Brian Raman and Deta Hedman booked their Lakeside spots (here) and several players strengthened their grips on regional ranking tables during a packed September that saw eight ranking events take place across five different countries. Andrew Sinclair recaps the action.
Four Bronze-graded titles were on the line in Catalonia for the first European double-header of the year in early September. When all was said and done, they were evenly split by Andy Baetens and Aileen de Graaf, who did title doubles in the men’s and women’s competitions respectively.
Belgium’s Baetens won his first ranking event in four years at the Catalonian Open, averaging over 105 against home favourite Martin Marti Santimaria in the final. He followed that less than 24 hours later by taking top honours in the FCD Anniversary Open, defeating another Catalan, Daniel Zapata, in the final. Baetens, a former Lakeside quarter-finalist, now boasts a big lead in the Western Europe regional rankings.
Dutch ace Aileen de Graaf was similarly dominant in the women’s events, recording 4-1 final victories over Anna Forsmark and Paula Jacklin to match Baetens’ title haul and cement her spot in the top five of the women’s rankings.
While Baetens and de Graaf were dominating the competition in Calella, the third American ranking event of 2021, the Bronze-graded Washington Area Open, was taking place in Sterling, Virginia.
A 5-1 final win over Marlise Kiel saw Tennessee’s Dani Warmack win her second title of the year and close the gap on Paula Murphy in the women’s American regional rankings to 45 points.
Over in the men’s event, ‘Buffalo’ Bruce Robbins proved the class of the field. After seeing off the impressive Seth Steffano in the semis, former Colorado Open champion Robbins defeated the experienced Joe Huffman 6-3 in the final. Robbins has never competed in the World Masters before but he’ll now get the chance to do so in 2022.
Roman Obukhov put himself firmly in the hunt for a Lakeside spot after winning both the Udmurtia Open and Kalashnikov Open in Izhevsk in mid-September.
The titles were the third and fourth ranking crowns of the Russian international’s career and he now boasts a 29-point lead over Kirill Fadeev, runner-up in both events, in the North Europe regional rankings.
The women’s titles were split by Elena Shulgina and Natalia Aleksandrova.
Shulgina successfully defended her Udmurtia Open title with a 4-1 win over talented teenager Ksenia Klochek, before losing 5-2 in a rematch of August’s Salavat Yulaev Cup final against Aleksandrova in the Kalashnikov Open the following day.
The first WDF ranking event in Australia for 554 days, the Silver-graded North Queensland Classic, rounded out September’s slate of events.
Played in Townsville, the home town of 2002 BDO World Champion Tony David, both the men’s and women’s tournaments provided repeat winners.
Raymond Smith, nicknamed ‘The Guru’ for his meticulous preparation, was cool and calculated as he powered through to win his first WDF ranking event in five years.
After edging a tight game with son Ky in the last eight, Raymond recorded a 5-0 whitewash win in the semis before defeating first-time finalist Donovan Lottering 6-1 to claim the title.
Prior to last weekend’s event, Maureen Homer’s last, and only, WDF ranking title had come at the 2017 North Queensland Classic. Four years later, she doubled her career tally.
After rallying from 3-1 down to defeat form player Seini Vakanofiti in the last four, Homer came through a scrappy final, which saw the first five legs go against the throw, 5-3 against Eva Dilger.
Things really hot up on the WDF tour in October as we roll into the business end of this year’s truncated season. There are six automatic Lakeside qualification spots on offer across the month’s three Gold-graded events, while there are also significant points available across seven further senior events and four standalone Youth competitions.
Denmark, who were originally set to host the WDF World Cup this year, kick off the month with the prestigious Denmark Open and Denmark Masters. New WDF World Number 1 Brian Raman will be seeking to defend his Silver-graded Masters title, while a host of others will be aiming to replicate what he did in Selsey and claim the ‘golden ticket’ available to the winners of the Gold-graded Open.
The historic British Open, the month’s second Gold-graded event, and Silver-graded British Classic take place over the weekend of 15th-17th October, with the Gold-graded Welsh Open and Silver-graded Welsh Classic scheduled for the following weekend.
October’s other European events, the Hungarian Classic and Masters, are booked in for the final weekend of October. Those tournaments, one Silver-graded and Bronze-graded, will have a sizeable impact on the Eastern Europe regional ranking table.
Canada wrap up their rankings with their only event of the year, the Silver-graded Klondike Open, on October 9th-10th, while New Zealand are scheduled to have their penultimate event of the year, the Bronze-graded Alan King Memorial, on October 23rd.
In terms of Youth action, the month’s first event is the Bronze-graded Queensland Junior Open on October 4th, with further competitions set for Maine and Russia – the latter’s two headlined by the Gold-graded Novgorod Open.