Get your tickets for the 2024 Lakeside World Championship now

March and April 2022 Review – Isle of Man, USA and beyond

The World Darts Federation (WDF) tour has gotten up to full speed over the last couple of months with three Gold-graded events held in Europe, two more senior ranking tournaments in the USA, a first-ever trip to the Faroe Islands, season openers in Australia, Canada and Western Europe, and standalone youth showcases around the globe. Andrew Sinclair recaps the action. 

Prins books World Championship return as Greaves does Isle of Man title double

Just a few weeks before he made his first Lakeside appearance in eight years, England’s Dave Prins sealed a World Championships return in 2023 by winning the prestigious Gold-ranked Isle of Man Open for the second time.

‘The Badger’ has enjoyed a real career resurgence over the last nine months and was able to capture his sixth ranking title with wins over Steve Robertson, Wayne Warren, Sean Fisher, Luke Littler, Mark Barilli and then Ashley Hurrell in the final.

There was a singles title win for one Hurrell during the weekend though as James ensured he remained WDF No.1 going into the World Championships by defeating Luke Littler in the Isle of Man Classic final.

The Women’s events were thoroughly dominated by Beau Greaves, who showed off the form that would take her to a record-breaking World Championship win just a couple of weeks later. 

After recording a 105 average earlier in the weekend, the England international averaged in excess of 90 against Deta Hedman in victorious final performances in both the Open and Classic.

The Youth competition was won by Luke Littler for a third time, the 15-year-old defeating Charlie Manby in the final. The Girls’ title, meanwhile, went the way of Amy Evans after she pipped Eleanor Cairns in a last-leg decider.

2022 Isle of Man Open champions Dave Prins and Beau Greaves. Credit: England Darts Organisation.

Lauby and Jalbert among winners as USA plays host to four events

The last two months have seen America play host to four ranking tournaments, two Youth-specific events and two bigger weekends in Missouri and Ohio. 

Top billing of those four went to the Silver-graded Cleveland Extravaganza and both senior competitions produced finals that pitted some of the country’s most experienced players against the younger generation. 

Danny Lauby Jnr produced a 97 average to deny Larry Butler in the Men’s final, while teenager Aaja Jalbert reeled off four legs on the spin to beat 2022 WDF World Championship participant Paula Murphy in the Women’s. 

Cleveland Extravaganza Youth runner-up Kenzie Anderson (left) and double winner Aaja Jalbert (right). Credit: American Darts Organization.

That made it a double in Ohio for Jalbert as she also won the Girls’ event. PJ Stewart Jnr won the Boys’ title that weekend, as he did earlier in the month in New Hampshire when he and Jalbert came out on top at the Silver-graded White Mountain Shootout.

Stewart Jnr has been the dominant force in Boys’ darts in America for a while and his wins in April took him to three titles in a row after he’d also been victorious at the Virginia Beach Classic in March. Historically one of the biggest events on the US tour, it was only Youth-ranked in 2022. Layla Buntz beat Autumn Weidus in the Girls’ final. 

The other senior event was held at the start of March, the Bronze-graded Missouri St.Patrick’s Open in Osage Beach.

Dustin Holt is a relatively recent convert from soft tip but he’s taking to the transition well and won his first WDF title in Missouri, defeating Eric Gregory 6-3 in the final. Julie Weger picked up her second title of 2022 in the Women’s event with a 4-3 victory over Liz Tynan.

2022 White Mountain Shootout Champion PJ Stewart Jnr (left) and runner-up Jim Fitzsimmons (right). Credit: American Darts Organization.

Australian season gets underway with three senior ranking competitions

After not hosting any events through the first two months of 2022, Australia got underway with a bang in March and April, hosting a total of five events. 

The first was the Great Lakes Open in Forster, New South Wales and it yielded a number of maiden event winners. Brendan Porter bested Scott Bretherton in the men’s final, with Brazilian international Monica Ribeiro whitewashing Leanne Clegg in the Women’s title decider. Top honours in the Youth events were claimed by Ty Allen (Youth) and Gemma Spence (Girls). 

Victoria played host to their first event in over two years in mid-April, the Bronze-graded Victorian Easter Classic in Geelong. Sam Ballinger announced his arrival as a player to watch by winning the Men’s Classic, seeing off a number of in-form players including Mal Cuming, Brody Klinge and Brandon Weening. 

Amanda Loch picked up her second career title in the Women’s Classic, coming from behind to defeat pairs partner Jo Hadley in the final.

While the Senior competition in Victoria was Bronze-graded, the Youth one was a Silver. Andrew Nielson came out on top, pipping Jackson Viccars 3-2. 

The country’s third senior event of the year was the Murray Bridge Grand Prix in South Australia. 2017 World Trophy champion Peter Machin won the Men’s event for the third time in his career, defeating former Pacific Masters winner Tony Pettit in a high-quality final. 

Kym Mitchell rolled back the years to ensure that we’ve had three different winners in the Men’s and Women’s events to start 2022. She defeated talented up-and-comer Abbey Morrison to pick up her first title since 1993.

Australia’s other two events have been Youth-specific, namely the Western Australia Masters in Perth and the Queensland Junior Open in Brisbane. Winners of the former were Ricky Pickett Jnr and Brianna Pickett, with Jack Spencer and Jennifer Anttela proving the pick of the pack in the latter.

Canada enjoys first action of 2022

A couple of cancellations in February meant that Canada’s ranking season started two months later than planned but they got off to a hot start with two events played on the same weekend at the end of April.

The Snoflake Open in Alberta produced title victories for ‘The Shark’ Kiley Edmunds and Brenda Moreau. Edmunds, a former World Masters quarter-finalist, beat Lakeside qualifier Shawn Burt in the last four before seeing off the challenge of Shaun Narain in the final.

Moreau, meanwhile, made it back-to-back ranking titles by defeating Wenda Carter in the Women’s final.

Over in New Brunswick, the first Shediac Open was played. There, the titles were won by Canadian international Keith Way and Karrah ‘The Princess’ Kennedy.

History made with first WDF events in Faroes

There was a moment of darting history in March as the Faroe Islands finally got to host their first-ever WDF ranked competitions.

A strong home contingent played well throughout the Bronze double-header weekend but in the end all four singles titles were claimed by Swedes. The Torshavn Open crowns were won by Edwin Torbjörnsson and Maud Jansson, with Henrik Sjöberg and Anna Forsmark winning the Faroe Islands Open. 

Hungary hosts first of six senior events in 2022

Torshavn wasn’t the only European city to play host to a double-header in March, with Budapest hosting the first of three set for Hungary this year.

Forsmark was the star of the show in the Hungarian capital, winning both the Budapest Classic and Masters titles. In an interesting quirk, both finals were against the same opponent, Jitka Cisarova, and finished with the same scoreline, namely 5-2. 

The Men’s titles were split between two home favourites, ‘The Planer’ Patrik Kovacs and the impressive teenager Andras Borbely. 

Borbely was also involved in both Youth finals during the weekend, defeating Balazs Szotak to win the Classic but finishing on the end of a 4-1 reverse against Slovak Open Youth champion Rajmund Papp in the Masters. 

Takács and Magnúsdóttir win on second visit of year to Iceland

On the same weekend as the Scottish Open, Reykjavik played host to Iceland’s second WDF ranking event of 2022, the Iceland Open.

It was a Hungarian that came out on top in the Men’s Open, Gábor Takács defeating Gudjon Hauksson 7-5 in the final.

The Women’s title was claimed by the country’s consensus top female player, Ingibjörg Magnúsdóttir. She was runner-up in February’s Reykjavik International Games but was dominant in the Open, running out a 7-2 final victor against Brynja-Herborg Jonsdottir.

Gibraltar Open kicks off Western European campaign

The Western European region had its first event of the year in March, with two players picking up maiden ranking event title wins in the Bronze-graded Gibraltar Open.

Paul Marsh defeated experienced Catalan campaigner Carles Arola 4-2 in the Men's final, with Diane Nash emerging victorious by the same scoreline against Paula Jacklin in the Women’s title decider. 

Youth on show in Austria and Scotland

March and April also saw two Youth-specific events in Europe. The first was the Gold-ranked International Youth Challenge, held in the Austrian capital Vienna. Nations across the continent sent representatives for the tournaments and a high standard of play was on display throughout.

Liam Maendl-Lawrance ran out a 6-4 winner against fellow German Yorik Hofkens in the Boys’ final, with Italy’s rising star Aurora Fochesato defeating Europe Cup Youth champion Tamara Kovács 5-2 to win the Girls’ event. Fochesato has focused on just senior events since making her tour bow at last year’s Malta Open but with this win will likely be a contender in the Girls’ World Championship later this year.  

The other Youth event was the Silver-graded Scottish Easter Singles, held in Glenrothes. Logan Gilmour didn’t drop a leg in any of his final three games as he breezed to the Boys’ title. There were limited numbers for the Girls’ event but Sophie McKinlay proved too good for Lauren Stokoe in the final. 

Welsh double-header headlines busy May

The events keep coming thick and fast in May.

The headline act is this weekend’s double-header in Wales, comprised of the Silver-graded Classic and Gold-graded Open, the latter bringing with it two more spots at the 2023 WDF World Championships. Who’ll join the likes of Dave Prins, Beau Greaves, Neil Duff, James Hurrell, Deta Hedman and Sebastian Białecki in sealing their place? 

This coming weekend will also see the first Asian ranking event in two-and-a-half years take place when the Bronze-graded West Japan Cup is played in Osaka. 

After a rare weekend with no action, May’s penultimate weekend features a Bronze double-header in Lithuania and Australia’s fourth senior event of the year, the Sunshine State Classic. 

May wraps up with two more Bronze-graded events, the Oregon Open in the USA and the Nordic Cup Open in Sweden. 

Tags: WDF Tournaments USA Australia Canada Western Europe Faroe Islands Iceland Isle of Man