DARTS: Richardson and Evans are off to Minehead

Rushdens James Richardson will start in the second round of the Coral UK Open next month
Rushdens James Richardson will start in the second round of the Coral UK Open next month

Northamptonshire darts stars James Richardson and Ricky Evans have both qualified for the televised stages of the Coral UK Open next month.

The final three of six Qualifiers were played out in Wigan last weekend and both Richardson and Evans finished inside the top 96 in the competition’s Order of Merit to secure their places in the event, which takes place at Butlins Minehead Resort between March 2 and 4.

Rushden’s Richardson finished in 62nd place in the Order of Merit, which means he will come into the competition in the second round when he play either Robert Rickwood or Rene Berndt.

But Kettering player Evans had to settle for 69th place and a first-round start against the Rileys South Benfleet Qualifier, despite finishing on the same amount of prize money of £1,500 as his Northants colleague.

Richardson enjoyed an impressive run to the last 32 of Qualifier Four at the Robin Park Tennis Centre.

He claimed wins over Richie Burnett (6-5), Brett Claydon (6-2) and Aden Kirk (6-1) before being edged out 6-5 by Robert Thornton.

That was as good as it got for ‘Ruthless’ over the weekend, however.

He suffered a first-round exit as he went down 6-4 to Terry Jenkins in Qualifier Five and, in Qualifier Six, he was beaten 6-1 by Corey Cadby having seen off Marko Kantele in the opening stage.

It proved to be a tough weekend for Evans.

In the first event, he suffered an early exit as he was beaten 6-2 by Rene Eidams.

The Kettering man beat Andrea Micheletti 6-1 in the first round of Qualifier Five before losing out 6-3 to Ian White at the next stage.

And, having beaten Robbie Green 6-1 in the opening

round of the final event, Evans fell at the next hurdle when going down 6-4 to Peter Hudson.

Both players will now be part of the 128-man field for the major competition, which is known as the ‘FA Cup of Darts’ as each round is drawn immediately after the previous one has been completed.

The 96 players who qualified through the Order of Merit will be joined by 32 Rileys Amateur Qualifiers and the competition will be screened live on ITV4.

Evans and Richardson will be back in action this weekend when they compete in the first two PDC Pro Tour Players Championship events.