This Week In Darts – 19th of January 2024


Leighton Bennett Secures PDC Tour Card

Lincoln’s rising darts prodigy, Leighton Bennett, has secured a position on the PDC Tour for the 2024-25 season by clinching victory on the penultimate day of the UK Q School.

Displaying commendable skill, Bennett overcame an initial setback to triumph over Thomas Cromwell in Milton Keynes. His journey to success featured an impressive rally, claiming four consecutive legs from a 3-2 deficit.

This noteworthy achievement positions Bennett alongside other prodigious talents in the sport, such as the current PDC World Youth Champion, 16-year-old Luke Littler.


Michael Smith Unveils New 2024 Match Shirt

Michael Smith will be wearing a slightly different shirt during tournaments this season.

The new look is predominantly black and red with references to his hometown of St. Helens. The front of the shirt is emblazoned with red and white stripes in the shape of the letter V.

This is, of course, a reference to the famous rugby league club from St. Helens. The back of the shirt also features the former world champion’s Bullyboy logo.


64-Year-Old Pursues PDC Tour Card Dream

One of the players hunting for a PDC Tour Card in Milton Keynes this week is Jim Walker. Not just anyone, this 64-year-old darter recently became the personal driver of Rob Cross.

No stranger to darts, Walker has actually captured a tour card several times before. “I’m one of these players that always thinks if I lose I go out, if I win I keep going,” he says. “I’m an optimist. I love it. Listen it’s the sport you love, if you are good enough you get paid to do something you love. The prizes for the top boys are unbelievable.”

Clearly, passion for this sport knows no age limit.


De Graaf Returns to Pro Tour After Five Years

Jeffrey de Graaf made a notable comeback to the Pro Tour following a five-year absence.

While off to a rather sluggish start during the first days of Q School, he went all in on the final day, winning 6-5 over Jitse van der Wal to secure a spot on the Pro Tour.

With a poor showing in the first three days that left De Graaf pointless in the Order of Merit, only overall victory on Sunday would be good enough for the Dutchman. “That meant I started the last day without pressure,” he says. “I could play freely. But once I reached the last sixteen the nerves started to play a part. I am very happy that I was able to finish the job.”

Recently, De Graaf defeated both Ritchie Edhouse and José de Sousa consecutively at the World Darts Championship before eventually losing to Rob Cross. In 2016, he also reached the last sixteen at the Players Championship Finals.


Andy Baetens Victorious at European Q School

Andy Baetens, the accomplished Lakeside champion, demonstrated a seamless transition to the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) by successfully attaining a coveted Tour Card during the third day of the European Q School.

Baetens exhibited his exceptional skills consistently throughout the duration of the tournament, which ultimately culminated in a hard-fought, and well deserved, win for the 34-year-old Belgian darter come the final round.

He threw an average of 102.73 per turn in his 6-3 semifinal win over VItezslav Sedla – the highest average during the third day of the event.


Bahrain Darts Masters 2024

Set to be an exciting event, the 2024 Bahrain Darts Masters will see Luke Humphries make his first competitive appearance since acquiring the iconic Sid Waddell Trophy earlier this month.

The sport’s biggest names will be returning to The Dome for the second staging of the World Series of Darts event, which will take place January 18th and 19th respectively.

In addition to featuring two local qualifiers from Bahrain making their televised debut, 28-year-old Humphries will also find himself facing one of the Host Nation Qualifiers for a place in the quarter-finals.