BACK IN THE DAY WITH: Mark McGeeney: 'The Gladiator' who missed match darts to become world champion

In this column, we regularly go back in time with a particular darter. Today we do so with Englishman Mark McGeeney.

Mark McGeeney was born on June 28, 1972, in Coventry. He made his first appearance in 2014 by winning the reputable England Open, where he defeated Dutchman Wesley Harms in the final. Partly because he managed to win the British Open the following year, he was allowed to make his debut at the BDO World Championship in early 2016. After a 3-0 win in the opening round against Swede Peter Sajwani, he had to lose to Scott Mitchell in the second round 4-3.

That same year, McGeeney finally broke through on the big stage by reaching the final at the Winmau World Masters. In that final, Glen Durrant eventually proved too strong 6-3. In early 2017, McGeeney was again allowed to go to the BDO World Championship as the eleventh seed, but again things went wrong in the second round after a 4-2 defeat to Scott Waites.

2017 did turn out to be a great year for McGeeney. First he won the Dutch Open and later added titles at the Hal Open and Helvetia Open. He also reached the final of the Winmau World Masters for the second consecutive time, but this time Krzysztof Ratajski was the bogeyman 6-1.

All this did ensure that 'The Gladiator' headed to the 2018 BDO World Championship as one of the absolute top favorites. In the opening round at the Lakeside Country Club, however, he survived only narrowly a true thriller against Martin Adams (3-2). But afterwards, McGeeney was launched and after wins against Danny Noppert, Wayne Warren and Michael Unterbuchner in succession, he was in the final. McGeeney even got match darts in that final against Durrant, but missed and saw Durrant take the world title for the second year in a row.

McGeeney recovered well however, and later that month won the Dutch Open for the second year in a row. With final victories at the Turkish Open, the Turkish Masters and the Isle of Man Open later that year, McGeeney again headed to the BDO World Championship in early 2019 as one of the top favorites. But he could not improve on his final place from the year before, losing out 4-0 against Conan Whitehead in the second round.

It also turned out to be McGeeney's last BDO World Championship, as he decided to go to Q-School and captured his PDC Tour Card there. McGeeney did a great job in his debut year with the PDC and immediately qualified for the World Darts Championship. After a 3-1 win in the opening round against Matt Campbell, the second round was ultimately his finish after a 3-1 defeat against Ricky Evans.

McGeeney subsequently found it difficult to confirm his excellent debut year with the PDC, and he lost his Tour Card in early 2022. Since then, he was still active on the Challenge Tour and sporadically on the World Seniors Darts Tour.

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