KEELAN Kay turned around a poor performance in JDC Junior Darts Tour 9 to finish the day in a blaze of glory after claiming one of the top four spots that he needed to represent England at the JDC World Cup later in the year.
The final two competitions of the Scott Farms International Junior Darts Tour 2019 took place yesterday at Rileys, Worcester, and there was a lot at stake for the leading players in the Order of Merit.
Keelan began the day in third place in the JDC order of merit but was given a terrible draw prior to JDC Tour 9 when the first two names out of the hat paired the Plymouth teenager against the winner of JDC Tour 7, Nathan Care.
The Blackburn thrower was good value for his 3-0 win, but Kay was a long way off the mark. Good players, however, can turn poor form around and that is exactly what the Lord of the Board did in JDC Tour 10.
He began with a 3-0 victory over Eleanor Cairns, claiming the third and decisive leg in 18 with a finish of 120 before defeating Callum Cross in straight legs, winning the third leg in 21 with a kill of 132.
Kay went 2-0 up in 17 and 19 against Jason Meek and although Meek pulled one back, Keelan claimed the next in 17, scoring no fewer than 322 points with his last eight darts.
Connor Arberry, a long-time adversary of Keelan’s was his opponent in the quarter-finals, but the Plymouth marksman was quickest out of the blocks and took the opening leg in 18 with a kill of 129.
The Peterborough thrower levelled in 17 only for Kay to edge in front for the second time in 20.
Arberry, aided by a maximum 180 levelled in 15, but in the decisive fifth leg, Keelan stepped up a gear to win it in 17, leaving his opponent with 217 on the board.
Brad Phillips, one of Keelan’s England team-mates that won the Boys title at the BDO British Internationals back in April stood between Keelan and a place in the final.
It was not a classic, as the players showed too much respect for each other, but Phillips won the early exchanges to lead 3-1.
Keelan pulled it back to 2-3 when taking the next in 18 and after 15 darts of the sixth leg, left himself 24.
Unfortunately for the Lord of the Board, that was his last throw of the day as Phillips clinched the leg in 14 to progress to the final.
But it mattered not as that afternoon performance was enough for Keelan to maintain his third place in the order of merit and will be one of a four-man team that will represent England in Gibraltar in September alongside Leighton Bennett, James Beeton and Harry Gregory.
His standing in the order of merit also means that for the third year running, Keelan has won a PDPA scholarship, an award that will allow him to compete on the PDC Development Tour in 2020.