Former PDC tour card holder Davey Dodds has passed away at the age of 46.
Dodds was a highly-regarded player from the North East and qualified for the UK Open three times, most recently in 2014.
“Dodgy D” qualified for the major affectionately known as ‘The FA Cup of Darts’ for the first time in 2011, winning through a qualifier in Middlesbrough, and was drawn against then world number four James Wade in the first round.
The Co Durham said in an interview with Sky Sports ahead of the game: “You could have been thinking ‘why couldn’t I get an easier draw?’ but at the same time everyone’s there to be beaten.
“I’ve played darts for a long time and it won’t faze me much. I think I’ve played just about every dart player other than Phil Taylor through the years.”
Dodds lost 4-2 to “The Machine” to bring an early end to his first taste of playing in a PDC major, but was back the following year and enjoyed wins over Alan Casey, John Jukes and Stuart White, before being drawn against Gary Anderson in the last 64.
The match, which Anderson won 9-3 and was on the main stage at the Reebok Stadium, is most memorable for featuring a nine-dart finish. In the third leg, Anderson hit back-to-back 180s and then checked out 141 for the perfect leg.
After missing out on a tour card at Q-School in 2013, Dodds won a two-year tour card to play on the PDC circuit at the start of 2014 when he finished high enough on the Q-School Order of Merit.
A deciding-leg win over five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld in the UK Open Qualifiers helped Dodds qualify for the UK Open for a third time, this time at Minehead, where he beat David O’Brien before losing to Benito van de Pas 5-3 in the second round.
Dodds continued to play on the PDC circuit up until March of 2015, before turning out for Q-School the following year and then competing on the BDO circuit as recently as May this year.
Since news of his passing surfaced on social media late last night, tributes have been pouring in from players and fans.
World number two Anderson, who hit the nine darter against him in the UK Open, tweeted: ‘RIP Davey Dodds a great player. Thoughts go out to his family & friends!’
Former major winner Paul Nicholson posted: ‘Speechless this morning after hearing of the passing of Davey Dodds. A lad I’ve known for ages, and someone I had so much respect for.’
World number 39 and Northumberland-based thrower Chris Dobey tweeted: ‘Horrible news to wake up to this morning RIP Davey Dodds great guy and one hell of a darter! Shocked!! Fly high mate!’
The Love The Darts team would like to send our condolences to Davey’s family and friends at this sad time.