With the PDC European Q-School coming up I’ve asked some dartsfans, who in my opinion could be regarded as experts, to offer their insights for previewing this event. For this first preview I have selected Czech Republic and Poland as the most upcoming countries and therefore I gave them a separate section. For the rest I’ve divided Europe in some regions with each having a separate section.
According to the responses if one player from the Czech Republic will win a PDC tour card at Q-School it has to be Sedlacek. Martin Hawkins recognizes the quality of Karel Sedlacek, but is the only one who gave an other answer. Hawkins is definitely looking at the future of darts: ‘’Many young players like Adam Gawlas, Tomás Houdek and Roman Benecky are looking to follow in the footsteps of Karel Sedlacek. I’ll go with Adam Gawlas.’’ The 17-year old is also suggested by Faria Darts Index, who has a darts power ranking. Andrew Sinclair gives with Pavel Jirkal another option for a Czech player to earn a PDC tour card.
If one thinks about an expert about Polish darts, Franky Pol is probably one of the most suggested names. That’s why I’ve asked him which 2 Polish players he would name to win a tourcard. Franky answered: ‘’Really difficult question in my opinion. I mean obviously Kanik is the big hope to get his Tourcard back you know. But then I would say either Steyer or Kciuk is the other big hope or maybe even Sawicki who lives in England. Białecki(16 years old) is there to get more confidence and I am convinced that he will play the Development tour which would be awesome.’’
If we look at the other experts picking a Polish player to win a PDC tour card it will probably be Sebastian Steyer or Krzysztof Kciuk. As Jacopo Ghirardon points out: ‘’From Poland I think Steyer it’s the best player over there not having a card and he’s a serious player so he can go for it’’ High Roller Radio says: ‘’I’ll say Krzysztof Kciuk. I’ve seen him put in some solid performances and on ‘Any Given Sunday’ who knows?’’ Andrew Sinclair admits: ‘’Sebastian Steyer and Krysztof Kciuk are better known, but I’ll tip Luaksz Sawicki. He has continued to improve and he’s a veteran of local English tournaments.’’ While Dan Hutchinson gives Tytus Kanik, who held a PDC tour card in 2018 and 2019, a good chance as well. Kanik is the favourite of Faria Darts Index as well. Martin Hawkins will pick Krzysztof Kciuk despite knowing ‘’Lukasz Sawicki has been doing well in some of the opens around the UK’’.
EuroAsian Darts Corporation
From the EuroAsian Darts Corporation Boris Koltsov is the obvious favourite. According to Dan Hutchinson , who thanks to his great professional players rating offers some for many fans surprising names, ‘’Aleksei Kadochnikov could surprise if he goes’’, while Jacopo Ghirardon tells: ‘’I’m following the steps of Alexey Pontus from Belarus. He sounds like a very good player maybe it can be a new country in the darts map soon.’’
For the Nordic and Baltic region the Swedes are the favourites. Dennis Nilsson and Daniel Larsson are the most suggested names. For example, High Roller Radio says ‘’I chose Nilsson here over his counterpart Daniel Larsson based on a hunch he can handle the occasion better. Just a hunch.’’ Andreas Harrysson is, however, also a player who should be reckoned with like Andrew Sinclair points out: ‘’Nilsson should have one already to be honest, but Andreas Harrysson and Daniel Larsson very good chances.’’ Moreover Jacopo Ghirardon let me know: ’’From the Nordic/Baltic I’ve been impressed in the BDO by Harrysson, he can be a treat there.’’ Dan Hutchinson would say Larsson, but ‘’Engstron is a decent player too and could feature.’’
Martin Hawkins, a Danish statistician, replied to my question which two Danish players he would name if he had to: ‘’Any Danish player winning a tour card would be a massive surprise, but of the 7 players confirmed to be going at the time of writing, Niels-Jørgen Hansen and Niels Heinsøe are definitely the two stand-out players. They played regularly on the Challenge Tour last year (along with Ivan Springborg), and I think it has been quite clear that their game has benefited from the experience. Niels-Jørgen Hansen is currently playing with an average of fewer than 18 darts per leg won in the Danish league this season, which is very good by Danish standards, and reached the Last 16 on one occasion on last year’s Challenge Tour. Niels Heinsøe made a couple of Last 32 appearances and also made his World Cup of Darts debut, partnering Per Laursen after doing well on the PDC Nordic & Baltic circuit.’’ Martin is also the only one not picking a Swede, despite giving Dennis Nilsson and Daniel Larsson a good chance, he picks Ulf Ceder from Finland, because that was one of the 10 overall picks of Martin Hawkins.
Jacopo Ghirardon, a huge dartsfan from Italy, got the chance to name two Italian players winning a PDC tour card: ‘’As for the Italian players, we have a decent group going there, just a shame probably 2 of the best players, Tomassetti and Petri, had to give up on doing the Q-School for personal reasons. Michele Turetta is always a solid player on the floor, very hard to beat, but our biggest hope is Alessio Marconi. Alessio started playing steel tip in just one year and already achieved very good results, he was amazing in the PDC World Champs qualifier and he has the attitude to grow even more.’’
Erik Middelkoop supports Jacopo Ghirardon by choosing Michele Turetta as his pick from southern Europe. The others are thinking Frenchman Thibault Tricole or Jose Justicia from Spain, who had a PDC tour card in 2018 and 2019, has the biggest chance for winning a PDC tour card. Besides myself opting for the French Touch, Andrew Sinclair says: ‘’Thibault Tricole, although it may be a year too early for the Frenchman.’’ High Roller Radio goes for Jose Justicia: ‘’ I think this guy’s got some game. I also think he’s mentally tough. I think he’s ready for the next step and once he gets that regular playing time, on the stream, under the lights, and against the best players on the planet on a daily basis, he’ll adjust nicely to the pressure-filled environment. Once he does that, there’s no doubt he’ll be causing some upsets.’’
According to the experts Martijn Kleermaker has the biggest chance of winning a PDC tour card from the players from Northwestern Europe, however as will be obvious from part 2 of my PDC European Q-School preview, there are lots of possible tour card winners from Northwestern Europe. For example High Roller Radio argues: ‘’Perhaps it’s because I just watched him at the BDO Worlds but he did have a good run and had some moments of brilliance. I think he is playing with confidence, important!’’ Andrew Sinclair, who is as a co-host of Inside the BDO, clearly favourites some players who had just finishes their World Championship: ‘’Cheating but I’ll say Harms and Kleermaker. Both brilliant players and great scorers who should be suited to the format.’’ Dan Hutchinson warns us to watch out for Yves Wawryzniak from Germany, who would be Dan’s wildcard. Jacopo Ghirardon looks at the youth as well: ’From the North West, the Berry van Peer comeback would be amazing, also the talent of Justin van Tergouw, he was amazing playing youth tournaments.’’ While Dirk van Duijvenbode has been chosen by Erik Middelkoop and Martin Hawkins, the hoping to see more of Dirk’s walk-ons in the future.