STUART Kellett has said that playing again full-time on the Professional Darts Corporation ranks would restore lost belief in himself.

The Northwich thrower heads to Wigan today, Thursday, to begin a bid to win back a tour card he lost in 2016 after falling outside of the rankings’ top 64.

He will enrol there in Qualifying School, a four-day competition during which a minimum of eight are up for grabs.

“It would mean everything to get one back,” said the 36-year-old.

“The past couple of years have been disappointing and it’s dented my confidence.

“I know I can still play top-class darts though, so to repay the faith shown in me by my partner, family, friends, management team and sponsors would be brilliant – I’d get the biggest boost ever.”

Kellett missed out by the narrowest of margins last year, when he was one leg away from making the cut.

A victory against Kirk Shepherd on the final afternoon, during which he had already won five matches, would have been enough.

However he lost a close encounter in a deciding leg.

“I lost a couple of games I shouldn’t,” reflected Kellett.

“However to lose that one in the last leg, which would have made the difference, was a killer.

“If I find myself in that position again, I’ll put it right.

“That’s the main thing I learned – to take my chances.”

He completed his preparation by recording a victory for Rudheath when they visited Coppenhall B for a Cheshire Men's Super League fixture last weekend.

Kellett added: "I've been practising hard recently to try and get my game back to where it was.

"There is still some way to go, but the signs are positive.

"I'll keep my fingers crossed that it comes together when I get to Wigan."

Professional Darts Corporation (PDC)

Qualifying School

When is it?

Thursday, January 18 through to Sunday, January 21


Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan


The PDC reports that a record field of more than 600 players have registered to take part across two venues – one in England, and the other in Germany.

Entries for the UK event include former World Matchplay and World Grand Prix champion Colin Lloyd, the ex-world number one who is bidding to make his return to the circuit following a two-year break.

Fellow former World Matchplay winner Peter Evison and former TV finalists Wes Newton, Colin Osborne, Barrie Bates, Shayne Burgess will also be in action.

Recent World Youth Champions Corey Cadby, Arron Monk and James Hubbard are competing too.

To see a full list of participants, click here: Q School Entries

What happens?

Play starts at midday in each of the four afternoons at Wigan after an open draw.

All games are the best of nine legs.

The two players that progress from the semi-finals on each of those days receive a two-year tour card automatically.

That’s eight in total, and they do not compete on subsequent days.

What is the Q School Order of Merit?

The PDC has confirmed that a total of 21 tour cards will be up for grabs via a rankings system compiled over the four days.

Players will be allocated points based on how many wins they record from the first full round during each day’s play, excluding byes.

At the end, the remaining tour cards will be awarded according to positions in the Q School Order of Merit on a pro-rata basis (across both schools)

How can I follow what’s happening?

The venue is closed to spectators. However the PDC has promised to post results online at

And if Stuart Kellett does not win back his tour card?
He will be classified as an associate member of the Professional Darts Players Association (PDPA), and can enter all six qualifiers for the UK Open Finals.

Like last year he could also opt to play on the Challenge Tour, the PDC’s second-tier, which in 2018 provides access to Players’ Championship events via its Order of Merit.

If he wishes, he can also play in UK qualifiers for European Tour events providing he occupies a place in the Challenge Tour’s top 32 by the entry deadline.