Outstanding Stevenson qualifies for two Euro Opens

PLYMOUTH’S top darts player produced an outstanding performance at the Barnsley Metrodome last night and qualified for both the Austrian and German Opens which will take place next month.

Simon Stevenson left seasoned campaigners in his wake as he remained undefeated throughout the evening, one of just seven players to qualify for both European tournaments.

ET Qualifier Three for the German Darts Open was the first to be contested and The Mirrorman had a tricky opener against Dawson Murschell.

Stevenson won the first leg in 15, only for the 22-year-old to win the next three on the bounce and put his opponent under pressure.

The Mirrorman responded by taking the fifth leg in 13 but the Canadian’s two-game advantage was restored when he won the sixth leg in 14.

WINNING DOUBLE: Simon Stevenson was one of just seven players who qualified for both the German and Austrian Opens at the Barnsley Metrodome last evening.

But that was the last leg he was to win as Stevenson took four on the bounce in 15, 15 13 and 15 to finish with a 97.8 average.

Stevenson edged 2-1 in front with two 16-darters against his next opponent Ritchie Edhouse, before he increased his advantage to 3-1 when finishing a 12-dart leg with an outshot of 140.

The Plymouth marksman then took the next in 18 and although Edhouse claimed a leg back in 15, Stevenson won in 15 and 14 for a 6-2 victory and another outstanding average of 96.90.

Only one player now stood between Stevenson and a place in the German Open and that was Chris Dobey but the 27-year-old from Bedlington was swept away 6-1 by another outstanding showing from Stevenson.

He went 3-1 up in 15, 13 and 21 before making it 4-1 when finishing a 15-darter with an outshot of 100.

Stevenson then took the sixth leg in 11 before finishing off with a win in 15.

The Mirrorman hit no fewer than nine maximums throughout his qualification and finished with the 10th highest average of the competition with 97.70.

He had no time to dwell on his success though as the players took to the oche again to contest ET Qualifier Four for the Austrian Open.

Stevenson was drawn a bye in the opening round but then had to face James Richardson, a player who had reached the last 16 of the 2018 PDC World Championships in January and a two-time winner over Stevenson in 2017.

That form though counted for nothing as the Plymouth marksman brushed him aside 6-2.

Richardson won the opening leg in 15 only for Stevenson to level in 15 when checking out at the first time asking from 101 and then moving 4-1 ahead with wins in 15, 18 and 15.

Richardson took the next in 16, but Stevenson cleaned up in 16 and 19 to once again move to within one victory of another European Open.

His opponent was the experienced Paul Nicholson but apart from levelling at 1-1 with a leg in 16, the Corby marksman was blown away.

Stevenson moved 4-1 up with legs in 15, 18 and 18 then pulled out a brilliant 12 dart leg which he finished with a checkout of 161 before wrapping up a workman like 6-1 victory.

The German Darts Open will be the year’s third PDC European Tour event and will be held at the Saarlandhalle in Saarbrucken, from April 13-15.

The Austrian Darts Open, the fourth European Tour event of 2018, will be held from April 20-22 at the Steiermarkhalle Premstatten in Graz, Austria.

The top 16 players from the ProTour Order of Merit are seeded and will enter at the second-round stage of both events.

But it will be business as usual today as Stevenson lines up as one of 128 players competing for Order of Merit prizemoney in Players Championship Three with Players Championship Four being contested tomorrow.

All matches will be played over the best of 11 legs and a total of £150,000 will be up for grabs over the two days.

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