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Smith seals Ally Pally berth with fourth Challenge Tour victory

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 29 Sep 2013
In-form star Ross Smith ends the youth season top of the pile as he secures a debut at the Alexandra Palace in December (credit:Lawrence Lustig/ PDC)

Ross Smith sealed a spot in the 2014 World Championship after he clinched the final Challenge Tour title of the season courtesy of a 4-2 victory over Adam Hunt in the final on Sunday.

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The Bolton based thrower claimed his fourth victory on the Challenge Tour this year, and with it, ended top of the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour Order of Merit standings – securing a place in the field for the 2014 Ladbrokes World Championship.

After suffering two first round exits in Saturday’s double-header at the K2 Centre in Crawley, Smith returned to winning ways as he overcame the challenges of Dan Dean and Luke Woodhouse with the loss of just a single leg in the opening rounds.

Smith, who has risen into the top 70 of the PDC senior rankings following a series of superb performances of late, eliminated talented Austrian Rowby-John Rodriguez by a 4-2 margin before defeating Brandon Walsh 4-1.

He recorded the same scoreline to see off Dimitri Van de Bergh to reach his fifth final of 2013, where he went on to secure the £500 winners prize with the aid of a fine 4-2 triumph over Hunt.

Hunt, who also holds plenty of tour experience, began his run to a second final of the year with wins over the Dutch pair of Hermie van Orsouw and Jeffrey De Graaf.

The Durham star, who won the fourth event of the 2013 Challenge Tour, back in April, edged out Tony Cole with a 4-3 win before claiming an excellent whitewash win over Matthew Dennant  – winner of Event 17 on Saturday.

That put Hunt through to the last eight where he overcame Sam Hewson in a deciding leg before enjoying a comfortable 4-1 Semi-Final win over Leicestershire’s Curtis Bagley.

Hopes of a third Challenge tour title for the 20-year-old were ended, though, as he found Smith too strong an obstacle to overcome in the decider and was forced to settle for the £300 runner-up prize.

Belgium’s Dimitri Van de Bergh, who enjoyed a fantastic Challenge Tour debut on Saturday, produced another excellent display 24 hours later, as he reached the semi-finals, taking his earnings for the weekend to £700.

The 19-year-old’s run included a Quarter-Final win over Ben Ward – ending the Dorset thrower's hopes of snatching the final Order of Merit title.

Curtis Bagley enjoyed the best performance of his career to date as he reached the Semi-Finals of a Challenge Tour event for the first time.

Kettering’s Ricky Evans' slim hopes of claiming the Order of Merit title were ended at the last 32 stage when the Under 21 World Championship finalist lost to Walsall’s Matthew Dennant.

Dennant and Dimitri Van De Bergh and shared the spoils on the opening day of the final weekend of the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour for 2013 in Crawley.

Van de Bergh enjoyed a fantastic start to his Challenge Tour career as he produced a superb run to go all the way and claim the first event of the day at the K2 Centre.

The 19-year-old from Belgium overcame 2013 Challenge Tour winner Josh Payne with an excellent 4-2 victory in his first match before defeating Robbie Herbert 4-1.

That put Van de Bergh into the last 16 where he disposed of Jamie Landon 4-1 before scoring a whitewash victory over Ryan Harrington to secure a place in the last four.

Van de Bergh overcame the in-form Luke Woodhouse with a deciding leg win before breezing past Reece Robinson in the decider to take the £500 winner’s prize, breaking throw in the opening leg with a 14-darter, finishing 60 and 96 in the next two and double 18 to seal the win.

In the day's second tournament, Matthew Dennant reached his second final on the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour in a run which began with wins over Lewis McGurn and James Thompson for the loss of just one leg, before edging out Josh Payne with an excellent 4-3 triumph at the last 16 stage.

The 22-year-old from Walsall came through another tough deciding-leg battle in the last eight against Ben Ward before overcoming the challenge of Leicester’s Gaz Cousins in the semi-finals by a 4-2 margin.

Dennant then produced an excellent display to beat Max Hopp in the final by a 4-1 scoreline, to claim his maiden victory and become the 14th different winner on the 2013 Unicorn Challenge Tour.

PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour Event 18/19 Results

K2 Centre, Crawley, Sunday September 29

Preliminary Round
Daniel Day 4-2 Nick Paenen
James Young 4-2 Logan Barnecut
Frankie Ansell 4-1 Michael Blake
Billy Holmes 4-0 Tommy Wilson
Paul Barham 4-0 Chris Aubrey
Adam Hunt 4-0 Hermie van Orsouw
Nathan Derry 4-1 Robert Marsden

First Round
Ben Ward 4-1 Sion Thomas
Daniel Day 4-0 Tom Anderson
David Pallett 4-3 Michael Bushby
Kurt Parry 4-0 James Young
Dimitri Van de Bergh 4-0 Shaun Michael Lovett
Aden Kirk 4-1 Jesse Sherred
Dirk van Duijvenbode 4-0 Jordan David Lewis
Nathan Aspinall 4-1 Reece Robinson
Josh Payne 4-2 Arron Fairweather
Frankie Ansell 4-3 Matthew Dicken
Lewis McGurn 4-0 Dan Dean
Brandon Walsh 4-1 Billy Holmes
Ross Smith 4-0 Dan Read
Luke Woodhouse 4-3 Ryan Harrington
Max Hopp 4-1 Danny Knight
Rowby-John Rodriguez 4-3 Shaun Griffiths
Ricky Evans 4-0 Sean Johnson
Matthew Dennant 4-3 Paul Barham
Tony Cole 4-0 Jonny Kinsella
Adam Hunt 4-2 Jeffrey De Graaf
Richard Baillie 4-3 Ben Songhurst
John de Kruijf 4-1 Jake Patchett
Sam Hewson 4-1 Kirsty Hutchinson
George Gilbert 4-3 Rick Veugelers
Adam Smith Neale 4-1 Oliver Stell
Geroge Killington 4-1 Nathan Derry
Keegan Brown 4-3 James Thompson
Sam Hill 4-2 Luis Barberan
Paul Cooper 4-3 Jon Farmer
Nicholas Day 4-3 Wouter Vaes
Curtis Bagley 4-3 Gaz Cousins
Ryan De Vreede 4-1 Adam Lipscombe

Second Round
Ben Ward 4-2 Daniel Day
David Pallett 4-3 Kurt Parry
Dimitri Van de Bergh 4-2 Aden Kirk
Dirk van Duijvenbode 4-3 Nathan Aspinall
Josh Payne 4-2 Frankie Ansell
Brandon Walsh 4-3 Lewis McGurn
Ross Smith 4-1 Luke Woodhouse
Rowby-John Rodriguez 4-2 Max Hopp
Matthew Dennant 4-2 Ricky Evans
Adam Hunt 4-3 Tony Cole
Richard Baillie 4-3 John de Kruijf
Sam Hewson 4-0 George Gilbert
George Killington 4-2 Oliver Stell
Keegan Brown 4-1 Sam Hill
Nicholas Day 4-0 Paul Cooper
Curtis Bagley 4-1 Ryan De Vreede
Losers £50

Third Round
Ben Ward 4-2 David Pallett
Dimitri Van de Bergh 4-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Brandon Walsh 4-3 Josh Payne
Ross Smith 4-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Adam Hunt 4-0 Matthew Dennant
Sam Hewson 4-2 Richard Baillie
Keegan Brown 4-2 George Killington
Curtis Bagley 4-1 Nicholas Day
Losers £75

Dimitri Van de Bergh 4-3 Ben Ward
Ross Smith 4-1 Brandon Walsh
Adam Hunt 4-3 Sam Hewson
Curtis Bagley 4-2 Keegan Brown
Losers £100

Ross Smith 4-1 Dimitri Van de Bergh
Adam Hunt 4-1 Curtis Bagley
Losers £200

Ross Smith 4-2 Adam Hunt
Winner £500
Runner-Up £300

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Smith seals Ally Pally berth with fourth Challenge Tour victory

Ross Smith sealed a spot in the 2014 World Championship after he clinched the final Challenge Tour title of the season courtesy of a 4-2 victory over Adam Hunt in the final on Sunday.

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