As a veteran of BDO darts, Tony O’Shea has toed the Lakeside oche many a time.
The 57-year-old has made 16 appearances at Frimley Green, and is set to make it 17 in January. But three-time BDO World Championship runner-up O’Shea admits that he could face an almighty challenge when he makes his latest title challenge.
“Darts has improved so much in the last couple of years,” Silverback told Live Darts in an interview.
O’Shea, who has lost in the first round of his last four Lakeside appearances, added: “I struggled a couple of years ago, I’ve come back into it and noticed that it’s getting tougher and tougher.
“Maybe my time’s gone, but I’ll still give it a crack and put the effort in. But it’s getting tougher, every form of the darts has just gone through the roof.”
Speaking on the two big darting codes – and more specifically, new rules that allow players from both codes to compete in the other more frequently – O’Shea welcomed the new ideas presented by incumbent BDO chairman Des Jacklin.
“It’s been needed for a few years, if we’re honest. The people who did the job in the past were lovely people, but clearly not equipped to take the game forward,” O’Shea said.
“I think Des and his team have got the right ideas. Things have already improved a bit, hopefully they’ll keep improving – and who knows, we might be playing for big money in decent tournaments in the future!
The Stockport thrower has said that the PDC and BDO working together is not just a good idea, but a necessity.
“The game’s that big now, I think even Barry Hearn would admit that there’s too much for even the PDC to go. There’s so many good players around.
“In January we can have a crack at Q-School, if it doesn’t work, drop back into the BDO. It’s going to be good for darts, full stop.”
As a strong proponent of women’s darts, O’Shea is delighted at the 2019 PDC World Championship introducing two spots for female players.
“They deserve a shot at a big event like that,” he enthused.
“I just wish that there was more prize money in the BDO system to keep the girls happy, because they’re producing top quality. It’s a great opportunity for them to not only make a name for themselves, but a bit of money, and to promote the ladies’ game.”
O’Shea confirmed that he’d be entering Q-School. Now in the autumn of his career, Silverback is looking to eke what he can out of the rest of his time in darts.
“I don’t know how long I’ve got left in the darts. I want to play everywhere I can, in every tournament I can, and win as much money as I can.
“Whether or not that’ll happen, I don’t know.”
Author: Ed McCosh