Richardson now looking towards the majors

Rushden darts star James Richardson will be competing in the European Championship next weekend
Rushden darts star James Richardson will be competing in the European Championship next weekend

James Richardson is looking forward to a big finish to the year after confirming his place in three major PDC competitions.

Richardson has secured a spot in the Unibet European Championship, which is being held at the Ethias Arena in Hasselt, Belgium from next Thursday (October 26).

The Rushden darts star will also be appearing at the Players Championship at the Butlins Minehead Resort for the first time at the end of November, after a consistent year on the PDC Pro Tour.

And he will also make a third appearance at the William Hill World Championship at the Alexandra Palace in December.

Richardson’s place in the European Championship was confirmed after the last of the 12 European Tour events was played last weekend.

He hit a 170 checkout as he beat Dimitri Van den Bergh in the first round of the HappyBet European Darts Trophy before losing out to Alan Norris by a 6-4 scoreline at the next stage.

But his consistency over the year has sealed a spot at the major event, which is being screened live on ITV4, where he will play Simon Whitlock in the first round.

The draw for the Players Championship has also been made and Richardson will take on world number 23 Robert Thornton in the first round in Minehead.

It’s an exciting time for the builder and he believes this year has been the highlight of his career so far.

“It’s the first time I have qualified for the Players Championship, the second time for the Europeans and the third time for the Worlds,” he said.

“I have been consistent all year. I am believing in myself, my confidence is up and I changed my darts earlier in the year and that has paid off.

“I am not fearing anyone and I am just going out there and playing my own game. It seems to be working for me.

“That will be the case when I play Robert at Minehead. I certainly won’t fear him. I’ll go and play my own game, the pressure will be on him.

“I got in the UK Open earlier this year so that’s four majors I have qualified for so I would say this year has been the highlight of my career already.

“Competing in these majors gives me a big chance to improve my ranking and if I have a good run, I could even push on into the top 30.

“I am just really pleased and I am delighted to get the place in the World Championship done without having to go through the final qualifiers.”

It’s been a tougher year for Kettering’s Ricky Evans, who suffered a 6-3 first-round defeat to Zoran Lerchbacher in Germany last weekend.

He will now be relying on the PDPA Qualifier at the end of November if he is to return to the World Championship.