DUDLEY'S Liam Kelly booked his place at the ‘FA Cup of Darts’ after coming through a stacked field to qualify in Wolverhampton.

Kelly will also be joined by Cannock’s Mark Craddock after the pair fought their way to the last two to get their chance at glory at the 2018 UK Open, writes Craig Birch.

Pub chain Rileys Sports Bars are again working alongside the PDC to produce 32 'wildcards' to join the latter's professionals at the UK Open.

This year's finals returns to Butlins in Minehead, broadcast on ITV4 from March 2 - 4, and plans are gathering pace to determine the 128-player field for the competition's 16th year.

The top 96 from the UK Open Order of Merit, played between the PDC pro at the organisation's own UK Open qualifiers, make up the rest of the entrants.

Four will prevail from two tournaments at Rileys Wolverhampton, on Broad Street in the city centre, with the first two generated from the first competition at the weekend.

Rileys Wolverhampton staged the qualifier for a fourth consecutive year, with a record number of 196 players taking part. The final was decided around midnight.

The eight boards at the venue produced quarter-finalists, who would be whittled down to two winning semi-finalists who claimed the two places.

Neil Steventon, Mark Craddock, Luis Barberan, Chris Stokes, Shaun Carroll, Mark Hylton, Liam Kelly and Terence Hancox emerged to determine the field for the last eight.

Craddock emerged at the expense of Steventon 4-2, while Barberan went down by the same scoreline to Stokes.

Hylton came from 2-0 down to complete a fight back and see off Carroll 4-2, while Kelly battled to get past Hancox after a 4-3 last leg shootout.

Operating under the 501 format, all ties were a first-to-four leg race until the semi-final, which then became best-of-nine. Those who prevailed secured the UK Open positions.

A hotly-anticipated clash saw Kelly impressively whitewash Rugeley’s Hylton, a former PDC professional regular, 5-0 after flying out of the blocks with the darts.

Craddock stormed past Stokes, who replied with a 180 in a desperate bid to save the game with his reply, 5-1 to head towards his UK Open debut, Those involved who didn’t make the grade are invited to have another go. The second event is on Sunday, February 18 and another bumper amount are expected to take part.

You can also apply in person at Rileys until 5pm the previous day. Their contact number is 01902 310 521. Entry is just £7, including a free drink on selected brands.

Anybody aged 16 or over (on January 1) can compete in the qualifiers, but you cannot enter on the day. The online cut-off is 24 hours before the event at rileys.co.uk/tournaments.

There is a strict dress code of trousers, shoes and either a shirt or polo shirt. Those whose played in the 2018 PDC's Qualifying School, or PDPA members, cannot enter.

Doors open at 10am on the day and players must sign in by midday, ahead of the 12.30pm draw. They will toe the oche by 1.30pm.