Brilliant Richardson savours a fine week

Rushden's James Richardson is back on the PDC ProTour and has qualified for the first two European Tour events of the year
Rushden's James Richardson is back on the PDC ProTour and has qualified for the first two European Tour events of the year

James Richardson has enjoyed one of the best weeks in his darts career.

The Rushden man won back his PDC ProTour Card at Q School in Wigan last Thursday and then followed that up by qualifying for the first two European Tour events of the year.

It has been a fine return to form for the 42 year old, who is back on the main tour after a two-year absence.

He won six matches in one day to get his Card back and then took things up another level at the Robin Park Tennis Centre over the weekend.

In qualifying for the Dutch Darts Masters, he whitewashed Martin Grimble 6-0 before seeing of world number 24 Steve Beaton 6-3 and then secured his place with a 6-5 success over Nathan Derry.

The qualifying event for the German Darts Masters followed and, having seen off Jim Walker (6-0) and Steve Brown (6-5), he then beat former World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton 6-3 to round off a sensational few days.

Richardson insists he owes his success to son Josh who, having been crowned BDO World Youth champion, was unable to come through Q School.

Richardson junior also missed out on qualifying for the European events but his father insists he is responsible for his own return to form.

“I owe all of this to Josh really,” Richardson senior said.

“My form has been good because of all the hours we have been practising together.

“We went to the Ally Pally with him when he collected the JDC trophy and going to Lakeside with him has given me the taste for it again.

“He has helped motivate me again and it is just nice to be back.

“I had my head on it. I was focused and had no nerves and it’s a perfect start to the year for me.

“It all clicked for me, everything I threw went in. I don’t think I have ever played that well.

“You could say I had slipped off the radar a bit and when you lose your Tour Card, all you want to do is get it back.

“Qualifying for the European Tour events all counts towards the order of merit towards the World Championship and the World Matchplay. I will be trying to qualify for the UK Open as well.”

Kettering’s Ricky Evans, meanwhile, earned his place at the Dutch Darts Masters thanks to wins over Nathan Aspinall (6-5), Arron Monk (6-3) and Andrew Gilding (6-1).

But he was unable to make it through the German Darts Masters qualifying event as he went down 6-5 to Andy Smith at the first hurdle.

The Dutch Darts Masters takes place in Venray between February 12 and 14 with the German Darts Masters being held in Munich between March 26 and 28.