As one darts world championship ends another begins as we are treated to another nine days of top action on the oche, this time from Lakeside and the BDO world championships.
Some may view this competition as the PDC’s poorer cousin, and certainly in terms of prize money it is, but that won’t stop there being high drama and lots of quality about as well as the 32 men battle it out to become the 36th BDO world champion.
The action gets underway on the afternoon of Saturday 5th with the highlight of the first session being the defending champion Christian Kist taking on the fifth seed Robbie Green in what could potentially be an early shock in the competition. Kist is not favourite for the tournament at 15/2 with Coral, but he is expected to prevail against Kong although that will be no easy task against a man who has won three opens this year and been to the final of two more.
The man who is favourite for the competition is Scott Waites whose record in this tournament is pretty poor, but his performances elsewhere are what have impressed the bookies. The Yorkshireman won the World Masters in 2011, the same year he won the Zuiderduin Masters and WDF World Cup, so many though last year was set to be his, but he fell at the second round stage to Ted Hankey. Waites has never been beyond the quarter-final stage at the Lakeside, but it looks like the draw has shaped up a little more nicely for him this time around and this really should be his year to improve on that and he is 10/3 to lift the trophy with .
There has been much clamouring for Scotty 2 Hotty to join the PDC after his stellar performances in the Grand Slam which saw him reach the final and then win it a year later in 2010. He was brilliant again at the event in 2012 as he beat Phil Taylor on route to the quarter-finals. If he were to win at Lakeside then he may make the switch, but if not then he looks set to stay with the BDO until he does. Waites is the shortest price of anyone in the first round despite his opponent Willy van de Wiel having plenty of experience on the big stage; nevertheless it will be a huge surprise if the Engishman were to fail.
Second in the odds behind Waits is the reigning Masters champion Stephen Bunting who is arguably the form horse coming into this one. He won the World Masters in October and has since lifted the trophies at the Sunparks and Zuiderduin Masters which has all led to him coming into the world championships as the number one seed and having odds of 11/2 pretty much across the board.
The Bullet didn’t even qualify last year, but has reached the quarter-final in the past and seems to be hitting the ground running as he comes into this year’s event. If he can keep up his startling consistent form which saw him average over 94 in four straight matches at the Masters then he will certainly be there or there abouts come the end of the world championship.
Of course, the three-time champion cannot be ruled out, despite Martin Adams’ fairly poor form of late. He only made the quarter-finals last year in his quest for three consecutive titles and has had very little success throughout 2012 which has left him at around 8/1 for this tournament. If he can handle the talented youngster Jimmy Hendriks in round one then he has a fairly straight forward run to the semis so he should certainly not be ruled out as he has all the experience necessary to do as Phil Taylor did at the Ally Pally and reclaim his title.
Other contenders are fellow Grand Slam participants Tony O’Shea and Wesley Harms but whilst it may seem that O’Shea’s chance to win a major has passed him by, Harms’ may come but he is in the tough half of the draw and it may not be just yet.
Although the form man didn’t win it last year, Bunting looks the player to beat this year for me having proved he can perform at a level consistently to beat every player in the field. He is most likely to come up against either Waites or Adams in the final if he gets there which should be a cracker. If you’re not sure he would come out on top in a clash with either of those two players then are offering 3/1 on the Bullet to reach the final which also seems like a great bet.