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RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD is bidding for a Reebok Stadium hat-trick when the Blue Square UK Open begins on Thursday.

The Dutchman has won the Bolton title for the past two years since his move to the PDC in 2006, defeating Barrie Bates and Vincent van der Voort in the final of the tournament - which is dubbed the "FA Cup of Darts".

A free draw for each round means top players such as van Barneveld and Taylor can draw each other at any stage, with the leading stars coming in at the third round stage on Friday.

Thursday^s opening night features two-time World Champion Dennis Priestley, Wayne Mardle and the 32 Holsten Qualifiers, who came through knockouts held around the UK for amateurs and include World Ladies Champion Anastasia Dobromyslova and former BDO world number one Robert Thornton.

"I like the format of the tournament," said van Barneveld. "In every round there^s a new draw and there^s always tension, it^s good for TV and you can draw anyone at any time.

"In the last two years I^ve draw Phil in the quarter-finals and I could maybe make it three in a row!

"Last year, he beat me three times in a row during May last year and I had two weeks off before the UK Open, and beat Phil 11-4!

"It doesn^t make sense but sometimes the game is like that, it^s a different game every time you play.

"It^s not been my year so far but I^m good enough to come back to form. I like Bolton, I like the UK Open and I hope I^m going to make it a hat-trick."

Van Barneveld was a semi-final loser in the Whyte & Mackay Premier League recently, and his preparations for the UK Open have been disrupted by a bout of ^flu.

"I was really tired and still am and it had a big impact on me," he admitted. "I have been exhausted after practice this week but I^ll be ready for Bolton.

"I^ve been successful in the tournaments with smaller crowds; I won the World Championship at the Circus Tavern, twice at Bolton, and in the Las Vegas Desert Classic.

In smaller venues it looks like I play my best and I find it harder to focus in bigger venues."


has also claimed the UK Open title twice in the last five years, and hit a third Bolton nine-darter in the 2007 tournament.

He hit a record average of 112.68 against Adrian Lewis on his way to the Premier League title on Bank Holiday Monday, and is currently the 4/6 favourite to take the Blue Square UK Open title on Sunday evening.

"It^s a fantastic tournament," said Taylor. "It^s the FA Cup of Darts and to be honest, the harder the draw for me early on, the better.

"I^m really happy with how I^m playing at the moment and I want to get better. I^m after everything now, I^m really determined to win every title I can and this is the next challenge."

The highlight of the first round matches sees female Russian star Dobromyslova, 23, take on Scotland^s Robert Thornton, the former BDO world number one and current World Masters champion who joined the PDC circuit recently.

Dobromyslova, whose fiancé Tony Martin competed in the 2007 UK Open, has been practising with Taylor ahead of her challenge in Bolton as she prepares to emulate Crissy Howatt - the wife of Peter Manley - and Deta Hedman in taking on the leading men in the sport in Bolton.

"I^m looking forward to the challenge," she said. "Practising with Phil has been great experience and it can only benefit my game.

"I was more nervous in the qualifiers and it^s more excitement now about proving to a wider audience how I can perform.

"It^s great to be able to play on TV so soon after winning the World Championship and I^ll be proud to represent the women^s game at the highest level.

"I^ve had a busy couple of weeks with all the publicity but I^ve been practising hard this week concentrating on the event."

The first round also sees double World Champion Dennis Priestley take on debutant Danny King, while two veterans of the professional game, former World Champion Richie Burnett and Scottish legend Jamie Harvey, also go head-to-head.

Thursday^s second round games will include World Championship semi-finalists Wayne Mardle and Kevin Painter taking on Gary Welding and Tony Eccles respectively, and another former World Champion Steve Beaton facing Matt Clark.

World number five Terry Jenkins will face the winner of the first round clash between Joey Palfreyman and Mel Davies, one of the 32 Holsten Qualifiers.

Kirk Shepherd, the 21-year-old who reached the final of the World Championship on New Year^s Day, will begin his challenge against Holland^s Jan van der Rassel, while Priestley could face top Irishman Mick McGowan if he overcomes King.

The tournament will be screened live in its entirety on Sky Sports in the UK, with coverage beginning at 7pm on Thursday.

Please note: Jimmy Mann, a greenkeeper at Surbiton Golf Club, has withdrawn from the tournament due to work commitments. His second round opponent, John MaGowan, receives a bye.

Darren Williams has also withdrawn to undergo a knee operation, with John Kuczysnki or Johnny Haines receiving a bye in round one.

2008 Blue Square

UK Open Schedule of Play


Thursday June 5 – 7pm-11pm

Preliminary, First and Second Rounds (best of 11 legs)

Friday June 6 – 7pm-11pm

Third Round (last 64, best of 17 legs)

Saturday June 7

Afternoon Session 1pm-5pm

Fourth Round (last 32, best of 17 legs)
Evening Session 7pm-11pm

Fifth Round (last 16, best of 17 legs)

Sunday June 8

Afternoon Session 1pm-5pm

Quarter-Finals (best of 19 legs)

Evening Session – 7pm-10.30pm (approx)

Semi-Finals (best of 19 legs)
Final (best of 21 legs)

2008 Blue Square

UK Open Draw


Preliminary Round & First Round

Board One

John Kuczynski v Johnny Haines (P)

Jamie Harvey v Richie Burnett

Robert Thornton v Anastasia Dobromyslova

Danny King v Dennis Priestley

Dave Honey v N Turner/Fitzpatrick

Board Two

Scott Mitton v Scott Waites (P)


Caves v Michael Smith

Gary Mawson v Darren Johnson

Stuart Pickles v Dave Johnston

Ian Jopling v Ken Dobson

Board Three

Mark Jodrill v Paul Whitworth (P)

Joey Palfreyman v Mel Davies

Darren Sutton v Martin Burchell

Dave Harris v Mick Savvery

Casey/Green v Lee Palfreyman

Board Four

Paul Knighton v Nigel Birch (P)

John Quantock v Gary Noonan

Dan Timmins v Andrew Callary

David Howells v Tony Ayres

Hillier/Hornby v Darren Webster

Board Five

Nicky Turner v Gordon Fitzpatrick (P)

Martyn Turner v Alan Reynolds

Harry Anderson v Bob Crawley

Adrian Welsh v Dave Woodwards

Dave Ladley v Jodrill/Whitworth

Board Six

Alan Casey v Alan Green (P)

Geoff Harkup v Tony Mitchell

Paul Cook v Eddie Lovely

Kuczynski/Haines Bye (Darren Williams withdrawn)

Aaron Turner v Mitton/Waites

Board Seven

Michael Barnard v Paul Cooper (P)

Shane Passey v Joe Bata

Sean Palfrey v Jamie Robinson

Ryan Francis v Lee White

Dale Pinch v Knighton/Birch

Board Eight

Steve Hillier v Chris Hornby (P)

Joe Cullen v Mark Stapleton

Sam Rooney v Richie Corner

Geoff Wylie v Justin Pipe

Barnard/Cooper v Paul McDine

Second Round

Board One

Terry Jenkins v J Palfreyman/Davies

Gary Welding v Wayne Mardle

Kevin Painter v Tony Eccles

Matt Clark v Steve Beaton

Board Two

Jan van der Rassel v Kirk Shepherd

Thornton/Dobromyslova v Anderson/Crawley

Cullen/Stapleton v Dennis Smith

Barnard/Cooper/McDine v Carlos Rodriguez

Board Three

John MaGowan Bye (Jimmy Mann withdrawn)

Cook/Lovely v Rooney/Corner

Steve Hine v Dave Askew

Pinch/Knighton/Birch v Passey/Bata

Board Four

Andy Jenkins v Caves/M Smith

Mark Frost v Mawson/Johnson

Kevin Dowling v Honey/N Turner/Fitzpatrick

Mick McGowan v D King/Priestley

Board Five

Steve Evans v Owen Caffrey

Sutton/Burchell v David Platt

Howells/Ayres v Ladley/Jodrill/Whitworth

Kuczynski/Haines v Jason Clark

Board Six

Jamie Caven v Steve Smith

M Turner/Reynolds v Quantock/Noonan

Francis/White v A Turner/Mitton/Waites

Steve Maish v Jopling/Dobson

Board Seven

Harkup/Mitchell v Alan Warriner-Little

Jason Barry v Welsh/Woodwards

Hillier/Hornby/Webster v Mark Lawrence

Lionel Sams v Wylie/Pipe

Board Eight

Timmins/Callary v John Ferrell


Whatley v Palfrey/Robinson


Harvey/Burnett v Harris/Savvery

Pickles/Johnston v Casey/Green/L Palfreyman

At the conclusion of play the Third Round draw will be made. A free draw will then also be made following the conclusion of subsequent rounds.

2008 Blue Square

UK Open Competitors


Top 32 Players (enter at third round stage on Friday night)

Phil Taylor Stoke-on-Trent

James Wade Aldershot

Colin Lloyd Chelmsford

Raymond van Barneveld Den Haag, Netherlands

Colin Osborne Derby

Denis Ovens Stevenage

Adrian Lewis Stoke-on-Trent

Kevin McDine Irthlingborough

Ronnie Baxter Blackpool

Andy Hamilton Stoke-on-Trent

Chris Thompson York

Jelle Klaasen Hengelo, Netherlands

Colin Monk Basingstoke

Mervyn King Bradwell, Norfolk

Chris Mason Wolverhampton

Brendan Dolan Belcoo, Co Fermanagh

Wayne Jones Wolverhampton

Wayne Atwood Caerphilly

Wes Newton Fleetwood

Andy Smith Studley, Warwickshire

Mark Dudbridge Bradley Stoke, Bristol


Bates Bedlinog


Peter Manley Carlisle

Alan Tabern St



Mark Walsh Abbots Langley

Adrian Gray St



Roland Scholten Den Haag, Netherlands

Vincent van der Voort Purmerend, Netherlands

Michael van Gerwen Boxtel, Netherlands

John Part Oshawa, Canada

Steve Brown Bristol

Alex Roy Watford

Players 33-T89 (Enter on Thursday in Preliminary/First/Second Rounds)

Jason Clark Shepherd’s Bush, London

Lionel Sams Tingley, Wakefield

Tony Eccles Hartlepool

Terry Jenkins Ledbury

Kevin Painter Daventry

John Ferrell Tunbridge Wells

John MaGowan Donaghadee, Co Down

Dave Askew Redhill

Andy Jenkins Cosham, Portsmouth

Steve Hine Coventry


Whatley Yeovil


Mark Frost Stoke-on-Trent

Jan van der Rassel Hoogerheide, Netherlands

Steve Beaton Southam, Warwickshire

Jamie Caven Derby

David Platt Great Wyrley, Staffordshire

Matt Clark Worsley, Gtr Manchester

Kevin Dowling Coventry

Steve Evans Pennal, Wales

Wayne Mardle Romford

Kirk Shepherd Ramsgate

Dennis Smith Swindon

Jason Barry Dublin, Ireland

Mick McGowan Balbriggan, Ireland

Jimmy Mann Cheam, Surrey


Welding St Helens


Owen Caffrey Tallanstown, Ireland

Mark Lawrence South Elmsall

Steve Smith Dagenham

Alan Warriner-Little Crosby, Cumbria

Steve Maish Southend-on-Sea

Carlos Rodriguez Sabadell, Spain

Alan Green Liverpool

Darren Johnson Mexborough, S Yorks

Dave Ladley Scunthorpe

Martin Burchell Crawley

Richie Burnett Cwmparc, Rhondda

Dave Honey Droitwich

John Kuczynski Zion Grove, PA, USA

Gary Noonan Kilburn, London

Sean Palfrey Newport

Lee Palfreyman Liverpool

Dennis Priestley Mexborough, S Yorks

Martyn Turner York

Darren Webster Norwich

Tony Ayres Billingshurst, West Sussex

Michael Barnard Romford


Caves Hayes, Middlesex


Bob Crawley Horndean, Hants

Ken Dobson Middlesbrough

Paul Knighton Willington, Co Durham

Eddie Lovely Gainsborough, Lincs

Gary Mawson North Royalton, OH, USA

John Quantock York

Aaron Turner Hersham, Surrey

Lee White Waltham Abbey

Harry Anderson Killyleah, Co Down

Nigel Birch Stoke-on-Trent

Paul Cooper York

Jamie Harvey Barrhead, Scotland

Mark Jodrill Sandbach, Cheshire

Ian Jopling Aldershot

Danny King Horley, Surrey

Joey Palfreyman Liverpool

Shane Passey Quarry Bank, West Midlands

Dale Pinch Merthyr Tydfil

Alan Reynolds Pontypool

Jamie Robinson Colchester

Mick Savvery Swindon

Darren Sutton Christchurch, Dorset

Geoff Wylie Ballymena

Holsten Qualifiers

Joe Bata Edinburgh

Andrew Callary Snr Paisley

Alan Casey Feltham

Paul Cook Swindon

Richie Corner York

Joe Cullen Bradford

Mel Davies Hullbridge, Essex

Anastasia Dobromyslova Tver, Russia/Ellesmere Port

Gordon Fitzpatrick Gillingham, Dorset

Ryan Francis Blackheath

Johnny Haines Swindon

Geoff Harkup Sheerness, Kent

Dave Harris Nuneaton

Steve Hillier Bath

Chris Hornby Middlesbrough

David Howells Liversedge

Dave Johnston Tyldesley, Wigan

Paul McDine Sheerness, Kent

Tony Mitchell Grimsby

Scott Mitton Tamworth

Stuart Pickles London

Justin Pipe Taunton

Sam Rooney Eastleigh, Hants

Michael Smith Flitwick, Bedfordshire

Mark Stapleton Christchurch, Dorset

Robert Thornton Stevenston, Ayrshire

Dan Timmins Scarborough

Nicky Turner Plumstead, London

Scott Waites Huddersfield


Welsh Middlesbrough

Paul Whitworth Prestwich, Manchester

David Woodwards Swindon

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