Keelan eyes place in JDC World Championship line-up

PLYMOUTH’S teenage darts prodigy Keelan Kay has his eye on a place in the

JDC World Championships but needs to get into the top 10 to qualify for the main event of the year.

He is currently eighth in the order of merit, with two competitions remaining, the next coming as early as this coming Saturday at Rileys Solihull.

The 16-year-old will be hoping to replicate the good form he showed last month when he started September by competing in five different tournaments over two weekends.

After a couple of victories in the England Masters at Selsey, he found himself up against England captain and former BDO World champion Scott Mitchell but despite some good scoring, Kay bowed out in the last 64.

The teenager was honoured to be chosen as one of only eight invitees for the England Youth Matchplay and won through to the semi-finals before taking his place in the England Classic which began with a round-robin.

Keelan breezed through the early stages winning all four games without dropping a leg, before emerging a 3-0 winner in both the last 16 and the quarter-finals.

Unfortunately, at the semi-final stage, despite another rousing performance, Keelan bowed out by the odd game in seven.

The following weekend, event six on the JDC Modus Tour was contested at Exeter and despite losing the opening leg, Keelan defeated Zac Griffiths 3-1 with a 73.0 average.

Kay then upped his game in round two when posting an 82.00 average in a 3-0 defeat of Mitchell Leeming and then improved once again in the last eight.

With confidence growing he played Bristol's Tommy Nelson in the quarter-finals and produced arguably his best performance when winning 3-0 with a three-dart average of 85.10.

Now into the last four, he kept his nerve to defeat Sussex’s Tavis Dudeney 4-2 (74.30) and a place in the final beckoned.

But although Keelan’s scoring was good he found Buster Turner too hot on the day and lost 5-0 despite posting an 81.80 average.

At the end of that week, Keelan made his Devon county A debut and dispatched an experienced opponent 4-0 with a 26.72 average.

The following weekend Keelan was back on the PDC Development Tour playing four events over two days and coming away with 200 order of merit ranking points.

In Tour 13 he opened up with a 4-1 win over Ireland’s Shane McGuirk before edging out Liam Hill 4-3 which included a 15 darter that Kay finished with a kill of 135.

Keelan then had to face his former England Youth team mate Jarred Cole but despite Cole hitting a 12-dart leg and leading 3-2, it was the Plymouth marksman that prevailed 4-3.

Kay then met Rhys Hayden in the last 32 and was very unlucky to go down by the odd game in seven after chances fell to both players.

He carried that form into Tour 14 and defeated Declan Coles of Wales 4-0, taking the decisive fourth leg in 15, followed by a 4-3 victory over Holland’s Berry Van Peer before going down 4-1 to Tommy Wilson.

The following day was less productive and Keelan only had one win before losing 4-2 to Canadian professional Dawson Murschell.

So, the Keelan Kay bandwagon rolls on as he aims for maximum points at Solihull on Saturday with the aim of playing in the grand finals, which will take place in Bristol from December 14-16, with the two finalists having the privilege of competing for the title on stage at the Alexandra Palace during the William Hill World Darts Championship.

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