King among six players to secure European Tour qualifying double
Mervyn King was one of six players to qualify for European Tour events in both Hasselt and Sindelfingen as the new season of Tour Card qualifiers got underway on Friday afternoon.
Steve West, Steve Lennon, Danny Noppert, Ron Meulenkamp and new Tour Card Holder Darren Penhall were the others to guarantee themselves at least £2000 in prize money and book two trips to mainland Europe in the next six weeks.
The pair of qualifiers were the first of a new re-jigged system with the UK and Europe Tour Card qualifiers from previous years being combined into one big qualifier with 24 spots available for all Tour Card qualifiers not seeded for the events.
The first qualifier, for the Belgian Darts Championship in just two weeks’ time, got off to a flying start with international players José de Sousa, Damon Heta, Kai Fan Leung and Mike De Decker all averaging over 100 in the last 96.
Plenty of higher-ranked players tumbled in the early stages too; Keegan Brown, Brendan Dolan, Vincent van der Voort and William O’Connor among them.
Incredibly, Michael Barnard was to first player to win in the last 48, booking his place in Hasselt with a 6-1 win over Chris Dobey, doubling the prize money that he won in the entirety of 2019.
Elsewhere, Martijn Kleermaker stormed past Darren Webster, Rowby-John Rodriguez saw off Lisa Ashton and Derk Telnekes beat Kirk Shepherd as the European players took full advantage of the new system.
Gabriel Clemens beat Martin Schindler in an all-German affair, while Callan Rydz, Kai Fan Leung and Andy Hamilton all got off to great starts on their new Tour Cards.
It was straight on to the second qualifier, for the European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen. Jamie Hughes, Jeffrey de Zwaan and Michael Smith were all in action in the late afternoon in Wigan after they were bumped up into the seedings for ET1.
Hughes lost his first match, 6-4 to Josh Payne, with De Zwaan surviving a scare from Lisa Ashton and Premier League star Smith easing past Matt Clark. Steve Beaton, Keegan Brown and Simon Whitlock all suffered early exits.
Jelle Klaasen, who only made it to one European Tour last year, beat Harry Ward 6-3 from 3-0 down to go within one of a place at the Glaspalast, only to come up against a clinical Simon Stevenson in the decider, ‘The Mirrorman’ taking it 6-2.
Eight players from mainland Europe came through the opening event, but it was more disappointing in the second one as Kim Huybrechts, Benito van de Pas and Dirk van Duijvenbode were just some of those players to fall at the final hurdle.
Steve Lennon produced a sensational performance, against another Dutchman in Vincent van der Voort. The Irishman averaged over 106 in a 6-2 win, with William O’Connor set to join Lennon in Sindelfingen.
Chris Dobey recovered from his thrashing by Michael Barnard to beat Ryan Joyce and qualify, while Devon Petersen beat Martijn Kleermaker 6-2. Steffen Siepmann will make it five German players at the tournament after he saw off Luke Humphries 6-1 in the last 48.
Scott Waites secured a European Tour debut, beating Stephen Bunting 6-5, while Steve West hit a nine-darter on his way to defeating the resurgent Benito van de Pas by 6 legs to 2.
The players return to Robin Park on Saturday for Players Championship 3.
2020 Belgian Darts Championship
Tour Card Qualifier
Last 48 (winners qualify)
José de Sousa 4-6 Andy Hamilton
Justin Pipe 6-4 Benito van de Pas
Steve Beaton 6-3 Christian Bunse
Darren Penhall 6-5 Robert Thornton
Josh Payne 3-6 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-2 Lisa Ashton
Ricky Evans 4-6 Damon Heta
Kai Fan Leung 6-2 Steve Brown
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Krzysztof Kciuk
Ron Meulenkamp 6-0 Geert Nentjes
Chris Dobey 1-6 Michael Barnard
Darren Webster 1-6 Martijn Kleermaker
Danny Noppert 6-3 William Borland
Harry Ward 5-6 Mike De Decker
Callan Rydz 6-4 Jelle Klaasen
Steve West 6-1 Jan Dekker
Gabriel Clemens 6-4 Martin Schindler
Kirk Shepherd 4-6 Derk Telnekes
Ryan Searle 6-2 Conan Whitehead
Andy Boulton 6-3 John Michael
John Henderson 5-6 Steve Lennon
Jamie Lewis 2-6 Luke Woodhouse
Mervyn King 6-2 Mark McGeeney
Luke Humphries 6-2 Jason Lowe
2020 European Darts Grand Prix
Tour Card Qualifier
Last 48 (winners qualify)
Josh Payne 6-5 Nick Kenny
Adam Hunt 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-4 Matthew Edgar
Vincent van der Voort 4-6 Steve Lennon
Michael Smith 6-2 David Pallett
John Henderson 2-6 Darren Penhall
José de Sousa 4-6 Jeff Smith
Mervyn King 6-5 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Gavin Carlin 1-6 Jason Lowe
Devon Petersen 6-2 Martijn Kleermaker
Luke Humphries 1-6 Steffen Siepmann
William O’Connor 6-2 Maik Kuivenhoven
Ricky Evans 4-6 Alan Tabern
Derk Telnekes 4-6 Ryan Murray
Stephen Bunting 5-6 Scott Waites
Ron Meulenkamp 6-1 Joe Murnan
Chris Dobey 6-1 Ryan Joyce
Karel Sedláček 5-6 Steve Brown
Danny Noppert 6-4 Conan Whitehead
Jelle Klaasen 2-6 Simon Stevenson
Reece Robinson 6-4 Kai Fan Leung
Steve West 6-2 Benito van de Pas
Andy Boulton 4-6 Niels Zonneveld
Kim Huybrechts 4-6 Richard North