by Tom Beresford, CDC Correspondent
It was a banner day for Darin Young at the Columbia Social Club in Philadelphia as the 2019 Magic Darts Championship Darts Circuit kicked off in exciting fashion.
‘Big Daddy’ was consistent in his play over the course of the day in Philadelphia as he averaged 88.3 over six matches to claim his fifth CDC title in what was likely the most competitive field for the North American Tour to date.
Young dropped just one leg in his opening three victories, easily taking out some top competition in Jim Newman (5-1), Jeremiah Millar (5-0) and Joseph Huffman (5-0) to advance to the Quarter-Finals.
The eventual champion’s quarter-Final clash with Joe Chaney was arguably his toughest test on the day.
Chaney moved into a fantastic position as he opened up a 4-1 lead to put Darin on the brink of a disappointing exit but, with a mixture of fortune and consistency, Young managed to claw his way back by reeling off five consecutive legs to claim the 6-4 victory. Chaney missed many key opportunities to see the match out, and Young converted those chances expertly to move into the last four.
In the Semi-Finals, Young came up against another strong competitor in ‘Soldier’ Leonard Gates. It was a closely contested affair – as you’d expect from two of the strongest players in the field with eight CDC titles between them. There was no separating the pair in the opening stages as they traded legs through the first 8. With the match level at four legs apiece Young found another gear, banging in legs of 14 and 16 darts respectively to run out a 6-4 winner and book his place in the final.
The final featured longtime CDC veteran Young against one of the strongest players in the qualifying field in Dave Richardson, competing in his first event on the Circuit. Richardson, the Scottish-born star who now resides in Ontario, Canada, produced some fantastic finishes of his own over the course of the event to get to the ultimate test – including kicking off the day with a 5-0 whitewash over the 2019 PDC World Championship’s U.S. representative, Chuck Puleo, with a 92.8 average. From that point on, however, Dave was under pressure, advancing to the final by defeating Chicago’s Joe Beecroft, fellow Canadian Kiley Edmunds (who averaged 105 in the qualifiers to book his spot the main event) and 2018 Continental Cup Champion, Gary Mawson, in last-leg deciders.
In the final, it was Richardson that flew out of the traps as he moved into a 3-0 lead with a trio of impressive legs on the trot (17, 15 & 13 darts respectively). But, ‘Big Daddy’ remained calm and focused on the task at hand, once again finding another gear at the most opportune moment and reeling off six legs on the trot to deny Richardson a dream ‘debut’ win. Young’s finishing was exemplary in the six-leg onslaught to glory as ‘Big Daddy’ enjoyed checkouts of 100, 97 and 80 to claim event one on the 2019 Magic Darts Championship Darts Circuit and putting more distance between himself and the rest of the field on the CDC two-year Order of Merit.
Overall, It was a fantastic start to 2019 on the Tour, and the bar is certainly being raised with the CDC/PDC partnership in full effect. Just looking at the number of great players that made round one exits from the competition – Chuck Puleo, Larry Butler, John Part, Danny Lauby and Timmy Nicoll are just some notables – it’s obvious that the best in North America are coming to play in 2019 and the fields are very likely to be the best competition that the continent has seen in decades.
For all the results from Event #1, please visit https://tv.dartconnect.com/matchlist/cdc19me1