Jaymes Monte previews the 2015 BDO World Championship as attentions gradually shift from Ally Pally to Lakeside...
"There would be no more popular winner at Lakeside than the three-time finalist Tony O’Shea."
The BDO encounters its fair share of undue criticism on social media and elsewhere, but the emergence of Stephen Bunting on the PDC scene over the past 12 months shows that those performing towards the upper echelons of the amateur game are more than capable of crossing the divide. And if nothing else, the BDO remains a brilliant feeder system to the professional ranks. If only the two parties could find some common ground and begin to work together rather than against one another.
But that's a discussion for another day. For now we've got another feast of Lakeside darts to look forward to.
The beauty of the Lakeside World Championships is that literally anybody entering the tournament is capable of winning it, and we often see new talents emerge and develop right in front of our eyes over the space of little more than a week.
In 2012 we saw Christian Kist win the title after being an unseeded qualifier then last year, by contrast, Stephen Bunting lifted the title as the number one seed. And of course we can't forget Keith Deller's famous victory in 1983 when he beat the world's top 3 ranked players before becoming the first qualifier to win the world title.
After a stellar 2013 that saw him win the Zuiderduin Masters and finish runner-up (to Bunting) in the World Masters James Wilson arrives at Frimley Green this week as the number one seed. He added the 2014 World Trophy to his roster in February of this year, but has done very little of note in the back half of 2014 and now looks to be one to avoid at the head of the market here.
The in-form player of the BDO is a man who only really arrived on the scene at the start of 2014: Jamie Hughes. The 28-year-old reached the final of the World Masters in October, beating Alan Norris 3-2 (after being 2-0 down) and Martin Adams 6-5 (after being 5-2 down), then went on to lift the prestigious Zuiderduin Masters trophy at the beginning of December. At odds of around 14.013/1 he looks to be a good value selection in the Winner market.
In such a wide-open event it makes absolute sense to select a few players at much bigger prices. There would be no more popular winner at Lakeside than the three-time finalist Tony O'Shea, and after briefly contemplating giving the game up altogether just 12 months ago he comes here on the back of a semi-final run at the Zuiderduin Masters and runner-up finish in the Czech Open. At odds of 36.035/1 it would feel almost rude not to have at least a couple of quid riding on Silverback.
Also at double-figure odds and some 23 years his junior Wesley Harms, two-time semi-finalist here, is worth keeping on side. The Dutchman made his Lakeside debut in 2012 and enjoyed a run all the way to the semi-finals. At the time I thought his defection to the PDC was inevitable, but as yet it hasn't materialised. He's had a couple of good wins already this year and looks to have a reasonable draw here. Throw a few quid Sparky's way at odds of 20.019/1.
1pt Back Jamie Hughes @ 14.013/1
1pt Back Tony O'Shea @ 36.035/1
1pt Back Wesley Harms @ 20.019/1