As the PDC World Championship begins to draw to a conclusion the BDO version is about to begin as 40 more hopefuls head to the Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green looking to get their hands on the other world title in the sport.
Some of the most famous names in the sport of darts have their hands on this trophy from Eric Bristow to Phil Taylor, from John Lowe to Raymond Barneveld and many in between so this is a really famous tournament to win and with that comes pressure and drama and both are guaranteed this week.
Scott Mitchell stormed to the title 12 months ago and he defends the title this week. He went into last year’s tournament as one of the talked up horses but there hasn’t been as much hype around him this year which could well suit him although obviously he’ll get a lot of extra attention once the tournament begins.
One of the reasons for the lack of hype around Mitchell is the form of the world number one Glen Durrant. Durrant lost in that epic semi-final against Martin Adams here last year but he hasn’t looked back since and is very much a worthy favourite to win this crown.
The Teesider has landed both the Winmau World Masters and the Finders Masters in recent months and is putting in insane averages to go with it. It has to be said though that there are a few banana skins in his way in the draw and this tournament hasn’t been kind to top seeds historically so although he’s the best player in the BDO right now we shouldn’t hand him the trophy just yet.
Martin Adams has won this tournament three times and he was the runner up at Lakeside last year. He caught the eye recently in the Grand Slam of Darts where he turned up to the surprise of most, embraced the week and played some lovely arrers.
Were it not for Durrant, Wolfie would have won a stack of tournaments this year but experience here of all places can never be bought and never be underestimated so the popular veteran arrives in Surrey as a dangerous man albeit like Durrant with a few dangerous opponents lurking early on.
Jamie Hughes heads to Lakeside as the fourth seed. He has been touted as a potential winner of this tournament for a couple of years but was taken out by his good friend Durrant in the second round last year and the two could meet in the semi-final this year which is a bit of a concern.
Hughes is a heavy scorer but the darts gods haven’t been kind with his draw and given that he looks a little short to me it has to be said.
The other former champion who turns up with every chance of winning is Scott Waites. Waites made his name at the Grand Slam of Darts before landing this title but since he won in 2013 he has only won one match in the two years since in this event which isn’t ideal.
Another thing that isn’t ideal is him being in Durrant’s quarter so it would take a big effort from ‘Scotty2Hotty’ if he is to claim a second Lakeside title.
Aside from the main players there are a few Lakeside regulars back for more this year. Wesley Harms, Gary Robson, Tony O’Shea, Darryl Fitton and Martin Phillips have all had big runs in this tournament in the past and will be longing for another strong tilt at the title.
I’m going to go with a youngster as my main pick here and for those who only watch the Lakeside you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m mad in backing Jeffrey de Graaf but the Dutchman arrives here as the number three seed and is starting to mature into a very good player.
Even in the previous three years he’s been to the Lakeside and struggled badly his talent has been talked up by those in the game but he has made them look like mugs with his performance. I sense that might change this year though.
The BDO events are on TV a lot more so if his problem was performing in front of the cameras he’s had ample chance to come to terms with that and his run to the final of the BDO World Trophy will have done him no harm either.
De Graaf is in the weak section of the draw and we see it year on year that there is always a surprise semi-finalist in this event and it could just be that the German Open champion is that one this year.
Another youngster in a weakish section of the draw is the Welshman Jim Williams. Williams has had a great year winning the World Cup singles and the German Masters as well as making the semis of the Finders Masters recently.
He’s had a nine darter on tour too which highlights his heavy scoring and while he has a dangerous obstacle in Tony O’Shea to overcome in the first round if he does that he could go deep. At 50/1 it could be worth paying to see just how far the Welshman can go.
I’m also going to take a shot in the dark on someone at a massive price in the form of Rob Modra. Modra has been around for a while but hasn’t really been seen at the top level as much as he should have been.
He qualified for the PDC World Championship a few years ago but a visa issue meant he couldn’t compete so he’ll be chomping at the bit to get stuck in here.
The Australian came over early to prepare for this tournament and has been practicing with Simon Whitlock in the lead up to this event and we saw Whitlock score heavier than he has for a while in his short tenure in the PDC equivalent of this competition before Christmas so that all bodes well. He’s been playing the Hampshire circuit which is good preparation.
Earlier in 2015, Modra took Gary Anderson to a deciding leg in the Auckland Masters which is no mean effort. He averaged a shade under 90 on that occasion and if that is the sort of game he takes to Frimley Green with him he’s entitled to spoil a few parties at an outrageous price.
Back J.de Graaf to win BDO World Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 26.00 with Bet365 (1/2 1-2)
Back J.Williams to win BDO World Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 51.00 with Bet365 (1/2 1-2)
Back R.Modra to win BDO World Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 151.00 with Bet365 (1/2 1-2)