Tag Archives: Scott Waites

World ChampionShips 2020: Draw Highlights.

In this bizarre year, the highlights of the darting calendar seem to come thick and fast. The latest is today’s draw for the William Hill World Championships. With the reduced crowd and a qualification process severely affected by Covid-19, this could be one of the most unpredictable events for many years.

Many of the seeds could be in for a tough time right from their first round. They will meet experienced players, from all systems, many of whom will find they have fewer disadvantages than usual. In addition, they will have already ‘played themselves in’ in what looks to be one of the best first rounds the championship has seen.

Ally Pally is a difficult place to play and it’s especially hard for the lesser experienced or those not used to the biggest events. The stage is huge, the crowd is normally raucous and bigger than most will have played in front of. In addition, the processes behind the scenes, the TV and media requirements mean that often qualifiers or lower-ranked players are overwhelmed or slow to start.

2020 is going to be different. There will be only a small crowd and their merriment will be heavily restricted. Although this may make the place feel even more cavernous. The fact that they will have already had a chance to get used to this may prove very valuable. Another factor is the sheer talent, quality, and experience of those who will play in round one.

Here are a few highlights that could lead to bigger tests for the biggest names:

Could Scott dominate another stage? (image: Winmau)

Perhaps the most intriguing draws, of the big names, is the challenge that may face Nathan Aspinall. Aspinall will play either Canadian Matt Campbell or double World champion Scott Waites. Campbell is lesser-known but is seriously capable and has recorded impressive averages while being difficult to shake off. Matt slightly underperformed last year making his debut but that experience may help. Waites could be a serious dark horse at the Ally Pally. Although it’s taken ‘Too Hotty‘ a little while to adapt, to the rigors of the PDC, he is a big stage and big-game player. The small, but no doubt excited, crowd will suit him and he has begun to find his feet after some decent Pro Tour efforts. This could be a cruncher of a first-round and The Asp will have to be very prepared for a tough opener.

Chris Dobey will face the winner of Jeff Smith vs Keane Barry. Smith is a former World Cup Singles Champion and Lakeside finalist. ‘The Silencer‘ has had an excellent 2020, especially considering he has often had a tougher time than most traveling back and forth to Canada. But Jeff will first have to deal with one of the games hottest prospects. Barry, a former World youth champ, has begun to adapt to the senior game and is tipped for major success in the coming years. Dobey is going to have a tough time will either player.

The ‘German Giant‘ is due to meet either ‘The Hammer‘ or the ‘Man with No Name‘. Andy Hamilton returns to Ally Pally after a spell with the BDO and conquering his demons over the past couple of years. But he is hugely experienced, exerts a lot of pressure, and will not fold regardless of his opponent. Sebastien Kurz has the technical and temperamental potential to have a superb career. He has a certain style and likability that may endear him to the crowd/viewers if he can relax and play his own game then perhaps he can set up a huge all-German clash with Gabriel Clemens in round 2. Either way, keep an eye hear for a truly titanic pair of matches.

Big names could be in for a tough start at Ally Pally 2020 (PIC; LAWRENCE LUSTIG)

Jamie Hughes could also be in for a tough encounter. Either Lisa Ashton or Adam Hunt will be relieved to progress and may relax and play to their full potential in their second game. Hunt is a fine player who is yet to really show what he can do. Part of a group of Northeast players to have come through over recent years Hunt is currently in the shadow of Ryan Joyce, Chris Dobey, and, of course, Glen Durrant, but that may well play to his advantage. Ashton has had a remarkable year.’The Lancashire Rose‘ gained her tour card through Q School, becoming the first female player to do so, and has gained regular wins on the Pro Tour. Lisa is yet to really demonstrate her talent on TV, but she has had some experience on the Ally Pally stage and may well feel more at home. Jamie will be coming from a cold start whereas his opponent will be confident and familiar.

Another big name with a tough start is likely to be Adrian Lewis. ‘Jackpot‘ will play the winner of Damon Heta and Danny Baggish. Both of these guys could trouble Ade if they play close to their potential. Heta is the breakthrough player of the last couple of years. Damon has totally committed to a career in pro darts. He moved to the UK with his family and even with no experience and the Covid-19 issues, he has managed to claim a Pro Tour event and is beginning to find his feet in the majors. Baggish however will be no walkover, he debuted well at Ally Pally this year and seems to have kept busy during a virtual US shutdown of live darts. Lewis seems also to be through the worst of his slump and is heading in the right direction. This section of the draw should be thoroughly enjoyable.

So, as always Ally Pally is looking like a seriously competitive and entertaining couple of weeks. That’s without mentioning many of the biggest names. Players like Paul Lim, Nick Kenny, and Jason Lowe could also make waves before we even reach the entry of the world top 32!

2020/21 William Hill World Darts Championship
Draw Bracket – Second Round Onwards

(1) Michael van Gerwen v Ryan Murray/Lourence Ilagan
(32) Ricky Evans v Mickey Mansell/Haupai Puha
(16) Joe Cullen v Wayne Jones/Ciaran Teehan
(17) Jonny Clayton v John Henderson/Marko Kantele
(8) Dave Chisnall v Keegan Brown/Ryan Meikle
(25) Danny Noppert v Martijn Kleermaker/Cameron Carolissen
(9) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Luke Humphries/Paul Lim
(24) Jermaine Wattimena v Derk Telnekes/Nick Kenny
(4) Michael Smith v Jason Lowe/Dmitriy Gorbunov
(29) Devon Petersen v Steve Lennon/Daniel Larsson
(13) Gary Anderson v Madars Razma/Toru Suzuki
(20) Mensur Suljovic v Maik Kuivenhoven/Matthew Edgar
(5) Rob Cross v Dirk van Duijvenbode/Bradley Brooks
(28) Jamie Hughes v Adam Hunt/Lisa Ashton
(12) Glen Durrant v Steve Beaton/Diogo Portela
(21) Adrian Lewis v Damon Heta/Danny Baggish
(2) Peter Wright v Steve West/Amit Gilitwala
(31) Gabriel Clemens v Andy Hamilton/Nico Kurz
(15) Krzysztof Ratajski v Ryan Joyce/Karel Sedlacek
(18) Simon Whitlock v Darius Labanauskas/Chengan Liu
(7) James Wade v Callan Rydz/James Bailey
(26) Stephen Bunting v Andy Boulton/Deta Hedman
(10) Ian White v Kim Huybrechts/Di Zhuang
(23) Jeffrey de Zwaan v Ryan Searle/Danny Lauby
(3) Gerwyn Price v Luke Woodhouse/Jamie Lewis
(30) Brendan Dolan v Mike De Decker/Edward Foulkes
(14) Jose de Sousa v Ross Smith/David Evans
(19) Mervyn King v Max Hopp/Gordon Mathers
(6) Nathan Aspinall v Scott Waites/Matt Campbell
(27) Vincent van der Voort v Ron Meulenkamp/Boris Krcmar
(11) Daryl Gurney v William O’Connor/Niels Zonneveld
(22) Chris Dobey v Jeff Smith/Keane Barry


501 or More: The BDO World Trophy

After a tough few months,  the BDO managed to get a free to air TV event, with a good field and decent prize fund, played over the Bank Holiday weekend on Dave TV. New sponsors were secured and many fans looked forward to a fresh start for players, officials and fans alike. After watching large slices of coverage and reviewing some of the predictions and comments made before and after the tournament, was the WDT a runaway success? A decent start, or another false dawn?

bdo-trophy640

TV Coverage
This was a definite success. Congratulations are due to Dave and the outside broadcast company. Some of the best elements of SKY coverage were added and most of the outdated BBC habits were removed. Whilst improvements could still be made, presenters knowledge and a few rough edges, the coverage and commentary was professional, refreshing, simple and in keeping with the sport.
The Darts

Daryl Fitton
Hit and miss would be the call here, there were some very entertaining games with new names and old favourites contributing well. Sadly there were a few too many poor games especially in the early stages and then The Final! In this respect it could be said to have been unlucky. Almost all the players capable of exceptional standards, and experienced enough to deliver them in those conditions, were knocked out earlier. The players were also disadvantaged by the BDO having very few other events with similar formats. Thus the long days told on the players especially those with less experience. A win for the well thought of veteran Daryl Fitton helped considerably.

The ladies event also proved a mixed bag. Lisa Ashton produced a performance that suggested darts should be a non segregated sport, by recording a 98 average over the course of a TV match. Sadly some other matches suggested that the ladies game is not yet strong enough in-depth for this amount of TV coverage to be a success.

lisa-ashton

The Organisation

This must go down as a near disaster. To change the format of a competition whilst it is running is very poor and to have to extend arranged television sessions shows poor planning. The late venue switch, together with poor marketing and ticket sales, did not create the image of a well backed sport full of star players that can attract new viewers and sponsors.

The Lakeside. Late switch and poor sales may dilute the "home of darts" brand

The Lakeside. Late switch and poor sales may dilute the “home of darts” brand

The securing of a major high street sponsor appears on the surface to be a great achievement. It is superb to see a non gambling, drinking or similar sponsor getting involved in darts. However a large note of caution must be sounded. The two sponsors were in fact one. Dunlop is a brand name owned by Sport Direct and although this is perfectly legitimate it remains to be seen the fees paid were similar to those expected for two main sponsors of a sports TV major. Secondly, Mike Ashley and his company are ruthless negotiators who extract large quid pro quo’s in return for their patronage. The current court cases involving Glasgow Rangers should serve as a warning. They are also expert at getting free or incredibly cheap advertising. There could be a risk here of making a deal with “the devil”.

Overall.

It will be impossible to give a true verdict on the success or failure of The WDT for a least a few months. If Dave or another similar channel are happy with the viewing figures, and the image presented, and sponsors willing to stay or get involved, then this may well have been the starting point of something very positive for the BDO.

However if it turns out that the sponsors paid little, the venue were unhappy with the crowds, and that the event was propped up by the BDO itself, then it will be difficult to see how their other main events including The Lakeside World Championship will thrive in the open market.

From a darts enthusiast’s point of view the event was mainly enjoyable with more positives than negatives. It reminded me of watching selected games from The Championship and then the play offs. Entertaining and dramatic in its own right with some players looking like they could compete in the top division. Yet still with the caveat that week in week out I would rather see the very best in action with huge crowds the best venues and professional standards in every area. So definitely a success.

But also perhaps one that provides an uncertain context for the future?

 

Grand Slam of Darts 2015 – A Diamond Damaged and Wolfie for The Premier League?

Beware "The Wolfie"

Beware “Wolfie”. Time for The Premier League?

The early stages, of The Grand Slam of Darts 2015, have shown what those with open eyes have known for a long time. Namely that the BDO is a mix between some very big fish, who can play darts at any level, and a selection of good amateur players who have not yet made the jump to a professional/elite standard.

After the early exchanges and a large dollop of SKY hype “The Power” let slip the mask of casual ease and verbally bashed Andy Fordham and had a swipe or two at the BDO along the way.

Taylor’s anger, although misdirected, has a grain of truth running through it. This edition of The Grand Slam comes at a time when the working relationship between dart’s rival organisations is as good as it has been for a while, which can never be a bad thing. However, the new formula, for making up the field, together with making it a PDC ranking tournament shows up major flaws and unfairness for PDC players.

No one would stand for it in Football!

Premier-League-Logo

Imagine if the same happened in football. The nearest version I could paint would be allowing 8 teams from a different league to play in The Premier League for a couple of match weekends, while leaving mid – lower teams on the sidelines to watch and weep.

So the league table would be badly affected by the fact that a number of teams that would normally play would not even have the opportunity to gain 3 points. The 8 visiting teams would have varying degrees of ability, interest, and motivation, as the points would not count in their own league. This would then throw up a scenario that would ruin the league table’s integrity.

If, for example, the visiting league was the Scottish Premier division it does not take a genius to work out that Celtic, and previously, Rangers and usually one other would be strong sides that would want to do their best. The other five teams however might be weaker, less keen or have their own reasons for fielding weaker teams.

Thus the draw could be hugely significant and have huge effects on the overall league at the end of the season, it may for example cost a team the title itself or a place in the champions league? I am pretty sure this would not be tolerated by any party.

But it is OK in Darts?

This year's GSoD could be a superb event to be associated with for Singha Beer.

This year’s GSoD is proving a superb event, to be associated with, for Singha Beer.

Yet it can be argued that this is exactly what has been done in darts. Vincent Van de Voort openly tweeted his support for BDO players, simply because, they will not threaten his ranking position. Players such as Simon Whitlock, Brendon Dolan, Steven Bunting, Justin Pipe and others have been placed at a huge disadvantage, not only are they not allowed to play, but the format is the only event at which a defeat does not mean an exit, thus the chances for players to settle and earn more are increased.

Damaged Unfairly?

Damaged Unfairly?

For a victim of the second type look no further than Ian White, The Diamond has been on a steady climb through the rankings, for 5 years, and has reached number 8 in the PDC Rankings. He had turned the corner in majors and was looking a strong favourite for a Premier League place and yet another ranking rise this year. However, he was drawn with the equivalent of Celtic/Rangers. Yet he has to play a three-time world champion & world master with almost nothing to lose ( another two games to come, no ranking pressure etc.) Whereas Ian would have known, that not only would defeat be dangerous, to his chances of qualifying, the powers that be & SKY TV may well have used the game as an unofficial audition for The Premier League. If it is close, at the season’s end, SKY may select a different player?

This matter should be corrected immediately and not allowed to happen again. The Grand Slam does not need to be ranked to make it great TV, cross code element and vociferous crowd ensure that every year. BDO players should be delighted to come and play in the GSoD and have always added to the event, many are quality players who also know the value of entertaining the crowd. The event must be restored to the annual bragging rights battle it has always been.

To maximise the new positive relationship between the organisation however another step could, and should, be taken. PDC boss Barry Hearn should negotiate two places in The Premier League for the BDO. One place selected by SKY (within certain limits) and another by the BDO in whatever way they see fit.

Barry Hearn

For 2016 It would be certain to be be Adams ( Sky ) & maybe Waites (BDO Pick) they may not think Duzza (Glen Durrant) should be exposed, too soon, to what can be a tough arena? This still leaves the original 8 PDC places SKY could lose one selection with the top 5 be automatically in and then 3 selections.

Not only would these corrections make the PDC ranking system more balanced, but the Premier League would be enhanced and refreshed as well!