It is 2019 and therefore we take a look back at the season in 2018.
It was quite a year for the PDC Nordic & Baltic in 2018. Several players made some good efforts at all kinds of stages throughout Europe, and then the first ever PDC event i Denmark became a reality.
On the PDC Nordic & Baltic Pro Tour, there were several players who played some astonishing darts. The ten Pro Tour-events produced six different winners. Daniel Larsson won two Pro Tours. So did Darius Labanauskas, Marko Kantele and Madars Razma. Kim Viljanen and Cor Dekker both won one Pro Tour-event.
At the end of the season it was Darius Labanauskas who had secured most points, and therefore the position of number one in the PDCNB Ranking. Daniel Larsson came in second with only 425 points less.
Out in Europe
As usual the PDC Nordic & Baltic had one spot at each European Tour-event. Names such as Marko Kantele, Darius Labanauskas, Johan Engström, Daniel Larsson, Dennis Nilsson and Magnus Caris thus competed against the very best. The best PDCNB-result however, was at the Danish Darts Open.
The tournament, which was one of the biggest highlights in Nordic darts. As home-nation, the PDC Nordic & Baltic had five spots at the event. The five spots were filled by Darius Labanauskas, Madars Razma, Dennis Nilsson, Per Laursen and Brian Løkken.
Dennis, Per and Brian unfortunately all lost in their first matches, but Madars Razma reached the last 32 and Darius Labanauskas made it all the way to the last 16. Thus he made the best result on the European Tour by an PDC Nordic & Baltic-player.
Finland the best in the World Cup of Darts
Three PDCNB-countries participated at the World Cup of Darts. The three countries were Denmark, Finland and Sweden.
The Danish team consisted of Per Laursen and Henrik Primdahl. Unfortunately they lost again Brazil in the first round.
The Finnish team consisted of Kim Viljanen and Marko Kantele. The two of them started of beating Greece in the first round. In the second round they met Belgium and lost to the later Semi Finalist’s.
The Swedish team consisted of Daniel Larsson and Dennis Nilsson. Just as the Danes, they lost in the first round, in which they met Germany.
Madars Razma beat Michael van Gerwen
As the only PDCNB player with a full PDC Tour Card Madars Razma played at all Players Championship events,
In most of the events, Madars reached the rounds of the last 64 or 32, before he got knocked out. But at Players Championship 19 he reached the final.
On his route to the final, he did beat Gerwyn Price by 6-3 in the round of the last 32. But more impressive he beat Michael van Gerwen by 6-5 in the Quarter Final.
Unfortunately he lost by 6-3 against Max Hopp in the final.
At the Players Championship Finals Madars met Mickey Mansell in the first match and won by 6-4. In the second round he met Stephen Bunting and lost by the same numbers.
9-darter at the Challenge Tour
Throughout the season three PDCNB-players have played on the Challenge Tour. Those three were Dennis Nilsson, Kim Viljanen and Marko Kantele. Our very own Pro Tour 1 & 2 in Denmark clashed with the first Challenge tour weekend so there were no representatives from PDCNB in attendance.
Kim Viljanen participated at four events, in which his best result was being among the last 16.
Marko Kantele participated at twelve events, in which his best result was a Quarter Final. He also was among the last 32 three times.
Dennis Nilsson however participated in remaining sixteen events. And there were some really good results along the way. He won Challenge Tour 7, and besides that, he also reached two Semi Finals and a Quarter Final.
And if that wasn’t impressive enough, Dennis also hit a 9-darter at the Challenge Tour 10 against Kevin Dowling. Dennis won the match by 5-4.
Ranked 3rd going into the final Challenge Tour weekend, Dennis had every chance of securing a Tour Card and World Championship place. Unfortunately the little luck he needed to back up his excellent scoring did not surface. He did however secure an invitation to the 2019 UK Open by finishing 8th.
Dennis Nilsson also played in 10 of the PDC Players Championships, due to his Challenge Tour top 10 ranking position he was invited to “top-up” the main tour tournaments.
Danish and Swedish participation at the Development Tour
Daniel Jensen and Nicolai Rasmussen participated in sixteen and fifteen Development Tour-events throughout the season. Hampus Norrström participated in four.
The two best results were the two times Daniel Jensen got amongst the last 32 in Development Tour 15 and 17.
The Youth World Championship was great experience for qualifiers Nicolai and Hampus. Neither of them made it through the round robin section but both were very close to winning matches that would have made it more interesting, Hampus Norrström missed doubles in all most his legs, scoring heavily to give himself chances.
Fantastic results at the World Championship
The last event of the year was, as always, the World Championship. Darius Labanauskas and Daniel Larsson were the two PDCNB representatives, because of their top two positions in the PDC Nordic & Baltic Ranking.
Daniel Larsson started the tournament by beating Robert Thornton 3-1. In the second round however he lost 3-0 against Kim Huybrechts. The Belgian played with an average at 103,26.
Darius Labanauskas got a little longer than Daniel Larsson. In the first round he beat Matthew Edgar by 3-1. In the second round he probably won the biggest match of his carreer, when he did beat Raymond van Barneveld by 3-2. The fairytale was on, but Adrian Lewis ended it in the third round, in which he won by 4-0 against Darius.
Now we are up for 2019, and we can’t wait to see, what it brings. But one thing is certain, Darius Labanauskas and Madars Razma have already secured a Tour Card each at European Q-School. Darius won his Card by winning the final tournament of the weekend. Madars secured his by playing consistently well over all 4 days, accumulating 16 points to top the ranking table. Marko Kantele came second on the same table, and barring 2000+ entries in the UK Q-School later this month, he too has secured a 2 year Tour Card.
Sweden will be sending 4 youngsters on the 2019 Unicorn Development Tour.
The Challenge Tour will be attended by 8 Nordic & Baltic players.
Madars, Darius, Marko & Dennis will all be at the UK Open in Minehead in March
All of the above shows a significant expansion of Nordic & Baltic participation around Europe. The investments made by the PDC and the PDCNB are truly paying dividends but there is still a lot more to do ……….Happy New Year