‘Ruthless’ wants to get back into the limelight

Rushden's James Richardson has qualified for the Coral UK Open
Rushden's James Richardson has qualified for the Coral UK Open

James Richardson is hoping to thrust himself back into the limelight at the PDC’s Coral UK Open in Minehead next weekend.

The Rushden player secured his place in the televised ‘FA Cup of Darts’ after a series of impressive displays during the final three qualifiers in Wigan.

‘Ruthless’ reached the last 32 of the opening event as he saw off John Walton 6-3, former World finalist Andy Hamilton 6-4 and Jamie Landon 6-3 before losing 6-2 to Jamie Caven.

He followed that up in the next qualifier with victories over Haruki Muramatsu (6-1) and James Wilson (6-3) before bowing out 6-4 to Christian Kist.

Richardson, who was unable to regain his PDC Pro Tour card earlier this year, suffered a preliminary round exit at the hands of John Scott in the final event but the £750 he earned, secured a place in the early stages of the major tournament.

He will face Johnny Haines in the first round at Minehead next Friday and is keen to get himself back under the spotlight having burst onto the scene with a memorable 3-0 win over Raymond van Barneveld during the 2012 World Championships.

“It was a brilliant weekend, I got there on the Friday and I just felt good,” Richardson said.

“The first three qualifiers were poor for me but I got myself away from it for a couple of weeks, got my head together and changed a couple of things in practice.

“It hurt me when I was unable to win a Tour card but I am able to play in BDO events now and it made it all the more important to try to qualify for Minehead.

“My aim there is to try to get as far as possible and see if I can get back on the main stage and get into the limelight again. That would be great.

“I played really well in Wigan and my form has come back.”

Ricky Evans was, perhaps, the unluckiest player at the end of the qualifiers in Wigan last weekend.

The Kettering player had already secured his place in Minehead but had his sights sets on finishing in the top 32 in the Order of Merit to ensure he started alongside the other seeds in the third round.

Once the last three qualifiers had been completed, Evans was tied in 29th position alongside four other players but was knocked down to 33rd on countback.

Evans will play either Dirk van Duijvenbode, Tommy Sanwell or the Rileys Chester qualifier, which will be confirmed at the weekend, in the second round at Minehead after another good showing at the Robin Park Tennis Centre.

In the first qualifier, Evans beat John Newland 6-1 and Mike Zuydwijk 6-4 before losing out 6-2 to Premier League player Kim Huybrechts in the third round.

A first-round 6-3 win over Ben Ward in the second event set up a showdown with the great Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor and Evans was only just edged out 6-5.

Evans took his total prize money for the weekend to £500 by beating Lee Evans (6-1) and Ryan Sullivan (6-0) in the final qualifier before going down 6-2 to Mervyn King.