RAWCLIFFE’S Martyn Turner has won a place on darts’ prestigious PDC circuit for the next two years.
A delighted Turner topped the Q School’s Order of Merit during four days of qualifying events in Wigan.
But there was anguish for Acomb’s Chris Thompson and Terry Temple, of Whitwell-on-the-Hill, who both lost their PDC tour cards.
Temple was particularly unfortunate after missing out by just one Order of Merit qualifying point.
Players had to battle through six, sometimes seven, rounds of games if they were drawn out at the preliminary stage, to claim one of four PDC tour cards up for grabs each day.
Nine other Order of Merit places were handed out, however, based on results accumulated over the full four days of qualifying.
Turner, a driver for Millers Food Services, secured his spot on the tour with a 6-4 fourth round win over Jason Hogg on the final day of qualifying.
That meant he had the unusual luxury of being able to enjoy his final two matches, safe in the knowledge his spot in the Order of Merit’s top nine was unassailable.
He went on to defeat Lee Whitworth 6-1 but, with the pressure off, lost 6-3 to Kevin McDine.
Former Grand Slam of Darts semi-finalist McDine, who had also secured his tour place already, went on to throw a nine-dart leg – the first man to do so against his North Yorkshire opponent.
Turner’s achievement came after a difficult 2012 had seen him drop to 203 in the world rankings but he will now be guaranteed participation in every PDC Players Championship event during the next two years.
He said: “It’s great and hasn’t quite sunk in. I didn’t play well during the World Championship qualifiers in November but I banged some hours in over Christmas because there’d have been no point going to Q School if I hadn’t put the practice in.
“It still went far better than I thought though and it was the hardest four days’ work I’ve ever done. I was up practicing at 9.30am and every day finished at 5.30pm.”
On his bizarrely anti-climatic last game against McDine, Turner added: “We were number one and number two in the Order of Merit so it was a relaxed affair and we were both laughing and joking. It was a weird feeling but a wonderful position to be in. I think that’s why Kevin hit a nine-darter. I don’t think that would have happened under pressure.”
Earlier, matters were much tenser as Turner beat Stephen Andrews (6-1), Scott MacKenzie (6-3) and Dave Place (6-4) before his decisive victory over Hogg.
His four-day tilt at qualifying had gradually gathered momentum, starting with back-to-back third round defeats.
He then went all the way to the fifth round on the penultimate day before being edged out by German Andree Welge 6-5.
Temple, meanwhile, lost to Hong Kong’s Royden Lam 6-3 in the final day’s sixth round to miss out on an automatic tour place, having seen off the earlier challenges of David Patterson (6-0), Jamie Gemmell (6-3), Kevin Thomas (6-5), Harry Miles (6-2) and Jon Jukes (6-0).
Disappointing displays during the first three days had heaped the pressure on Temple, who suffered first and preliminary round losses either side of a run to the third round on day two.
Acomb’s former UK Open quarter-finalist Thompson started the final day of Q School promisingly, dispatching one-time World Championship quarter-finalist Barrie Bates 6-1 after defeating Tom Martin (6-3).
He also overcame Lee Hayes (6-5) but succumbed to Steve Coote 6-2.
That fourth round exit equalled his best previous run of the four days.
On day one, the “Hitman” was edged out 6-5 at the same stage by Mark Cox.
Temple and Thompson will now be ineligible for the PDC’s Players Championship events but can compete in all eight UK Open qualifiers, as well as the World Championship PDPA qualifier in November.
Added Turner: “You always know Terry is somebody who can run straight through a field in a day so, when he got to the final stage on the last day, I thought he would do it. I was gutted for him and Chris.”
Turner is now looking for sponsors to assist with tour expenses.
Anybody interested can phone him on 07708 725630.