Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: UK Darts Open: Profiles of the qualifiers

UK Darts Open: Profiles of the qualifiers

Joe Bata:

DoB: 13 July 1969 Home Town: Edinburgh Darts Used: 22g.

JOE pipped Andy Johnson 5-4 in the North-West Regional Final to earn his place in this event, where he meets Shane Passey in round one. A Lothian County player, he has previously qualified for the World Masters.

Andrew Callary:

DoB: 14 October 1959 Home Town: Paisley Darts Used: 21g.

ANDREW edged out former amateur qualifier Glen Durrant 5-4 in the deciding game of the Regional Final to win a UK Open debut. He reached the last 32 of the Scottish Open in 2006.

Alan Casey:

Nickname: Ace The Case DoB: 22 November 1971 Home Town: Feltham, Middlesex Darts Used: 24g.

ALAN began playing darts again last February following a 14-year break from the sport, and won through the South-East Regional Final last month to earn a debut in a major tournament. A pensions consultant from Middlesex, he was the 1992 Southern Inter-Counties Youth Champion.

Paul Cook:

Nickname: Cookie DoB: 25 July 1956 Home Town: Swindon Darts Used: 24g.

PAUL has a wealth of top-level experience, having won the 1990 News of the World Championship - the last time it was staged in its original format - as well as being a 13-time CIU National Team Champion. The Wiltshire County captain, he defeated a former amateur qualifier, Matty Dalwood, in the Regional Final on his way to winning a UK Open debut.

Richie Corner:

DoB: 20 April 1962 Home Town: York Darts Used: 22g Alan Evans.

RICHIE only dropped one leg in coming through the North-East Regional Final to earn himself a place in this event, where he takes on last year^s most successful amateur qualifier, Sam Rooney. A poultry farmer from York, he won the Fallen Hero Championship in Scunthorpe last December, an event organised by professional player Dave Ladley.

Joe Cullen:

Nickname: Young Pretender DoB: 13 July 1989 Home Town: Bradford Darts Used: 21g Adrian Lewis.

TEENAGE ace Joe impressed many with his displays at the North-East Regional Final, winning 5-2 against Darren Twist before a 5-1 defeat of former professional Mark Robinson earned him a spot on the big stage. The postman from Bradford will meet fellow Holsten Qualifier Mark Stapleton in round one.

Mel Davies:

Nickname: Jigsaw DoB: 3 February 1959 Home Town: Hullbridge, Essex Darts Used: 21g Steve Maish.

MEL defeated two players with UK Open experience, Paul Everson and Nigel Payne in final stages of the South-East Regional Final to earn himself a debut on the big stage. A self-employed builder and Southend Super League player, he faces Joey Palfreyman in round one.

Anastasia Dobromyslova:

Nickname: From Russia With Love DoB: 26 September 1984 Home Town: Tver, Russia/Ellesmere Port Darts Used: 22g Eric Bristow.

ANASTASIA is the current BDO World Ladies Champion and only the third female to compete in the UK Open, emulating Crissy Howatt and Deta Hedman. The Russian star takes on Robert Thornton in round one, but will be well prepared for her Bolton experience - her fiancé Tony Martin appeared here in last year^s tournament!

Gordon Fitzpatrick:

Nickname: Fitzy DoB: 21 December 1952 Home Town: Gillingham, Dorset Darts Used: 26g Red Dragon.

GORDON faces fellow Holsten Qualifier Nicky Turner in the preliminary round after winning through to make his first appearance in a major tournament. The Dunoon-born player has County level experience with Dorset and now plays for Somerset.

Ryan Francis:

Nickname: Boysie DoB: 22 April 1976 Home Town: Blackheath Darts Used: 23g Nickel Tungsten.

RYAN is making his debut in a major tournament after edging out former UK Open qualifier Moe Whelan 5-4 in the deciding game at the South-East Regional Final. A printer from Blackheath, he meets Lee White in round one.

Johnny Haines:

Nickname: Spike DoB: 19 July 1964 Home Town: Swindon, Wiltshire Darts Used: 21g Nickel Tungsten.

JOHNNY has qualified for a third successive year through the pub qualifiers, having lost in round one to Geoff Harkup in 2007 and to Wayne Atwood in the second round the previous year. He is a Wiltshire County player and former CIU National Singles Champion.

Geoff Harkup:

DoB: 24 July 1959 Home Town: Sheerness, Kent Darts Used: 26g Nickel Tungsten.

GEOFF came through the amateur qualifiers for a fourth successive year to return to Bolton, where he has been a third round loser in both 2006 and 2007. An experienced Super League and County player, he is a former Cambers Sands Singles champion.

Dave Harris:

Nickname: Bomber DoB: 2 February 1982 Home Town: Nuneaton Darts Used: 24g.

DAVE was impressive in winning through the North-East Regional Final for this event, dropping just one leg in his final two matches to qualify for Bolton. A Warwickshire County player, this will be his debut in a major tournament.

Steve Hillier:

Nickname: Mr H DoB: 7 December 1973 Home Town: Bath Darts Used: 24g Nickel Tungsten.

STEVE will be enjoying a double celebration this summer, as he makes his first appearance in a major championship and then gets married next month. A Somerset County player, he meets fellow Holsten Qualifier Chris Hornby in the preliminary round.

Chris Hornby:

Nickname: Legend DoB: 8 March 1961 Home Town: Middlesbrough Darts Used: 24g Phil Taylor.

CHRIS has vast experience on the Cleveland County scene, and also competed in the 1997 Embassy Championship, losing to Colin Monk in round one. He is a player with plenty of local titles under his belt, including the Cleveland Open.

David Howells:

Nickname: Taffy DoB: 5 January 1962 Home Town: Liversedge, West Yorkshire Darts Used: 25g.

DAVID is another amateur player making his debut in a televised tournament at this event, having come through the North-East Regional Final. Originally from Wales but based in Yorkshire for 25 years, he plays County darts for Yorkshire and won the 2001 Super Six Final against John Walton.

Dave Johnston:

Nickname: Rock DJ DoB: 16 October 1980 Home Town: Wigan Darts Used: 23g Unicorn.

DAVE returns to the Reebok Stadium after coming through the Holsten Qualifiers to win a place in this event, having previously competed on the PDC circuit and appeared in the 2006 UK Open, where he lost to Johnny Haines in round one. A Bolton Wanderers supporter, he is a HGV driver but previously worked as a steward at this venue, and is a Lancashire County player.

Paul McDine:

DoB: 11 June 1967 Home Town: Sheerness, Kent Darts Used: 22g Andy Fordham.

PAUL knocked out James Wade^s father Martin in the deciding game at the South-West Regional Final to earn himself a place in this event. A Kent County player and a taxi driver by trade, this is his first major tournament as he emulates fellow Isle of Sheppey star Geoff Harkup.

Tony Mitchell:

Nickname: Maverick DoB: 11 August 1970 Home Town: Grimsby Darts Used: 25g.

TONY is a former Cleveland County player who came through the North-East Regional Final to earn his debut in a major tournament at this event. Originally from the Middlesbrough area but now based in Grimsby, he could face Alan Warriner-Little if he reaches round two - a clash fans of the "Top Gun" movie would relish, pitting the Iceman against Maverick!

Scott Mitton:

DoB: 1 March 1969 Home Town: Tamworth Darts Used: 22g Red Dragon.

SCOTT overcame 2007 qualifier Mark Hylton to win his debut in a major tournament at the North-East Regional Final last month. A production assembler for Jaguar cars by trade, he is a Warwickshire County player and will take on Scott Waites in the preliminary round.

Stuart Pickles:

DoB: 18 January 1964 Home Town: London Darts Used: 24g Tungsten.

STUART came through the amateur qualifiers to play at Bolton in 2005 and 2006, reaching the second round on both occasions before losing to Dave Smith and Lee Topper. An experienced London County player, he plays in the same league team as Gary Noonan.

Justin Pipe:

Nickname: Blew DoB: 9 November 1971 Home Town: Taunton Darts Used: 24g Harrows.

JUSTIN will be achieving a dream when he faces Geoff Wylie in round one of this tournament, having won through the South-West Regional Final with a 5-1 win over Roy Lowe. This is his first appearance in a major championship.

Sam Rooney:

DoB: 21 March 1979 Home Town: Eastleigh, Hants Darts Used: 23g Nickel Tungsten.

SAM is making his fourth appearance as an amateur qualifier in the UK Open, having reached the last 32 in a superb run 12 months ago, defeating Sean Dowling, Tom Wilson, Jamie Harvey and Gary Welding before losing to Richie Burnett. The Hampshire County player also qualified in 2004 and 2005, when he reached the second round on both occasions.

Michael Smith:

Nickname: Smithy DoB: 23 March 1984 Home Town: Flitwick, Bedfordshire Darts Used: 24g Phil Taylor.

MICHAEL will be making his second UK Open appearance this weekend, having previously come through the amateur qualifiers in 2005, when he lost to Mark Tiller in Bolton. A former Super League Singles Champion in Buckinghamshire, he overcame another previous qualifier, Ian Wise, to reach this event.

Mark Stapleton:

Nickname: The Rhino DoB: 8 January 1967 Home Town: Christchurch, Dorset Darts Used: 19.2g Unicorn.

MARK enjoyed the best moment of his darts career when he overcame Dean Gardner in the South-West Regional Final to earn a place in this tournament. A friend of Kevin Painter^s and originally from London but now based in Dorset, Mark has had to overcome serious illness in recent years but has continued to play in the Christchurch leagues.

Robert Thornton:

Nickname: The Thorn DoB: 17 July 1967 Home Town: Stevenston, Ayrshire Darts Used: 26g.

ROBERT has moved onto the PDC circuit since coming through the North-West Regional Final next month, and has drawn Anastasia Dobromyslova in a high-profile first round game. The Scot is the current World Masters champion and also won this year^s Dutch Open to reach number one in the BDO rankings.

Dan Timmins:

DoB: 5 February 1981 Home Town: Scarborough, North Yorkshire Darts Used: 22g Harrows.

DAN was taken all the way to a deciding leg in the final game of his Regional Final against Neil Cooper in Batley before earning himself a first appearance in a major tournament. A regular competitor in the Yorkshire Super League and a refuse collector by trade, he has previously won the Scarborough Singles title.

Nicky Turner:

Nickname: Slips DoB: 21 November 1962 Home Town: Plumstead, London Darts Used: 21g John Part.

NICKY is completing a hat-trick of UK Open appearances after coming through the South-East Regional Final, having losing in round two of last year^s UK Open to Ray Farrell and in round one to Tom Allies the previous year. He is a former World Open champion with two Embassy Championship appearances under his belt.

Scott Waites:

Nickname: Scotty 2 Hotty DoB: 17 February 1977 Home Town: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire Darts Used: 23g Penetrators.

SCOTT came to prominence at the start of 2007 when he won the Dutch Open, a win followed by a triumph in the Welsh Masters as he moved up the BDO rankings to his current position of fourth. He also competed in the Grand Slam of Darts last November in Wolverhampton, and whitewashed Darren Weaver in his deciding game to qualify for a UK Open debut.

Adrian Welsh:

DoB: 18 September 1972 Home Town: Middlesbrough Darts Used: 26g Jocky Wilson.

ADRIAN defeated local rival Dave Blenkarne, one of last year^s amateur qualifiers, in the North-West Regional Final to earn himself a debut in a televised event. Adie plays County darts for Cleveland.

Paul Whitworth:

Nickname: Salford Devil DoB: 25 December 1968 Home Town: Manchester Darts Used: 21g Eric Bristow.

PAUL has played in three previous UK Opens during his time on the PDC circuit, and came through the amateur qualifiers this year. A publican from Manchester, he is a former British Gold Cup winner who also played in the 2002 World Matchplay, losing to Denis Ovens in Blackpool.

David Woodwards:

Nickname: Woody DoB: 27 February 1972 Home Town: Swindon Darts Used: 18g Nickel Tungsten DAVID is another player making his first appearance in a major championship at this tournament, after coming through the South-West Regional Final. A former Swinton Open runner-up, he meets Adrian Welsh in the first round.

Story By: Bolton News


Read more

Darts: Waites wins through

A STORMING performance by Sowerby Bridge based darts ace Scott Waites saw him triumph in the county qualifiers for the prestigious Gold Cup event. More than 100 competitors took part in the qualif...

Read more

Taylor made in Bolton

Phil Taylor is odds-on to win the Blue Square UK Open, and we see no reason to oppose him, writes Les Sennett.The Power duly wrapped up a fourth consecutive Premier League title last week, and it w...

Read more