As the 2020 Ladbrokes UK Open got underway on Friday afternoon in Minehead, it was quite a successful weekend for several of our players, with the Irish pairing of Daryl Gurney and Kyle McKinstry both enjoying strong runs and joining ‘Yozza’ Jamie Hughes in the latter stages.
Harry Ward, William Borland and James Wilson enjoyed runs to the last 64 of the competition. For McKinstry it was a staggering run for the Northern Ireland star, who went on a fantastic stretch of five consecutive victories over the likes of Fallon Sherrock, Jason Heaver, stable mate, Stephen Burton, Bradley Brooks and Martin Schindler before narrowly losing out to Dimitri van den Bergh in the last 16 by a score-line of 10-8.
As for Jamie Hughes, Yozza produced a series of spellbinding performances en route to the quarter-finals in an impressive but agonising weekend for the West-Midlands ace.
Kicking off the weekend, Hughes recorded a 6-2 win over stablemate, Nathan Rafferty. Yozza then went on to record victories over Brendan Dolan (10-9), Martin Atkins (10-7), Mensur Suljovic (10-5) before losing out to Jonny Clayton in a heartbreaking end to their last eight clash.
Hughes fought back from 5-1 behind to edge 8-7 ahead, before a last-leg decider loomed. In the final leg, Hughes set up a potential win expertly as he produced a sensational 177 visit to leave D20 after just four visits to the board, but as the pressure mounted, Hughes missed nine darts to see the match out and move into the final four.
As for Daryl Gurney, ‘Superchin’ enjoyed another great run in Minehead, reaching the semi-finals. Gurney showed ultimate composure and bottle throughout his run to the last four, winning three out of four matches in a deciding leg.
The Players Champion saw off the likes of Keegan Brown (10-9), William O’Connor (10-9), Peter Wright (10-6) and Jelle Klaasen (10-9) before losing out to the world no.1, Michael van Gerwen, who averaged 110.3, incidentally.
Up next, Daryl takes on Glen Durrant in the 2020 Unibet Premier League at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena. Following that, this weekend sees the return of the Players Championship series in Barnsley.
Words by Tom Beresford