Stevenson returns to Q School to win back tour card

SIMON Stevenson is to return to Q School on Thursday after losing his PDC Tour Card in December.

The 45-year-old finished outside of the top 64 Order of Merit, on completion of his two-year membership, which he won at the 2016 Q School at his first attempt.

The ongoing growth of the PDC necessitates two venues to host Qualifying Schools from January 18-21 2018, with Wigan's Robin Park Tennis Centre hosting the UK Qualifying School and Halle 39 in Hildesheim, Germany being the location of the European Qualifying School.

The UK Qualifying School will play down to the final two players on each day, to give eight automatic Tour Cards.

The Mirrorman made steady progress throughout his rookie year, which finished with him qualifying for the 2017 William Hill World Championship, the most prestigious event in the PDC Calendar.

TOUR CARD: Simon Stevenson will attempt to win back his Tour Card when he competes at Q School which begins on Thursday, January 18, for four days.

He finished the year in 76th place in the PDC Order of Merit with prizemoney of £21,000 and in 55th place (£14,500) in the ProTour Order of Merit.

The marksman, from Tamerton Foliot, competed in the Austrian Open, German Darts Championships, World Series of Darts, Grand Slam of Darts, European Grand Prix and 20 Players Championship events, winning prizemoney in no fewer than 18 appearances.

Stevenson’s form dipped though in 2017, despite qualifying for the HappyBet International Darts Open and the Ladbrokes World Series of Darts.

But on form, there is no reason why he cannot win himself another two-year stint on the PDC circuit.

Appearing at Q School for the first time will be fellow Plymouth marksman John Mann, who has had a solid 12 months playing within the local leagues and representing Cornwall in the British Inter County Championships.

FIRST ATTEMPT: John Mann will be making his first attempt to win a PDC Tour Card when he competes alongside the Mirror Man at Q School in Wigan.

In May, the self-employed businessman won the Plymouth Open against a formidable field and back in October, just 15 months after becoming the first Plymouth player to hit the perfect nine-dart game, Mann came so close to repeating the feat.

Playing in a league match, Mann had already gone 2-0 up in 15 and 17 and in the third leg, achieved eight perfect darts before wiring double 12.

He hit the double with the first dart of his next visit to finish with a three-dart average of 35.78.

Back in July, Mann won the Players Championship of the Plymouth City Super League, dropping only two legs throughout before winning the final 4-0.

A valued member of the Cornwall county squad, Mann helped the Duchy side to finish 2017 as division one leaders.

He is also in the top 10 of the averages with a season’s mark of 26.48 which is headed by the 2015 BDO World champion Scott Mitchell.

Q SCHOOL: Mike Beard will be one of three players from the Plymouth darts leagues hoping

to make a big impression and clinch a tour card at the PDC's Q School later in the week.

Another player competing will be 39-year-old Mike Beard who owes his appearance to a sponsorship deal he achieved from Anchorman Insurance Consultants of Okehampton.

Beard, formerly from Milton Keynes and now living in Holsworthy, turns out for Porters B in the Plymouth City Super League.

The self-employed plasterer also plays for Lucky Kiss B in the Cornwall Super League and represents the Duchy in the British Inter County Championships.

As recently as last December he was the winner of the Okehampton Christmas Classic which took place at the London Inn.

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