15 September 1986 |
Ramsgate, Kent, England
|Home town||Swindon Wiltshire
|Playing darts since||1999|
|Darts||21g Kirk Shepherd – Unicorn|
|Walk-on music||Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas|
|Organisation (see split in darts)|
|Current world ranking||90|
|BDO majors - best performances|
|World Masters||Last 64: 2005|
|PDC premier events - best performances|
|World Ch'ship||Runner-up: 2008|
|Grand Slam||Last 16: 2009|
|Ch'ship League||Initial groups, 6th, 2008|
|UK Open||Last 32: 2011, 2013, 2017|
|US Open/WSoD||Quarter Finals: 2009|
|Other tournament wins|
|Youngest player to reach World Darts final (either version)|
|Wikinews has related news: Wikinews interviews UK pro darts player Kirk Shepherd|
Kirk Shepherd (born 5 October 1986 in Ramsgate) is a darts player who competes in Professional Darts Corporation events, and lives in Birmingham, England. He is the youngest player ever to reach a final of the World Professional Darts Championship. Shepherd used the nicknames Young Gun and Karate Kid for his matches, but at the 2009 PDC World Darts Championship, he unveiled a new nickname in the Martial Dartist.
Shepherd won the Winmau World Youth Masters in 2003, the British Teenage Singles Champion in 2004 and 2006 and was twice voted British Darts Organisation Young Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006. At the age of just 18, he reached the final of the BDO Gold Cup in 2005. In 2006, he reached the quarter finals of the England Open, before switching from the BDO circuit to join the PDC in November 2006.
Shepherd's first twelve months in the PDC were not particularly successful – with just a couple of last 32 placings in the non-televised Pro Tour events and reached only 142 in the world rankings by the time of the qualifying rounds for the 2008 World Championship. Shepherd then qualified at the last chance PDPA qualifier to earn a place at the tournament proper at the Alexandra Palace.
He then produced a series of major upsets at the 2008 World Championships, beating Terry Jenkins in the first round – then Mick McGowan and Barrie Bates and three-times former finalist Peter Manley to reach the semi-finals. Jenkins missed seven darts to beat him, McGowan missed four darts and Manley missed two darts to end his run, but he continued to progress. He then defeated Wayne Mardle 6–4 in the semi-final and met John Part in the final of the World Championship on New Year's Day. He failed to produce the form he had shown in the tournament and scored the lowest average by a finalist in the PDC World Championship during his 2–7 loss. He collected the runners-up cheque for £50,000 – his previous career earnings had been £16,970. Shepherd qualified for the Grand Slam of Darts in 2008 and his world ranking jumped from 173 at the start of 2007 to 22nd at the start of 2008. After the match, he quit his job where he had worked in a factory.
However, Shepherd was unable to continue his form throughout 2008, losing out in the last 64 in the UK Open and failing to qualify for the Las Vegas Desert Classic and the 2008 World Matchplay championship. Shepherd did play in the 2008 Grand Slam in November but lost all three of his group games, losing 5–1 to Raymond van Barneveld and 5–0 to Gary Mawson before narrowly losing 5–4 to Robert Thornton.
Shepherd entered the 2009 World Championship as the number 23 seed and faced Jan van der Rassel in the first round, losing 3–2 in a tie-break. The following day, it emerged that Shepherd was intending on leaving the PDC, and returning to the BDO. However Shepherd has since overturned this decision, and has continued competing at PDC Pro Tour events.
In August 2009, Shepherd showed signs of his old form, reaching the quarter finals in the US Open for the very first time. This was followed up in November 2009 by winning 2 of his 3 group games in the 2009 Grand Slam of Darts to reach the second round, where he lost 5–10 to Kevin Painter.
In March 2010 Shepherd reached the quarter finals of the PDPA Players Championship 7 Wigan at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan. He lost 0-6 to Colin Lloyd.
In September 2011, Shepherd reached the quarter finals of the PDPA Players Championships 18 Derby at the Moorways Centre in Derby. He lost 1-6 to Paul Nicholson.
In February 2013 he was ranked seven of the nine Tour Card winners from the Q School Order of Merit.
In 2015 Shepherd competed in the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour who is open to all PDPA Associate Members who failed to win a Tour Card at Qualifying School. He reached two finals, winning 5-3 against Jack Tweddel in March and losing 2-5 against Martin Lukeman in September.
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Shepherd became a father to a son, Callum, in early 2009. In June 2011 Kirk became a father for the second time to son Jack.
World Championship Results
- 2008: Runner Up (lost to John Part 2-7)
- 2009: 1st Round (lost to Jan van der Rassel 2-3)
- 2010: 3rd Round (lost to Mark Webster 1-4)
- 2011: 1st Round (lost to Wayne Jones 1-3)
PDC premier event finals: 1 (1 runner-up)
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score[N 1]|
|Runner-up||1.||2008||PDC World Darts Championship||John Part||2–7 (s)|
- (l) = score in legs, (s) = score in sets.
- "Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship PDPA Qualifiers". PDC. 12 November 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- Lewis, Richard (29 December 2009). "Kirk Shepherd pays tribute to grandmother". Daily Star. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- Jiggins, Paul (24 December 2008). "Kirk ready to quit after KO". The Sun. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
- "PDC Qualifying School Day Four". PDC.tv. Professional Darts Corporation. Retrieved 11 March 2013.