Kettering’s Ricky Evans will make his debut at the PDC’s Ladbrokes World Darts Championship next month after a stunning display in Barnsley over the weekend.
The 23-year-old, who is enjoying a brilliant first year on the PDC Pro Tour shocked world number two and reigning Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen on his way to the semi-finals in the second of two Players Championship events at the Barnsley Metrodome.
And Evans, who was the runner-up in the World Youth Championship this year and also played in the Grand Slam of Darts earlier this month, booked his spot at the Alexandra Palace, despite being edged out in the last four.
The weekend started with Evans reaching the second round in the first event as a 6-0 success over Jim Walker was followed by a 6-4 loss to Mervyn King.
But the Kettering star stepped up on Sunday as he thrashed Ian Walters 6-0 before defeating Vincent van der Voort 6-4.
Then came the incredible 6-5 victory over van Gerwen and that was followed by comprehensive 6-1 and 6-2 wins over Mark Dudbridge and former world champion Steve Beaton respectively.
Evans was denied a place in the final when he lost 6-5 to Jamie Robinson in the last four but the performance was enough to give Evans a spot at the ‘Ally Pally’ as one of the ProTour Order of Merit qualifiers.
Irthlingborough’s Kevin McDine had already sealed his place at the World Championship and he suffered two first-round exits in the events at the hands of Kirk Shepherd (6-2) and Stuart Kellett (6-4) respectively.
Rushden’s James Richardson, meanwhile, will not be joining his county colleagues after losing 5-3 to Matt Padgett in the second round of the PDPA Qualifier in Barnsley today (Monday).
At the weekend, Richardson went down 6-5 to Dudbridge on Saturday after receiving a bye in the first round and, on the following day, a first-round 6-5 success over Ricky Sudale was followed by a 6-4 loss to Gary Anderson.
The Ladbrokes World Championship will be screened live on Sky Sports from December 13 and the first-round draw is live on Sky Sports News next Monday at 11.30am when Evans and McDine will find out which of the top 32 players they will face in the opening stage.