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Lennon Cradock, Keelan Kay and Freddie Francis all earnt PDPA Scholarships for being placed in the top three players aged 16 and above in the 2018 JDC Order of merit. They got their campaigns underway on the 9th March, with Kay profiting the most from the visit. Two last 64 appearances on the opening day representing an excellent turnover for the Devon based thrower. 

Two further tournaments would take place at Robin Park on the Sunday, as Kay once again had the furthest run of the trio. The 17-year-old reaching the last 16 hitting a 91 average in the process. 

Having also earnt a PDPA Scholarship in 2018, Kay has used the experience gained from the previous season to up his game in his final year in the JDC. He told me: “The Development Tour is completely different now. This year I’ve got there and not worried about anybody else, and just focused on my own game.

The experience of last year has really helped me, I just turn up and throw my darts now, it doesn’t matter who I’m playing I know I have the game to defeat them.”

Kay also spoke of his experience on the JDC Scott Farms International UK Tour, saying the upsurge in the standard in the past 18 months in been phenomenal. “The events are getting harder to win on the JDC Tour. Leighton Bennett has obviously come in this year and been quite dominant. But there are so many great players in the JDC, who can challenge him and push each other to play their best darts.”

After crowning an excellent season with an appearance in the 2018 JDC Junior World Darts Championship final at Alexandra Palace, Lennon Cradock is looking to make further imprints on the darting world competing on the PDC Development Tour. 

Despite not matching the results of ‘The Lord of the Board’ in the first eight events, the Oxfordshire thrower has taken two sizeable scalps. 

He dispatched of former event winner Well Nijman in event six as he reached the last 64. But his biggest result would come against the aforementioned Harry Ward, as Cradock drew confidence from defeating a PDC professional. 

‘The Beard to be Feared’ has become a force to be reckoned with on the JDC tour, and with the ability to match the heaviest scorers on the Development Tour, Cradock is looking forward to the second half of the season. 

He said: “My average consistently has gone up by ten points or so in the last year, I feel a lot more confident and have the experience against some top-class players. More people know who I am now as well and take me seriously since making the JDC Junior World Championship final at the Alexandra Palace.”

Freddie Francis has also had some success in his inaugural season on the PDC circuit. Two first round victories got him off the mark, but the long journey from Essex has made life difficult on Tour for ‘The Filmstar’. 

After turning 16 in April, former JDC Tour champion James Beeton took his first steps on the PDC Development Tour last month. The Chester based thrower has been chomping at the bit after an abundance of fantastic results earlier in the season. 

Beeton said he was frustrated with his performance in Wigan, but knows he has the game to make a mark against the world’s finest under 23 players. “In the first event of the weekend I made it to the board final against Mike van Duijvenbode who has a PDC tour card.

“I was 3-1 up and he brought it back to 3-3, I really let him off the hook and could have won the game quite convincingly. Sometimes you get the luck and sometimes you don’t, but I was the one that missed the doubles so I can’t blame anybody else.”

Beeton also stressed the importance of a respectful environment if he want to play his best darts, and he believes the Development Tour is the best place to do so: “The set-up on the PDC Development Tour is unbelievable. It’s the perfect environment to play darts: it’s quiet, there’s lots of space around the boards, there’s little chance of being put off so you are able to play your best darts.”

The quartet will next be involved in Development Tour action on the 9th June, as the PDC rolls into Milton Keynes for the second time this season. 

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