Kettering’s Evans books his place in Minehead

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