Rileys are proud to be working in conjunction with the Professional Darts Corporation to give amateur dart players the chance to mix it with the pros at the UK Open. Popularly dubbed “The FA Cup of Darts”, 32 amateurs will win their places through our popular qualifying competitions held in Rileys Sports Bars across the country in the coming months. It could be you on the big stage!
To find out details of dates and venues for 2017’s tournaments, you can find them at the bottom of this page.
But what happened to our amateur qualifiers who competed at Butlins Minehead earlier in the year? In this article we look at what happened next.
Essex based Barry Lynn was the undoubted star of the UK Open in 2016 having won through at South Benfleet. Lynn overcame fellow qualifier Dean Stewart in the first round, before beating Brett Claydon and top 32 stalwart Brendan Dolan. Then came the biggest shock of all when he trounced reigning World Champion Gary Anderson 9-3 in the fourth round. It was arguably one of the greatest upsets in the competition’s history. He soon booked a place in the last eight, the furthest a qualifier had ever reached in the UK Open, thanks to a 9-5 victory over Stuart Kellett. After successfully getting his Rileys shirt dry cleaned at a local hotel, Lynn lined up for a dream clash against Michael van Gerwen on the main stage live on ITV4. He would eventually succumb 10-6 to the eventual winner, but a £10,000 cheque possibly eased the blow from what was an incredible run.
Since then, Lynn’s form has remained at a high level. He won a PDC Challenge Tour event (the tier of competition below the main Pro Tour) and reached the Quarter-Finals of another three. He would finish fourth on the Order of Merit to win a free place at January’s Qualifying School where he will battle to win a place on the main Tour against the professionals. Given his form you’d be hard pushed to bet against him achieving that goal.
While Lynn has to fight for his place on the Pro Tour in Wigan in January, one person who has already secured his Tour Card for 2017 is fellow Rileys qualifier Rob Cross. The Hastings player took a last minute decision to enter at Norwich, a decision well justified when he was victorious and then upset the odds against Ken MacNeil, Jeffrey de Graff and Wes Newton. Like Lynn he played live on the main stage in front of the ITV cameras against World number one Michael van Gerwen. The former World champion hit a nine-dart finish in a 9-5 win.
In the months that followed, Cross has arguably been in the form of his life. He triumphed in three PDC Challenge Tour events and reached the Final of another two, easily securing him 1st in the Order of Merit rankings. Now part of the Nevada Group management team who also look after Stephen Bunting and Joe Cullen among others, Cross will make his Pro Tour debut in February. In the meantime he has been dominant on the local Open circuit.
Having come through at the Twickenham Qualifier, the Mortlake darter was beaten by the ever improving Josh Payne in the opening round at Butlins Minehead.
Parletti though has had a solid year on the BDO circuit. He was played for England just a few weeks after the UK Open, and reached the Final of the Top of Waregem tournament in Belgium. He also made the semi-finals of the Welsh Open, and made two last eight appearances at the England National and International Open. He nearly qualified automatically for the BDO World championship at Lakeside but would finish just outside the automatic berths. Currently ranked 38th, he competed in the BDO World Qualifiers where he won three matches before losing out to a certain Andy Fordham. 24 hours later however he bounced back to reach the televised stages of the World Masters with a further four victories.
Picture courtesy of DG Media
Hogan is no stranger to qualifying through Rileys for the UK Open having qualified through on two previous occasions in 2014 and 2015. In both of two tournaments he reached the last 32 and picked up £3000 for his efforts. He also took the scalps of former World Champion John Part and Benito Van de Pas (in successive tournaments). In 2016 Hogan may have lost out to Tour Card holder Tony Newell in the 2nd round but that hasn’t stopped his success in local and BDO competitions. The Harlow qualifier won the Benidorm Open and reached the BDO Gold Cup final. He also competed in the World Masters, but his crowning achievement was qualifying for the BDO World Championship after winning no less than seven wins at the Playoffs.
Marsh won through a field of over 128 players at Rileys Victoria to book his place at Butlins Minehead. After an opening round win over Benfleet qualifier Steven Rose, Maish would succumb to recent Grand Slam quarter-finalist Brendan Dolan 6-3. Since then, the Kent based player contested the majority of the Challenge Tour events, reaching the last 16 on three occasions. He’d finish 37th on the Order of Merit. There was also some success in the soft tip version of the game for Marsh, reaching the last eight of Dartslive France event in June, picking up $1000 in the process. In the last few weeks, Marsh competed at the BDO World Qualifiers and the World Masters.
Alex Roy & John Scott
Good friends Alex Roy and John Scott enjoyed a fairy-tale of sorts at their Riley Victoria qualifier, with the pair both winning through a marathon Friday night tournament of over 128 players. After a gruelling six and a half hour endurance test and six wins later, the duo secured their UK Open places with wins over Dave Webb and Chris Aubrey respectively. It was the first time that either of them had won through at a Rileys Qualifier. Roy in fact is one of eight players to have appeared at every UK Open since it started in 2003. Having stated after his win he wanted to “Make the money rounds” he achieved that very goal. Roy triumphed over Dennis Smith live on ITV4 averaging nearly a hundred and then picked up the scalp of Jeffrey de Dwaan. He lost out to Justin Pipe in the third round but did win £1500 for his efforts. He finished 50th on the PDC Challenge Tour.
Scott meanwhile was playing in his third UK Open and just missed out to Dean Winstanley in a last leg decider. Having topped the Middlesex Super League averages for 2015-16 season, Scott will be tackling the BDO Tour in 2017.
The 54 year-old has only missed two UK Opens in his career, and qualified through Rileys Chester. Maish lived up to his Mr Magic nickname and rolled back the years with wins over Jason Heaver and Paul Milford. He would eventually bow out to Kim Huybrechts. The Southend based player, who has seven World Championship appearances to his name, finished 23rd on the PDC Challenge Tour Order of Merit.
Best of the Rest
Stephen Rose (Rileys Benfleet qualifier) reached the semi-finals of the England Masters in September, with impressive wins over Darius Labanauskas, Conan Whitehead and Dennis Harbour. All three of them will be at the Lakeside World Championship come January. Ben Green (Rileys Worcester) finished 56th on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit with one last eight appearance to his name. He also took part in the BDO World Qualifiers & World Masters reaching the last 80 of the latter. Dean Stewart (Rileys Wolverhampton) reached his seventh UK Open this year. He would finish 23rd on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit with one semi-final appearance to his name. Youngster Curtis Turner (Rileys Sheffield) finished 77th on the PDC Development Tour Order of Merit. Andrew Davidson (Rileys Greenock) caused two major upsets when he defeated Jan Dekker and Cristo Reyes at the UK Open. He went onto compete in four Development Tour events in 2016.