Rodriquez, Payne & Parry share first Challenge Tour victories

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Rowby John Rodriguez, Josh Payne and Kurt Parry shared the spoils with victories in the first three PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour events of 2013 at the Barnsley Metrodome.

The opening weekend of the season’s Challenge Tour events, open this year to players aged from 14-25, saw over 180 players in action across the three £3,000 events.

Austrian teenager Rodriguez (pictured), who had competed on Friday in the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship, was close to claiming a superb double on Saturday as he won the opening event and reached the second event’s final.

Rodriguez, who turns 19 tomorrow, overcame Daniel Thorpe, Shaun Littler and Harry Leenders to progress to the last 32 stage of event one.

The Austrian then defeated Sam Hewson 4-2 before whitewashing Josh Jones to reach the last eight of the competition.

Rodriguez then saw off the highly rated Welshman Jamie Lewis 4-2 before overcoming Cheshire’s Stuart Bousfield to reach the final, where he claimed the £500 first prize with a 4-1 victory over Dutchman Dirk van Duijvenbode.

Van Duijvenbode began his challenge with victories over Ryan de Vreede, Luke Cheevers and Willem Mandingers to reach the last 16 stage.

There he defeated Nathan Aspinall 4-2 before recording a brace of 4-1 victories over Dan Butler and Daniel Day to secure his place in the final, before being denied of a maiden victory by the Austrian.

Rodriguez continued his fine form in the second event of the day as he recorded victories over Ryan Murray, Sam Hill and Scott Johnson, before an impressive 4-0 whitewash of World Youth Championship semi-finalist Adam Hunt sealed a last 16 place.

He then comfortably despatched Harry Miles 4-1 before edging out one of Friday’s nine-dart heroes, Kurt Parry, with a 4-3 victory.

Rodriguez came out on top against Jake Patchett in another deciding-leg to make his second final of day, before narrowly losing to Josh Payne in the final.

Payne, who holds a Tour Card to compete on Pro Tour following his success on the 2012 Youth Tour, showed some fine form to reach the final, dropping just one leg in his opening two matches before defeating exciting German Max Hopp 4-1.

The 19-year-old from Kent overcame Danny Wilson by the same scoreline before edging out World Youth Championship finalist Ricky Evans in a deciding leg to secure a quarter-final spot.

Payne then saw off Shane Edwards and County Durham’s Alan Bell by 4-2 margins before denying Rodriguez in the decider with a deciding leg victory to secure his first title on the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour.

Parry’s memorable weekend continued as he took Sunday’s event three title in Barnsley with a 4-1 win over Essex youngster Day in the final.

Parry disposed of James Young, James Nener and Sean McArdle without dropping a leg before overcoming Darren Beveridge with a tight 4-3 win to reach the last 16.

The 19-year-old Welshman then romped through to the final thanks to victories over Ryan Murray, Harry Miles and Shaun Littler, dropping just one leg in the process.

Day, a semi-finalist in event one, started his run to the final with victories over Matthew Dicken and Marcellino Romeijn and then defeated Ricky Evans, Nick Paenen and Reece Robinson to progress to the last eight.

There, the 24-year-old overcame Adam Hunt with a narrow 4-3 win and then recorded his third whitewash victory of the day in his semi-final against Shaun Littler, before having to settle for the £300 runner-up prize.

Cheshire’s Bousfield avenged his semi-final defeat to Rodriguez in event one by defeating the Austrian youngster in the last 32 on Sunday as he went on to reach the quarter-finals before losing to Lincolnshire’s Jason Marriott.

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