KEELAN Kay climbed four places to number three in the order of merit, after he reached the semi-finals of both tours Three and Four of the 2019 Scott Farms International Junior Darts Tour at the George Albert Hotel, Dorchester, yesterday.
The 17-year-old was a little disappointed after the two events and told me: “Yeah, I am a little disappointed that I didn’t get to at least one final, but I suppose achieving valuable ranking points is the main thing”.
And he is absolutely correct with that assumption.
His aim at the start of the tour was to finish in the top three, so firstly he would automatically get picked to represent England at the 2019 World Cup and secondly to win a PDPA Scholarship. At the moment he is in-line to accomplish both of those two feats.
In the opening round of Tour Three he successfully progressed with a 3-0 defeat of Jodie Challinor, after opening with a 15-dart leg and followed it up with a 3-1 win over Toby Gingell.
His first real test came in the round of 16 against the JDC World Championship runner-up Lennon Craddock and for the first four legs the duo were evenly matched.
But Keelan won the fifth and deciding leg in 17, after scoring 306 points with his final eight darts.
Now into the quarter-finals, Tyler Radlett stood between Keelan achieving a semi-final spot but the Godalming thrower was blown away when the “Lord of the Board” achieved the highest average in the opening event of 93.9.
He won the opening leg in 15, aided by a maximum and a checkout of 131 and then went 2-0 up when finishing another 15-darter with a kill of 123 before taking the third in 18 for an emphatic 3-0 victory.
The format changed to the best of seven legs for the semi-finals and both Keelan and Brad Phillips were all level after the first six legs before Phillips, aided by a maximum, won the seventh and decisive leg in 13.
The event was won by Leighton Bennett, who in December, won the BDO World Youth championship aged just 13 years old. In the best of nine final, Bennett (91.0) defeated Phillips 5-1 in 19, 15, 14, 15 and 18.
Keelan’s opening match at the start of Tour Four was against Alfie Jacques and aided by a maximum and an opening 13-dart leg, Kay progressed 3-1.
Keelan was then drawn to play Brad Phillips once again but avenged his defeat from a few hours earlier when the Plymouth thrower won 3-0.
Another 3-0 victory over Connor Arberry in 19, 17 and 18 put Keelan into the last eight when he produced another straight legs win against Ieaun Halsall.
Keelan won the opener in 15 and then took the next in 12 when he scored 70, 140, 140 before checking out at the first time of asking from 151.
He wrapped up a comprehensive victory when taking the third in 19 for the highest checkout of the second tour with 98.0.
James Beeton now stood in Keelan’s way of a place in the final, but a couple of missed doubles cost him the chance of claiming the Tour Four title.
Against the throw Beeton went 2-1 up with a win in 15 only for Keelan to level with another 12-darter which he finished with a kill of 136.
Keelan had his chances to win legs five and six, but Beeton took them both in 20 for a 4-2 victory before going on to defeat Jack Male 5-1 in the final.
But Keelan should be proud of his achievements against the best youth players in the country.
Over the two events Keelan hit five maximums and attained a single dart average of 27.22, if he can maintain that sort of form, a Tour win will not be too far away.