DARTS: Evans and Richardson in the hunt for UK Open spots

Ricky Evans reached the last 16 of the Coral UK Open Qualifier Two in Wigan
Ricky Evans reached the last 16 of the Coral UK Open Qualifier Two in Wigan

Northamptonshire duo Ricky Evans and James Richardson enjoyed good moments as the PDC Pro Tour swung into action with the first three Coral UK Open Qualifiers in Wigan last weekend.

Evans and Richardson will be hoping to earn their spots in the 128-man field for the first major of the year at the Butlins Minehead Resort between March 2 and 4.

Both players suffered early exits in Qualifier One at the Robin Park Tennis Centre as Evans lost 6-4 to Shayne Burgess having beaten Melvin de Fijter 6-2 in the opening stage while Richardson, who saw off Stefan Nilles in his first match, went down 6-3 to William O’Connor.

But Kettering’s Evans had a fine time of it on Saturday as wins over Scott Dale (6-1), Rhys Griffin (6-3), Micky Mansell (6-2) and Ron Meulenkamp (6-5) saw him through to the last 16 where world number one Michael van Gerwen awaited.

And the Dutch star claimed a 6-2 victory before going on to win the competition.

Richardson suffered a 6-3 loss to Mark Frost at the first hurdle on the Saturday but he performed well in Qualifier Three.

The Rushden ace enjoyed victories over Aden Kirk (6-2), Mansell (6-2) and Corey Cadby (6-3) before bowing out 6-4 to James Wilson in the last 32.

Evans, meanwhile, rounded off the weekend with a 6-3 loss to Jamie Hughes, having seen off John Crossley 6-0 in the opening round.

Both players are well in the hunt to secure places at Minehead and will look to wrap them up when the Qualifiers conclude with the final three events this weekend, after which the top 96 players will advance to the main tournament.