The PDC World Championships may have dominated the headlines in December, but January belongs to the BDO. The 41st BDO World Championship sees a stronger crowd than ever congregating at the Lakeside, which hosts its 33rd championship. With rumblings about a potential new venue, this could be the last time Frimley Green hosts the organisation’s biggest competition. Glen Durrant turned down the chance to switch codes in order to defend his title, but there are lots of pretenders to his crown. Who will be victorious just over a week from now?
Day one kicks off with easily the most exciting tie of the first round, plus three other fixtures sure to provide some darting drama.
Mark McGeeney vs Martin Adams
What a treat we have in store for the opening game of the championships. As the second seed, Mark McGeeney might have expected a fairly straightforward draw. But of all the unseeded opposition he could have faced, the Gladiator will have to fight off the Wolf. Martin Adams is the three-time world champion, though it has been seven years since Wolfie took the title. Phil Taylor may have left the darting scene, but there’s no sign of the 61-year-old stopping yet. 2017 hasn’t yielded much for Adams, bar a few quarter-finals – including at the World Trophy, where he was beaten by eventual champion Peter Machin.
McGeeney has enjoyed a year spent at the top of the BDO rankings, thanks to consistent entry and strong runs in tournaments, including those that rivals did not opt to attend. Though a winner of a host of tournaments in 2017, the Coventry thrower’s major form continues to let him down. Krzysztof Ratajski inflicted a second successive World Masters final defeat, while McGeeney has never reached the quarter-finals at Frimley Green. Adams has the benefit of decades of experience, and the cool to win on the biggest stage of all. Yet McGeeney is due a good run. He certainly has the class. With Danny Noppert potentially waiting in the next round, things aren’t going to get easier for whoever wins.
Willem Mandigers vs Nick Kenny
Tenth seed Willem Mandigers hasn’t had the best of luck at Frimley Green. After a 2015 preliminary round defeat to Daniel Larsson, the luck of the draw totally abandoned the Dutchman. 2016 saw a first round tie against former world champion Scott Waites, which Waites won 3-0, while Krzysztof Ratajski was a tough preliminary opponent last year. But Nick Kenny, though a good player, represents a better chance for the Eindhoven man to progress. Mandigers has done fairly well in majors this year, without progressing to any final, and also won the Turkish Masters in October. Welshman Kenny played an important part in last year’s World Championship. As Glen Durrant’s first round opponent, he was the first hurdle the top seed bypassed on his way to glory. Wesley Harms or Wayne Warrens awaits in the second round, so it could be an all-Dutch clash, a meeting of two Welshmen, or another mix.
Lisa Ashton vs Rhian Griffiths (Women’s)
The BDO Women’s World Championship opens with the defending champion facing a tough challenge. Lisa Ashton secured her third world title last year with a comfortable win over Corinne Hammond. But Lorraine Winstanley, Deta Hedman and Aileen de Graaf’s form means that the Lancashire Rose is the fourth seed. That said, she has won three ranking titles since her Lakeside triumph. England Classic runner-up Rhian Griffiths lost in the first round to Anastasia Dobromyslova last year. She now has to face a player who has never lost at this stage. The Welsh thrower will have to call back on her excellent display to dump Winstanley out of the World Trophy if she wants to cause a shock.
Pengiran Mohamed vs Gary Robson (prelim)
In the last tie of the afternoon, Pengiran Mohamed flies the flag for Brunei as he takes on the experienced Gary Robson. After winning the Asian qualifier in Kuala Lumpur, Mohamed sealed a Lakeside debut and became the first player from his nation to feature at a darts World Championship. It is his first major appearance for eight years, since a very brief appearance at the World Masters. Robson, in contrast, is a seasoned pro. This is the Englishman’s 16th appearance at Lakeside, though he missed last year’s event. The 2005 World Trophy champion has in fact never made many waves at the World Championship, last reaching the quarter-finals seven years ago. He will be the favourite against Mohamed, but the winner will certainly be an underdog; they take on top seed Glen Durrant in the first round.
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Author: Ed McCosh