Starting from 7pm, there’s even more action from the Lakeside, as the BDO World Championship continues.
The Golden Girl, Trina Gulliver, kicks off her World Championship campaign tonight. There’s an all-Welsh clash, a seeded debutant in action, and Daryl Fitton returns to the Lakeside stage yet again.
Andy Baetens vs Scott Baker
Two debutants meet in the first match of the evening. 28-year-old Andy Baetens enjoyed a superb 2017. Wins at the Romanian Classic, the England Masters and the Belgium Masters mean he is the 13th seed for his first Lakeside appearance. In the first round he takes on Scott Baker, who he beat to take the title in Romania. Baker has had a decent year himself, winning the Welsh Masters and the Lincolnshire Open. At 21st in the BDO Order of Merit, he is in fact a higher rank than Danny Noppert and 16th seed Daryl Fitton. The pair will both feel confident of winning this one, even if Baetens has the upper hand historically. The winner of this tie faces a tricky second round tie with Scott Mitchell.
Trina Gulliver vs Vicky Pruim
Trina Gulliver – or Trina Gulliver MBE in full – returns for her 18th World Championship title tilt. She has taken home the trophy on 10 of her last 17 attempts, including seven in a row from 2001-2007. But her star has waned in recent times. Gulliver reached two finals in 2017, and lost, while none of her major campaigns lasted past the quarter-final stage. That said, nobody expected her to win in 2016. But the Golden Girl can still find a way to win. She plays the first fixture in the bottom half of the women’s draw, against qualifier Vicky Pruim. Though this is just her second World Championship, the 43-year-old storage worker boasts plenty of experience. Pruim won the WDF World Cup singles in October, dumping out Anastasia Dobromyslova in the semi-finals. The Swede has been around for more than two decades; in fact, she won her first title in 1996, a year before Gulliver won her first. In Pruim’s other Lakeside appearance, in 2002, she reached the semi-finals. She was beaten by – you guessed it – Gulliver. This could be a close one.
Dean Reynolds vs Chris Harris
‘Dynamite’ Dean Reynolds is ready to blow this World Championship wide open. The talented 25-year-old, who is making waves in the PDC Development Tour circuit, now turns his hand to the BDO’s biggest event. The 2016 World Trophy semi-finalist has not yet passed the first round at the Lakeside, but has the quality to succeed this time around. He will take on fellow Welshman Chris Harris in round one. Harris was far from his best in a preliminary round slog against Ümit Uygunsözlü, but eventually found a way to succeed. He is likely to up his game, and will certainly need to. The winner of this all-Welsh clash meets two-time world champion Scott Waites in round two.
Daryl Fitton vs Justin Thompson
Would it be a World Championship without Daryl Fitton? It was 2003 when the Lakeside stage was first graced by the Manchester ace, and he has been back every year since. The Dazzler reached the semi-finals last year; the third time he has reached that stage. Fitton missed out on the chance to play Glen Durrant in the final. Thanks to being 16th seed this year, he will meet Durrant if he can overcome Justin Thompson. The Australian did not have the easiest of times against Chris Gilliland, and only averaged 81.57. The 49-year-old from Victoria could be excused for opening night nerves in his first ever Lakeside match. But he will have to play better in round one, or Fitton will march on.
Click here for more information about the schedule for the first round. The TV schedule for Lakeside can be found here. Click here for more information about the Lakeside 2018 prize fund.
Author: Ed McCosh