Everything you need to know ahead of European Qualifying School
This year sees the second European Qualifying School take place at Halle 39 in Hildesheim, Germany, with hundreds of arrowsmiths battling it out for a minimal amount of tour cards on offer.
It is definitely going to be the most demanding year yet for players on the professional circuit with 45 Pro Tour events taking place across the year, and that’s not including televised tournaments. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the PDC’s European Qualifying School:
WHAT IS AT STAKE?
It was announced in January 2018 that a second version of Qualifying School would be implemented, and it was successful in its opening year with Jeffrey de Zwaan and Danny Noppert both winning tour cards and going on to win their first PDC titles.
It was originally put into practice to avoid European throwers having to travel to England for the four-day-long qualification tournament, and also not having thousands of competitors featuring in the UK edition of the event.
The qualifier will decide who will feature on the PDC’s Pro Tour. The tour card winners will also be awarded a spot in March’s UK Open after the recent qualification criteria adaption.
HOW MANY WILL BE PARTICIPATING?
249 entries have been made for the four-day-long European Qualifying School.
WHO ARE THE STAND-OUT NAMES HEADING TO HILDESHEIM?
Amongst those entered are former BDO World Championship runner-up Jeff Smith – who will be looking to regain his tour card after losing it six years ago.
Veteran Co Stompe will be looking to return to the PDC tour after six years away from the circuit. Stompe, who lifted the World Cup of Darts with Raymond van Barneveld in 2010, made an appearance at the inaugural European Qualifying School, and will return with his son on Thursday.
World Darts Championship qualifier Karel Sedlacek will join nine other Czech participants, while Darius Labanauskas is one of two Lithuanians involved, and Madars Razma will be single-handedly representing Latvia.
Two-time BDO World Youth Champion Justin van Tergouw will attend Qualifying School for the first time after he lifted his maiden BDO senior title last year with a victory over Glen Durrant.
Former JDC World Championship Rusty-Jake Rodriguez will be hoping to join his brother Rowby-John Rodriguez on the PDC Pro Tour while New Zealand’s number one Cody Harris will also be in attendance.
Former BDO World Trophy winner Geert De Vos will also be in attendance.
WHERE CAN I FIND LIVE RESULTS AND UPDATES FROM THE EVENT?
DartConnect’s live scoring system, which made its debut on the PDC tour in 2018, will feature at Qualifying School for the first time. The feature will allow viewers to follow the results as they come in as well as the match statistics.
WHAT IS THE FORMAT?
All matches played at Halle 39 in Hildesheim, Germany will consist of a best of nine format.
HOW MANY SPOTS ARE ON OFFER?
Currently, it is unknown as to the exact amount of tour cards that will be on offer for just the European edition of PDC Qualifying School, though, we do know that just 30 cards will be available for both European and UK Q School.
The four winners of each day’s event will be awarded with an immediate tour card, with it being expected (but not confirmed) that an additional four will gain a ‘golden ticket’ through the order of merit.
The European Q School order of merit qualifiers will be dependent on how many enter the UK’s edition of the event, with it being expected that over 800 will be in attendance.
WHAT ABOUT THE EUROPEANS WHO HAVE QUALIFIED FOR LAKESIDE?
The players of European descent that are competing in the BDO World Championship – which collides with the European Qualifying School – will be able to take part in the UK Qualifying School held in Wigan on January 17, as confirmed by dartsnews.com.