Former European Tour winner Mervyn King headlined the 18 UK Qualifiers for the HappyBet German Darts Championship last night, as Ryan Meikle landed a nine-dart finish in Barnsley.
The UK Qualifier saw 80 players competing for spots in the year’s first £135,000 European Tour event, which will be held in Hildesheim from March 24-26.
Experienced star King, a European Tour winner in 2014, defeated South Africa’s Warrick Scheffer and emerging star Rob Cross as he secured his spot in Hildesheim.
Paul Nicholson, a European Tour runner-up four years ago who won back his Tour Card in January, overcame Robert Thornton and Harry Robinson as he qualified.
Former World Championship finalists Kevin Painter and Kirk Shepherd progressed at the expense of John Henderson and Dennis Smith in their respective deciders.
Another former European Tour winner, Raymond van Barneveld – who competed in the UK Qualifier due to the clash of the West Europe Qualifier with his Betway Premier League commitments – was defeated 6-4 by John Bowles in their decider as the Widnes thrower secured a spot in Germany.
The night was a memorable one for Ryan Meikle, the Suffolk left-hander who hit a nine-dart finish during a narrow win over Robbie Green before qualifying in a deciding leg against Darron Brown.
Scotland’s Jamie Bain and Ireland’s Mick McGowan also went the distance in their deciding matches, against Nathan Aspinall and Darren Webster respectively.
Brazil’s Diogo Portela defeated Andy Hamilton, Simon Preston and Justin Pipe to earn his European Tour debut alongside Ryan Searle and Chris Quantock, who have both stepped up from the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour this year.
Suffolk’s Stephen Burton, who won a Tour Card in January, enjoyed success in his first European Tour Qualifier with wins over James Wilson and Simon Stevenson.
Darren Johnson knocked out former European Tour winner Steve Beaton in their decider, while David Pallett, Adam Hunt, Paul Harvey and Richie Corner also qualified.
Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski and Finland’s Veijo Viinikka came through the respective East Europe Qualifier and PDCNB Qualifiers, with the final field for the German Darts Championship to be confirmed on March 23 with the West Europe Qualifier and Host Nation Qualifier.
The HappyBet German Darts Championship will be streamed for PDCTV-HD Subscribers via www.livepdc.tv, and through a series of bookmakers’ websites from March 24-26.
ET1 HappyBet German Darts Championship
Ryan Searle, Jamie Bain, Darren Johnson, Kirk Shepherd, Chris Dobey, Stephen Burton, Mervyn King, Paul Nicholson, Diogo Portela, Mick McGowan, Ryan Meikle, Chris Quantock, Paul Harvey, John Bowles, David Pallett, Richie Corner, Kevin Painter, Adam Hunt
The tournament opens the PDC ProTour weekend in Barnsley, with two Players Championship events to be held on Saturday and Sunday – with both being streamed live online for PDCTV-HD Subscribers via www.livepdc.tv as well as through as series of bookmakers’ websites.