Dramatic day as Bates seals tour card and world championship place.
As the 2023 PDC Challenge Tour came to a close, Owen Bates snatched a place in the World Darts Championship and a PDC Tour Card from John Henderson.
The race to Ally Pally and the PDC ProTour came down to the wire on Monday in Wigan, with Bates leaving it late to leapfrog Henderson into second place on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit.
Former World Cup of Darts champion Henderson started the day in pole position to return to the sport’s biggest stage, only for Bates to break his heart.
Bates, 20, won back-to-back finals in Events 23 and 24 to finish just £175 ahead of Henderson and grab second place on the order of merit.
Bates, who won his maiden Challenge Tour title earlier this year, will make his World Championship debut in December and will join Berry van Peer in winning a Tour Card for 2024 and 2025.
Van Peer will also make his World Championship debut after winning four Challenge Tour titles this season to easily claim the top slot on the Order of Merit, and he will also compete in next month’s Grand Slam of Darts.
Bates overcame Kurt Parry, Ian Jones, Ron Meulenkamp, and Darren Armstrong in the Event 24 Quarter-Finals after being thwarted in a decisive leg by Andy Boulton in the Event 23 final on Sunday.
He then defeated Bates Peter Jacques in a last-leg shoot-out before rallying from 4-1 down in a tense Semi-Final against Mike Warburton, surviving multiple match darts to secure his place at Ally Pally.
Bates, on the other hand, was denied a crowning triumph by James Hurrell, who won the final 5-2 to capture his first PDC title.