Nijman and Rafferty celebrate Development Tour wins in Leicester

Wessel Nijman (PDC)

Wessel Nijman secured his third Winmau Development Tour title of 2023 in Leicester on Saturday, as Nathan Rafferty returned to winning ways at the Morningside Arena.

The year’s fourth Development Tour weekend continued with another double-header in the East Midlands, with Nijman and Rafferty sharing the spoils on a high-quality day of action.

Rafferty kicked off Saturday’s play with Event 18 success, defeating Cam Crabtree 5-3 in the decider to celebrate the tenth Development Tour title of his career.

The 23-year-old survived early scares against Dylan Van Lierop and James Beeton, before breezing through to the last 16 with wins over Harrison Firmager and Charlie Stocks.

The Northern Irish star then averaged 107 in his four-leg blitz of Ben Davies, and he also whitewashed Czech star Roman Benecky in the semi-finals, having dumped out Luke Littler in the last eight.

Crabtree, meanwhile, whitewashed Ireland’s Dylan Slevin to reach his first Development Tour final of 2023, after Slevin had posted a ton-plus average to account for Gian van Veen in the last eight.

Van Veen had reclaimed top spot on the Development Tour Order of Merit following his Event 17 success on Friday, and the Dutchman fell just short in his bid for a sixth title of the campaign on Saturday.

The 21-year-old was beaten in the Event 19 showpiece by his compatriot Nijman, who reeled off four consecutive legs from 3-1 down to avenge his defeat to Van Veen in last month's Event 13 decider.

Nijjman kicked off his campaign with convincing wins over Danny Goddard and Nathan Potter, before accounting for his fellow countryman Owen Roelofs to continue his progress.

The Dutchman then averaged 100 to dispose of Owen Bates, while wins over Dylan Quinn, Jurjen van der Velde and Beeton saw him advance to his fourth Development Tour final of the year.

Van Veen dumped out Sebastian Bialecki and Slevin in the latter stages of Event 19 to extend his lead at the top of the Order of Merit, with just five events remaining in 2023.

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.

Van Veen boasts a £3,025 lead over Littler at the top of the Development Tour Order of Merit, with Nijman and Rafferty occupying third and fourth spots respectively following their exploits on Saturday.

The fourth weekend of 2023 Winmau Development Tour action will conclude on Sunday, as over 220 players aged 16-24 compete in Event 20.

The event draws and results are listed in the Match Centre.

Click here for results & match stats.

2023 Winmau Development Tour
Saturday July 15, Morningside Arena, Leicester
Event 18

Dylan Slevin 5-2 Gian van Veen
Cam Crabtree 5-3 Christopher Toonders
Nathan Rafferty 5-2 Luke Littler
Roman Benecky 5-4 Sebastian Bialecki

Cam Crabtree 5-0 Dylan Slevin
Nathan Rafferty 5-0 Roman Benecky

Nathan Rafferty 5-3 Cam Crabtree

Event 19

James Beeton 5-3 Nathan Rafferty
Wessel Nijman 5-3 Jurjen van der Velde
Gian van Veen 5-3 Sebastian Bialecki
Dylan Slevin 5-2 Adam Gawlas

Wessel Nijman 5-3 James Beeton
Gian van Veen 5-4 Dylan Slevin

Wessel Nijman 5-3 Gian van Veen