BDO World Darts Championship 2016 – Day One Preview

It’s the start of the BDO World Championships today from the famous Lakeside Country Club.  Many darts fans grew up spending their early January watching darts on this stage so always a special time of year and the tournament still has great prestige.

To keep you informed on all the matches I have written previews on all today’s games in both the men’s and women’s tournaments.

Saturday 2nd January 2016

1300h: Jim Williams vs Tony O’Shea – 1st Round

Williams

  • Williams is making his 2nd appearance at the BDO World Championships having lost 3-0 in the 1st Round to Dave Prins on his debut 2 years ago, Williams averaged under 79 on that occasion.
  • He has had some success on the circuit this year, notably winning the World Cup Singles beating Ross Montgomery in the final, Williams also won 2 other ranking events during 2015.
  • Williams and O’Shea have played twice before with each player winning once, the last time they met was earlier this year in the England Classic quarter-final when Williams won 5-1.

O’Shea

  • This will be O’Shea’s 15th consecutive World Championships, he is a 3 time finalist and has also lost in the semi-finals twice. The last time he reached the final was in 2013 when he lost to Waites.
  • He has lost in the 1st round in each of the last 2 years but his opponents were the 3 time World Champion Martin Adams in 2014 and last year he lost to the eventual winner Scott Mitchell.
  • It has been a lean year on the circuit for O’Shea, with a semi-final appearance his best showing. It’s the first year for a number of years that he hasn’t reached a final.

Verdict

Williams is a much improved player since he made his Lakeside debut 2 years ago and will feel less nerves on the stage than he did back then, O’Shea has vast experience and has been a contender in many World Championships but hasn’t been showing good form throughout the year. I think Williams has a chance of just edging this one but be wary of O’Shea rising to the occasion and playing above the form he has shown recently.

 

1500h: Craig Caldwell vs Alan Soutar – Prelim

Caldwell

  • This is Caldwell’s first World Championship appearance but he has experience of playing on a TV stage having competed in the PDC World Cup of Darts and some of the World Series of Darts events during the summer.
  • He mainly plays his dart in New Zealand and Australia and has had some success in various tournaments on that circuit this year.

Soutar

  • Soutar made his Lakeside debut back in 2011 losing 3-1 in his opening match to Willy van de Wiel, on that occasion Soutar averaged 88.44.
  • He earned his place in this tournament after coming through the qualifiers, he hasn’t been playing regularly on the ranking circuit but did claim a 3-2 over last year’s Lakeside semi-finalist Jeff Smith at the World Masters.

Verdict

The bookies make Caldwell the slight favourite, he has been winning matches regularly in the tournaments he has been playing in Australia and New Zealand, this is his first World Championships though so that can always bring out nerves in a player. Soutar has played on this stage before and didn’t perform too badly on that occasion. I wouldn’t stick my neck out and pick a winner but just keep an eye on the game to see how the winner fares, the winner of this is due to play Scott Mitchell on Sunday.

 

1630h: Darryl Fitton vs Dennis Harbour – 1st Round

Fitton

  • Fitton has been an ever present at the World Championships since making his debut back in 2003. He has been to the semi-finals twice and lost in the quarter-finals a further four times. On the 7 occasions he didn’t make it as far as the quarter-finals he has lost in the 1st
  • Last year he exited the tournament at the quarter-final stage to Glen Durrant having beaten Alan Norris in the Last 16.
  • Fitton’s best performances on the circuit this season are two final appearance, one at the Dutch Open back in February (losing to Adams), and also the Jersey Open final in November where he lost a tight game to Scott Mitchell.

Harbour

  • Harbour made his debut at the World Championships the same year as Fitton (2003), Harbour actually defeated James Wade in the 1st Round before losing to Mervyn King. He also played at the 2006 Lakeside where he was beaten 3-2 in the 1st Round by eventual champion Jelle Klaasen.
  • He is very experienced having competed at the World Masters all the way back in 1989. He also competed in the 2004 UK Open where he claimed the scalp of Adrian Lewis.
  • Harbour has had some success on this season, winning the Scottish Open, the Isle of Man Open and the English National Championships; he defeated Glen Durrant in two of those finals.

Verdict

This is a tough opening match for number 7 seed Fitton against an experienced opponent who has shown some good form during the season. The bookies make Fitton a 4/11 favourite; I think there may be some value in backing Harbour on the handicap as this could go to a deciding set.

 

1830h: Larry Butler vs James Hurrell – Prelim

Butler

  • Butler is returning to the BDO World Championships for the first time since 1992 when he lost in the opening round to defending champion Dennis Priestley. He has played in the PDC World Champs on 4 occasions, reaching the quarter-finals in 1996. He actually lost in the final match to qualify for the PDC World Championships this year to Darin Young.
  • The biggest win of his career came back in 1994 when he won the PDC World Matchplay beating Priestley in the final.
  • Butler reached the final of the prestigious Winmau World Masters back in October, beating Mitchell, Waites and Adams along the way, earlier that week he defeated Durrant and Waites to qualify for the Grand Slam of Darts.

Hurrell

  • Hurrell has qualified for the World Championships for the 1st He had his best run at the World Masters earlier this year when he reached the Last 32 losing to Martin Phillips.
  • On the ranking circuit he has a tournament win to his name, winning the Finnish Classic, defeating Jeffrey de Graaf in the semis and Daniel Larsson in the final.

Verdict

Butler has been playing some excellent darts over the season, his run to the final of the World Masters very impressive on the back of qualifying for the Grand Slam, he has always had the calibre anyway as he showed in winning the World Matchplay back in 1994. Hurrell has competed well this year and has had wins against the likes of Phillips, Waites and O’Shea on his record during his career.  I expect Butler to make a good start to the tournament and progress to a 1st Round meeting with de Vreede on Monday.

 

2015h: Matthew Medhurst vs Jeff Smith – Prelim

Medhurst

  • Medhurst is making his World Championship debut. His best performance in a major tournament is the Last 32 at the 2014 World Masters.
  • Medhurst has been playing on the WDF/BDO circuit over the last couple of years, prior to this he did attempt to qualify for the PDC tour via Q School in 2013 but failed to win a tour card.

Smith

  • Smith was a semi-finalist here last year on this debut, defeating the likes of Wesley Harms, Gary Robson and Robbie Green before losing to eventual champion Scott Mitchell.
  • He followed up his semi-final appearance here by winning the Las Vegas Open and reaching the semi-finals of the World Trophy in the early part of 2015.
  • He failed to make an impact in the World Masters losing to Alan Soutar in an early round.

Verdict

Jeff Smith returns to the scene of what was a memorable week last year at the Lakeside when he went all the way to the Last 4 and he will feel confident up on that stage with those memories to draw on. This is Medhurst’s debut on the Lakeside stage and that can be a daunting occasion for many, he doesn’t have the big stage experience of Smith and this could be a factor. I think Smith will continue his love affair with the Lakeside stage and progress to a 1st Round meeting with Martin Adams on Tuesday.

 

2130h: Glen Durrant vs Dean Reynolds – 1st Round

Durrant

  • Durrant is making only his 3rd appearance at the World Championships. He lost in the Last 16 on his debut year (2014) to eventual finalist Alan Norris. Last year he just missed out on a place in the final in a deciding set to Martin Adams.
  • Durrant is the tournament favourite and rightly so, he has dominated the circuit this year winning a number of tournaments, most notably the World Masters in October and only last month he won the Zuiderduin Masters averaging over 100 against Adams in the final.

Reynolds

  • Reynolds is making his World Championship debut; he has competed at the World Masters and at the UK Open but only in the early rounds.
  • Reynolds has mixed playing on the BDO and WDF circuit with playing PDC Development and Challenge Tour tournaments; he has had some success too winning a tournament on each tour.
  • He reached the semi-finals of PDC Youth World Championship at the back end of 2015, losing in a deciding leg to eventual winner Max Hopp.

Verdict

Tournament favourite Durrant begins his campaign against a potentially dangerous opponent. Reynolds has been winning a lot of matches this year and winning brings confidence, he has a big task against the quality of Durrant though. They have played 3 times in 2015 Durrant has won 2 of them but Reynolds does have a win against Durrant which so knows he can beat him. Durrant is a classy performer and I don’t think he will slip up in this match but it’s a very intriguing game to see how hard Reynolds pushes him.

 

Women’s World Championship 

1430h: Lisa Ashton vs Paula Jacklin

Number 1 seed and reigning back to back World Champion Lisa Ashton begins the defence of her title on the opening afternoon of the tournament. Ashton has had another very successful season on the tour though she did lose out in the final of the World Masters to Aileen de Graaf in a very tight match.

Jacklin lost 2-0 to de Graaf at this stage of the tournament last year. She has played Ashton three times since September, although losing each time she did take Ashton into a decider in their last 2 meetings.

I wouldn’t expect Ashton to lose this game; she will make a strong defence of her title this week and has enough experience and class to get the job done in this round.

 

1945h: Anastasia Dobromyslova vs Anca Zijlstra

Three time World Champion Anastasia has lost in the semi-finals in each of the last two years (2-1 in 2014 to Ashton and 2-1 in 2015 to Sherrock). She is seeded 5th for the tournament and the bookies also have her down as the 5th favourite in the outright betting market. She has reached the final in each of her last 2 ranking tournaments, winning the Sunparks Masters and finishing runner-up to Sherrock at the Zuiderduin.

Zijlstra is making her World Championship debut; she has reached a couple of ranking finals this season and has wins over top 8 seeds Gulliver and Winstanley during the course of 2015.

Anastasia may have come up short in the last 2 years in getting to the final but I don’t anticipate her making an early exit here, she will want to put on a good display to send a message out she can be a contender this week.

 

Enjoy the darts!

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