breakthrough he needs just over a month after winning his tour card. He had 10-7 wins over fellow exciting young guns Martin Schindler and Chris Dobey to make the quarter-finals. There he beat last-year's finalist Gerwyn Price 10-6 before he went on to knock out Robert Owen 11-3 in the semi-finals.
Owen and Pallett were two very surprising semi-finalists but both played extremely well and the nature of the draw allows for this. Pallett had big wins over Robert Thornton and James Wade before seeing off Kim Huybrechts to make the quarter-finals where he beat Steve West 10-5. Robert Owen started of in the second round and had early wins over Jamie Lewis and Nathan Rafferty before knocking out Ian White to make the quarter-finals and then he knocked out evergreen John Part 10-3.
In terms of the quarter-finalists, it was like reeling in the years as John Part rolled back the years to pull out some classic performances and show his quality while West will be pleased to have made a Major quarter-final. Both Cross and Price would of fancied their chances of the title with the way the draw had gone but ultimately it wasn't to be.
In terms of the big names, Michael Van Gerwen lost out in the third round to Jeffrey de Zwaan while Raymond van Barneveld and Peter Wright also exited at this stage, to Mervyn King and Nathan Rafferty respectively.

Overall it was an exciting tournament with the shock wins but the lack of audience changed the viewing. Meanwhile, the Premier League remains ongoing and the next televised event is the World Cup of Darts at the end of May.
 

Wascurito

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Eric Bristow has passed away. RIP.



Is this an own thread scenario?
 

Betson

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Big Chizzy up next as the PDC words darts championship is starting to kick into gear.
 

Betson

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Chizzy on Fire as he demolishes Jamie Lewis 4 - 0. Now sets up a big one V Gary Anderson tomorrow night.

Anderson has made hard work of his matches so far and I fancy Chizzy might just take him tomorrow night. Should be a good one.
 

Betson

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Defending champion Rob Cross exits at the quarter final stage in a shock defeat to Luke Humphries.

Can anyone stop mighty Mike now?
 

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