We began with 40. Now there are just two.
Glen Durrant and Mark McGeeney will do battle on the Lakeside stage this evening. The winner will take home £100,000, and will be immortalised as the 2018 world champion. Both have won four games at the Lakeside to get this far – here’s how they did.
Round 1: 3-0 vs Gary Robson
Durrant opened with a battle of the North-East against Northumberland’s Gary Robson. Despite Robson’s BDO pedigree, the top seed cruised through. He averaged 102 in the first two sets, but Robson checked out 116 to get a leg on the board. Durrant responded with a 111, and quickly rounded off victory with a 95.29 average.
Round 2: 4-1 vs Darryl Fitton
Like in the first round, Durrant breezed into an early lead. 16th seed Fitton bounced back, however, to take set three. Having lost a set for the first time in the tournament, Durrant’s confidence wavered a little. Fitton almost grabbed the fourth set, but Durrant hit a 180 at the perfect moment. Throwing for the match, Durrant again hit a 180, and didn’t let the underdog have a chance at recovering. His 99.43 average was the highest of the tournament – for a while, at least…
Quarter-Finals: 5-4 vs Jim Williams
Durrant’s quarter-final victory over close friend Williams will go down as a true Lakeside classic. Duzza opened with a 132 finish, but Williams wasn’t deterred. The Welshman lost the first set, but won all of the next four. Facing defeat, many would crumble. But Durrant went into overdrive. A succession of outstanding legs wore Williams down, and Durrant sealed a semi-final spot. The Middlesbrough ace won 12 of the last 13 legs in the match. His average, 100.92, wasn’t just the best average of the 2018 tournament. It was the best average managed at Lakeside for four years. The last ton-plus average was by Stephen Bunting, who went on to win the title. An omen, perhaps?
Semi-Finals: 6-2 vs Scott Waites
Again, the defending champion’s ruthless streak was too much for his opponent. Waites was very much in the tie at 1-1, with Durrant making a slow start. Scotty 2 Hotty even had a chance to go 2-1 up. But, when he fell short, Durrant sped clear. He made it 5-1 in no time. Waites claimed the seventh set, but Duzza closed out the game to make it two world finals in a row. A 96.61 average was below par for him, but above par for just about anyone else in the tournament.
Round 1: 3-2 vs Martin Adams
McGeeney set the bar for drama impossibly high with a tense victory over Lakeside legend Adams. McGeeney won his first two sets 3-0 in legs, but lost the other two 3-0 and 3-1. That forced a decider, which went all the way to a sudden death leg. Wolfie won the throw, but the Gladiator won the match. An 86.19 average left a lot to be desired, but a 42 per cent doubles success rate was a solid foundation.
Round 2: 4-1 vs Danny Noppert
His most impressive victory to date. At 1-0 down against Noppert, one of the tournament favourites, McGeeney could have crumbled. But the Gladiator fought back. Brilliant 127 and 160 checkouts saw him through, and turned a potential banana skin into a massive confidence boost. The 92.13 average managed in this tie is his best at the Lakeside to date.
Quarter-Finals: 5-4 vs Wayne Warren
In a quarter-final thriller – one of four, anyway – McGeeney survived yet another tough challenge. Despite going 1-0 up, he found himself 3-1 down against the unseeded Warren. He pegged the Welshman back to 3-3, only to lose the seventh set. But, when Warren couldn’t take his chances to set up match darts, McGeeney punished him. A 154 checkout was a personal highlight for the Stockport thrower, and a 91.47 average was a decent continuation from the second round.
Semi-Finals: 6-4 vs Michael Unterbuchner
McGeeney became the first ever player to reach the final without playing against a single seeded opponent. But, like his previous victims, Unterbuchner didn’t go down without a fight. The BDO world number one took the first two sets. But, to his surprise, the 29-year-old bounced back to make it 3-2. Yet, once again, McGeeney punished his opponent’s mistakes. An unorthodox 110 checkout gave him the chance to win, and win he did. The victory means he has played 29 sets this week, as opposed to Durrant’s 25.
Author: Ed McCosh