Evans Eyes Swift PDC Tour Return

David Evans missed out on recapturing a PDC tour card at Q School in January, but the Preston thrower is aiming to earn a place on tour via the Challenge Tour.

David had previously held a PDC tour card via the Order of Merit for the PDC’s secondary series, the Challenge Tour, in 2020. He competed on the main PDC tour until December 2022.

New tour card holders are given two years to place inside the top 64 in the world to retain their place on tour. Unfortunately, David was ranked outside of the top 64 on the PDC’s Order of Merit at the end of 2022 and has since attempted twice to win back a tour card via Q School in 2023 and 2024.

‘Stretch’, however, believes that he can replicate his achievements of 2020 on the Challenge Tour, which he says will be his main focus for the year – alongside running his pub in Preston.

“The target is to get my tour card from the Challenge Tour like I did last time,” he told Fen Regis Trophies. “If I play well, then I will be on top of the rankings, so I will hopefully get invited to the ProTour events anyway.”

The Gruelling Challenge of Q School

PDC Qualifying School, or simply Q School, is a week-long event open to any non-PDC tour card holder where hundreds of hopefuls play in the hope of winning a spot on tour. Players compete over seven gruelling days, with players ranging from everyday pub players to former world champions.

At this year’s event, more than 850 players competed for one of 31 tour cards on offer. The field included four former world champions John Part, Richie Burnett, Scott Waites, and Scott Mitchell, as well as current World Darts Federation (WDF) champion Andy Baetens.

This time around, David exited at the first round stage of Q School on day three of the competition. He said that it was “probably the hardest three days” he has played.

“If you get through to the second stage,” said David. “It is the hardest week of any darts player’s life.

“If you want to be a professional darts player, and you do it that way (qualifying through Q School), then you deserve it for playing for seven days. You deserve to be on the tour.”

David added on his performance at Q School: “I wasn’t heartbroken, but a bit disappointed in myself.

“I had a decent second day and on the last day I played one of my friends and he beat me 5-4.”

The Year Ahead

With Q School having been and gone for another year, David has now firmly set his sights on the Challenge Tour, which offers tour cards for the top two players at the end of the yearly Order of Merit table. Additionally, there is the additional carrot of qualifying for the World Championship at Alexandra Palace, the sport’s showpiece event.

While the Challenge Tour will be David’s core focus, he says he will also look to compete in other events as much as possible. As he does not hold a PDC tour card, he is free to play in any non-PDC events, such as those organised by the WDF, without restriction.

He does, though, admit that running the pub must come first!

“If I had the time, and I didn’t have the pub, I would probably do the WDF and try and get to Lakeside,” he said. “It is difficult having the pub now and getting time off is tight…but any opportunities that come my way, I’ll take them.”

It is set to be a busy year for David, both on and off the oche, in his pursuit of reclaiming a PDC tour card as he juggles throwing darts with pulling pints. He has done it once, so you rest assured that ‘Stretch’ backs himself to do it again!

By Aaron Gratton

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