Report from the PDC Darts Tour by Dave Ladley
Friday 23rd April
After speaking with Simon Hall of Red Dragon for a number of weeks I am proud to say that a sponsorship deal has been struck and Red Dragon will be manufacturing my very own brand of darts. I was fortunate enough to spend the day at Red Dragon Darts in Bridgend where after 3 hours of hard graft Lee managed to make my darts to my own specification.
I was happy to leave Red Dragon knowing I was going away with some darts which were better than I have ever used before. Would I be comfortable enough to use them in competition the next day in Wigan though?
Saturday 24th April - Wigan Players Championship
I practiced for an hour with the new darts and made the decision to stick with them! This was a bold decision too because my first round draw was against Adrian Gray who is inside the top 50 in the world and a true class player.
I set off the match with a 180 - the first competitive score with my new darts and I was flying! I won the first leg in 14 darts and went 2-1 down but the legs just kept going with the throw and the match moved ever closer to 5-5. An important finish to level the game at 5-5 and I was down to a deciding leg once again! The leg was almost level when I fired another 180 to lead the game and managed to hit double top with my first dart and win the match 6-5 and earn a second round match against Nigel Heydon.
Nigel is a great player and joined the PDC earlier this year. He was immediately hitting high scores and commanding the game. I was often on scores below 100 that I think I could have finished but he missed nothing. Nigel hit a 100 finish with 2 double tops and an 86 finish on the Bull which was vital. At 4-1 down he set off with 180,180 and narrowly missed the 7th dart for a 9 darter! Despite this I still managed to win the leg. Nigel’s power scoring and finishing was the difference and he won the match 6-2 - well done mate!
Sunday 25th April - UK Open Qualifier, Wigan
I was unfortunate to get drawn in a prelim against Lee Williams with the winner playing Merv King for £200! Surely there are better draws???
Lee set off the game well and hit 100% checkouts to lead 5-0! I was often sitting with him but just not getting the breaks to have a shot at a finish. In the 6th leg I hit a 95 checkout for a 14 darter and this was my only winning leg as Lee wrapped up the match 6-1.
Lee proved his great form by taking Merv King out in the first round! Well done Lee.
I was very impressed with my new darts and will continue to use these for the remainder of the season. Thanks very much to Lee at Red Dragon for making these for me!
I was very happy with my game on Saturday and I think I thought too much in advance of my game on Sunday. Something to learn from and I am still determined to qualify for the UK Open finals.
Thanks for reading,