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  • Ryan James Mingay

Where Are They Now? - 2022 WDF World Championships

By Ryan James Mingay

The inaugural WDF world champs took place over a year ago and saw a return to the historic Lakeside venue in Frimley Green , Surrey.

Brash and confident Northern Irishman Neil Duff went under the radar despite his own insistence that he was destined to win the title. He went on to prove he was correct as he beat Frenchman Thibault Tricole 6 sets to 5 to win the title on his daughters birthday.

The tournament featured multiple PDC tour card holders and was scheduled to hold some more prestigious names until a host of them withdrew to play in the PDC World Championship. Despite this the tournament featured a slew of top names and some great performances. So who did play and where are they now?

The quarter finals featured : Neil Duff, Jim McEwan, Richard Veenstra, Brian Raman, Thibault Tricole, Andy Baetens, Cameron Menzies and James Hurrell.

Losing Quarter Finalists

Brian Raman

Raman and Menzies were both tour card holders given a one time exemption by the PDC. However number one seed Raman would be disappointed to not prove his worth as the top seed. Both have failed to really capitalize on their PDC career and haven't been consistent enough to make any deep runs. Raman has only qualified for 2 euro tours in which he made the second and third rounds. He has only qualified for one TV tournament which was the UK open but that is automatic qualification for all Tour card holders. His best performance was the Last 96 in 2022. Raman currently occupies the 82nd spot in the PDC order of Merit.

Jim McEwan

Scotsman McEwan had a good run at the tournament including a ton+ average but he couldn't edge past Neil Duff as he was pipped to the post in a close encounter. McEwan hasn't been in great form this year and has been most recently been in action in the Modus Super Series. "Chucky" will look to find his form again as he aims to reach Lakeside once again

Andy Baetens

Belgian Andy Baetens has been in great form in the WDF this year and looks set to be a threat for the Lakeside title. He was a runner up to Jelle Klaasen in the Dutch Open and could easily make many more major finals. After losing to Tricole at the Worlds he went on to win his third Czech Open title as well a Bruges open title in 2022. In 2023 he secured both the Croatian Open and Croatian Masters which has lead to him being 3rd in the WDF rankings. Baetens failure at Q school has allowed him to play at lakeside again and he looks set to win many more WDF titles before another run at Q School.

Andy Baetens recently competed on the PDC Euro tour and continues to pick up titles in the WDF

James Hurrell

Another surprising failure at Q school was James Hurrell. Hurrell has however impressed on the Challenge tour where he hit a 9 darter and reached a final. He also picked up the Scottish Open , Italian Grand Masters , Isle of Man classic and Belfry open in 2022 and will return to Lakeside looking to pick up a maiden major title. James also continues to captain England in international events.

Losing Semi-finalists

Cameron Menzies

Menzies has been a bit more successful and has played in 3 PDC majors since his WDF stint. He made the Last 32 in the 2022 PC finals after beating young star Josh Rock and beat Brazilian Diogo Portela in the 2023 PDC worlds before falling to Vincent Van de Voort and angering him with his after game displays of affection. Menzies hasn't yet made it past the Last 128 at the UK open in part due to his inconsistency as he displays excellent scoring at times but fails to find the outer ring with the same level of consistency. Menzies has played in 5 euro tours with one first round exit and 4 second round exits. Menzies is the Current number 63 in the world rankings and looks set to be on track to keep his tour card as he is occupying the 30th spot in the World Championship qualifying Pro Tour order of Merit spot but this can easily change and Menzies needs to have some good runs on the floor to keep his card or he faces joining his Partner Fallon Sherrock as someone without a card.

Richard Veenstra

Dutchman Veenstra had a sensational run at Lakeside and this included a breathtaking run to the semi finals where he narrowly missed D12 for a 9 dart leg and in the previous game he broke the record for the highest average at Lakeside with a huge 104.91 in his victory over highly touted young star Luke Littler. Veenstra would go on to pick up his tour card at the first time of asking and has been making good on his chance with some consistent runs and he has been touted as one to watch by former World Champ Glen Durrant and former PDC star Matthew Edgar. Veenstra continues to work his dayjob aswell as being active on the PDC circuit and he occupies the 90th spot in the rankings after a few months and should keep his tour card after his two years are up. Veenstra could be one to pick up a pro tour title and looks a dark horse in the PDC this year.

Richard Veenstra (left) picked up a PDC tour card this year after being one of the best players in the WDF for a number of years

The Finalists

Thibault Tricole

Frenchman Tricole surprisingly lost out on a tour card but his compatriot Jacques Labre did gain a card. They both look set to represent France at the World Cup of Darts in June and could be a dark horse under the new format. Tricole hasn't been in amazing form since his lakeside final run but has picked up a challenge tour title.

He will be looking to make it one step further at Lakeside and then pick up a tour card instead of making reserve appearances in the pro tour.

Neil Duff

Northern Irishman Neil Duff has had mixed fortunes as of recently but looks to be back near his best. Duff has recently joined the Seniors Tour and has also plied his trade in the Modus super series. Duff performed well in the seniors and picked up the World Seniors Target Open Series 2 which was his first title of the year. Duff beat the legendary Lisa Ashton 3 sets to 2 in a tiebreaker to advance to the second round where destroyed and whitewashed former world champ Keith Deller 3-0 before he was halted by defending and subsequent 2 time champion Robert Thornton. Duff is now 2nd in the WDF world ranking and will be in action at the Seniors Masters in June and will be looking to fair better than he did in the WDF masters where he lost to a resurgent Jelle Klaasen who also sits above Duff in the Ranking and could be the one to Claim Duffs world title this December.

Since becoming WDF World champion, Neil Duff has had mixed results and has been very outspoken on how the WDF is 'behind the times'

Best of the rest

Legendary Martin Wolfie Adams lost to Jarred Cole in the first round and has had mixed results as of late. Whilst he is retired from the WDF circuit he does play in the Modus Series and in Seniors events. He narrowly lost to Leonard Gates in the Champion of Champions Semi Final and was toppled by gates in the Seniors Worlds Second round. He has looked great at times on the Modus series but has also looked sup par and Wolfie will hope he can pick up one more title to add his legendary collection.

Luke Littler is one of darts best prospects right now and made a great run at the UK open before eventual Semi Finalist Adam Gawlas ended his run. Littler has been dominating the Dev Tour this year and has already picked up £7000+ as he aims for a tour card next year.

Luke Littler recently made an impressive run in the PDC UK Open as well as winning Season 3 of the modus super series


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