Keelan denied his maiden PDC Development Tour title

KEELAN Kay was back in darts action at the Barnsley Metrodome yesterday, competing in six events over three days, and on the opening day of competition, was just one victory away from achieving his maiden Development Tour title.

He began well in his opening match of Development Tour Five when defeating the Republic of Ireland’s Ben McCaffery 4-2, aided by three legs in 15 before coming up against an in-form Lewis Williams.

Kay took the opening leg in 18, and a checkout of 151 enabled the Lord of the Board to go 2-0 up with another 18-darter.

The next two were shared for Keelan to lead at 3-1, only for the Welshman to take three on the bounce in 15, 12 and 15 and edge out Kay 4-3.

Although disappointed, the former Plymouth pupil had to remain focus, even though there was now going to be a long wait before he contested Development Tour Six in the afternoon.

But stay focus he did and in his first match against Harry Kelly, achieved his best average of the day with 98.3

The first four legs were shared after Kay opened up with a 15-darter and with the scoreline in the balance at 2-2, after two 16-darters from his opponent, Keelan won the next two in 13 and 14.

Charlie Symons offered little resistance to Keelan’s progress and a 4-0 victory in 16, 15, 18 and 18 and checkouts of 105 and 101 saw the teenager, who now resides in Liskeard, Cornwall, move into the last 32.

The 23-year-old Brian Raman was dismissed 4-2, despite the Belgian taking his legs in 15 and 12 before Keelan faced Llew Bevan for a place in the quarter-finals.

Kay won the opening leg in 15, scoring 398 points with his final nine darts which included a kill of 118, before the Welshman edged in front 2-1 only for Keelan to level with a leg in 12 before seeing out the match 4-2.

The big guns were now lining up hoping to end Keelan’s run and his next opponent was Ted Evetts, a winner of no fewer than 14 Development Tour titles and he began well by going 2-0 up in 16 and 13.

But that form counted for nothing as Kay rattled off the next five in 15, 14, 19, 14 and 13 for a 5-2 victory, boasting a 94.00 average and a checkout percentage of 50%.

Standing in Keelan’s way for his first ever place in a PDC final was the No.1 player in this season’s Order of Merit, Ryan Meikle, a PDC Pro Card holder, but he had his confidence rocked when Kay went 3-0 up in 15, 15 and 17.

The 24-year-old from Ipswich then got his act together and levelled at 3-3, despite missed doubles costing Kay a 4-0 lead but his comeback was only temporary.

Keelan took the next two for an accomplished 5-3 success against another high-profile scalp to take up his place in the final against Damian Mol.

The Dutchman’s compatriot Kevin Doots had previously won Development Tour Five and the 22-year-old was looking for a Dutch double.

And he could not have started better when he went 4-0 in front.

All credit to Keelan who kept plugging away and took the next three in 15, 18 and 18, including a kill of 114 to move within one but the Roosendaal-based thrower had the last dart and checked out for a 5-3 win and his first title in only his ninth Development Tour appearance.

But Keelan should be very proud of his achievements and after starting the day in 11th place in the Order of Merit, after yesterday’s exploits he has moved up into the seventh-placed berth.

He finished the day with an 86.79 average and hit 10 maximums.

Keelan will be back on the oche this morning to contest PDC Development Tour Seven, with Tour Eight following this afternoon.

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