Darts fans were treated to a surprise winner last week when Ian White won his first ever PDC European Tour title at the MECC in Maastricht. In doing so, he beat another surprise package, world number 56 Ricky Evans, by winning 8-5 in the Dutch Darts Championship final.
The 48-year-old from Stoke, ranked 13th in the world, had already recorded a superb triumph over Peter Wright in the last four and went on to average a mere 89 in the final. Despite the low average, it proved to be enough as he made the most of Evans’ 13 missed doubles from 18 shots. Amazingly, White’s win was also recorded six years to the day since he reached his first European Tour final in 2012. In that match, he lost in the final of the German Darts Masters 6-3 to Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis, but this time he was determined to get the win.
A recap of the MECC
Playing in his 63rd European Tour event, White began his road to the final with a 102.26 average in a 6-4 victory over Arron Monk before reaching the quarter-finals, courtesy of an outstanding 6-2 victory over Mervyn King. He then moved on to get his revenge over the two-time World Champion and fellow potter Adrian Lewis in the quarter-finals before successfully getting the better of Snakebite in the semis.
28-year-old Ricky ‘Rapid’ Evans’ brilliant run to his first PDC ranking final — his first in nearly five years — saw him record impressive victories over Jan Dekker, Steve West, William O’Connor, Joe Cullen and Ritchie Edhouse, before his meet-up with ‘Diamond’ White in the final. He also established himself as a firm crowd favourite thanks to his ‘Baby Shark’-inspired walk-on music.
Once there, both players made a strong start with White scoring first thanks to a 14-dart hold of throw. Evans responded in kind by duly hitting back with a 13-darter. From there, he grew stronger, recording the first break of the match to go 2-1 up, only for White to hit straight back with an 11-darter to level the score.
The game continued with serve for the next few legs until White’s 14-darter cracked his rival and opened up a two-leg advantage for the first time. Evans then took out a double 16 with his last dart to break throw and keep the game alive. It wasn’t to last long, however, as White immediately broke back before holding throw to move within a leg of victory, which came two legs later after he pinned tops for the title. For White, that meant that he has now won 10 PDC titles in total.
Elsewhere, William O’Connor inflicted world number one Michael van Gerwen’s first Last 32 exit in Europe in almost three years when he somehow beat the world number one 6-1.
2019 PDC schedule announced
The 2019 PDC calendar has now been published and it includes over 200 days of darts. Highlights include an expanded Darts Premier League, which now stretches to 17 nights and includes doubleheader in Rotterdam.
This year’s UK Open format has been tweaked to include 128 Tour Card Holders, 16 Challenge Tour Order of Merit Qualifiers plus 16 Rileys Amateur Qualifiers. The Rileys Qualifiers were the same route taken by current World Champion Rob Cross when he turned professional before stunning the world last January.
Prague will join the list of European Tour hosts alongside established destinations in Germany, the Netherlands, Gibraltar and Austria. Following a successful inaugural event in Copenhagen, the European Tour will be returning to Denmark for the second time. Amsterdam will also be hosting a PDC televised event for the first time.
Next year’s World Cup of Darts will take place in Hamburg, while Blackpool’s World Matchplay retains its traditional date in late July. In the autumn of 2019, the Darts Champions League and the European Championship will follow the World Grand Prix.
The Grand Slam of Darts will then be held in Wolverhampton before the Players Championship Finals in Minehead in November. Finally, the World Darts Championship will close the season out over the Christmas holidays, although no starting date has yet been announced.
- 1 (London) World Championship Final
- 1 – 3 (Milton Keynes) The Masters
- 7 (Newcastle) Premier League Darts Matchday 1
- 14 (Glasgow) Premier League Darts Matchday 2
- 21 (Dublin) Premier League Darts Matchday 3
- 28 (Exeter) Premier League Darts Matchday 4
- 1 – 3 (Minehead) UK Open
- 7 (Leeds) Premier League Darts Matchday 5
- 14 (Nottingham) Premier League Darts Matchday 6
- 21 (Berlin, Germany) Premier League Darts Matchday 7
- 22 – 24 (Leverkusen, Germany) European Tour 1
- 27 (Rotterdam, Netherlands) Premier League Darts Matchday 8
- 28 (Rotterdam, Netherlands) Premier League Darts Matchday 9
- 29 – 31 (Hildesheim, Germany) European Tour 2
- 4 (Belfast) Premier League Darts Matchday 10
- 11 (Liverpool) Premier League Darts Matchday 11
- 18 (Cardiff) Premier League Darts Matchday 12
- 20 – 22 (Munich, Germany) European Tour 3
- 25 (Birmingham ) Premier League Darts Matchday 13
- 26 – 28 (Saarbrücken, Germany) European Tour 4
- 2 (Manchester) Premier League Darts Matchday 14
- 3 – 5 (Graz, Austria) European Tour 5
- 9 (Sheffield) Premier League Darts Matchday 15
- 10 – 12 (Sindelfingen, Germany) European Tour 6
- 16 (Aberdeen) Premier League Darts Matchday 16
- 23 (London) Premier League Darts Play-Offs
- 24 – 26 (TBC, Netherlands) European Tour 7
- 6 – 9 (Hamburg, Germany) World Cup
- 14 – 16 (Copenhagen, Denmark) European Tour 8
- 28 – 30 (Prague, Czech Republic) European Tour 9
- 20 – 28 (Blackpool) World Matchplay
- 3 (Hildesheim, Germany ) Players Championship 21
- 4 (Hildesheim, Germany) Players Championship 22
- 30 – Sep 1 (Vienna, Austria) European Tour 10
- 6 – 8 (Mannheim, Germany) European Tour 11
- 13 – 15 (Riesa, Germany) European Tour 12
- 27 – 29 (Gibraltar) European Tour 13
- 6 – 12 (Dublin) World Grand Prix
- 19 – 20 (VENUE TBC) Champions League
- 24 – 27 (Göttingen, Germany) European Championship
- 1 – 3 (Amsterdam, Netherlands) World Series Finals
- 49 – 17 (Wolverhampton) Grand Slam of Darts
- 22 – 24 (Minehead) Players Championship Finals
- TBC (London) World Championship