August is traditionally the quietest month in the WDF calendar, and this year was no different, but some great darts were still thrown at opens in New Zealand and Russia that have affected the regional ranking tables ahead of 2021’s packed conclusion. Andrew Sinclair recaps the action.
208 men and 81 women competed in the 2021 New Zealand Open, held as part of the New Zealand Darts Council’s National Championships week, on August 4th in Motueka.
The men’s singles was won by Haupai Puha, who defeated AJ Te Kira in the final to claim his first WDF ranking event title since the Alan King Memorial in October 2018.
After edging out form man Ben Robb in the quarters, ‘Hopes’ whitewashed veteran Lou Tai in the last four before seeing off Te Kira 6-2. As the New Zealand Open was Silver-graded, Puha’s points haul has shot him up to third in the New Zealand regional rankings, just four points behind Warren Parry in second and 11 behind table-topper Robb.
Desi Mercer won the eighth title of her career in the women’s New Zealand Open. Gore’s Mercer dropped just two legs between the last 32 and the final, where she overcame good friend Mary-Anne Teinaki 5-3.
Wendy Harper, who lost 4-1 in the semi-finals to Teinaki, still tops the women’s New Zealand regional rankings, 75 points clear of Mercer in second.
Both Puha and Mercer, as well as losing finalists Te Kira and Teinaki, have now secured qualification for the World Masters in Assen.
The Salavaev Cup, the first senior WDF ranking event to take place in Russia since late 2019, was held on Saturday August 21st in the city of Ufa.
Former WDF World Cup Pairs champion Boris Koltsov claimed the men’s singles title thanks to a 5-2 win final triumph over Aleksey Kadochnikov, while Elena Shulgina won the women’s title.
Kadochnikov, who came through a last-leg decider with Vitalyi Hohryakov to reach the final, is now well positioned in the North Europe regional rankings ahead of the Kalashnikov Cup/Udmurtia Open double-header in mid-September.
In the women’s competition, Russian international Shulgina proved the class of the field. She defeated Natalia Aleksandrova, who impressed in knocking out talented teenager Ksenia Klochek earlier in the tournament, 4-2 to win the fourth WDF ranking title of her career.
Things really ramp up in September, with 9 ranking events scheduled across five different countries.
The headline tournament on the calendar is the England Open on September 11th-12th, the first Gold-graded event of 2021. The winners of both the men’s and women’s England Open singles will secure automatic qualification for the WDF World Championships at Lakeside in January 2022.
That weekend also features the Silver-graded England National Singles plus a WDF ranked youth tournament, with two European Bronze-graded double-headers either side of 2021’s first events in England. The preceding weekend will see the Catalonian Open and FCD Anniversary Open played, with the weekend of the 18th-19th marked by the aforementioned competitions in Izhevsk, Russia.
The USA hosts their third senior competition of 2021 at the beginning of the month with the Bronze-graded Washington Area Open (which includes a youth event), followed by a second youth tournament on Saturday 11th September in Shelburne, New Hampshire.
Townsville will play host to Australia’s first ranking event of the year on September 19th, where the Silver-graded North Queensland Classic will take place.