Glen Durrant has successfully defended his Lakeside world title after an incredible 7-6 win over Mark McGeeney.
In one of the greatest finals ever seen at Frimley Green, Durrant survived two match darts in a thriller that went to sudden death. The Middlesbrough man averaged 94 and struck 15 180s as he took home a second straight BDO world title, and the £100,000 top prize.
Tense opening stages
The opening stages of the final were rather pedestrian. Double eight rounded off an 18 dart leg for McGeeney in the first leg. He repeated the feat exactly in the second. Durrant, after a slow start, then woke up. The defending champion notched up a 97 checkout in two darts for a 14-darter to break back. Then a 15-darter, again without missing a dart at double, forced a decider. Again, McGeeney looked the clear favourite. The BDO world number one hit a timely 138 to leave tops. Durrant, on 220, struck the final’s first 180 to leave the same. But McGeeney kept his cool to strike the double with his first attempt. The 13-darter rounded off a breathless final leg, and gave the underdog the early lead.
Duzza kicked off set two in perfect fashion, rounding off a 12-dart leg with a superb 121 checkout. But McGeeney responded with his first 180, and an 83 finish to hold. The top seed found another maximum to stride clear of his opponent, and could even afford to miss three darts at a double before going 2-1 up. Durrant’s third 180, the 350th of the tournament, helped him to reach 51 after nine darts. That was dispatched as quickly as possible. The 11-darter for a break levelled the scores.
Well aware of the effect momentum has on Durrant, McGeeney set about holding throw. His second maximum meant he was on 50 after three visits to the board. It took four more darts to hold, but hold he did. Durrant, who had hit doubles well under pressure before, couldn’t do so again. He missed important attempts at doubles 18 and 9, allowing the Gladiator to break through. And despite another 180 for Durrant, McGeeney checked out 78 for a 14-dart hold.
A 106 checkout was the perfect start to the fourth set for Durrant. Another 180 and an 11-dart break was the perfect continuation. On 46 after 12 darts, and with McGeeney miles off, it seemed like Durrant would make it 2-2 with ease. But, five missed set darts later, the second seed had tops to steal the leg. Unlike Duzza, he made no mistake. All that did, though, was inspire the defending champion. A 140 and a 180 opened the leg in style. A 116 checkout to seal the 12-darter was even better.
McGeeney rides his luck
McGeeney needed to ensure Durrant did not break early in the fifth set. He did just that. The Middlesbrough ace responded with a hold of his own, before an excellent 92 to seal a 12-darter put the Gladiator 2-1 up. The fourth leg was a thriller. Duzza missed double 12 for a 144 checkout, before missing further darts at doubles 12 and six. Then darts at double six and double three went awry. McGeeney missed tops for the set, before Durrant placed two efforts on top of the double one wire. Eventually, the BDO world number one found the double to take the set.
It looked like it could get even better for McGeeney in set six. After a 180, a neat 68 checkout secured an early break. But Durrant wasn’t interested in giving his opponent hope. Again on 144 after nine darts, Durrant had another go at the big finish. Again, he missed. McGeeney then missed tops for his own big checkout, 113. Durrant eventually found double three for another break. Another big checkout chance came and went, with McGeeney missing double 16 for a 142. Durrant secured a nervous hold. After that, he went into overdrive. A 180, followed by a 174, left 100 after nine darts. Double 16 for a 12-darter was missed, but not for a 13-darter.
With the scores level at 3-3 going into the second break, the outcome was still impossible to call. Even what appeared at first to be a serene seventh set turned into a rollercoaster. The pair both opened with back-to-back 140s, and both wobbles at the same time. Durrant had the first chance at a double, but missed his trusty double 16. McGeeney made no such mistake, and held. The Gladiator then grabbed his fifth 180 of the match, and checked out 97 to break. He then reaches tops after 12 darts, surely to cruise into a 4-3 lead. But Durrant’s tenth maximum of the tie put the pressure on. The pressure told, as McGeeney dragged a dart at tops into the single one. With his last dart in hand, Durrant broke back. Another 180 set up a 15-dart hold. Having been distracted by noises from the crowd, questions abounded over whether McGeeney had lost his nerve. Perhaps he had. McGeeney gifted Durrant two set darts, but Duzza himself felt charitable. Yet again, McGeeney rode his luck, and held to send his fans into raptures.
The Lakeside needed a break from the drama. They got it in a straightforward eighth set. A simple 15-darter for Durrant, with McGeeney on 164, secured a hold. Then a botched attempt at an 80 checkout from the Gladiator allowed for another break of throw. The top seed sauntered ahead again on throw, on 32 after 12 with McGeeney on 201. One set dart missed wasn’t an issue, because the second went in. And so the game was still tied, with one of the pair three sets from victory.
Durrant powers through
McGeeney looked off his game after the break. Durrant took full advantage of the slack scoring, powering in a 180 before finding the double to break. Amazingly, it was the first time in the match that Durrant had led. The man from Middlesbrough wouldn’t let that lead slip. He found himself in an identical position to the first leg in the second, on 68 after 12. The double 16 for a 15-darter eluded him the first time around; but not this time. In a low-quality third leg, McGeeney failed to set up a finish and Duzza found tops.
That meant McGeeney had gone two sets without a dart at a double, let alone a leg. When he did win a leg at last, he did so in style. The Stockport ace fired in a 180 to set up an unlikely 157 checkout. But when Durrant missed double 16 for a 146 out, McGeeney struck treble 20, treble 19 and tops for the kill. But he failed to kill Durrant off. A 13-darter allowed Duzza to break straight back. His 13th 180 gave him 72 to hold, with McGeeney on 64. With his last dart in hand, Durrant found the necessary double. Four perfect darts helped him on the way to a 14-darter, and the tenth set. Now a second world title in a row was just one set away.
McGeeney came out for the final session and tried to gee up the crowd. But he was well aware the pressure was on. Durrant reminded him of that, missing double 12 for a 141 checkout to break. McGeeney just about held on. Durrant, closing in on victory, was unwilling to give his opponent any chances. With McGeeney waiting on tops, Duzza found the double ten to hold. To break, he needed 112. But double 16 wasn’t forthcoming. McGeeney’s confidence had evaporated, though, under huge pressure. Durrant was given another chance to break. But again, he missed that chance. McGeeney found the double for the tensest hold of throw in his life. Durrant had three darts to hold, but missed them all. McGeeney levelled, and reduced the defending champion’s lead to just one set.
Durrant desperately needed to steady the ship following seven straight missed attempts at the double. An 80 checkout to hold did the job nicely. He then punished a 26 from McGeeney with a 140 in the second leg. But the world number one wasn’t done. Consecutive 180s put him on 60 after nine darts. From nowhere, he had a 12-darter and a crucial leg under his belt. Then a timely 140 put Durrant under major pressure. It worked. Three darts to take the leg missed their target. Only one of McGeeney’s did. Suddenly, it was anyone’s game once again. Double 16 made it 6-6, with McGeeney in the ascendancy.
The pressure, now, was through the roof. McGeeney faltered first, allowing Durrant two darts at double 16 for the break. But Durrant couldn’t see it through. The ball was back in McGeeney’s court. Double 10 sealed the precious hold of throw. A 180 to open the second leg settled Duzza’s jangling nerves – until McGeeney followed suit. Durrant put in a perfect fourth dart; McGeeney went as far as five. A 45 from Durrant allowed the Gladiator to get to a finish first. That finish was 81, and it went in three darts. McGeeney, once staring defeat in the face, was a leg from victory. A 46 was not what he wanted to open with.
Sensing a chance to keep his hopes alive, Duzza set up double 18 with his opponent not yet on a finish. This double wasn’t to be missed. A vital break gave Durrant the chance to extend the final yet further. McGeeney pounded in another 180 to apply pressure, but Durrant was on 116 after nine. Treble 20 was found, but the big 16 wasn’t. McGeeney left himself 36 for the match. When Durrant missed three darts at a double, he had the chance. And, incredibly, he missed that chance. Durrant, who had put his darts away, hit the double one. Two match darts were gone, and the game continued.
Now, the pair needed back-to-back legs for victory. Durrant, let off the hook by his opponent, gave himself a chance to break. But that chance was an unlikely 149 checkout. Unlikely, but far from impossible. Two trebles and a massive double 16 later, victory was a leg away for Durrant. A 131 kicked the sixth leg off well; a dejected McGeeney couldn’t match it. Durrant was on 150 after nine darts. That checkout didn’t go, but all he needed on his return was double 12. Three match darts were missed, but Durrant returned to the oche with victory in his sights again. Double three did it for him. Once again, Glen Durrant was the champion of the world.
Tags: BDO | BDO World Championship 2018 | Glen Durrant | Lakeside 2018 | Mark McGeeney
Congratulations to Glen Durrant! He is the 2018 BDO Lakeside World Darts Champion! pic.twitter.com/ECfpMxOXKG
— BDO Darts (@BDOdarts) January 14, 2018
Author: Edward McCosh