Kettering’s Evans books his place in Minehead

Ricky Evans has qualified for the UK Open
Ricky Evans has qualified for the UK Open

Kettering darts star Ricky Evans has qualified for the televised stages of the PDC’s Coral UK Open after enjoying a superb start to the season..

In the opening UK Open qualifying event in Wigan last weekend, Evans had a brilliant run to the semi-finals before bowing out to former world champion Adrian Lewis.

Evans claimed wins over Mark Forman (6-3), Ron Meulenkamp (6-3), Bernd Roith (6-2), Lee Bryant (6-4), Alan Tabern (6-5) and John Michael (6-3) before beating William O’Connor 6-2 in the quarter-finals.

That set up a showdown with Lewis and Evans moved into a 3-0 lead before ‘Jackpot’ battled back to claim a 6-4 success.

But that run was enough to secure Evans £2,500 in prize money and a place at the UK Open at Butlins Minehead, which starts on March 3 and will be screened live on ITV 4.

That was the high point of the weekend for the Kettering man as he suffered first-round exits to Rob Cross (6-0) and Steve West (6-3) in the two other qualifying events at the Robin Park Tennis Centre.

Rushden father-and-son duo James and Joshua Richardson will try again in the final three qualifiers in Wigan this weekend after a tough time in the first three events.

In the first competition, James beat David Pallett 6-2 in the first round before losing 6-2 to John Henderson in the next stage.

He also suffered a second-round defeat on Saturday when he lost 6-2 to Josh Payne after recording a 6-4 success over Mark Hylton.

And the theme continued in the third qualifier as a 6-5 first-round win over Yordi Meeuwisse was followed by a 6-4 loss to Premier League player Kim Huybrechts.

Young Joshua was beaten 6-3 by Ryan De Vreede in the preliminary round of the opening event but he got past that stage in the second qualifier as he beat Allan Candlish 6-1 before bowing out in a 6-2 loss to Christian Kist.

Joshua saw off Greg Ritchie in the first round of Sunday’s competition but then went down 6-2 to Henderson.