Inside the PDC 2012 Q-School with the new faces
The recent Q School Review and Ones to Watch articles from Let’s Play Knockout Darts, nominated four names to keep an aye out for at Q School and beyond.
Not for our tipster were the high profile names or recent pro’s.
Not even the big BDO switchers, instead we gave you four players who have served their time worked hard and been tested in the white heat of Open Event darts over many years or who have been making quiet but strong strides over the last two years.
Andrew Gilding has long been observed by our tipster and came through in fine style, after having a tough draw against in form Stephen Hardy on day one, he reached the final game on day two only to be edged in a deciding leg, day three saw no more messing around and a strong run straight through to automatic Tour Card status. Congratulations we look forward to seeing your continued progress.
Johnny Haines we have long known Johnny to have the skill required and the attitude to worry the very best, the only question was could he be bothered, Johnny even had day 3 off to play the CIU singles finals, before steaming through day four to claim his Tour Card without need of the order of merit! Stripped of his comfy combats and forced into PDC uniform many wondered if Johnny could conform, we have no doubt at all.
Gareth Pass the Stoke based Welshman was one of those to benefit from the practice and work session with Team Red Dragon the week before Q School and it really seems to have paid off. Steady as she goes was the order of business until the last two days when Gareth showed his real form and class. A very interesting year or two ahead we are sure for this strong minded darter determined to make a long awaited step up!
Pete Hughes was a true wild card and looked for a time like he was going to make 100% of our tipsters picks claim cards, however, just to show the fickle hands at work here, before going to play round 2 on day three against an un heralded opponent Peter was struck down with a violent illness leaving him unable to play again. No points meant that a barely recovered Peter was unable to re find his recent form on the final day. A great shame this and we firmly believe Peter will come again via a different path this year.
Q School 2012 was a very different affair from 2011, higher numbers and a higher quality overall field left many feeling they had been hard done by in the draw, the big names took a while to get into their stride and gave opportunity for the brave and the bold from less well known backgrounds to seize their chances. From Pat Pace defeating Dean Winstanley on day one with an 11 dart deciding leg through to former world champion Les Wallace making a superb last day effort to roll back the years and claim a PDC Tour card 15 years after his Lakeside Triumph.
It is to be hoped that all those who claimed a card gain the support they need to compete regularly on the tour and achieve their potential. We have no doubt that each and every one of them has earned it!