BDO World Championship Preview - Day One, evening session
The 2018 BDO World Championship is well under way - and it couldn't have made a better start.
BDO number one and second seed Mark McGeeney was really made to sweat by Lakeside legend Martin Adams. In the other ties, seeds Willem Mandigers and Lisa Ashton powered through, while Gary Robson set the standard for checkouts with a 158 in his defeat of Pengiran Mohamed. In the evening session, the women's number one seed, the 2015 men's finalist and last year's men's runner-up are the headline acts at Frimley Green.
Justin Thompson vs Chris Gilliland (prelim)
Australian Justin Thompson and Northern Irishman Chris Gilliland play off for the right to take on Daryl Fitton in the first round. Each are debutants at the Lakeside, and will be hoping to get through this tie to take on the 16th seed on Monday. Thompson has picked up wins in the Van Diemen Classic and the Geelong Dart Club Classic this year, while Gilliland is technically the joint number 692 in the world, earning ranking points by appearing at the British Open.
And some more pertinent information for you:
"Justin also won the Budapest water volley ball championships while acting like a dinosaur and trying not to get wet.
Justin also won the 2017 Budapest karaoke competition and has a vast array of fidget spinners which he uses to dazzle the ladies."
That's from Justin Thompson's Wikipedia page, by the way.
Deta Hedman vs Rachna David (Women's)
She's the top seed. She has won 18 ranking events in the past year alone. She is the two-time champion of the World Masters and the Finder Masters. Then why, oh why, is Deta Hedman not yet the world champion? The ever-popular postal worker has lost in the final three times, also going down at the semi-final stage twice. Jamaican-born Hedman - who walked on to 'Hot, Hot Hot' long before Rob Cross thought to do so - will be hoping 2018 is finally her year. She must take on Rachna David, the pride of Norway, who reached the Lakeside through a play-off qualifier. It should be a simple first step towards a maiden title for Hedman. But, with her propensity for drama on the Lakeside stage, don't rule anything out.
Danny Noppert vs Joe Chaney (prelim)
It has been an interesting last 18 months for Danny Noppert . Thrown into the limelight at the 2016 Grand Slam of Darts, the young Dutchman beat Nathan Aspinall and Mensur Suljovic, also giving Raymond van Barneveld and Gary Anderson a run for their money. A few months later, he stormed to the Lakeside final, before Glen Durrant stepped in to take the title. Now, Noppert is the Finder Masters champion, and is only unseeded because he opted not to turn his hand to more ranking events. In his way stands American Joe Chaney, the holder of the magnificently named ADO Choo Choo Classic. A crunch clash against Mark McGeeney awaits this one. Noppert may have watched McGeeney's nerve-jangling win against Martin Adams and considered him fair game. But he must ensure Chaney does not cause a massive shock first.
Scott Mitchell vs Darius Labanauskas
Scott Mitchell won the hearts of darts fans everywhere by beating Martin Adams in a stunning World Championship final in 2015. His pledge to spend the £100,000 winnings on a new combine harvester for his New Forest farm was even more loveable. After a disappointing second round exit at the hands of Geert de Vos last time out, the fourth seed will be hoping to make his mark on the 2018 championships. The BDO number two and England captain kicks off against Estonian Masters champion Darius Labanauskas. The Lithuanian's main Lakeside claim to fame was winning £5,000 for winning the high checkout contest at the 2015 championships - he lost to Robbie Green in that match, however. Eventual winner Glen Durrant ended Labanauskas' run in the quarter-finals a year ago, so Mitchell knows he will have a fight on his hands.