With the PDC Winter Series beginning to come to a close, Ryan Searle, Matthew Edgar and Aaron Beeney all know that it truly is now, or never. With all three well adjusted to the environment after the first three days, personal goals are firmly in their minds as they look to push up the rankings.
For Ryan, he’ll look to build on his impressive performance yesterday, making the quarter-finals before losing out to an impressive William O’Connor. After a very poor start, Matthew will look to earn his first win of the week, with the task seemingly tougher with every passing event – a strong run in the remaining two competitions may be enough to see him retain his Tour Card, after what has been a turbulent year on the tour. With performances seemingly improving day, by day – Aaron Beeney will look to continue his winning form, having progressed to the second round in the last two tournaments.
His campaign would today start off against former PDC World Championship finalist, Andy ‘The Hammer’ Hamilton. A man in good form, Hamilton managed to hit a 9 darter on day two of the Winter Series, with strong performances helping him to two L64 placings over the first three events – adding £1000 to his ranking money.
Start as you mean to go on! Replicating his form from yesterday, Ryan fires in a 101.7 average on his way to a 6-3 win, with his opponent averaging exactly 15 points less. Racing into a 4-0 lead, Andy managed to claw his way back into the game, winning the next three legs in 17, 15 and 16 darts. A hold of throw from Ryan put him just one leg away from the match, with a fantastic 12 darter to seal the win.
Up next was another former World Championship finalist, as he faced Scott Waites for a place in the L32. A close encounter with Darren Webster saw Scott through, scraping through as a 6-5 winner, averaging 86.7. More of the same needed from Ryan, who knows Scott is more than capable of causing an upset – anything is possible in these floor events!
More of the same, indeed, as Ryan yet again averages well over 100 in a 6-2 demolition job over ‘Scotty 2 Hotty’. Recording one of his highest ever averages in the PDC – a 105.9 – Ryan brushes aside the man from Halifax on his way to the next round. With just one leg won in over 15 darts, Ryan will be quietly confident, as he waits to see who his next opponent will be.
This was revealed to be a familiar opponent for team Loxley, as Ryan was drawn to play Joe Murnan – the man beaten by Loxley’s own Aaron Beeney just over 24 hours ago! A fantastic 101.3 average in his first game, with a lacklustre 80.5 in his next – which Joe will turn up to face Ryan?
It turned out to be a mixture of the two, as Ryan comfortably defeated Joe with a 92.3 average, to Murnan’s 88.7. Moments of brilliance from both, with some poor legs thrown in too – an intriguing encounter that Ryan will be glad to come away the victor of, winning 4 of the last 5 legs to run away with a 6-3 victory.
Next up for Ryan was his second highest ranked opponent of the week, as he was drawn to face two-time back-to-back World Champion, Adrian Lewis. A player in very good form, ‘Jackpot’ is coming off the back of a huge scalp over the World No. 1, Michael van Gerwen – defeating the Dutchman 6-4 to set up the L16 clash against Ryan.
Despite a spirited performance, averaging just over 100 for the third time in four games, Ryan could do little to stop the onslaught provided by the former World Champion. A 104.1 average was enough for Lewis to progress to the quarter-final, facing the surprise package of the day, Ryan Murray! Overall, another good day for Ryan, who has finally found his feet, ready for the final day of action on Saturday.
With Matthew not quite in panic mode just yet, he will be fully aware of his current ranking situation, with his PDC Tour Card at stake over the next two days. A tough draw for Matthew, who faces Joe Cullen in a must-win match for the host of EdgarTV.
Unfortunately, for the fourth time this week, Matthew falls to a first round defeat, with Cullen averaging 95 on his way to a 6-4 victory, with Matthew himself putting in an impressive performance – though coming out empty handed. Despite going 4-0 down, Matthew never game up, fighting back to 5-4, leaving 121 to try to level the match, and force a last-leg decider. This chance would never come, as Cullen ended the leg, and match, in just 15 darts to seal the win.
With confidence high, Aaron will look for his third win in this year’s PDC Winter Series. To do this, he’ll have to negotiate the challenge of 2018 PDC German Darts Open champion Max Hopp, who will be equally confident, having recently come off the back of a run to the semi-final of the PDC World Cup, falling short to eventual champions, Wales.
The ‘Maximiser’ proved too strong in the end, with an impressive performance resulting in a 6-2 win for the German, averaging just under 100. Perhaps a harsh scoreline for Aaron, who himself averaged a respectable 86.5, but it just wasn’t enough as Max ran away with the win, winning half of his legs in under 15 darts!
Another mixed day for team Loxley, with two of the three trudging back to the hotel winless. Worrying times for Aaron, who knows tomorrow could prove a pivotal day in his darts career. No pressure on Ryan Searle, with his PDC Player Championship and PDC World Championship place now guaranteed. For Aaron, there is just pride to play for, as he looks to add precious money towards his overall ranking, in the hope that in 12 months time, he can avoid the situation Matthew now finds himself embroiled in.
Image credited to PDC
Author – Joe Reid