THE Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) will tonight start a new initiative with the launch of “The Home Tour”. Players will have the luxury of playing in their own homes and Plymouth’s Simon Stevenson will be in the mix.
World Champion Peter Wright starts the first of 32 nights of action tonight from his Suffolk home and will first play Peter Jacques.
Tonight’s full line-up is:
Peter Wright v Peter Jacques
Jamie Lewis v Niels Zonneveld
Peter Jacques v Niels Zonneveld
Peter wright v Jamie Lewis
Jamie Lewis v Peter Jacques
Niels Zonneveld v Peter Wright
Play commences at 7.30pm each evening and can be viewed free of charge on PDC-TV or through the websites of Bookmakers.
After a deferment of 42 days, The Mirror Man will be back in PDC action when he competes on Sunday, April 26.
It was in Players Championship 7 and 8 when Simon last competed and the Plymouth marksman gave a good account of himself to boost his Order of Merit ranking by 1,000 points.
In Players Championship 7, the Mirror Man was drawn against James Hubbard and the 27-year-old thrower from Norwich showed his ability as early as the opening leg when he took it in just 10 darts.
Unperturbed, Stevenson levelled and then moved 3-1 ahead when taking the next two with checkouts of 121 and 116.
Hubbard pulled one back to reduce the deficit only for the Plymouth marksman to take the next three and emerge a 6-2 winner, boasting an excellent checkout percentage of 65.8%.
Jeffrey De Zwaan was his next opponent, a player that Stevenson had met on two previous occasions but without any success and it did not look good for the Mirror Man as the Dutchman went 3-0 up in 18, 15 and 15.
Simon took the next in 17, but two legs in 14 and 19 put De Zwaan just one away from victory at 5-1.
But in one of the best ever comebacks of Stevenson’s career he won five on the trot in 17, 17, 17, 18 and 16 to dump the Dutchman out of the competition.
Stevenson’s opponent in the last 32 was Kai Fan Leung from Hong Kong who is best remembered for defeating Lisa Ashton 5-4 in the play-off match at Q School on January 17.
Simon began the better and went 2-0 up in 15 and 16 only for his opponent to win the next two before a 15-darter from Stevenson edged him in front 3-2.
Fan Leung went in front for the first time at 4-3 before Simon won the next two in 16 and 14 to lead 5-4 before the Hong Kong thrower pulled out two 13-darters to win 6-5 in an excellent encounter that produced seven maximums and Stevenson finishing with an average of 91.6.
Old adversary Meryn King was Stevenson’s first opponent the following day in Players Championship 8 and despite Simon winning the early exchanges to lead 2-1, King moved 4-2 ahead when taking the next three in 14, 13 and 13.
An untidy seventh leg was won by Simon before a 15-darter which ended with a checkout of 108 restored King’s two-leg advantage.
But Stevenson dug deep. Made it 4-5 with a 16-darter and then levelled when taking out a finish of 124 to win in 15.
All was set for a nerve tingling deciding leg but there was nothing Stevenson could do as King produced his best darts of the match, scoring 140-140-180 before checking out in two for an 11-darter.
Over the two days, Stevenson’s average was 87.99 with a very creditable checkout percentage of 52.65%.
On Sunday April 26, Simon’s three opponents will be Nathan Aspinall, Ryan Joyce and Steve Brown.