From the 19th to 22nd January 2017 the PDC will hold their qualifying school at Wigan. Players who win or accumulate enough points over the 4 days earn a PDC tour card and can play as one of 128 players on the PDC professional dart circuit.
The only New Zealander to ever play in the school was Jack Harrington of the Richmond Working Mens Club, Christchurch. He went to England with his father Dave and mother Jane in December 2012 to support Dave who had qualified to play in the 2013 PDC worlds darts championship. Dave was knocked out in the preliminary round and Jack stayed and played in the qualifying school. He did not do well enough to get a tour card but is still the only New Zealander to try.
The pictures above show Jack after winning a Club NZ Youth title and the second shows Jack and his father Dave after Jack successfully trained his first winning horse in his chosen occupation of horse trainer.
I would love to see another top kiwi have a go but I am not sure it is going to happen. Not this year anyway. Most of our top players have families, jobs and other responsibilities which would make it hard financially to initially go to England and try and if successful in getting a tour card then commit to a life where missing a double could mean no food on the table.
Some commentators put the cost once you get to England at about $25,000 pound a year in just travel, accommodation and entries into tournaments. If you have not got a sponsor or you are not winning you will not last long.
Have we got players that could potentially make it? You bet we have. However just like we all know some super players in the different towns and cities around New Zealand who could succeed nationally but do not because they never travel the same applies internationally. Some players could make but will not take the risk.
One day someone will make the gamble and go for it. More power to them when they do it.
Ken Moir and Mike Day, won the Auckland Champ of Champs men’s pair championships on Saturday. Held at the Papakura Club the pair represented the West City Darts Association and were one pair of many vying for this prestigious title. Once the pairs were completed the singles were held and Mike then marched on and won the singles title as well.
It is great to see two New Zealand men qualify to play in the Lakeside World Professional Championships. Both Craig Caldwell and Mark McGrath will play in the preliminary draw to get to the last 32 of the main draw. I think this is the first time that two New Zealand men will appear together at these championships so is rather unique for New Zealand darts. A reflection of the high standards our better players are achieving. Craig earned his place by topping the NZ ranking lists with some great domestic results and Mark by winning a qualifying event held in England prior to the Winmau Masters. If they can win their first two games they would end up playing each other. The link above shows the preliminary draw.
Craig plays Dennis Harbour of England in his first game and Mark plays Roger Janseen of Belgium.
If any reader can recall another occasion where two male NZ players have played in the same year at this event please record in the comments.
To all NZ dart players and NZ dart fans today my brother Jason and I are launching this online NZ darts newspaper and blog. Previously we commenced the West City Darts blogspot and ran that for three or 4 years before handing it over to Mike Radford who continues it on. We have had a bit of rest and thought it was time to launch a new site that concentrated on NZ darts nationally and NZ dart players performing overseas. Many articles will seem a little Auckland focused at first for that is where we live but I hope to develop a network of correspondents to contribute news from everywhere else as well.If you have any tournaments you want promoted please e-mail me the posters and I will publish them for you. If you have any tournament results please send those to be published as well. Photos are very welcome. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.