The confetti has been cleared, the hangovers nursed, the new year ushered in pretending any of us know the words to ‘Auld Lang Syne’ (we’re all making it up from verse two aren’t we?), and that can only mean one thing: Q School is upon us, where the Top 64 in the world and the Juniors of the Tour watch as those aspiring to call themselves PDC players battle it out in UK and European Q School for a spot on the Fabled Tour.
For those who aren’t particularly familiar with the format, it works as follows: It starts with Stage One, which is contested over three days, with Eight Quarter Finalists progressing to the Final Stage per day. Players who meet certain criteria, such as, importantly in our case, dropping off the tour the previous year, are automatically admitted to the Final Stage, with all remaining numbers made up of an order of merit from the best of the rest in Stage One, with an equal number of players from UK and Europe gaining a space on Tour, based on what was left vacated at the end of the previous year.
Dunvegan have six players entering this year – and subsequently risk turning this role into a full time job if they all qualify. I won’t demand much mind, just a sandwich every now and then to be chucked into my cupboard under the stairs. Anyways, the six players flying the flag this year are: Adam Hunt, Mark McGeeney, Chris Quantock, Matt Dennant, Ryan Hogarth and Greg Ritchie. Adam enters at the Final Stage, having lost his Tour Card at the end of 2022, with all the other boys looking to either gain or regain their spot on the tour.
Adam is no stranger to the Tour, having been on it for a fair few years intermittently. He’s played in PDC Events since 2011, but first gained a card via the Development Tour ahead of the 2014 season. He finished 71st on the Tour and lost his card at the start of the 2016 season. However, via the Development Tour he would return to the top table in 2018, and he hasn’t looked back since. He’s played at Three PDC World Championships, in 2019, 2021 and 2022, with his furthest run up to this point being the third round. That was at the 2021 WDC, and made up the majority of his ranking money, hence why he heads to Q School this year. He’s the only one of the clan heading in at the Final Stage as a result, as he looks to maintain his professional status.
Mark is looking for a return to the tour after a year away. The former Lakeside Runner Up, who missed a couple of Darts for the title in 2018, was on the Tour between 2019 and 2021. After losing his card ahead of 2022, and a quiet 2022 on the darting front, he started finding his feet with some strong showings on the PDC Challenge Tour at the back end of the year, holding his own and stepping up his preparation for a potential return to the top table of the sport.
Chris is also vying to regain his card, having held a place on the Tour during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Quanny, whose father John was also an Arrowsmith, is a two time winner on the Challenge Tour, having collected a title a piece in 2015 and 2016. A member of the left hand club, Chris will be looking for a run, and if he can capture some of his best form, will be a match for anyone in MK this week.
Matt has become a household name in recent times for those of you with a keen eye for the Modus Super Series (or Online Darts Live League for those of us of a certain…well…things don’t really become nostalgic within a year do they?). Anyways…
Matt is the newest member of the our fair stable, and came within a match of winning a third Challenge Tour Title in the past year, having picked up two CT crowns in 2020 and 2021 respectively. Like a number of the team he’s previously spent time on the Tour, gaining a Tour Card in 2016, and remaining somewhere on the OoM for a few years due to his being a regular presence in the absence of TC Holders from the Floor Events. 2022 was a productive year and we look forward to hopefully seeing him back on the Tour in 2023 and beyond.
Ryan (great name I must say) experienced some success in 2022 – and will look to build on it in 2023. His most notable success of the previous year was his victory at the Isle of Man Masters on the WDF circuit. The Headhunter has also been plying his trade on Challenge Tour, and will be looking to make the step up to the big time for the next couple of years. Plus, his signature gold darts manufactured by one180 are really rather gorgeous. Just another reason we want him on the Tour.
And last, but by no means least, is Greg, who was a recent appearance maker in the Modus Super Series. The former UK Open participant is still just a wee arrowsmith aged just 27, but made headway in a number of tournaments in 2022, including a run in the WDF Winmau World Masters, being defeated by Jelle Klaasen. Greg’s constantly improving and we’re hoping he can find the gear he needs at Q School to take his game to the next level in the PDC.
Q School starts on Monday 9th January 2023, and you can follow all the action of our Dunvegan Dynamos on DartConnect.TV.
Wish them luck as they look to make it to land of darting dreams. Best of luck to them from the friendly neighbourhood Match Reporter, who hopes to report on at least one or two of them on the Pro Tour alongside Gary, Cameron and Jamie. Be the Tungsten Terrors you were born to be, lads.
Ryan Segal @theryansegal