Darts stars Evans and Richardson are bound for Minehead

Rushden's James Richardson is looking forward to getting back on the big stage at the Coral UK Open
Rushden's James Richardson is looking forward to getting back on the big stage at the Coral UK Open

Northamptonshire players Ricky Evans and James Richardson are gearing up to play in the ‘FA Cup of Darts’ this weekend.

Both have qualified for the first PDC major of the year – the Coral UK Open – which gets under way at Butlins Minehead Resort tomorrow (Friday).

Kettering man Evans’ impressive efforts during the six qualifying events ensured he will start his campaign in the third round, which will be played tomorrow night.

Rushden’s Richardson will start in the first round and will be the second match on the main stage when he takes on Antonio Alcinas in the opening session, which begins at 11.45am.

Should he be successful, Richardson will then face either Neil Smith or Steve Maish in the second round and once that round has been completed, the draw for the third round will take place.

And Richardson, who will be wearing a new shirt dedicated to the Darts for Heroes charity in front of the live ITV4 cameras, can’t wait to get back on the big stage.

“I am really looking forward to it, I am glad to get there because I missed out last year,” he said.

“It’s great to be on the main stage in the first round and I have never played Antonio before so it should be good.

“I changed my darts for the start of the year and I feel I am playing well with them.

“This should be a great weekend and I will go out there and play as well as I can to get through the first two rounds.”

Both Richardson and Evans were involved in the first two Players Championship events at the Barnsley Metrodome last weekend.

Richardson suffered a first-round 6-5 defeat to Peter Hudson in Saturday’s competition but then earned £500 in prize money the following day as he beat Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 before losing out 6-4 to Dirk van Duijvenbode in the second round.

Evans, meanwhile, had first-round exits on both days as he lost to Steve Beaton (6-3) and then Peter Jacques (6-5).