Home Darts 2019 Rileys UK Open Qualifier – Rob Collins
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2019 Rileys UK Open Qualifier – Rob Collins

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The dogged persistence of Rob Collins finally came to fruition on Sunday at Rileys Victoria, with the Bognor Regis based darts player finally securing his UK Open place at Butlins Minehead after several previous valiant attempts at our clubs. He came through a record field of 220 players.

Collins, who missed out on a Tour card by just a few points last month, had attended the majority of Qualifying events prior to the Victoria event.

His route to qualifying began by taking on Nathan Nicholls and survived a last leg decider before eventually prevailing. He went onto whitewash Johnny Cree before producing his best performance of the day against Curtis Hammond, averaging 102 with legs of 12,15,12 and 15 along with two 180s.

He also beat Steve Mead (a UK Open qualifier in 2013), Scott Marsh (a two-time UK Open qualifier in 2013 and 2016) and survived match darts against Hampshire’s Mike Gillet in the semi-final.

This setup a highly anticipated clash against perennial Rileys favourite Barry Lynn in the final who had been equally dominant during his campaign. Lynn will of course be fondly remembered for his run to the last 8 in 2016 where he scooped £10,000 for his efforts as a member of Team Rileys.

Lynn’s highest average of the day came against Hampshire’s Callum Francis in the last 64 who he whitewashed 4-0 with legs of 15, 17, 12 and 19 and averaging 66% on doubles. He would go onto beat Simon Wood and Lee Bryant amongst others to reach the finale.

The final itself was one of the closest we’ve ever seen at the venue. Collins roared into a 2-0 leg with 15 and 18 dart legs, but Lynn rallied and rattled off legs in a row with a 18 darters and a 17. But Lynn wouldn’t get a match dart in the final two legs, with Collins firing in a 15 and 18 dart leg to win through to Butlins Minehead for the very first time.

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Matthew Kiernan Multimedia Journalist. Passionate about darts.