The 2018 Lakeside championships only started a week ago. Yet it feels like the drama has been going on forever.
50 games have been played so far. In the 51st, we will see the first BDO world champion of 2018 crowned. Either Anastasia Dobromyslova or Lisa Ashton will claim their fourth world title. Then after that, the men’s finalists will be decided. The quarter-finals provided an absolute maximum of drama. If the semi-finals are the same, the roof at the Lakeside could come off. The first and second seeds could meet in the final. Two unseeded players could meet in the final. Or there could be a mix of the two. Let the penultimate day of action commence.
Women’s Final – Anastasia Dobromyslova vs Lisa Ashton
The best average of the 2018 BDO Women’s World Championship so far is 85.08, by Anastasia Dobromyslova. The second-best is 84.78 – again, by Dobromyslova. The third-best is Lisa Ashton’s 83.23. The fourth best? 82.73 by – you guessed it – Dobromyslova. It is clear that the two best players in this year’s competition are meeting in the final. The only problem is that such a truth makes the outcome impossible to confidently predict.
The Russian ace is in her first five-set final. The previous three she won – in 2008, 2012 and 2013 – were all in best of three matches. The losing finalist the last time Dobromyslova won was Ashton. But she bounced back, winning the title in 2014, 2015 and 2017. Both are three-time winners. After this, one of them will have edged in front. What might tip the scales is momentum. Ashton has not been at her best throughout the tournament, only pulling out the A-game when threatened by Deta Hedman. Dobromyslova, by contrast, has not let her standards slip at all. Both are unflappable, fully capable of big averages and have that winning mentality. This could be a classic that leaves fans bemoaning the fact it can only be played across a maximum of five sets.
Men’s Semi-Final – Glen Durrant vs Scott Waites
Three world titles have been won between the four men’s semi-finalists. All three of them belong to Glen Durrant and Scott Waites. Durrant is the defending champion, having won his first world final against Danny Noppert last year. Waites has been in two finals, and won them both 7-1. These two are born winners. That much was evident in their quarter-final ties. Both were 4-1 down against young, hungry talents looking to cause a shock. Both squared up to the jaws of defeat, and snatched unlikely victory from them.
What Waites has on his side is composure. He very rarely succumbs to his emotions, something Durrant often admits to doing. The unseeded man, despite his status, has been the favourite in all of his ties because of his unquestionable quality. But this time, he is the underdog. Durrant is the best player the BDO has to offer. And, thanks to his recent decision to stick with the BDO, that could be the case for the foreseeable future. Durrant has produced the two highest averages of the championships so far – 100.92 and 99.43. He can finish legs in 11 or 12 darts at a rate that his competitors can’t. As Jim Williams found out, there is no stopping Glen Durrant in full flow. The challenge for Scotty 2 Hotty is stopping Duzza from building up enough momentum.
Men’s Semi-Final – Mark McGeeney vs Michael Unterbuchner
The PDC thought they had produced the shock semi-finalist of the year when Jamie Lewis powered his way to the last four. But unheralded German 29-year-old Michael Unterbuchner has caused an almighty surprise. The world number 79 before the tournament, Unterbuchner was not even the favourite against David Cameron in the preliminary round. But then Cameron’s darts failed to turn up. The rest, as they say, is history. The first German ever to win on the Lakeside stage has ignited his nation’s interest in BDO darts. This may be the start of something special for him.
Two things are particularly impressive about Unterbuchner. Firstly, he is a cool customer. He had few opportunities to beat Jamie Hughes, and took one. Against Martin Phillips and Richard Veenstra, it was his composure that saw him through. Another fine trait is his ability to learn and improve. Unterbuchner’s finishing was atrocious early on. Thanks to some self-reflection, stage experience and intense off-stage practice, he can now close out legs when he needs to.
Mark McGeeney, like Unterbuchner, has had a dramatic route to the semi-finals. His first round meeting with Martin Adams went all the way to a sudden death leg. Wayne Warren was a better-directed dart at single 20 away from a chance to knock him out in the quarter-finals. The Gladiator’s most comfortable match was against his most challenging opponent on paper, Danny Noppert. As his nickname suggests, he is a fighter. At no point will McGeeney give up. A long year of playing as many tournaments as possible has given him myriad experiences. Winning titles has also endowed his mentality. He will be the clear favourite to defeat a fourth unseeded opponent in a row. But others have underestimated Unterbuchner, to their peril. The best advice is: don’t.Tags: Anastasia Dobromyslova | BDO | Glen Durrant | Lakeside 2018 | Lisa Ashton | Mark McGeeney | Michael Unterbuchner | Scott Waites
Author: Edward McCosh