It’s grand to be home as Jamie Hughes makes the Slam
Tipton’s darts ace Jamie Hughes secured qualification for the 2019 BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton – and admitted he had been eyeing his ‘home tournament’ all year, writes Tom Beresford.
Hughes completed wins over Vincent van der Meer, Benito van de Pas, Alan Tabern and Darius Labanauskas in a tough qualifying campaign en route to securing his place at the prestigious event in Wolverhampton.
For Hughes, it’s his third appearance in four years at the elite event at the Aldersley Leisure Village, which takes place this coming Saturday.
It’s Yozza’s home event, and he’ll certainly have the support of the Black Country faithful.
The draw for the Grand Slam of Darts was made earlier in the week, and Hughes has a tough group in Group E as he faces World Matchplay champion and former world champion Rob Cross, Dave Chisnall and Lisa Ashton.
Back in 2016, en route to the knockout stages, Hughes was faced with a similar task in terms of level of opposition as he topped a group which included the likes of James Wade and Dave Chisnall as the Tipton star reached the last 16, losing out to Chris Dobey.
Hughes boasts a winning record over number two seed Cross following a win over the former world champion in a UK Open qualifying event last year. Hughes also defeated Dave Chisnall emphatically (5-1) in that run to the last 16 back in 2016, so Yozza will feel confident heading into the event. He suffered with an elbow injury just a week or so ago as he competed at the European Championship, but following his performances in the qualifiers for the Grand Slam, it’s apparent that those injury woes aren’t severe as first thought.
“I’m over the moon to qualify for the Grand Slam of Darts,” said Hughes. “If I’m being honest, I’ve had half an eye on it all year with it being my home event.
“I’m really looking forward to playing in front of my home crowd again. The qualifying event in Wigan was a good standard of play, and everyone who made it through, deserved to get through.”
Hughes added: “There’s been a few complaints on social media about certain players missing out, but I think that’s what’s great about the PDC, the fact that there’s always an opportunity to qualify for a TV event.
“Even if you’ve had a bad year, you can still qualify for a major televised tournament.
Hughes also provided an update on the elbow injury he’s been battling through for a number of weeks.
“I went to see a physio regarding my injury, and he told me that I had bursitis in my elbow and advised me to see my GP, which they did and gave me the correct medication and advised me to rest it as much as possible.
“The elbow feels much better now and fingers crossed, it’s all behind me now.”
Hughes remains confident that he can make it out of Group E and replicate to kind of form that saw him reach the last 16 back in 2016 on debut.
“I’m confident that I can qualify for the knockout stages,” admitted Hughes. “It’s a tough group, but I prefer it like that because it will bring the best out of me.”