Kevin McDine enjoyed a fine weekend in Wigan as he booked himself a place in the third PDC European Tour event of the year.
The Irthlingborough player claimed victories over Barrie Bates (6-5), Dave Ladley (6-3) and David Copley (6-2) to secure himself a sport in the European Darts Open, which is being held in Dusseldorf over the weekend of May17.
McDine will play Arron Monk in the first round of the £100,000 tournament.
Kettering’s Ricky Evans missed out on a place in Germany by the narrowest of margins as he lost his final game 6-5 to Chris Aubrey, having beaten Vernon Sheppard 6-0 in the second round.
And Rushden’s James Richardson suffered a last-leg defeat in the second stage when he was edged out by Keith Stephen.
McDine’s good form continued into two Speedy Services UK Open qualifiers over the weekend as both he and Evans secured their places in the televised stages of the PDC major in Bolton between June 6 and 9.
On the Saturday, there was an all-Northamptonshire clash in the second round as McDine’s 6-1 first-round win over Shaun Liptrot saw him line up against Richardson, who beat Darren Whittingham by the same scoreline in his opener.
McDine beat his County rival 6-3 before going all the way to the quarter-finals thanks to further victories over Keegan Brown (6-5), Aubrey (6-5) and Michael Mansell (6-2). But his run was ended in the last eight as he went down 6-2 to Ross Smith.
Evans, meanwhile, was handed the daunting prospect of taking on Dutch star Michael van Gerwen in his second-round clash after beating Jamie Robinson 6-2 in the first stage.
And van Gerwen had too much for the Kettering youngster as he wrapped up a 6-2 success.
Both Evans and McDine enjoyed good runs on Sunday as well with the Kettering star beating Chris Mason 6-4 before recording a second-round win over Paul Rowley (6-3). However, he was undone in his next match when losing 6-1 to Brendan Dolan.
McDine reached the fourth round thanks to victories against Ryan De Vreede (6-2), Norman Fletcher (6-0) and Adrian Gray (6-0) but he was eventually beaten 6-3 by Antonio Alcinas.
Richardson suffered a first-round exit when he lost out 6-4 to Chris Hartrey.
It all means that McDine has qualified for Bolton in joint-30th position with £2,000 of prize money while Evans, in his debut year on the ProTour, was just behind in joint-37th place with £1,800. But Richardson has missed out after collecting £200 in prize money.
Evans is currently preparing for his first television appearance of the year when he takes on Michael Smith in the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship final at the O2 Arena on May 16 as part of the McCoy’s Premier League Darts play-off night.
A special darts exhibition featuring two top PDC players is taking place in Kettering later this month.
The event, organised by DB Darts and supported by sponsors the Newlands Centre and Sellars Allsorts, will see Ted ‘The Count’ Hankey and Terry ‘The Bull’ Jenkins take to the stage at the Kettering General Hospital Social Club on Friday, May 24.
A raffle will be held and 15 people from the audience will get the opportunity to play against the professionals.
VIP tickets are priced at £20 with standard tickets £10. Doors open at 7pm for VIPs and there will be a buffet, meet and greet with the players and a chance to get photographs taken. Doors open for standard ticket holders at 8pm.
For further information and to book tickets, contact Daz on 07842 219137.