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Kirk Shepherd makes early exit from PDC World Darts Championship

Kirk Shepherd
Kirk Shepherd

Kent-born Kirk Shepherd crashed out of the PDC World Darts Championship at the first hurdle, losing to world number 13 Wayne Jones at Alexandra Palace on Sunday night.

The ex-finalist, from Ramsgate, had failed to qualify for the tournament but was handed a late entry when Australia’s Rob Modra was unable to obtain the required visa to compete.

Ranked as the best non-qualifier on the Players Championship Order of Merit, Shepherd started brightly, winning the first set.

However, Jones won six legs on the bounce to take the lead at 2-1, as his rival’s game became increasingly erratic.

Shepherd, whose local pub in Ramsgate was the Australian Arms, won the opening leg of the fourth set but several costly mistakes handed the match to Jones.

The 24-year-old former sheet metal worker, nicknamed Karate Kid, reached the final of the World Championship in 2008, after memorable wins over Peter Manley and Wayne Mardle in the semis.

He was eventually defeated 7-2 by John Part but won £50,000 prize money and a place in the world’s top 32.

Shepherd, who now lives in Birmingham, failed to make an impact in the 2009 tournament, slumping to a first round defeat to Jan van der Rassel.

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