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On the eve of the biggest darts tournament ever staged in Ireland - The Paddy Power World Grand Prix - the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) have announced a number of new developments for the sport including a 60% increase in prize money for the 2001/02 Skol World Championships.

During a meeting with the Professional Darts Players Association, the PDC's Chairman Barry Hearn, outlined how the PDC aimed to alter the structure of the professional game and give players more opportunities to compete and win prize money.

The main changes announced were:
*An increase in prize-money for the Skol World Championship to 200,000 (from 125,000 in 2001) with the first-prize being 50,000, making the tournament the richest in the world
*The introduction of nine new events starting in July 2002, taking place in Great Britain and mainland Europe
* A new ranking system which will come into effect following the completion of the 2002 Skol World Championship
*The introduction of the PDC British Open to be staged in 2003
* A minimum of two new overseas events to be introduced in 2002 launching the PDC's World Series of Darts.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact PDC Press Officers Olly Seton/Andrew Smith at Craigie Taylor International on + 353 86 3181939, Paddy Power World Grand Prix Press Office +353 1 4010500 extn 2864 or email on /



The Draw for the 2001 Paddy Power World Grand Prix Darts Championships took place live and exclusively on Sky Sports News on the 9th of October, to produce what is sure to be one of the greatest events ever held in the Emerald Isle.
The 'Voice of Darts' Sid Waddell, Tournament Director Tommy Cox, and Kit Young were in attendance to see fair play.
Young, from Bicester is among eight of the qualifiers who have already faced competition from thousands of darts enthusiasts to claim their right to do battle on the oche in Dublin.

The Qualifiers were held in John Barras Pubs across the UK, with the standard of play reaching previously unseen heights resulting in the dismissal of players such as Eric Bristow, Chris Mason and Jamie 'Bravedart' Harvey in the early rounds.
In what can only be described as an exceptional series of first round matches which could not have been scripted any better, the toughest match first out of the hat sees number one seed Peter 'One Dart' Manley take on the current England Captain Martin Adams.
Adams will be fresh from his solid performance at the World Matchplay where he was knocked out in the semi finals by Phil Taylor, whereas Peter Manley, who lost in the first round, will be hoping to show that he has not lost his magic touch.

The Draw also sees big Cliff Lazarenko take on John Lowe in the battle of the darts legends. Both players have been highly successful on the darts circuit since the seventies but their experiences will be put to the test in this first encounter.
Nine times World Champion and the only player to hold claim to the World Grand Prix title, Phil 'The Power' Taylor has a difficult first round draw as he faces Kevin Painter in a repeat of last year's first round. Painter took Taylor to within two legs of beating the Champion and will be hoping that he goes two better at this year's Paddy Power World Grand Prix to cause the major upset of the year.

Sid Waddell commented, "Due to the short leg format, if Taylor is going to be beaten in one of these televised events, this will be the game."

With two Qualifiers drawn against each other in the first round, there will certainly be an amateur taking part in the second round and whoever that may be, will no doubt be keen to prove themselves against the top names.

The Paddy Power World Grand Prix Darts Championship, takes place from the 24-28 October at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin.

First Round Draw

Peter Manley (1) v Martin Adams
Alex Roy v Steve Brown (USA)
Steve Beaton (8) v Ronnie Baxter
John Lowe v Cliff Lazarenko
John Part (5) (Canada) v Colin Lloyd
Denis Ovens v George McLean (Scotland)
Rod Harrington (4) v Roland Scholten (Holland)
Kit Young v Mick Manning
Alan Warriner (2) v Andy Jenkins
Shayne Burgess v Peter Evison
Dave Askew (7) v Keith Rooney (Rep of Ireland)
Ian Cullingworth v Chris Bowring
Dennis Priestley (6) v Dennis Smith
Francis McMahon v Keith Deller
Phil Taylor (3) v Kevin Painter
Doug McCarthy v Richie Burnett (Wales)

Schedule Of Play for 2001 Paddy Power World Grand Prix
In Association With John Barras & Holsten Pils

First Round - Wednesday 24th October
1.00pm Alex Roy v. Steve Brown (USA)
1.30pm John Lowe v. Cliff Lazarenko
2.00pm Denis Ovens v. George McClean (Scotland)
2.30pm Kit Young v. Mick Manning
3.00pm Shayne Burgess v. Peter Evison
3.30pm Ian Cullingworth v. Chris Bowring
4.00pm Francis McMahon (Northern Ireland) v. Keith Deller
4.30pm Doug McCarthy v. Richie Burnett (Wales)
7.00pm Steve Beaton v. Ronnie Baxter
7.30pm John Part (Canada) v. Colin Lloyd
8.00pm Rod Harrington v. Roland Scholten (Holland)
8.30pm Alan Warriner v. Andy Jenkins
9.00pm Dennis Priestley v. Dennis Smith
9.30pm Peter Manley v. Martin Adams
10.00pm Phil Taylor v. Kevin Painter
10.30pm Dave Askew v. Keith Rooney (Rep Ireland)

Second Round - Thursday 25th October
1.00pm Manley / Adams v. Roy / Brown
2.00pm Part / Lloyd v. Ovens / McClean
3.00pm Harrington / Scholten v. Young / Manning
4.00pm Askew / Rooney v. Cullingworth / Bowring
7.00pm Beaton / Baxter v. Lowe / Lazarenko
8.00pm Warriner / Jenkins v. Burgess / Evison
9.00pm Taylor / Painter v. McCarthy / Burnett
10.00pm Priestley / Smith v. McMahon / Deller

Quarter Finals - Friday 27th October
1.00pm Part/Lloyd/Ovens/McClean v. Harrington/Scholten/Young/Manning
3.00pm Warriner/Jenkins/Burgess/Evison v. Askew/Rooney/Cullingworth/Bowring
7.00pm Manley/Adams/Roy/Brown v. Beaton/Baxter/Lowe/Lazarenko
9.00pm Priestley/Smith/McMahon/Deller v. Taylor/Painter/McCarthy/Burnett

Semi-Finals - Saturday 28th October
7.00pm As per Draw
9.00pm As per Draw

Final - Sunday 29th October
7.00pm Final
Please be aware that these schedules may change as the tournament progresses, at the discretion of Sky Sports.


Long time darts player Ian Cullingworth became the first qualifier to reach the Paddy Power World Grand Prix via the play-offs, when he came through the Manchester regional final on Monday night.
The 51-year-old saw off a world-class field including Steve Coote and Les Fitton on the way to the final, where he beat Vijay Kumar 6 legs to 4.
Cullingworth who has been playing darts since 1969 and is a member of the Clywdd county side was overjoyed at his success.
Ian said "He was absolutely amazed. I've been knocking on the door for a long time. I suppose I was the underdog because there were a lot of internationals there, so to beat them and get through, I'm delighted."

It's been a long hard battle back to top flight darts for Ian, who thought his darts playing career was over four years ago when he was involved in a horrific traffic accident.
"I was travelling on the bus coming back from our county match against Northumberland when the bus moved slightly and I jerked backwards and the emergency door flew open. I flew out straight on to the motorway into the path of oncoming traffic.
Amongst my injuries was severe trauma to my right hand. "It made a mess of my right hand, which is the hand I use for darts. But I managed to overcome it and come back."
I myself remember going to see him in the Newcastle General Hospital and despite being trussed up like a mummy he was still cheeful and always said that he would be back, even if it meant playing with his left hand.
Absolutely fantastic Ian, I wish you all the best of luck in the next rounds.

Ian's win in Manchester guarantees him a place in the first round of the Paddy Power World Grand Prix in Dublin next month, where he is quite happy to draw any of the top players in the world. "To be perfectly honest I don't really mind who I get drawn against. To have got where I've got I'm delighted. But I've got nothing to lose, so if I play one of the big guns they've got it all to lose. "I'm certainly not going to give it away, I'm going to try my best. I'm really looking forward to it."


Airdrie's George McLean became Paddy Power World Grand Prix qualifier number two, after an exceptional display of darts in Glasgow on Tuesday night.

The 38-year-old Scot came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat semi-final opponent Ross Montgomery, with a match saving D12 checkout before going on to win the game 3-2.
A former Scotland international McLean was in determined mood at the Quo Vadis pub and proved with a 6-1 demolition of Scott Paterson in the final, that he was ready to take his place at the Irish major.
"I'm delighted. I had it in my mind to qualify. I really wanted to win it. "The standard of darts was really good, from every player. It was a really enjoyable night and a got a wee bit of luck."

Having beaten Bonnyrigg opponent Andrew Pollock 3-0 in the first round, George came up against the highflying Susanna Young, the only female darter to make it to the qualifying final. "She played really well, but it was the semi that was my hardest game. I went two-nil down but managed to bring it back to two each. "He had a dart at the double to beat me but I checked out on D12.

"In the final I won 6-1, I couldn't believe that that was my easiest game."


Qualifying place number three for the Paddy Power World Grand Prix was secured on Wednesday night by ex-World Pairs champion Doug McCarthy.

McCarthy came through in style beating Chris Thompson, Tony Embleton and Carl Smith 3-1 on his way to the final. In the final his opponent, Alnwick's Ian Whillis stormed away to a 2-0 lead but Doug clawed his way back to make it 2-2, before extending his lead to 4-2. Whillis responded and made the score 4-4 before McCarthy took control. In the last leg he opened with a 148, added a maximum before closing out and winning a place in the World Grand Prix.
Doug remarked after the games "It's only just starting to sink in". "I can't remember much about what happened." Doug, a former England international who won the World Pairs title with John Lowe in 1978, confessed he thought his days on the world stage had passed him by long ago. "I'm getting long in the tooth and thought I'd finished with all this !
I'm feeling quite overwhelmed really. I'm also feeling really chuffed to go this far."
There is no question however that McCarthy is back to playing some of his very best arrows.
So what does he think has made the difference?
"I've gone back to playing county darts again, which I think helps if you're playing regular competition. I've always played Superleague, but I'm not sure exactly what's made the difference. Maybe a bit of luck. "I think the double start was a leveler in the final qualifying and luckily I hit most of my opening doubles.
"I still practise hard that's one thing."
Battling spirit may be one reason Doug has stormed his way through to the 2001 World Grand Prix.
He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 1999 but has been determined to beat the disease. "I suppose that has made me fight that little bit harder. I was diagnosed in '99 and had radiotherapy treatment. "I had an operation in January 2000 and two others since. One hasn't been a success and I'm still being treated for that. I'm fighting on because that's all you can do."
Back at the oche Doug is already looking forward to his trip to Dublin. The 58-year-old has plenty of experience playing in front of the television cameras, via the Embassy, county and international matches.


Kevin Painter became the first of the big name darts players to make it through the qualifying tournament for this year's Paddy Power World Grand Prix.

The 33-year-old Chelmsford darter, who made his debut in Ireland last year as a qualifier, came through another great night of matches in Nottingham on Thursday.
Essex county ace Painter had a tough quarter-final against Steve Maish who pinned him back but eventually failed to get the better of the former British Open winner.
Painter had little trouble in the semi-final breezing past Vic Hubbard 3 legs to 0.
In the final against Steve Hine, Painter took a 5-0 lead but struggled to close out and let Hine back into the match at 5-3. However, after having given his opponent a sight of the match Kevin duly picked up his form to what is was at the start of the game and wrapped up the match to claim his place in the last 32.


In Saturday afternoon's competition the pen ultimate heat of the English, Welsh and Scottish heats of the Paddy Power World Grand Prix, it was Kit Young from Bicester, Oxfordshire who made the grade with an impressive string of wins, which included PDC ranked Colin Monk.
The Oxford County darter saw off Simon Austin, Colin Pritchard and Monk, beating them all decisively 3-1.
In the final he came up against Henry O'Neil who himself had took some useful scalps along the way, beating John Watts and Dave Dudley both 3 nil and must have felt like winning the event.
However in the final he came up against a persistant Young playing with determination to eventually claim his place oversea's by making short his opponent winning 6-3.
Just for the benefit of the Oxfordshire DW readers, I think you can let Kit talk about himself in next months column.


The Grand Prix competition now moved to London on Sunday for the last of the qualifing places on the mainland before moving across the Irish Sea next weekend and it was Essex's Chris Bowring grabbed the sixth place after some tough matches.
Bowring, cruised past Steve Hyatt in the quarter-finals winning 3-1 before coming up against Hertfordshire's Keith Wetton in a tough game that ended with a 3-2 victory to Bowring.
In the final Bowring came up against Lionel Sams, who looked to be on his way to Ireland when he took a 5-4 lead.
But determined not to be ousted of the final place, Bowring stormed back into the match to level the score at 5-5 then finally closingout the match with a superb 14 dart winning leg.

The last two places will be decided this coming weekend, with the Eire qualifier taking place at the World Grand Prix tournament venue, the City West Hotel on Saturday, 6th October and the Northern Ireland competition at Cotton Mill Inn, Glengormley on Sunday.

Tickets for the event are available from Ticketmaster on 0870 243 4455 (01890 925 100 Republic of Ireland only) or Travel and accommodation packages are available at Play and Stay Ireland on 00 353 (53) 33960.

For Full details and Bracket system Results see PlanetDarts