Wessel Nijman and Sebastian Bialecki celebrated victories as the second weekend of 2023 Winmau Development Tour action began in Wigan on Friday.
Nijman and Bialecki produced impressive displays to share the spoils at the Robin Park Tennis Centre, reducing Luke Littler’s lead at the top of the Order of Merit in the process.
The 16-year-old sensation scooped a brace of titles on his Development Tour debut earlier this month, but Nijman ended Littler’s hopes of a hat-trick en route to Event Six success.
The Dutchman produced four ton-topping averages to claim the £2,500 top prize, before overcoming World Youth Championship runner-up Nathan Girvan to clinch his third Development Tour title.
Nijman opened Friday’s proceedings with whitewash wins over Cam Crabtree and his compatriot Rohan Brouwers, and he continued his progress by edging out Alfie Thompson in a last-leg decider.
The 22-year-old averaged 101 and 104 in wins over Damian Vetjens and Rusty-Jake Rodriguez respectively, before defying a ton-plus average from JDC World Champion Littler in the last eight.
Nijman recovered from 4-2 down to deny Owen Roelofs in an all-Dutch semi-final, and he capped off a superb afternoon’s work by running out a 5-3 winner against Girvan.
Girvan recorded three whitewash wins and dumped out Gibraltar’s World Cup representative Justin Hewitt in his run to the final, while Rodriguez averaged 106 in his last 32 tie, before succumbing to Nijman.
Event Seven saw Polish prospect Bialecki claim the third Development Tour title of his career, edging out teenage sensation Leighton Bennett in a dramatic decider.
The former UK Open quarter-finalist relinquished just three legs in his opening four matches, before battling past Ireland’s Ciaran Teehan to seal his spot in the semi-finals.
Bialecki maintained his charge with a 5-3 victory against Event Six runner-up Girvan, converting two ton-plus finishes to deny the Scot an appearance in back-to-back finals.
The Pole raced into a 4-1 lead in Friday’s Event Seven showpiece, and although Bennett fought back to force a last-leg shoot-out, Bialecki survived three match darts in a nervy conclusion to triumph.
Bennett had dumped out Nathan Rafferty in the semi-finals, while Dimitri Van den Bergh’s younger brother Viani accounted for former World Youth Champion Bradley Brooks to reach the last eight.
The Belgian was beaten in the quarter-finals by Girvan, who also claimed the scalp of Littler in a high-profile last 32 clash.
Littler retains a sizeable cushion at the top of the Development Tour Order of Merit, leading second-place Nijman by £3,225, with Bialecki moving into third spot at the expense of Dylan Slevin, who is competing on the PDC European Tour this weekend.
The Winmau Development Tour continues with another double-header on Saturday, as Events Eight and Nine take place at the Robin Park Tennis Centre.
The top two players from the final 2023 Development Tour Order of Merit will win a PDC Tour Card for 2024-25 and a place in the 2023/24 World Darts Championship.
2023 Winmau Development Tour
Friday April 28
Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan
Nathan Girvan 5-2 Jack Male
Justin Hewitt 5-0 Christopher Toonders
Wessel Nijman 5-3 Luke Littler
Owen Roelofs 5-1 Lewis Gurney
Nathan Girvan 5-2 Justin Hewitt
Wessel Nijman 5-4 Owen Roelofs
Wessel Nijman 5-3 Nathan Girvan
Sebastian Bialecki 5-3 Ciaran Teehan
Nathan Girvan 5-2 Viani Van den Bergh
Nathan Rafferty 5-3 Justin Hewitt
Leighton Bennett 5-2 James Beeton
Sebastian Bialecki 5-3 Nathan Girvan
Leighton Bennett 5-3 Nathan Rafferty
Sebastian Bialecki 5-4 Leighton Bennett