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  • Ryan James Mingay

Five Darts Prospects who DON'T have a PDC Tour Card

By Ryan James Mingay


Darts is a game enjoyed by the young and old alike. It's becoming increasingly common to see ridiculously high averages hit by under 18s and the PDC has 9 tour Card holders who are 21 and under. The best-known prospects in Darts are the 16-year-old trailblazer, Luke Littler and the Northern Irish phenom Josh Rock. Littler and Rock are among the many fantastic talents in the world of darts and are household names to many darts fans, so let's look at some prospects that aren't as well known but are still supremely talented and could be future major winners.


Craig Galliano

At first glance, Galliano's record can be deceiving, the Gibraltarian has one title to his name which is the 2018 Gibraltar Open Youth. His record doesn't reflect his true talent or potential though. Galliano is simply unlucky, he performs exceptionally in many events until he runs into a more experienced or much higher-ranked player.

Galliano currently plies his trade ln the PDC development tour. His best run came last May at DT 10 where Craig had a fantastic run that ended in the semi-finals. On the way to the last four, Galliano eliminated Nathan Girvan who won the previous day's Dev Tour as well as World Youth Championship Runner-Up Nathan Rafferty. Craig defied an average of 94 from Rafferty as he hit an average of 96.48 to win 4-3. His run was ended by Jitse Van der Wal.

Galliano thrilled local fans at last year's Gibraltar Darts Trophy when he became one of the few Gibraltarians to beat a non-Gibraltian at the event. He achieved this feat by emphatically beating experienced Belgian Mario Vandenbogaerde 6-3 with an average of 83. He had the unenviable task of facing reigning World Champion Peter Wright in the next round. Snakebite won 6-2 to end Galliano's run.

Galliano is perhaps best known for his partnership with Justin Hewitt at the World Cup of Darts. The young pair failed to win in the first year as Northern Ireland

edged them by 5 legs to 3. The format changed in 2023 and the pair were given two chances to seal a maiden win. The first game came against newcomers Guyana who were represented by the experienced Norman Madhoo and Sudesh Fitzgerald. The Gibraltarians brushed aside their experienced opponents and decisively won 4-1.

They needed to produce something remarkable to beat reigning champions Australia and

unfortunately, they lost 4-0 and went out in the group stage. The Guyana game indicated what Galliano was capable of and he is one to look out for in the future.


Justin Hewitt

Another young Gibraltarian makes the list. This time it's Galliano's World Cup partner Justin Hewitt.

Justin is a huge talent which is evident by the fact he hit an average of 113 at the age of 17. Hewitt also plays regularly on the Dev Tour and currently sits at 34th on the Order of Merit. His maiden and so far only ranking title came at the 2019 Gibraltar Open Youth Boys, where he beat none other than Craig Galliano in the final.

Hewitt has consistently won his first 2 or 3 games at the Dev Tour but hasn't yet managed to make the deep runs required to break into the top of the order of merit. He has impressed with averages in the mid to high 80s and a few in the 90s becoming a more commonplace occurrence.

Justin will look to seal a Dev Tour title and improve on his runs at the PDC World youth

championship.



Filip Ljubenko

Croatia made a triumphant return to the World Cup of Dart this year where they reached the Last 16. This year they were represented by Boris Krcmar and Romeo Grbvana but that is likely to change as new Croatian Star Filip Ljubenko continues his rise in the world of darts.

Filip demonstrated his serious potential when he reached the semi-final of the WDF Croatian Masters this year. He was eliminated by eventual champion Andy Baetens but his run was proof of his immense talent.

He beat experienced names like Mark Barili and Lazlo Kadar on his way to the last 4.

Filip has talent and immense potential but he hasn't yet made enough runs to the latter stages of the dev tour to put himself in the higher-ranking positions.


Dominik Kocik

The youngest person on this list is Dominik Kočik. The youngster known as DinoDart is just 14 years old and is already a big prospect. A prolific winner of regional Soft Tip tournaments, he played in the 2020 Slovak Open at the age of 11.

He became a youth major winner last year when he won the U14 Dutch Open. Last year also saw the young prospect sign with Mission Darts as he looks to further his career.

Kocik has narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Boys WDF worlds on two occasions as he lost out to Luis Liptow and Luke Littler respectively. He looks set to be a future talent and at 14 will only continue to develop his already solid game as he seeks qualification to the youth majors and to add another title to his collection.


András Borbély

Perhaps saving the best till last. The 17-year-old Hungarian thrower is already a prolific title winner and the current Number one ranked boy in the WDF.

His first title was the 2021 Apatin Open Youth. He claimed 5 youth titles in 2022 including the

Hungarian and Budapest Classics. He picked up 5 more youth titles this year already including the Croatia and Slovak Opens. He hit a personal best recorded average of 95.43 in the Croatian Open.

His biggest and most impressive title was the 2022 Budapest Masters. He beat a myriad of notable names including Benjamin Pratnemer, Moreno Blom, Lazslo Kadar and then Janos Vegso to win his first senior title at such a young age.

Borbely will undoubtedly win numerous more titles in his career and he looks set to rise the world rankings and could be a Q-School entrant in the future.

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