Bristol five head for Wigan in the hope of fulfilling their ambitions
FIVE of the best darts players in Bristol will spend next weekend trying to secure a Professional Darts Corporation tour card at the annual qualifying school in Wigan.
Mike Nott, Ryan Palmer, Chris Hartrey, Damien Sherwood and Andy Parsons will test themselves over four days in the hope of securing a spot on the PDC's Pro Tour.
The quintet will compete with players such as three-times World Championship runner-up Peter Manley, former World Matchplay and World Masters winner Peter Evison, and 2010 World Cup of Darts runner-up Barrie Bates for a guaranteed place among the elite in 2013.
German prodigy Max Hopp, Ronny Huybrechts – the brother of Belgian ace Kim – and former BDO World Championship semi-finalist Brian Woods will also be competing for one of the 16 guaranteed tour cards.
There are four days of qualifying, which begin next Thursday, and Nott, a 26-year-old painter and decorator from Knowle, is determined to earn his card.
He came within one win of securing a position in 2011 and knows what to expect from the event in Wigan.
"I believe I can qualify, otherwise what is the point in attempting it?" he said.
"I came pretty close the last time I went up there – I was one game away from getting the tour card – so I'm looking to go one better this time.
"It's a brilliant four days and the standard is really high – you've just got to take your chances."
Sherwood, who is 26 and lives in Highridge, gained valuable experience at last year's Q-School – and is hoping to put that to good use next week.
"There are four cards available each day, plus several others qualify through the merit table – and I was five places off getting a card last year," he said. "There are a few of us going up from Bristol this year and hopefully all of us will do well."
Also attempting to qualify will be Palmer, a 25-year-old bar manager from Hartcliffe, who put up a dartboard in the function room where he works, so he can practice during his breaks. The in-form Hartrey, 24, from Knowle, and Parsons will also be looking to secure tour cards.
Mark Sherwood leads the way in the Eastville Coaches Bristol League of Experts after coming through tough matches against Martyn Lansdown and Parsons in the latest round of action at The Bulldog in Filton.
Sherwood's 6-5 victory over Parsons helped him open up a 25-point lead at the head of the table.
Meanwhile, James Peto was also in impressive form, moving from sixth place overall to second, despite losing 6-5 to Matt Draper in his final game.
Leading standings in the Eastville Coaches Bristol League of Experts after five weeks: 1 M Sherwood 106 points, 2 J Peto 81, 3 M Draper 80, 4 D Keirnan 71, 5 M Barrs 69.