Darts News

BY JOSH GREEN

 

The World Matchplay returns for its 26th iteration on the 20nd July, as 32 of the worlds elite darting stars take to the Blackpool stage over nine days of action at the Winter Gardens.

The PDC will combine the top 16 in the two-year rolling order of merit, with the top 16 players in the 2019 Pro Tour order of merit, making up a 32-man field.

No 1 seed Glen Durrant is bracing himself for the toughest match of his career when he starts the defence of his BDO Lakeside World championship on Sunday lunchtime. The record books show Eric Bristow and Raymond van Barneveld are the only first-time winners of the BDO championship to retain the trophy – and that’s the challenge facing Durrant this year.

Lakeside legends Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams and Lisa Ashton both toe the oche on the opening day of the 41st BDO World Championship. Adams makes his 25th consecutive appearance at the championship – he lifted the trophy in 2007, 2010 and 2011 – and Ashton also starts her bid for a fourth women’s title in five years. The match between Adams and Mark McGeeney launches the championship on Saturday afternoon – and it’s a tough start for ‘Wolfie.’ McGeeney heads to the Lakeside as the BDO’s No 2 having been there or thereabouts throughout 2017, winning four titles, including the Dutch Open and English Classic, and reaching the World Masters final.

Ashton starts her defence of the women’s championship against Rhian Griffiths and though Deta Hedman is the No 1 seed, Trina Gulliver says her best friend is the player to beat. “Lisa is so fluent,” said the 10 times world champion, “and when she’s at her best, she’s tough to beat. “She’s on fire at the moment – and she’s hungry to keep her title.”

Scott Mitchell enters the BDO Lakeside World Championship believing he’s playing as well as he was when he lifted the trophy in 2015. Mitchell gave the championship one of its greatest nights when he won the title. His final with Martin Adams went all the way to a deciding 13th set – and Mitchell nailed a 158 check out to break the throw that proved to be the turning point. The 47 year old hasn’t got beyond the quarter finals at the Lakeside since then, but his form over the last 12 months is good. “I won five tournaments,” he said, “and form is as good as it’s ever been. “I’m playing as well as I was when I won the world title – and that’s all down to confidence. “I’m not trying to convince myself, or other people, that I’m playing well. I’m proving it by going out there and winning tournaments. “But I know that as a darts player, it’s all about what you do at the Lakeside and in the World Masters.

Danny Noppert, the Dutchman beaten by Glen Durrant in last year’s final and second favourite with the bookmakers this time, starts at the preliminary round stage this time, against Joe ‘Chanesaw’ Chaney, the American No 1 whose titles last year included the Las Vegas Open. Noppert heads into the championship in good form having just won the Finder Masters 2017 and given that he consistently averages around the mid-late nineties, he could well have another good run at the Lakeside.The winner of Noppert-Chaney faces No 15 seed James Hurrell in the first round.

Lakeside debutants Justin Thompson (Australia) and Chris Gilliland (Northern Ireland) clash in a preliminary-round tie, with the winner facing Darryl Fitton in the first round. Thompson is at the Lakeside after winning the Australian National Singles and Gilliland fought through seven matches at the qualifiers in Bridlington, including a win over 2016 quarter finalist Dennis Harbour. Gilliland is confident that if he throws his best darts, he can make an impact at the Lakeside.

Women’s No 1 seed Deta Hedman, is sure to be a sentimental favourite with the Lakeside crowd when she launches her ninth world championship campaign against Rachna David. The No 1 seed has lost in three finals and in David, she meets a Norwegian who won four qualifying matches to reach the Lakeside.

The prize for either PG Pengiran Mohamed or Gary Robson is a first-round tie against defending champion Glen Durrant. Mohamed is from Brunei Darusallam and makes his Lakeside debut after battling through a field of around 200 entries in the Asian qualifier, while Robson is rather better known to Lakeside fans. The 50 year old from the North East has three times reached the quarter finals.

The 2017 bwin Grand Slam of Darts held at The Wolves Civic, Wolverhampton and shown live on Sky Sports once again involved eight of the very best players from the BDO Circuit.

This unique event where BDO players lock horns with their PDC counterparts is always a refreshing and memorable experience and this years event was no different. BDO number one Mark McGeeney was making his debut in this years competition alongside Scotland’s Cameron Menzies and Ross Montgomery and BDO World Trophy Champion Peter Machin. The debutants joined Glen Durrant, Scott Mitchell, Jamie Hughes, and Danny Noppert. All eight BDO players enjoyed the experience and the opportunity of playing a minimum of three matches with seven of them tasting a win in at least one of their group matches.

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