Van Veen & Benecky claim Development Tour titles in Hildesheim

Gian van Veen (Jonas Hunold/PDC Europe)

Gian van Veen clinched his second Winmau Development Tour title of 2024 on Friday, as Roman Benecky also celebrated a landmark victory in Hildesheim.

The year's second weekend of Winmau Development Tour action began with a marathon double-header at Halle 39, with Czech star Benecky and 2023 Order of Merit winner Van Veen sharing the spoils in Events Six and Seven.

Benecky came through a 318-player field to earn the £2,500 top prize in Event Six, following up early whitewash wins over Zyon Raman and Ryan Kettle with comfortable victories against Robbie Hayden, Jack Male and Bailey White.

The 24-year-old then defeated Charlie Manby 4-1 and Irish prospect Dylan Dowling 5-2, before running out a 5-3 winner against Van Veen in the semi-finals.

This set up a showdown against 17-year-old Thomas Banks, but experience paid dividends for Benecky, who survived multiple match darts to become the second Czech player - along with Adam Gawlas - to prevail on the Development Tour circuit.

Banks - a UK Open qualifier in 2023 - performed superbly himself, whitewashing Tour Card Holder Paul Krohne, denying former World Youth Championship finalist Nathan Girvan and landing a ton-plus average to stun Sweden's Viktor Tingstrom.

Nathan Rafferty averaged 109 earlier in the campaign, although the Northern Irishman was beaten in the last 16 by Van Veen, who posted a 105 average in his quarter-final demolition of Finn Prokop.

Van Veen and Rafferty later renewed their rivalry in the Event Seven decider, which saw the Dutchman run out a comprehensive 5-1 winner to secure his ninth Development Tour crown since 2023.

The World Youth Championship runner-up kicked off his campaign with wins over his fellow countrymen Joshua Adriaanse, Sam Groot Roessink, Stefan Dees and Marvin van Velzen; averaging over a ton in his opener against Adriaanse.

After brushing aside Sebastian Bialecki and his compatriot Owen Roelofs in resounding fashion, Van Veen booked his place in Friday's finale with a 5-3 win over Jimmy Bristow, reeling off four straight legs to progress.

The 22-year-old then fired in legs of 15, 13 and 14 darts to race into a 3-0 lead against Rafferty, who had no answer as Van Veen sealed the deal to move top of the Development Tour Order of Merit at the expense of Keane Barry.

Rafferty climbed into the top ten after pocketing the £1,000 runner-up prize, dumping out Event Six finalists Benecky and Banks, before whitewashing Harry Gregory 5-0 in the semi-finals.

This weekend’s Winmau Development Tour action will continue with Events Eight and Nine on Saturday, with play getting underway at approximately 0930 BST in Hildesheim.

The top two players from the 2024 Development Tour Order of Merit will win a PDC Tour Card for 2025-26 and a place in the 2024/25 Paddy Power World Darts Championship.

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2024 Winmau Development Tour
Friday May 3, Halle 39, Hildesheim
Event Six

Roman Benecky 5-2 Dylan Dowling
Gian van Veen 5-1 Finn Prokop
Thomas Banks 5-2 Viktor Tingstrom
Roy Rietbergen 5-1 Cam Crabtree

Roman Benecky 5-3 Gian van Veen
Thomas Banks 5-2 Roy Rietbergen

Roman Benecky 5-4 Thomas Banks

Event Seven

Nathan Rafferty 5-4 Revelino Dubois
Harry Gregory 5-2 Bailey White
Jimmy Bristow 5-2 Ieuan Halsall
Gian van Veen 5-1 Owen Roelofs

Nathan Rafferty 5-0 Harry Gregory
Gian van Veen 5-3 Jimmy Bristow

Gian van Veen 5-1 Nathan Rafferty