Geert Nentjes, 22, reaches the final at European Qualifying School for a second straight day before sealing his PDC return; Jason Heaver posts two ton-plus averages to clinch his place on the PDC circuit for the first time
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 15/02/21 9:15pm
Geert Nentjes and Jason Heaver became the latest players to claim Tour Cards in the Final Stage of the 2021 PDC Qualifying Schools, as Raymond van Barneveld edged closer to securing his return to the professional circuit.
Having lost out to Geert de Vos in Sunday’s final, Nentjes went one better on day two; surviving match darts to edge out Boris Koltsov in the European event, while Heaver produced a series of superb performances to claim a maiden Tour Card in the UK event.
Nentjes displayed tremendous composure in Niedernhausen, coming through five gruelling last-leg deciders to secure an instant return to the PDC circuit, having relinquished his Tour Card at the end of 2020.
The 22-year-old kicked off proceedings with a comfortable win over Patrick Bulen, before coming through a trio of deciding-leg tussles against Franz Roetzsch, Patrick Tringler and former Grand Slam quarter-finalist Michael Unterbuchner.
The Dutchman then battled past Czech Republic’s Michal Smejda in the last eight, before claiming the scalp of five-time world champion Van Barneveld in a pulsating semi-final tussle.
The doyen of Dutch darts fought back from 5-3 down to force a decider, but squandered one dart at double 10 for a 140 checkout, which means he will return on day three, despite posting consecutive 99 averages to kick off Monday’s action.
However, the 53-year-old sits second on the European Tour Order of Merit at the halfway point, and with eight players guaranteed a Tour Card via the Order of Merit, two more points should be enough to seal Barney’s return.
Koltsov was left to rue missed opportunities in Monday’s showpiece, as he came within touching distance of becoming the first Russian to clinch a PDC Tour Card.
Besides a last-leg triumph against Canada’s World Cup quarter-finalist Matt Campbell, Koltsov breezed through to the final in emphatic style – the highlight being a 101 average and a 6-1 semi-final win over Zoran Lerchbacher.
Elsewhere, Martin Schindler posted the highest average in Qualifying School history in his whitewash win over his compatriot Stefan Niles.
‘The Wall’ averaged 123.5 and wrapped up the win with a 10-dart leg on the bull, only to succumb to Campbell in the last 32.
Schindler currently occupies a spot in the provisional Tour Card spots alongside Lerchbacher, Koltsov, former BDO world semi-finalists Unterbuchner and Mario Vandenbogaerde, and Dutch duo Gino Vos and Lorenzo Pronk.
However, the likes of Christian Kist, Benito van de Pas, Ronny Huybrechts and emerging German arrowsmith Nico Kurz are yet to pick up any points, with two days of play remaining.
On day two at UK Q-School, Heaver – a Rileys qualifier in last year’s UK Open – posted two ton-plus averages before recovering from 4-2 adrift to defeat Scotland’s Alan Soutar.
Heaver averaged over 94 in all but one of his seven matches in Milton Keynes, claiming the scalps of former UK Open semi-finalists David Pallett and Andrew Gilding to reach the last 16.
Heaver – a production planner by trade – posted his second 100+ average to defeat Sunday’s semi-finalist Martin Lukeman, before dispatching Adam Mould and edging out talented Welshman Lewis Williams to reach the final.
Former BDO World Championship participant Soutar defeated Sunday’s runner-up Jack Main and former Tour Card holder Joe Murnan en route to the final, where he led 4-2 against his Berkshire-based opponent.
The Scot was denied, however, as Heaver reeled off the final four legs in 14, 15, 18 and 12 darts, as he converted a classy 123 combination to clinch an automatic Tour Card.
For a second day in succession, a series of big names struggled at the Marshall Arena. Former Premier League star Kevin Painter was whitewashed in the opening round by Peter Hudson, while Fallon Sherrock and Robert Thornton exited at the same stage.
Jamie Lewis, Richie Burnett and Alan Norris all succumbed in round two as their wait for a point at Q-School continues, while America’s Danny Baggish was brushed aside by Chas Barstow in his opener.
Shane McGuirk hit the headlines earlier in the day, landing a spectacular nine-darter in his second round win over Lewis Pride. The Irishman averaged 104 in the process, only to crash out at the last 32 stage.
Order of Merit
The overall winner at each venue will secure a Tour Card on each of the four days, while Orders of Merit will be used to award a further 13 Tour Cards in the UK and eight in Europe.
European Qualifying School Final Stage Day Two
Michal Smejda 6-1 Ryan De Vreede
Geert Nentjes 6-5 Michael Unterbuchner
Gino Vos 6-0 John Michael
Raymond van Barneveld 6-4 Lukas Wenig
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-1 Jose Justicia
Christian Bunse 6-5 Patrick van den Boogaard
Boris Koltsov 6-5 Matt Campbell
Davy Proosten 6-3 Niels Zonneveld
Geert Nentjes 6-4 Michal Smejda
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Gino Vos
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-2 Christian Buns
Boris Koltsov 6-1 Davy Proosten
Geert Nentjes 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Boris Koltsov 6-1 Zoran Lerchbacher
Geert Nentjes 6-5 Boris Koltsov
UK Qualifying School Final Stage Day Two
Joe Murnan 6-3 David Wawrzewski
Alan Soutar 6-5 Jake Jones
Eddie Lovely 6-2 Sean Fisher
Mike Warburton 6-4 Kevin McDine
Chris Quantock 6-2 Gavin Carlin
Lewis Williams 6-3 John Brown
Jason Heaver 6-3 Martin Lukeman
Adam Mould 6-3 Andy Jenkins
Alan Soutar 6-4 Joe Murnan
Eddie Lovely 6-4 Mike Warburton
Lewis Williams 6-3 Chris Quantock
Jason Heaver 6-1 Adam Mould
Alan Soutar 6-4 Eddie Lovely
Jason Heaver 6-5 Lewis Williams
Jason Heaver 6-4 Alan Soutar
Watch full coverage of every night of the Premier League on Sky Sports, and stick with us through the year as we bring you the latest darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts.