Tough to make Dome for Dennis

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YORKSHIRE darts legend Dennis Priestley is facing a battle to qualify for the Players’ Championship finals at The Dome in December after being struck by food poisoning during his latest bid to qualify for the event.

Two-time World Champion Priestley has cut down his appearances on the professional circuit since turning 60 in July 2010, and recently slipped outside of the world’s top 32.

However, the Mexborough ace can still win a place in the World Championship in December, as well as next month’s Players’ Championship finals, should he enjoy success in the PDC’s non-televised events.

Priestley competed for the first time since early September in last weekend’s Players’ Championship double-header in Benidorm - hoping to win enough prize money to move him into the qualifying places for the forthcoming televised events. He reached the last 16 of Saturday’s tournament before losing out to Australian Simon Whitlock, but was affected by food poisoning ahead of Sunday’s event.

The 61-year-old defeated Bradford-based South African Devon Petersen in the first round on Sunday, but was unable to continue and had to withdraw from the event.

Four Players’ Championship events being held in Crawley this weekend and in Wigan on November 26-27, now remain for Priestley.

He said: “Benidorm was a big disappointment for me. I felt good on the Saturday and played well before losing to Simon, and I was hoping to have a good run in Sunday’s event. When I fell ill I decided I’d give it my best shot but unfortunately after the first game I knew I couldn’t continue.

“Thankfully the virus has now gone and I should be fine to play again in Crawley this weekend - but I’m running out of Players’ Championships events to try and qualify for Doncaster and the World Championship.

“I’d love to be on stage in Doncaster and at the World Championship.”