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Our favourite tournament kicks off on Thursday, here is our preview!

2013 UK Open Preview

Posted: 03.06.13 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

Our favourite tournament kicks off on Thursday, here is our preview!



The UK Open has always been our favourite tournament, for a number of reasons. The main one being that of course it gives a genuine opportunity for grass roots players to compete against the PDC Pro’s and has been dubbed the “FA Cup” of darts because of this. The only disappointing thing to note is that in the football version of the FA Cup the TV coverage actively seeks out upsets whereas in this tournament you still usually get the same old faces hogging the TV coverage.

I have been to the opening night for the last two years and have witnessed some fantastic matches on the seven outer boards. Perhaps the qualifiers will get some more coverage this year?  I also like the enthusiasm of the sponsors Speedy Hire. They really embrace the tournament and have come up with innovative ways of promoting the event that put the darts fan first but they still get their message across, a perfect marketing solution! 

The qualifying criteria were tweaked this year. There are no more “Speedy Employee” qualifiers. This is a good thing; I don’t think any of the Speedy employees won a game other than against each other. The full day qualifying tournament for “grass roots” players was also scrapped in place of a shootout in 4 regional venues that produced 32 qualifiers.

This does not seem to have diminished the quality of the qualifiers with some of the top BDO players coming through: Steven Bunting, Robbie Green, Gary Stone and Tony Martin. UK Open legend Andy Boulton has also qualified again-he got through to the 5th round as a qualifier in 2011. Another qualifier that year who also got through the 5th round was John “The Bulldog Bowles”. The Bulldog (we are one of his proud sponsors) is back, this time as a full PDC Pro and also as one of the 32 top qualifiers that come in to the fray on Friday. What a difference a couple of years make!

Arguably it is a little trickier for qualifiers to cause an upset as the first to 4 legs format in the first few rounds has been replaced by the first to 5. But there will be surprises and to encourage this we have produced a number of blogs over the past few years to give the true grass roots qualifiers every chance of ensuring they are properly prepared.

With the help of Rileys and Speedy Hire we sent a questionnaire out to all the qualifiers in 2011 in an attempt to glean as much information about their experience as we could. You can read these blogs here:

UK Open Survival Guide 1  

UK Open Survival Guide 2  

UK Open Survival Guide 3  

We also produced some ideas we think are worth considering before taking on one of the “big boys” in the UK Open. It’s called: Play The Board, Play The Man, Why Not Just Play Darts?  

If you want some more feedback from a player that has been there and still has his speedy shirt to prove it check out the blog from my pal on the Isle of Wight Darren!

I will be in Bolton on Thursday cheering on the qualifiers and on Friday I will be cheering on The Bulldog ! You can follow my Tweets here! 


The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an on-line coaching manual. There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience! Membership is just £25.00 per annum

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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