Although as a contest yesterday’s men’s final was ultimately disappointing, the BDO World Darts Championships was still a fantastic event.
I don’t have Sky so have only seen clips of the PDC’s competition, but if anyone correctly predicted second titles for Gary Anderson and Scott Waites, then I hope they had a few quid on the double, because I wouldn’t have picked either—I believed top seeds (Michael van Gerwen and Glen Durrant) had really strong claims, but both were eliminated before the semi-final stage.
Anderson was brilliant in defeating Adrian Lewis, hitting a 9-darter along the way; Waites was less impressive, but played more than well enough to overcome Canada’s Jeff Smith, and in fairness, he’d thrown brilliantly under pressure just to get through the rounds. They deserved their respective victories and I congratulate them both.
I have no intention of offering any comparison between the two organisations; anyone who can get up in front of a crowd and throw darts of a consistently high standard has my admiration wherever they ply their trade.
As far as the BDO is concerned, clearly I was biased in hoping that Glen Durrant would lift the title, but his form over recent months certainly merited his no.1 ranking. He was sublime against Larry Butler—a fine player in his own right, but the American was simply swept aside on the day—but couldn’t quite close out his quarter final with Waites, and the Yorkshireman produced his second remarkable comeback in successive games to take his place in the semi-final.
Small margins, but that’s the game… sometimes the dart lands a millimetre inside the wire and you win, sometimes it lands a millimetre the other side and you lose; it was devastating for “Duzza”, genuinely one of the nicest blokes you could wish to meet; but he’s not the world no.1 for nothing and hopefully this setback will simply be the precursor to another memorable year.
I thought Scott Mitchell put up a really good defence of his title; he maybe wasn’t quite in the form to repeat his success, but I’m sure he’s had one of the best years of his life and has been a fine champion.
Of the newcomers, it was Richard Veenstra who stood out for me. I wasn’t surprised he did well (although a semi-final may have exceeded realistic expectations) because I’d watched him play Glen during 2015 and he looked a very talented… and dangerous player. As for Jeff Smith, well maybe last night’s game was one too far, but what a fantastic effort to get all the way to the final….
I wouldn’t have picked the ladies champion either. It’s strange that a nine-time winner could be so readily overlooked, but the ladies game is probably as strong as it’s ever been and I doubt Trina Gulliver was on many shortlists as a likely champion. My preference was for Fallon Sherrock, but it would hardly have been a shock had Lisa Ashton completed a hat-trick of victories.
As it transpired, Deta Hedman reached another final—I wonder how often the combined age of the participants in a major sporting world final totalled more than a hundred?—but once again, she got so close, but wasn’t quite able to get over the line. For her opponent though, a remarkable tenth success, and given the speed of development and the depth in the women’s game, it’s a record that may never be surpassed.