Boulton & Sedlak share spoils on penultimate day of Challenge Tour season

Andy Boulton (PDC)

Andy Boulton and Vitezslav Sedlak shared the spoils on the penultimate day of 2023 Winmau Challenge Tour action in Wigan on Sunday.

Following victories for John Henderson and Dom Taylor on Saturday, Sedlak and Boulton came out on top in Events 22 and 23 respectively to set up a fascinating finale to the season on Monday.

Sunday’s opening event saw Sedlak follow in the footsteps of his younger compatriot Adam Gawlas in becoming just the second Czech player to win a PDC title.

The 32-year-old defeated John Henderson 5-2 in the Event 22 decider to deny Scotland’s former World Cup winner a second title in as many days at the Robin Park Tennis Centre.

Sedlak began his campaign with impressive wins over Sean Fisher and Alan Norris, before recovering from 4-3 down to edge out Wayne Morgan and Kurt Parry in last-leg shoot-outs.

The Czech star then overcame Mike Warburton in a gruelling quarter-final tie, before fending off a late fightback from Dutchman Arjan Konterman to seal his spot in a maiden Challenge Tour final.

Henderson was thwarted in his bid for a third Challenge Tour title of 2023, despite overcoming a host of high-profile names to scoop the £1,000 runner-up prize.

The Scot dumped out Scott Mitchell in his opener, before winning a potentially decisive tie against Cam Crabtree, who occupied second spot on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit ahead of Sunday’s play.

Henderson then averaged 101 in his victory over Robert Grundy, before defeating Owen Bates, Peter Jacques, Stefan Bellmont and Dan Read to boost his hopes of returning to the professional circuit next year by reaching the final.

Sunday’s Event 23 showpiece was contested between Boulton and Bates, who would have overhauled Henderson with victory.

Nevertheless, the senior statesman came out on top in a high-quality final, firing in a 13-dart hold in a last-leg decider to clinch his second Challenge Tour title of the campaign.

After easing past Paul Mitchell in his opener, Boulton edged out Carl Beattie in a nine-leg affair, before dispatching Event 22 winner Sedlak to continue his charge.

The 50-year-old booked his place in the quarter-finals with victory over Croatia’s Romeo Grbavac, before wins over James Howard Hughes and former Lakeside Champion Mitchell set up a showdown against Bates.

Bates - featuring in his fourth Challenge Tour final of 2023 - dumped out Darryl Pilgrim and averaged 99 in demolishing former World Championship semi-finalist Andy Jenkins earlier in the tournament.

The 20-year-old then accounted for James Hurrell and Ireland’s Shane McGuirk to seal a semi-final spot, where he averaged 97 in an impressive 5-3 victory against Event 21 champion Taylor.

Monday’s Event 24 will see over 140 players in action in Wigan, as the 2023 Winmau Challenge Tour season draws to a close at the Robin Park Tennis Centre.

The top two players on the 2023 Challenge Tour Order of Merit following Event 24 will secure a PDC Tour Card for 2024/25 and a place in the 2023/24 Paddy Power World Darts Championship.

Dutch star Berry van Peer has already confirmed top spot, and will therefore also make his big-stage return at next month’s Mr Vegas Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton.

However, Henderson currently occupies second spot, with four other players still in contention heading into Monday’s decisive Event 24.

The former World Cup of Darts winner boasts a £750 lead over Bates in third spot, with Boulton, Crabtree and Christian Kist also still vying for a second-place finish.


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2023 Winmau Challenge Tour
Sunday October 29
Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan
Event 22

Vitezslav Sedlak 5-3 Mike Warburton
Arjan Konterman 5-4 Brett Claydon
Dan Read 5-3 Martin Thomas
John Henderson 5-4 Stefan Bellmont

Vitezslav Sedlak 5-4 Arjan Konterman
John Henderson 5-4 Dan Read

Vitezslav Sedlak 5-2 John Henderson

Event 23

Dom Taylor 5-1 Stefan Bellmont
Owen Bates 5-3 Shane McGuirk
Andy Boulton 5-2 James Howard Hughes
Scott Mitchell 5-3 Jenson Walker

Owen Bates 5-3 Dom Taylor
Andy Boulton 5-3 Scott Mitchell

Andy Boulton 5-4 Owen Bates