IN any sport you need that little bit of luck at times, but at the moment, on the PDC circuit, Plymouth marksman Simon Stevenson is getting none of it.
Two European qualifiers were contested yesterday at the Barnsley Metrodome and in the opening contest for a place in the Austrian Darts Open, The Mirror Man was drawn against the former JDC European Open winner, Bradley Brooks.
In the early stages, the 19-year-old was virtually unplayable. He won the opening leg in 12, took the second in 13 before going 3-0 up in another 12-darter which he finished with an outshot of 142.
He had scored a maximum in all three legs and his average at this stage was a staggering 121.86.
Stevenson hit a 180 of his own to take the fourth in 18, followed by the next in 17 only for the Blackburn marksman to go 4-2 in front with a win in 14.
Simon won the next and should have made it 4-4 after he left himself 81 after 12 but missed opportunities again cost him before Brooks took it in 18.
The Mirror Man again had his chances in the ninth when he left 76 after 12, only for Brooks to come from behind and win it in 20 for a 6-3 victory.
The stats showed that Simon’s checkout percentage was 20% against 43% of his opponents and that in the end is what cost him.
When the draw was made for the European Darts Grand Prix qualifier, Stevenson found that his opponent was once again . . . Bradley Brooks.
But this time around it was Stevenson’s turn to shine and putting that earlier disappointment behind him, showed that on his day he can mix it with the best.
Simon won the opening leg in 14 against the darts, took the second in 18, before a maximum helped him to take the third in 12 and at this stage Stevenson was holding an average of 102.48.
He should have made it 4-0, but it went to his opponent in 22 before Simon came bouncing back with another leg in 12 to go 4-1 up.
Two maximums from the teenager enabled him to win the sixth leg in 11 before moving to within one leg of The Mirror Man when taking the next in 16 but that was the last one he was to win as Simon took the next two in 17 and 16 for a 6-3 victory.
This time around the stats showed that Simon had a checkout percentage of 46% and each player hit three maximums with Stevenson finishing with a winning average of 93.00.
His next opponent was Gavin Carlin, a player who had won their only previous meeting in March.
After going 2-1 down Simon levelled in 13 to make it 2-2 before edging in front with a win in 21.
Scoring heavily in the sixth leg, he left himself 22 after just 12 darts only for the Irishman, with the darts, to checkout from 116 for a win in 15.
That setback was the turning point and Stevenson at this stage seemed to lose all confidence.
The man from Derry took the next in 14, followed by an 11-darter only for Stevenson to be cruelly denied once more.
The Plymouth marksman again scored heavily leaving himself 54 after 12 only for Carlin to win it in 12 when checking out at the first opportunity from 142.
Simon will be looking for a change of fortune today when he lines up at midday to compete in Players Championship 11 with Players Championship 12 being contested tomorrow.