Plymouth darts quartet shine in respective tourneys

PLYMOUTH darts players put in quality tournament performances yesterday, whilst competing in Wigan, Denmark and Derby, gaining valuable ranking points along the way.

Simon Stevenson was at the Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan, for the PDC’s Player Championship Nine event, hoping to improve on first round defeats in his last four tournaments and he bounced back to form with gusto.

He opened his account with a 6-2 victory over Steve Lennon, after taking the opener in 15, followed by another 15-darter when his last nine darts of the leg harvested 398 points.

He then moved 3-0 in front when finishing in 15 with a checkout of 105 followed by a win in 14.

The Republic of Ireland thrower halted the slide when taking the next in 13, only for Stevenson to progress with two wins in 14, either side of his rival’s 18 darter to finish with a 99.10 average.

Robert Thornton was Simon’s next opponent and he began with a win in 19 and although the Scotsman levelled, Simon edged 2-1 in front with a win in 13 after both players had exchanged 180s.

There was no coming back then for Thornton as the Plymouth marksman rattled off the next four in 20, 13, 13 and 19 to progress to the last 32.

Peter Wright had beaten Simon twice in February but even though Snakebite hit five maximums and a 161 checkout, it was not enough to oust Plymouth’s top player this time around.

Simon took the opener in 17 only for Wright to level in 12 before edging in front with a win in 15.

Stevenson levelled with a 15-darter of his own which he finished at the first time of asking from 101 and they were still all square at 3-3 when the next two were shared.

Simon edged in front for the second time when winning the seventh leg in 19, but two 15-darters from Wright, which included back to back 180s in the ninth, put him 5-4 in front with two to play.

But that was the last leg that Wright, currently second in the PDC’s Order of Merit, was to win and Stevenson progressed with a 6-5 victory when taking the last two legs in 15 and 17, posting a 90.1 average.

This excellent victory caught the eye of a lot of admirers, none more so than the Media platform Darts News, who reported: “We are through to the last 32 at the 9th Players Championship event in Wigan and although Michael van Gerwen still remains, multiple big names have gone home.

“These include Peter Wright who was dumped out by Simon Stevenson. Stevenson is known as one of the most formidable players on the floor and showed that when defeating him in a deciding leg”.

Unfortunately, Simon’s form dipped in the last 16 and he went out 6-2 to an in-form Adrian Lewis who took out three ton plus checkouts, finishing with a 96.2 average.

Plymouth’s England international Maria O’Brien was in search of World Championship ranking points when she competed in the Denmark Open at the Granly Hockey Arena, Esbjerg.

She won her opening match 4-0 against Line Christensen from the host country before coming up against Polish thrower Karolina Podgorska in what turned out to be a cracker.

Maria took a 2-1 lead before hitting two maximums in a 12-dart leg to extend her lead to 3-1 before winning the next to meet none other than the World’s No.1 ranked player Lorraine Winstanley.

But the BDO’s top lady player held no fears and Maria swept her aside 4-1. She then went on to win the board final against Denmark's Trine Byo, before meeting Australian Corrine Hammond in the last eight.

Maria won the early exchanges and led 3-1 with legs in 16, 18 and 18, only to finally bow out to the 2017 World Championship runner-up 4-3. Although disappointed, valuable ranking points were gained.

Mark Turner made a rare presence in the Men’s Denmark Open and although he went out in round two against the experienced England International Martin Atkins, he showed his prowess in the opening round.

Turner trailed Poland’s Adrian Michna 3-0 in the best of seven tie, but with the help of three maximum scores and a checkout of 118, pulled it back to 3-3, before winning the decider in 15.

Keelan Kay was hoping for a change of fortunes on the JDC Modus Tour when competing in Tour Three at the Cueball Club, Derby and he was into his stride as early as his first match.

He took the first two legs against Gloucestershire’s Zach Thorne in 20 and 21 and after throws of 100x2 and 121 could have sealed the victory in 16 but had to settle for a win in 22.

The 16-year-old then defeated Lennon Cradock in three straight legs, aided by a 15 darter before claiming a 3-0 victory over Tyler Radlett, a victory which took him into the last four.

Tavis Dudeney now stood between Keelan and a place in the final and the scoreline stood at 3-3 before Kay was cruelly denied.

Dudeney took the winning leg in 16, after having scored 316 points with his last seven darts with Keelan, darts in hand, waiting to have a shot at double 18.

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