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DARTS: Ward bags Pro Tour placing
BEN Ward can’t wait to test himself against darts’ big guns after securing his place on the PDC Pro Tour for the next two years.
Reaching the last eight twice in the final three Unicorn Challenge Tour events in Crawley were enough for Ward to hold on to second in the order of merit behind Ross Smith.
As well as a two-year Pro Tour card, Dorchester’s Ward, 24, will have all his entry fees paid for during the first 12 months and should feature at the World Championships too.
And he is ready to make the most of his opportunity with the chance of taking on the likes of Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen really getting his juices flowing.
“I’m really happy to be on the tour,” he said. “I’m going to go to every event in the first year as my fees are all paid for.
“If I play like I have been playing against the majority of players and hit my doubles, I think I can hold my own.
“People are telling me I can do some damage so I’ll just see what happens.
“I used to look up to Ronnie Baxter when I was younger so it would be good to play against him.
“I like John Part and Michael van Gerwen too but I’m looking forward to playing against everyone.”
Ward can play in all of the Players Championship events and will also attempt to qualify for television tournaments such as the UK Open.
Before his tour card kicks in, and due to the vagaries of darts, Ward is also set to try and make the BDO World Championships, the sport’s other governing body.
It was an up and down weekend for Ward at the K2 Centre in Crawley with a couple of quarter-final finishes countered by an early exit in the preliminary round.
That came against Dutchman Dirk van Duijvenbode in event 16, but by the end of the first day Ward was only £125 behind Smith in the order of merit stakes.
Smith suffered two first-round defeats while Ward went on to beat Reece Robinson, Sam Hewson and Luke Woodhouse in event 17 before losing to eventual winner Matthew Dennant 4-3.
However, Smith claimed event 18 a day later to take the title as Ward bowed out to Dimitri Van de Bergh in the quarters having seen off Sion Thomas, Daniel Day and David Pallett.
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