Peter Wright will headline the opening night as the PDC’s Home Tour as darts becomes one of the first sports to return to competitive action amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Tuesday night’s announcement of an initial 32-night darts extravaganza, open to all PDC Tour Card holders, has captured the imagination of players and fans as well as the sporting public.
Starting on Friday the opening phase of the Home Tour will feature four players in a mini league on each evening – and night one will comprise the reigning world champion Wright, who beat Michael van Gerwen on New Year’s Day at Alexandra Palace.
The surroundings will be very different as Snakebite takes to the ‘stage’ from the comfort of his own home, and joining him for the first of 32 consecutive nights will be 2018 World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis, Netherlands rising star Niels Zonneveld and England’s Peter Jacques.
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PDC Home Tour – Night One fixtures
Wright claimed his first world title with a brilliant 7-3 win over MVG and is amongst the most consistent and entertaining players in the world. A regular in the Premier League for the last seven editions, the 50-year-old also won last year’s World Cup with Gary Anderson and claimed the season-opening Masters earlier this year.
Welshman Lewis shocked the world with his Ally Pally run but has struggled for form over the last two years and he will hope the Home Tour gives him a chance to impress again.
21-year-old Zonneveld, a winner on the Development Tour two years ago, won his Tour card last year while Jacques, from Huddersfield secured a return to the Tour in January by winning through Q-School.
Night two on Saturday will feature world No 3 and two-time Grand Slam of Darts champion Gerwyn Price, alongside Luke Woodhouse, Ted Evetts and Rowby-John Rodriguez, while Dave Chisnall will be joined by former BDO world champion Scott Waites and Jan Dekker on Sunday night for the third night of action.
Lisa Ashton captured headlines all over the world when she became the first woman to secure a Tour Card through Q-School and she is the star turn on Monday night alongside Mickey Mansell, Ross Smith and Geert Nentjes.
32 groups of four will take place over the coming weeks, with the winner of each night progressing through to a second phase of the competition.
So proud of my team at the PDC. Creative thinking gives us live darts to watch every night ! Only possible because of the brilliant players on the Pdc tour. https://t.co/RT27RN6H75
Sport has gone into shutdown as the world deals with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic – with darts shutdown since the middle of March.
Players have been shorn of the chance to win ranking points and prize money, but many players and promoters, as well as the PDC, have already been experimenting with darts from home, and the PDC’s announcement will now offer the chance to compete.
Each night will compromise six matches, best of nine legs and will be broadcast live on the PDC’s TV service.
The Premier League has already postponed all dates throughout April and May – and the rest of May on the Pro Tour is expected to follow suit this week. There is hope that June and July could see a return of some sort, with the Premier League currently scheduled to resume in Birmingham on July 30.
Sometimes if you want results you have to be flexible, creative and able to see opportunities where others see problems.
Will this be like the World Championship? No, so don't expect the unrealistic, but you'll see your favourite players entertaining you at this difficult time. https://t.co/ybXkWKTf2C
To combat the lack of action, and following the success of two darts from home nights, the PDC are now pushing ahead with their latest innovative idea, that had been teased by PDC chairman Barry Hearn in a wide ranging interview with the Weekly Dartscast on Sunday.
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