Red Dragon moved to retain three of their most talented players during the past couple of weeks. In agreeing to extend the contracts of Johnny Clayton, Luke Humphries and Richard North, RD look set to consolidate their recent success in player recruitment.
Clayton is the highest ranked of the three, currently at 13 in the PDC system, and recently claimed a second Pro Tour title in Barnsley. His efforts, both on the Pro Tour and in major events, have seen him rise, through the rankings, rapidly since his 2015 PDC debut. The Welshman also has a decent record against, World No.1, MVG. Surely, Red Dragon is hoping he goes one better than at the Players Championship Finals in 2017.
Richard North also extended his arrangments with RD recently and has continued to thrive with their support. Richard currently sits inside the top 40 (PDC) and has had several high points in his career since joining the Welsh darts manufacturer. His appearance in the later stages of TV majors, toward the end of both 2017 and 2018, have served him, and his sponsors well. The Swindon player will be looking to widen these efforts, in an attempt to climb further, over the next few years.
Luke Humphries’ superb run in the 2018/19 World Championships, and some solid Pro Tour form, have seen head toward the world’s top 50. His efforts, and multiple titles, on the Development Tour, seem to indicate a consistency level, and potential, even greater than his recent successes. Berkshire’s “Cool Hand” celebrated with another bumper weekend on the Development Tour.
All in all this activity suggests Red Dragon is continuing with their slightly unusual recruitment model. For some years they have signed a wide variety of players who differ from the obvious. Willing to take a risk earlier than some major names, but relying on spotting talent coming through via less conventional paths. As Clayton, North & Humphries demonstrate you don’t have to have won major events, or recorded impressive stats, to have potential in modern darts or value to a major sponsor.