Nine-dart McDine claims a PDC Tour Card

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Irthlingborough’s Kevin McDine hit a nine-dart finish as he won one of the final Tour Cards at the 2013 PDC Qualifying School.

The former Grand Slam of Darts semi-finalists lost his Tour Card at the end of last year but made an immediate return to the PDC ProTour as he rounded off a consistent four days with victory on Sunday.

The 27-year-old had lost in the deciding match to win a Tour Card on day one of Qualifying School to Charl Pietersen, who hit a nine-dart finish in their game.

McDine matched that achievement in his decider against Martyn Turner at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan, as he hit the third perfect leg in four days as he overcame the York thrower 6-3.

“Im over the moon,” McDine said.

“The standard has gone so high in the last few years and that’s shown by the number of nine-darters you’re seeing.

“It didn’t happen that often when I started playing back in 2006 but everyone’s so dedicated now that you’re getting them in pretty much every event, and it’s great that I’ve hit one too.

“I’ve had 10 or 15 attempts at a nine-darter before on the circuit and missed out, but this time it went straight in and that’s brilliant - to have one hit against me and then to hit one in the space of a couple of days is pretty rare!

“I expected to get through on the first day but Charl was unreal in our final, his nine-darter was great and I was pleased for him.

“I felt confident all day today though, and I’m really glad to have won my Tour Card. I’ve played quite steady in every game and when I needed to, I found another gear.”

McDine added: “I’ve had a bit of a struggle for the last couple of years but I’m feeling confident and ready to play again now.

“After the World Championship Qualifiers I had a bit of a break and since I started practising again I’ve been a different player - I’ve had my head right, I’ve picked up a new sponsor and am using some new darts and it’s a new start for me.

“My aim is to get back into the top 50 in the first year and then progress from there.”

McDine’s success made it a fine few days for Northamptonshire darts after Kettering’s Ricky Evans won his first ever PDC Tour Card on the opening day in Wigan.

They both join Rushden’s James Richardson on the ProTour for this year.