Gregory and Bennett victorious in Wolverhampton
Harry Gregory and recently crowned World Youth Champion Leighton Bennett clinched the opening two events on the 2019 Junior Darts Tour held at Riley’s in Wolverhampton.
Just two days after his exploits at the Lakeside where he was crowned World Youth Champion at just 13-years of age, Leighton Bennett picked up his maiden JDC title on his debut.
Bennett made national newspapers aged 12 last year when he picked up the Cambridge Open title in seeing off the likes of ‘Rapid’ Ricky Evans, and added to that landmark by becoming the youngest ever World Champion on Thursday afternoon.
Now, ‘Boom Boom’ has another title to his name, after denying Nathan Care 5-3 in the final with an average just shy of 90. The Lincolnshire youngster dropped just three legs and produced two 90-plus averages en route to the final.
Wins over Adam Conway, Kyle Manton, Mitchell McCarthy and Harry Gregory sealed Bennett’s place in the semi-finals, before a 93.6 average and a 4-1 victory over Henry Coates booked his place in the final.
Nathan Care – who recently averaged 115.6 in Bristol’s JDC World Championship during a 2-0 win over Brad Phillips – was the youngster standing in front of Bennett in the final. And, it was Blackburn’s Care who led, as he opened up a 3-2 lead in the final, denying a 125.3 average in the second leg from 13-year-old Bennett.
Bennett reeled off three legs in succession, however, to see off Care in a 5-3 victory and book his place in December’s World Championship, with a chance of appearing at the prestigious Alexandra Palace.
‘Boom Boom’ lost out at the quarter-final stage of event two, with 13-year-old Harry Gregory following in the footsteps of fellow Lancastrian Nathan Care in reaching the final on Saturday afternoon, just two months after Gregory clinched his maiden JDC Tour title at the same venue.
Gregory had spent an hour with former World Trophy winner Darryl Fitton prior to his second triumph in Wolverhampton, and that resulted in him nailing his first nine-darter just a day later – on Wednesday afternoon.
That form seemingly traveled down to Wolverhampton with the 13-year-old as he averaged 97.6 in a scintillating showing, whitewashing James Beaton 5-0 in a one-sided final. Beaton himself averaged just below the 90 mark indicating the calibre of performance from St Helens’ Gregory.
Four out of the six matches Gregory played en route to victory, were won in whitewash fashion as he dropped just five legs throughout the duration of the tournament. He started proceedings with wins over Harry Smith, Luke Littler and Lewis Gurney before a 3-0 drubbing of Toby Gingell put Gregory into the last four. The 13-year-old survived match darts in the semi-final as he overcame a 3-1 deficit against Lennon Craddock to somehow prevail and seal his place in the final.
Beaton, came into the final in good form and on the back of defeating event one champion Leighton Bennett with a 95 average, but Gregory produced an inspired performance, averaging 97.6 and pinning 50% of his darts on the outer ring.
The Junior Darts Corporation UK Tour will return in just over a months time with events three and four taking place in Dorchester on February 16.
If you’re 18 or under and fancy your chances of beating the best upon the JDC stage, get on down to the George Albert Hotel in Dorchester next month. Entries cost £5 for JDC members and £10 for non-members.