Van Peer & Bates confirm Ally Pally spots as 2023 Challenge Tour concludes

Berry van Peer (Jonas Hunold/PDC Europe)

Berry van Peer and Owen Bates will feature in the 2023/24 Paddy Power World Darts Championship after finishing first and second respectively on the 2023 Winmau Challenge Tour Order of Merit.

The 2023 Winmau Challenge Tour season reached its climax with Event 24 in Wigan on Monday, as James Hurrell claimed the spoils with a 5-2 victory over Bates in the afternoon’s decider.

Hurrell produced a series of superb displays to clinch his maiden PDC title, defeating a host of high-profile names to pocket the £2,500 top prize at the Robin Park Tennis Centre.

However, he wasn’t able to force his way in contention for World Darts Championship qualification, with the top two players on the final Challenge Tour Order of Merit securing a place at Alexandra Palace.

Van Peer will make his World Championship bow in December, claiming four Challenge Tour titles in a prolific 2023 campaign to confirm top spot on the Order of Merit.

Bates, meanwhile, made back-to-back finals in Wigan to overhaul John Henderson in a dramatic conclusion to the season, finishing £175 above Scotland’s former World Cup winner in second position.

Van Peer and Bates have also secured PDC Tour Cards for 2024 and 2025, while the Dutchman will star at next month’s Mr Vegas Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton.

Van Peer was already assured of top spot ahead of Monday’s action, although there was a five-horse race for second position, featuring Henderson, Bates, Andy Boulton, Cam Crabtree and Christian Kist.

Former Lakeside Champion Kist saw his hopes dashed after losing in the last 64 to France’s World Cup quarter-finalist Thibault Tricole, before Henderson succumbed to Hurrell at the same stage.

Boulton and Crabtree then crashed out in the last 16 against Tricole and Darryl Pilgrim respectively, leaving Bates needing to progress to the Event 24 final to usurp Henderson.

Bates - also a runner-up in Event 23 – kicked off the day with a narrow win over Kurt Parry, before fighting back from 4-2 down to deny Ian Jones in round two.

The 20-year-old then followed up a hard-fought win over Ron Meulenkamp with a 5-1 rout of Darren Armstrong to set up a quarter-final showdown against former ProTour finalist Peter Jacques.

Bates denied Jacques in a deciding-leg shoot-out, before recovering from 4-1 down in a dramatic semi-final showdown against Mike Warburton, surviving multiple match darts to seal his spot at Ally Pally.

Hurrell defeated three PDC title winners to set up his showdown against Bates, dumping out former Premier League star Jelle Klaasen and Henderson in his opening two matches.

The 39-year-old then stormed through to the quarter-finals with successive 5-1 wins against Martijn Dragt and Max Hopp, averaging 101 to dispatch former European Tour winner Hopp.

After easing past Steve Haggerty in the last eight, Hurrell then defied a 102 average from Pilgrim to seal a 5-2 victory in the semi-finals, before brushing aside Bates by the same scoreline to win the title.

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2023 Winmau Challenge Tour

Monday October 30, Robin Park Tennis Centre
Event 24

James Hurrell 5-2 Steve Haggerty
Darryl Pilgrim 5-1 Andy Jenkins
Mike Warburton 5-2 Thibault Tricole
Owen Bates 5-4 Peter Jacques

James Hurrell 5-2 Darryl Pilgrim
Owen Bates 5-4 Mike Warburton

James Hurrell 5-2 Owen Bates