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2016 international Darts Open – Four players in need of a good weekend

2016 International Darts Open – Four players in need of a good weekend

By James Nolan

With the race for places at the European Championship and next month’s World Grand Prix intensifying, players will be looking to make an impact as they take to the stage for the first of a hat-trick of Euro Tour events in the month of September.

The 2016 International Darts Open in Riesa, Germany, provides a fundimental platform for players both in need of an upsurge in form, and those who are just looking to consolidate their current standings at the top of the game.

Taking the contrasting potential aims for the coming months of the 48 participants into consideration, the following four players will be hoping for a good weekend at the office.

1. James Wilson 

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In terrific form of late, ‘the Jammy Dodger’ will be looking to build on his recent back to back Players Championship semi finals with a deep run at this weekend’s International Darts Open.

Wilson is hot on Justin Pipe’s heels for the last pro tour qualifier spot for the Grand Prix, and the former Lakeside finalist has emphasised that his intentions are to knock ‘The Force’ off his perch to qualify for his first tv major in the PDC.

Wilson has already experienced a good run on the Euro Tour this term, defeating the unorthodox Mensur Suljovic on the road to a last 16 appearance.

2. Steve West

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In a similar vein to James Wilson, West will also be looking to build on his startling form in recent months with a trek to the business end of the 2016 International Darts Open

West finds himself in touching distance of the final pro tour spot for the Grand Prix, and after experiencing his first taste of tv action in the PDC at last November’s Grand Slam of Darts, the Essex darter will be hungry to ply his trade on the big stage once again.

With three last 32 runs on the Euro Tour and notable deep runs in recent pro tour events, as well as having the luxury of being qualified for the trio of September European Tour events, West finds himself in a prime position to claim a Grand Prix spot.

3. Andy Hamilton

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The last two years have been ones to forget for ‘The Hammer’. However, Hamilton can ill afford to feel sorry for himself as in the long run, he is currently in danger of missing out on a place at December’s World Darts Championship, a scenario not even the greatest of fortune tellers could have foretold two years ago.

The Stoke native has been handed a testing first round draw in the form of James Wilson, but there is no doubting that hamilton and his raw passion can still turn it on and achieve a good run at this week’s event.

Having not qualified for any of the three remaining Euro Tour events following the conclusion of this weekend’s action, Hamilton will have to divert his attention to maintaining steady form in the remaining Players Championship events as a means of securing his place at this year’s Ally Pally spectacle.

4. Robert Thornton

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With a busy September schedule and the defence of his World Grand Prix crown approaching, ‘The Thorn is in desperate need of a change in fortunes.

The recent wave of early exits and heavy defeats the Scot has been experiencing are uncharacteristic of Thornton, and with the packed September, which includes the inagural Champions League of Darts, things don’t appear to be getting any easier for the three time major champion.

Being the number ten seed for the weekend’s action, Thornton could run into a potentially tricky last 16 encounter with Benito van de Pas if he manages to successfully negotiate his way past Mark Frost or Ronny Huybrechts in the last 32. However, there is no doubting that when ‘The Thorn’ turns it on, he is a threat to any player and tournament.

Which players do you believe need a good weekend at the International Darts Open? Let us know your views in the comments section or on Twitter.

*Grand Prix qualification stats courtesy of Burton DeWitt