Ryan reaches final of world’s biggest open darts tournament

Borders darts player Ryan Hogarth almost went the whole way earlier this month in the largest competition of its kind in the world.

Ryan Hogarth on stage in Assen after finishing second in the Bauhaus Dutch Open (picture by Bas van den Berk).
Ryan Hogarth on stage in Assen after finishing second in the Bauhaus Dutch Open (picture by Bas van den Berk).

The 27-year-old, from Kelso, already an experienced international player on the British Darts Organisation circuit, got all the way to the final of the 2019 Bauhaus Dutch Open, which he reckoned had approximately 3,500 entrants.

Ryan, a Borders County player, survived around a dozen games to get through the marathon field – and he beat a number of notable names in world darts along the way.

“It was good to play in – it’s probably one of the best-run competitions I have played in,” he said. “They do it really well over there.”

Ryan was seeded 20 in the tournament, in Assen, and started in superb form, losing only one leg in his matches en route to the last 128.

“I have beaten quite a lot of big players before but to beat four or five in a row is quite hard,” he added.

Ryan ended the challenge of players like Dutchman Rick Hofstra and former BDO world champion Scott Mitchell, as well as Germany’s Michael Unterbuchner.

Come the semi-finals, the action had transferred to Dutch television, on a stage which Ryan said resembled a Premier League venue.

He defeated Englishman Dave Parletti in the semi-final before his marvellous run, unfortunately, came to an end, as he lost 3-2 in sets to Richard Veenstra of Holland.

“I was really happy to get that far in such a big competition,” said Ryan. “To win one game is hard in itself but to beat the standard of players I was consistently beating, and the way I was doing it, was very pleasing.”

Such a great accomplishment made up for the dispapointment of an early exit from this year’s BDO World Championship at the Lakeside in early January.

Ryan had done very well to win the play-offs, after a very testing series of qualifying matches.

But, in the preliminary round, he lost 3-1 to Serbian Oliver Ferenc.

“I had been playing well but I didn’t score quite as heavily as I normally do,” he said. “I am quite a big 180 hitter and I think I only hit four.”

Ryan’s achievement in the Netherlands meant he earned a lot of ranking points, which should help in his bid to reach the Lakeside again in 2020.

He hoped to secure a place through the ranking system, rather than the qualifying stages which, given the standard of players, not only in Britain but from Europe, Australia and the Far East, ws very difficult.

Ex-Kelso High School pupil Ryan, whose parents Grham and Irene are well-known Borders Country players, took up darts at the age of 18, after a varied sporting life which included tennis, curling, basketball and cricket.

He has played in Scotland’s Euro Cup team and the Six Nations, with forthcoming events including the Scottish Open and a contest on the Isle of Man. One of Ryan’s proudest moments came in his first televised game, which he won, in this year’s Winmau Trophy, where he stole a leg with a highest-possible 170 finish against Gary Robson – who had just hit 177 to leave himself a single-dart finish.