Smith aiming to qualify for the World Youth Championship this year

AIMING HIGH: Bury St Edmunds Morgan Smith (far right) is targeting a spot in the PDC World Youth Championship
AIMING HIGH: Bury St Edmunds Morgan Smith (far right) is targeting a spot in the PDC World Youth Championship
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Bury St Edmunds teenager Morgan Smith has set his sights on a place in the PDC World Youth Championship at the end of the year.

The 17-year-old was in Wigan this past weekend competing in the first four tournaments of this year’s PDC Unicorn Development Tour.

The Development Tour is open to any player aged from 16-23 from outside of the top 32 of the PDC Order of Merit, with £10,000 in prize money up for grabs in each event.

Smith, who was one of three winners of the Unicorn Next Generation competition last year, is aiming to play in all 20 events on the tour this year and is hoping to do enough to qualify for the World Youth Championship in November.

Speaking ahead of the weekend, he said: “My aim is to play in all 20 events this year.

“The tour is played over five weekends and there are four events each weekend.

“Before this weekend I’ve been putting in lots of hours.

“I’ve been practicing two to three hours a day trying to perfect little bits of my game.

“Me, Jordan (Boyce) and Connor (Scutt) (the other two Unicorn Next Generation winners) want to play in the World Youth Championship at the end of the year.”

The World Youth Championship is limited to 64 players, with last year’s field made up of the top 46 players on the final Development Tour Order of Merit, international qualifiers and players from the Junior Darts Corporation circuit.

Prize money earned from the 20 Development Tour events held throughout the year goes towards the Order of Merit, with £1,050 the amount Dylan van Beek earned as the final Order of Merit qualifier for the World Youth Championship last year.

Smith was unsuccessful in picking up any money towards the Order of Merit on the first weekend, as he went out early in all four events.

His sole win of the weekend came in the last 256 of the second event, beating Christophe Snyders 4-0, before he lost by the same scoreline to Dimitri van den Bergh in the next round.

n Andrew Gilding will take on either Ryan Murray or John Ferrell in the second round of the Coral UK Open next month.

The Walsham-le-Willows Sports Club thrower qualified for the UK Open after finishing joint 41st on the final UK Open Order of Merit.

Gilding lost out in the last 64 of the fourth and fifth qualifiers, before bowing out in the last 128 of the final qualifier.

The UK Open takes place on March 3-5 in Minehead.