Australian Open ready to explode

The prestigious Australian Darts Open is back on this week at the Moama Bowling Club and the third edition is shaping to be the best ever.

This Platinum WDF event is on at the Moama Bowling Club in Southwest NSW from Wednesday 16 – Saturday 19 August 2023, and players are eligible in a share of the $56,000 prize pool.

It is being covered online by Darts Australia’s streaming partners My Sport Live – if you are unable to make it down to the venue.

Coverage kicks off from 6pm on Wednesday 16 August 2023 and this is Oceanic darting at its finest so be sure to a part of it either in attendance or online and show support for these great global darting players.


This year’s men’s field include former World Cup winners, former world youth championship players, former/current world championship players and even a former World Champion once again. Neil Duff has returned to complete unfinished business from last year.

The Kiwi contingent is strong with Jonny Tata, having done so well on stage in Hamilton recently, and a former national representative joining Haupai Puha who has recent World Series of Darts experience and has played on the World Championship stage. Belgian Andy Baetens is joining them. Ranked number one in the world by the WDF he will be looking to see off the challenge of World number 2 and 4 (Puha and Duff) as well as the Australian contingent.

The Australian participants include all of the team picked to play for Australia in the World Cup, with Raymond Smith looking to retain his crown. (He is also joined by his son once more, playing in the competition side by side for a second year in a row. At least this year they have avoided being drawn in the same group together.

They have plenty of experience, including playing in the same World Championship.) Current Australian number one Peter Machin is looking to continue to make the progress he made between the 2019 and 2022 versions of the competition, and youngsters Brandon Weening and Michael Cassar looking to show why they have been selected for the national team to go to Denmark later in the year for the World Cup.

Both Raymond Smith and Peter Machin were part of the World Cup winning Australian team from in Kobe Japan in 2017.) Rob Modra has years of global experience in the game and will be looking to use that to help progress through this tournament.

Also in the competition will be David Platt and Robbie King who can use their world championship experience to attempt to put aside the pressure of the competition and just focus on their own game. Danny Porter, Darren Carson, and Brad Thorp will be able to tap in on their experience in this competition before and are aware of the challenge they face.

Harley Kemp and Karl Schaefer have both been completing strong years across the landscape of Australian darts, Kemp even performing on the World Series of Darts stage in the last week. They will be aiming to keep their runs of form going.

Gordon Mathers has plenty of experience on this stage, being a semi finalist in the very first edition of the event and since then has had tour card experience in the PDC. He had a tough final road to get to the event, beating Justin Thompson and then Shannon O’Brien to make the event. Scott Hallett is also another semi-finalist in the competition, falling to Haupai Puha last year and will be looking to build on his learning from last year to go further in the third edition of the Australian Darts Open.

Carl Caton and Ronald Nakata from West Australia are both debuting in the event but with years of experience and having played in events such as Australian Masters before, they are not going into this competition unaware of the challenge they face.

Laurie Loch and Stuart Coburn made it through qualification at the second last chance but both demonstrated great form throughout the qualifiers (both had lost in previous qualifying finals earlier in the week) and will be looking to continue that form through the rest of the week. By qualifying the Loch’s create the record of being the first married couple to appear in the same year of the Australian Darts Open. Coburn comes from a family synonymous with darts in Australia and will be looking to add further honours to their legacy.

The format is fierce with each player having two matches in their group of three so every match is do or die as only one player progresses to the finals. The group stages are played out as the best of nine whilst the quarters are the best of 11 legs, the semi finals the best of 15 legs and the final best of 19 legs.


The women are just as competitive with international challengers Aileen De Graaf and Lisa Ashton leading the charge. For Ashton this is not an unusual experience as she comes out for a third Australian Darts Open.

2019 saw Ashton take out her group against Australians Barb Smyth and Tori Kewish whilst in the other group another World Champion in Mikuru Suzuki won her group over Lorraine Burn and Lee-Ann Faulkner. The final saw Ashton win by eight legs to six.

The second event double the number of competitors to 12 with four groups of three competitors. Young sensation Beau Greaves joined Ashton and fellow English woman Kirsty Hutchinson in the field plus Japanese pair Suzuki and Yukie Sakaguchi.

Group A was taken out by Greaves over Amanda Loch and Desi Mercer whilst Wendy Harper represented New Zealand by winning through over Hutchinson and Australian Kym Mitchell. The two Japanese ladies contested Group C with Australian star Tori Kewish and it was Suzuki who progressed. The final group saw Kiwi Nicole Regnaud upset Ashton 4-2 and progress as group winner over Ashton and Abbey Morrison.

The semi finals saw both Kiwis eliminated as Greaves won 6-3 over Regnaud and Suzuki 6-2 over Harper. As she has down before and after Greaves then swept the field by defeating Suzuki 8-5, thus the Japanese star holding the unwanted record of being twice losing finalist.

Alongside current world number 2 De Graaf and former winner and darting legend Ashton will be players from both sides of the ditch vying for the title.

As ever New Zealand is represented heavily with Harper and Regnaud returning and looking to make further inroads this year. They will be joined by Desi Mercer who will be looking to get out of the group stage this time around.

Australia’s number one player Kym Mitchell will be looking to show why she gained representative honours this year in the Australian World Cup team. Other squad members in the line up include Amanda Loch, Joanne Hadley and Melina Van Den Kieboom who will all be keen to do well before the World Cup comes around. Australian darting royalty in Chrissy Sheerin, who rolled back the years by winning the Easter Classic at the Geelong Darts club earlier in the year, will be looking to add another trophy to her cabinet. The last two qualifiers had plenty of good darts thrown in the championships just last week. Janine Cassar won the mixed doubles with her son and, as with the Lochs, Janine and Michael created their own piece of history as the first mother and son duo to qualify for the same Australian Darts Open (the Smiths holding the father son record of course.) Maureen Homer, meanwhile, made the quarter finals of the Sunshine Classic and the semi finals of the North Queensland Classic 2022 (losing to the person she defeated in the qualifying final – Seini Vakanofiti), a classic she has won twice before. Homer demonstrates the diverse backgrounds dart players can come from and achieve success in the game in Australia.

The format remains as last year, with four groups of three players each playing the best of seven legs in the group stages and then the semi final being best of 11 legs and the final being best of 15 legs.

The draw has put the following groups together:


Group 1: Andy Baetens, Rob Modra, Laurie Loch
Group 2: Ky Smith, Brad Thorp, Ronald Nakata
Group 3: Peter Machin, Karl Schaefer, Stuart Coburn
Group 4: Raymond Smith, Aaron Morrison, Gordon Mather
Group 5: Haupai Puha, Darren Carson, David Platt
Group 6: Jonny Tata, Harley Kemp, Michael Cassar
Group 7: Neil Duff, Brandon Weening, Scott Hallett
Group 8: Danny Porter, Carl Caton, Robbie King


Group 1: Aileen De Graaf, Melina Van Den Kieboom, Amanda Loch
Group 2: Wendy Harper, Joanne Hadley, Maureen Homer
Group 3: Lisa Ashton, Nicole Regnaud, Janine Cassar
Group 4: Kym Mitchell, Chrissy Sheerin, Desi Mercer

Schedule for Wednesday from 6pm:

  1. Jonny Tata v Harley Kemp (best of 9 games)
  2. Wendy Harper v Joanne Hadley (best of 7 games)
  3. Danny Porter v Carl Caton (best of 9 games)
  4. Haupai Puha v Darren Carson (best of 9 games)
  5. Aileen De Graaf v Melina Van Den Kieboom (best of 7 games)
  6. Neil Duff v Brandon Weening (best of 9 games)
  7. Ky Smith v Brad Thorp (best of 9 games)
  8. Kym Mitchell v Chrissy Sheerin (best of 7 games)
  9. Andy Baetens v Rob Modra (best of 9 games)
  10. Raymond Smith v Aaron Morrison (best of 9 games)
  11. Lisa Ashton v Nicole Regnaud (best of 7 games)
  12. Peter Machin v Karl Schaefer (best of 9 games)