Suffolk darts star Ryan Meikle reaches UK Open

Ryan Meikle, 19, has just qualified for the PDC Darts tour and could be facing the elite players in

Ryan Meikle, 19, has just qualified for the PDC Darts tour and could be facing the elite players in forthcoming tournaments. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Ryan Meikle hopes qualifying for the Coral UK Open will be the first of many televised tournaments for him in 2017.

The 20-year-old, who lives in Rendlesham, booked his place in the tournament affectionately known as the ‘FA Cup of Darts’ on the final day of qualifying on Sunday.

Meikle enjoyed wins over Joe Davis, Joshua Richardson and Ryan Searle before bowing out in the last 32 to Ireland’s Mick McGowan, but the £750 he earned from that run was enough to make the cut for this year’s UK Open.

“It was always the aim to qualify and I was a bit annoyed I left it to the last day to do it,” he said.

“Going into the last qualifier (with no prize money) I didn’t think there was a lot of hope, but I knew what I had to do to get in.

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“I always knew that I just needed one good day and luckily I played really well on the last day and got through.”

Meikle will be among 128 players (96 professionals and 32 Riley’s amateur qualifiers) competing in the UK Open at Butlins Minehead on March 3-5, with a tournament record £350,000 in prize money up for grabs.

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The world number 78 will take on Vincent Kamphuis, of the Netherlands, in the first round, with the winner then taking on former major semi-finalist Justin Pipe in the next round.

The likes of world champion Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and Mendham’s Peter Wright, ranked third in the world, all come into the tournament in the third round (last 64).

Next month’s trip to Minehead will be the first time Meikle has played in a televised tournament on the Professional Darts Corporation tour, but he hopes there will be plenty more appearances for him in the big events during the rest of the season.

“I’m hoping to get in a few of the other TV tournaments this year,” he said.

“The UK Open is the first one so I’ve got off to a good start, hopefully I can kick on for the rest of the year.”

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