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UK Open Darts - Phil Taylor leads field of 172 at Speedy Hire UK Open

Phil Taylor (credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The Speedy Hire UK Open begins tonight as 172 players compete over four days in the £200,000 multi-stage event in the Premier Suite at Bolton's Reebok Stadium

The event, renowned as 'The FA Cup of Darts' due to the open draw format which means top players can meet at any stage, will see a record field of players taking part this year.

The 108 professional qualifiers - headed by reigning UK Open champion Phil Taylor, recent Premier League Darts winner Gary Anderson and World Champion Adrian Lewis - are joined by 64 amateur qualifiers, who won through events held in Speedy Hire Superstores and Rileys Darts Zones around the UK in April.

Whilst the top 32 players enter at the Third Round stage on Friday night, Thursday's opening night features 140 aces looking to join them by progressing to the last 64.

Thursday's Preliminary, First and Second Round competitors, who will play over the cut-throat best-of-seven leg format, include 2008 champion James Wade, who will play Rileys Qualifier Davey Dodds, a gardener from Stanley in Co Durham in his opening game.

"I've had a good break since the end of the Premier League Darts season and am looking forward to trying my best to win a second UK Open," said Wade, the world number four.

"I don't know anything about Davey to be honest but he's obviously a top-quality player to have qualified, so I'll have to prepare right.

"I was pleased with my form at the end of the Premier League season and hopefully this will be the start of a successful summer."

Dodds, 40, won a knockout at the Rileys Middlesbrough club to qualify to compete in the UK Open, and was actually watching Wade in action when the Premier League Darts was held in Newcastle three weeks ago on the same day as the UK Open draw was made.

"I was in the arena with a few friends and when the draw came up on the big screen, there was a big roar in our section," said Dodds. "We had a laugh because he came out firing against Terry Jenkins, averaging about 120 in the first four or five legs.

"But that was a different day. I've played darts for a long time and it won't faze me much.

"I'm a pretty confident player and obviously everybody is looking for a good run. I know it's not easy but I'll just see how I go against James and see what happens."

The night also features 2004 UK Open champion Roland Scholten, who plays Essex-based qualifier Kevin Edwards, while three-time World Championship finalist and former world number one Peter Manley takes on Widnes' John Bowles, who also competed 12 months ago in the UK Open.

"I really enjoyed it last year and I'm looking forward to getting on stage against Peter," said Bowles, who won the Rileys Bolton Qualifiers and is a former Widnes rugby league player.

"I've played alongside some big names before and I've got the experience behind me too from last year, when I beat Simon Jones and was then three-all with Michael Barnard before he hit a 161 finish to turn the match."

Wayne Mardle is in action against Darrin Pugh, a Speedy Hire Qualifier from Oldbury in the West Midlands making his debut in a major darts event.

Colin Lloyd, another former world number one and World Matchplay winner, meets Dutch star Jelle Klaasen in arguably the tie of the first round - with the winner to then play either quick-fire Steve Hine or Under-21 World Champion Arron Monk in the Second Round later on Thursday night.

The night also features one player thankful to be fit to play in Bolton, Belgium's Rocco Maes, who recently suffered head and leg injuries in a cycle accident but has recovered to face Speedy Qualifier Colin Appleton in the First Round.

Maes' injury evoked memories of his fellow Belgian Erik Clarys, who shattered his right elbow when he fell from a ladder shortly before the 2006 UK Open and had 11 operations before being forced to retire from darts.

The draw for Friday's Third Round will be made at the conclusion of Thursday's play, as Taylor, Anderson and Lewis are joined by the other leading professionals in the top 32 of the UK Open Order of Merit, comprised of prize money won in eight Qualifiers.

The top 32 also includes two-time UK Open winner Raymond van Barneveld, former Bolton finalists John Part, Vincent van der Voort, Colin Osborne and Mark Walsh and two players who won their maiden professional titles in this year's UK Open Qualifiers, Steve Brown and Michael Smith.

Tickets still remain for some sessions of the Speedy Hire UK Open, and can be purchased by calling 08448 712 932 or by visiting the Reebok Stadium Box Office.

The schedule of play for the Speedy Hire UK Open is:

Thursday June 2

Main Stage

First Round

Scott Rand v Steve Beaton

Mark Stephenson v Ben Burton

Darrin Pugh v Wayne Mardle

Brian Woods v Mark Hylton

Colin Lloyd v Jelle Klaasen

Peter Manley v John Bowles

Davey Dodds v James Wade

Devon Petersen v Stuart White

Second Round

Palfreyman/Henderson v Covill/Daniels

Mansell/Foster v Michels/Alcinas

O'Connor/Aubrey v Stewart/van Gerwen

Hudson/Evans v Caris/McDine

Board Two

First Round

Reece Robinson v Barrie Bates

Lee Palfreyman v John Henderson

Mensur Suljovic v Brandon Walsh

John MaGowan v Shaun Griffiths

Justin Pipe v Gary Welding

Kirk Shepherd v Paul Cartwright

Steve Grubb v Andy Beardmore

Roland Scholten v Kevin Edwards

Second Round

Whitworth/Simm v Woods/Hylton

Temple/Stompe v Jones/Jones

Turner/Little v Monk/Murray

Dolan/Gilding v Clark/Hagen

Board Three

Preliminary Round

John Donaldson v Dave Prins

Louis Blundell v Duncan Hastings

First Round

Alex Roy v John O'Shea

Robbie Green v Steve Clews

Colin Monk v Ryan Murray

James Richardson v Stuart Monaghan

John Kennedy v Steve Werrett

Peter Hudson v Steve Evans

Martin/Pearce v Matt Jackson

Andy Boulton v Jimmy Mann 

Second Round

Hawken/O'Connor v Hill/O'Neill

Mucklow/M Padgett v McGowan/ Smith

Dodds/Wade v Jukes/Donaldson/Prins

Gleeson/Gordon v Jackson/Jones

Board Four

Preliminary Round

Peter White v Michael Rosenauer

Curtis Hammond v Bruce Harrison

First Round

Jamie Ellam v Ian Moss

Mick McGowan v Andy Smith

Steve Hine v Arron Monk

Ian Covill v Stuart Daniels

Rocco Maes v Colin Appleton

Steve Maish v Martin Perring

Jon Jukes v Donaldson/Prins

Blundell/Hastings v Atwood/Rose

Second Round

Kennedy/Werrett v Rand/Beaton

Green/Clews v Priestley/Lawrence/Ladley

Roy/O'Shea v Pipe/Welding

Robinson/Bates v Pugh/Mardle

Board Five

Preliminary Round

Mick Todd v Paul Harvey

Chris Thompson v Nigel Heydon

First Round

Michael Mansell v Gordon Foster

John Jackson v Mark Jones

Hammond/Harrison v Tony Eccles 

Jason Crawley v Dan Butler

Craig Mucklow v Matt Padgett

Paul Whitworth v Richard North

White/Rosenauer v Jon Bott

Conan Whitehead v Charlie Cooper

Second Round

Richardson/Monaghan v Lovely/Barnard/Robinson

Keating/Douglas v Murnan/Sherwood

Stephenson/Burton v Maish/Perring

Scholten/Edwards v Smith/Fullwell/Broughton

Board Six

Preliminary Round

Mark Lawrence v Dave Ladley

Phil Daniels v Nicky Bache

First Round

Mareno Michels v Antonio Alcinas

Tony Ayres v Jyhan Artut

Stephen Hardy v Richie Howson

Danny Jones v Chris Jones

Joe Murnan v Damien Sherwood

John Keating v Steve Douglas 

Todd/Harvey v Charlie Burns

Matthew Edgar v Thompson/Heydon

Second Round

Jordan/Hollis v Ellam/Moss

Whitworth/North v Crawley/Butler

White/Rosenauer/Bott v Boulton/Mann 

Whitehead/Cooper v Blundell/Hastings/Atwood/Rose

Board Seven

Preliminary Round

Nick Fullwell v Tony Broughton

Eddie Lovely v Michael Barnard

First Round

Dean Stewart v Michael van Gerwen

Martyn Turner v Tommy Little

Matt Clark v Jamie Hagen

Darren Hawken v William O'Connor

Dennis Priestley v Lawrence/Ladley

Daniels/Bache v Peter Wright

Magnus Caris v Kevin McDine 

Ian Gleeson v Kirk Gordon 

Second Round

Ayres/Artut v Hardy/Howson

Maes/Appleton v Shepherd/Cartwright

Petersen/White v Manley/Bowles

Martin/Pearce/Jackson v Edgar/Thompson/Heydon

Board Eight

Preliminary Round

Wayne Atwood v Lee Rose

Eddy Martin v Andy Pearce

First Round

Geoff Whitworth v Kevin Simm

Terry Temple v Co Stompe

Lovely/Barnard v Jamie Robinson 

Matthew Jordan v Graham Hollis

Shane O'Connor v Chris Aubrey

Sam Hill v Aodhagan O'Neill

Dennis Smith v Fullwell/Broughton

Brendan Dolan v Andrew Gilding

Second Round

Lloyd/Klaasen v Hine/Monk

Grubb/Beardmore v Daniels/Bache/Wright

MaGowan/Griffiths v Hammond/Harrison/Eccles

Suljovic/Walsh v Todd/Harvey/Burns

From the conclusion of the Second Round onwards an open draw will be made for the Third Round onwards.

Friday June 3

7pm-11pm

Third Round - features players ranked 1-32 in UK Open Order of Merit plus 32 Second Round winners (eight boards)

Best of 17 legs

Saturday June 4

1pm-5pm

Fourth Round - Last 32 (four boards)

Best of 17 legs

7pm-11pm

Fifth Round - Last 16 (two boards)

Best of 17 legs

Sunday June 5

1pm-5pm

Quarter-Finals (main stage)

Best of 19 legs

7pm-11pm

Semi-Finals & Final (main stage)

Semi-Finals - Best of 19 legs

Final - Best of 21 legs

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UK Open Darts - Phil Taylor leads field of 172 at Speedy Hire UK Open

The Speedy Hire UK Open begins tonight as 172 players compete over four days in the £200,000 multi-stage event in the Premier Suite at Bolton's Reebok Stadium.

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