As the plaudits for MVG die down, attention turns from the Ally Pally to Lakeside. Frimley Green hosts the 40th BDO World Championship, starting on Saturday.
After the farcical scenes during the draw – Wesley Harms number 5 ball was drawn twice – forced the organisers to start again, we’re ready to concentrate on the action at the oche.
Defending champion Scott Waites at 11/1 with comeon!, faces stiff competition from tournament favourite, Glen Durrant – 8/5 in the latest betting – and the likes of Danny Norpert (11/2) and Jamie Hughes (11/1).
Waites beat Durrant 5 – 4 on the way to his 2016 triumph in quarter-finals before trouncing Hughes 6 – 1 in the last four. Canadian Jeff Smith fared little better, losing the final 7 – 1.
While Waites had previously won the World Championship in 2013, Durrant has yet to reach the final. Last year’s defeat, after leading 3 – 1 and 4 – 2 was a major blow to the Middlesbrough-born player
‘Duzza’ as the 46 year-old right-hander is known, seems likely to move across to the PDC later this year with 2017 being his last tilt at the World Championships. One of the most popular players on the circuit, his departure would be a blow to the BDO.
Who knows, winning next week might change his mind, especially as it follows on from his Winmau World Masters and Zuiderduin Masters triumphs in 2015.
‘Yozza’ Hughes caused a stir in the 2016 Grand Slam when he beat Dave Chisnall 5 – 1 in the group stage but surprisingly came unstuck against Chris Dobney in the knockout stages. That experience will serve the 30 year-old well in this tournament and it’s surprising to see him out at such generous odds. If anyone is capable of pulling off a surprise win, he’s the man.
He’ll have to do it the hard way. He and Durrant are scheduled to meet in last eight if they see their way past the 30/1 outsider Harms and 45/1 long-shot Dennis Labanauskas.
Not that Dutchman Norpert can be underestimated. He too reached the Grand Slam knockout stage and is gradually improving with each year. At 26, the best of his career is in front of him.
However, he and last year’s winner Waites are due to meet in the last sixteen before facing Scott Mitchell, the number 2 seed rated at a 16/1 shot for the title.
Even so, none of these will be the match we want to see. The preliminary round features a blast from the past with Jimmy Hendricks live on stage in what seems to be the first time in a lifetime. He’ll face David Cameron who is keen to step into the limelight once more.
OK, the Dutch Hendricks may not be as mad an axeman as his American predecessor while I’m sure that Englishman Cameron is grateful that the puns and jokes have stopped. Unless he’s dumped out of the competition by a European…
Mind you at 90/1, Paul Hogan could wipe the smile his more illustrious namesake put on everyone’s face. Dart? You call that a dart…