DEVON will be sending a strong contingent to compete in the BDO Gold Cup at the Magna Centre, Rotherham, at the weekend and the team will include two teenagers who normally compete for Devon Youth.
Earning their place by defeating senior Devon A players in the county play-offs were Owen Bates and Kieran Peek, who both compete at Under 18 level in Southern Counties Youth.
Kieran, (pictured right), who first started playing darts at 12-years-old, has already experienced some high moments, having reached the Youth Gold Cup semi-final and the BDO International Cup final and will be hoping to replicate that form in Rotherham.
The 18-year-old from Exeter has done well to get back to active competition, having had to take 12 weeks out earlier in the year due to a knee operation.
Peek’s playing partner Owen Bates (below) had an excellent season in Southern Counties Youth, finishing third in the averages, winning seven of his eight matches.
At just 15-years-old he will be one of the youngest players competing in the prestigious tournament.
The West Exe School pupil has only been playing for five years but his potential cannot be questioned, evident in the fact that towards the end of last season he was picked to play for the Devon senior squad in the British Inter County Championships.
The deadly duo were again in a rich vein of form only last Sunday when qualifying at one of four venues in the Southern Youth annual doubles competition.
They will contest their semi-final and hopefully final, on stage at the famous Circus Tavern on July 7.
David Witt and Ben Chamberlain will be Devon’s other pairing and the duo have just finished a successful campaign in the Devon County Super League where they finished second and third respectively in the final table of the top averages.
The experienced quartet of David Matthews, Paul Milford, Liam Goyne and Glyn Wells will contest the Men’s singles while Merryl Dennis and Maria O’Brien will be in the hunt for success in the Ladies’ singles.
Just 12 months ago Maria (below) had an excellent run to the semi-finals before coming up against an in-form Fallon Sherrock who went on to take the title when beating Deta Hedman in the final with a 28.04 average.
Devon will be represented in the ladies’ pairs by Hayley Brant and Anna Johnson, two of the successful Levy Ladies team that completed their Super League campaign undefeated.
All matches will be played over the best of seven legs except the Ladies’ final (best of nine), Men’s semi-finals (best of nine) and Men’s final (best of 11).
The draw for the Devon players are as follows:
Men’s Singles: David Matthews v Martin Farmer (County Durham), Paul Milford v Dean Lewer (Somerset), Liam Goyne v Ryan Hassell (Derbyshire), Glyn Wells v Rob Smith (Derbyshire).
Ladies’ Singles: Maria O’Brien v Elaine Powell (Gloucestershire), Merryl Dennis has bye in round of 128 and will play the winner of Jenny Jones (Worcestershire) v Glad Davies (Clwyd).
Men’s Pairs: David Witt and Ben Chamberlain v Scott Mitchell/Mark Grimes (Dorset). Owen Bates and Kieran Peek v Mark Strong/Mark Westgarth (Warwickshire).
Ladies’ Pairs: Hayley Brant and Anna Johnson have bye in round of 64 and will play the winner of Carol Bowers/Lisa Webb (Berkshire) v Mandy Morgan/Jenny Jones (Worcestershire.