THE England youth squad will return from Turkey later today and should be proud of their achievements after representing their country at the World Darts Federation’s European Youth Cup, which began last Thursday in Ankara.
Plymouth’s Keelan Kay was one of the boy’s team which also included Jack Vincent, Brad Phillips and Alex Gurr.
The tournament began with the boy’s pairs and Keelan, who was partnered with Jack Vincent defeated Ireland 3-1 and Turkey 3-2, before losing 3-1 to the strong Scottish duo of Nathan Girvan and Brandon Nicholl but had still done enough to qualify for the last 16.
TEAM FINALISTS: England's quartet (from left to right) of Keelan Kay, Jack Vincent, Brad Phillips and Alex Gurr, who made the final of the team event for the second successive year before losing to The Netherlands.
But they were denied a place in the quarter-finals when they were edged out 3-2 by the Czech Republic.
Brad Phillips and Alex Gurr also qualified for the last 16 and progressed further when they ended the hopes of Sion Russell and Connnor Hopkins, representing Wales, before bowing out to Girvan and Nicholl (Scotland).
All four of the boys came through their round robin groups in the singles to make the last 32, but there were defeats at that stage for both Gurr, who was beaten 3-1 by Gibraltar’s Justin Hewitt and Kay, who was pipped to the double in the fifth and deciding leg by Ireland’s Keane Barry, the beaten finalist in the 2017 World Youth Masters.
Brad Phillips defeated Onur Yilmaz (Turkey) but went out in the last 16 when he was edged 3-2 by Bence Katona from Hungary.
Jack Vincent progressed to the last 16 with a comfortable victory over Denmark’s Magnus Larsen and then defeated Levy Frauenfelder of the Netherlands 3-1.
Now into the last eight, Vincent came from a set down to beat Faith Bozan of the host country when winning the deciding leg of the final set.
But he was denied a place in the individual final when Ireland’s Keane Barry once again proved to be a thorn in England’s side.
The English boys were hoping to go one better than their runners-up in the team event in 2017 and started their campaign with a 9-5 win against Germany.
They then defeated Belgium 9-4 and Czech Republic also 9-4 to top their round robin group.
The English quartet then had a resounding 9-2 success against a strong Gibraltar side for a place in the semi-finals.
Another excellent performance enabled the English quartet to dispatch Ireland 9-3 for a place in the final but for the second time in as many years, they found the Netherlands too good on the day and were beaten 9-5, but an excellent showing all the same.
They finished the tourney in bronze medal position behind champions The Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland who were runners up.
Only two players made up each of the girl’s teams, but what England lacked in numbers, they made up for in stature and the duo of Beau Greaves (left, below) and Shannon Reeves earned themselves a lot of new admirers throughout the tournament before being crowned European girl’s champions.
They got off to a good start in the pairs by winning four of their five round robin matches to top their group and qualify for the quarter-finals.
The English pairing overcame Jacqueline Vogler and Alicia Becker of Germany and then had an excellent 3-2 success against The Netherlands before emerging as European Youth champions when winning 4-1 against the host country Turkey.
Into the individual phases and England’s management team had high hopes of their shining lights.
Shannon Reeves began by beating Nadine Hartl (Austria) 3-1 and Femke de Vuyst (Belgium) 3-0, before emerging a 3-0 winner against Scotland’s Kara Sutherland, scoring 223 with her last five darts in the third leg, which included a maximum 180.
Shannon was then beaten by Katie Sheldon (Ireland) who remained undefeated but qualified by finishing second in her group
Beau achieved wins over Audrey Ysewijn (Belgium), Carina Rauscher (Austria), Melissa Reuss (Denmark), Emine Durson (Turkey) and Klara Bidlova (Czech Republic) to top group three.
They unfortunately had to play each other in the last eight and a 3-0 win by Beau put her in the semi-final.
She then overcame Chloe O’Brien from Scotland before claiming the European title with a 4-1 defeat of Emine Dursun (Turkey).