It’s time to crown another world champion at the Lakeside.

Leighton Bennett has already taken the BDO World Youth title. Tomorrow is the men’s final. But before that, the Ladies’ final will seal one player’s spot in Lakeside history.

The Ladies’ final has an intriguing edge; there will definitely be a new name on the trophy. Every final has featured a former winner bar the first edition, and the 2014 final. Back then, number one seed Deta Hedman lost to an upstart unseeded star by the name of Lisa Ashton. Five years on, Ashton was toppled by an unseeded player, and that player has reached the final. She faces the number one seed. In a way, it feels like the end of some grand cycle.

Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics

Photo: Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics

But this might just be the start for Mikuru Suzuki. The Miracle is already a superstar in Japan; now could be the time for world domination. Suzuki was excellent in victory over Ashton, awful in her win against Sharon Prins and excellent again in holding off Maria O’Brien. The end result was the same in all three games. A run of 2-0 wins means the Asian ace hasn’t even dropped a set at the Lakeside. It would be a truly remarkable story if she won – a Miracle, one might say.

Lorraine Winstanley has got better and better from day one. A stuttering 69 average against Casey Gallagher became a more assured 73 versus Trina Gulliver, and a 75.19 was enough to finally beat close friend Anastasia Dobromyslova on the Lakeside stage. One criticism of Winstanley is that she hasn’t found her best form on the biggest stage of all, but in games against three very tough opponents the Derbyshire star has found the mental strength to battle through. As top seed, she’s now the favourite to go one better than husband Dean managed eight years ago. Her Target stablemate will feel that victory is also in her grasp. This biggest of games is almost impossible to call – we know at least that it will be quite the spectacle.

Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics

Photo: Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics

Massive semis

The men’s semi-finals aren’t top billing on Saturday, but they take up the majority of the schedule. Once the Ladies’ champion has collected her trophy and vacated the stage, Scott Waites and Michael Unterbuchner will resume their own title challenges. Waites, twice a winner, has experience on his side. He has also benefitted from three fairly straightforward wins. Unterbuchner may have thrashed Wayne Warren, but Justin Thompson and Willem Mandigers gave the German an almighty scare. The pair both have to improve on their doubles, fast, in order to take their chances. No pressure; there’s only a World Championship final place at stake.

Glen Durrant has had to slog his way to the semi-finals, despite being the clear favourite to seal his Lakeside hat-trick. Last year, his biggest pre-final test was a nine-set thriller against Jim Williams. It’s the Welshman who he must topple again to reach the final. Incredibly, yesterday marked Williams’ first ever Lakeside win against a seed. It was a big one too; many fancied Scott Mitchell to make it to the final four. The Quiff has played to a steady beat but now he meets Durrant, who can shift through the gears at a moment’s notice. Durrant needs to shut out the distractions and remind himself of the end goal. If he does that, history beckons.

Click here for more information about the 2019 BDO Lakeside World Championship.

Afternoon session schedule

14:30 Ladies’ Final: Mikuru Suzuki v Lorraine Winstanley
15:45 Scott Waites v Michael Unterbuchner (SF)

Evening session schedule

18:45 Glen Durrant v Jim Williams (SF)

Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics

Photo: Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics

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Author: Ed McCosh