Who will win the final? Who will be the player to watch? Which seeds are most in danger of going out in the first round? A host of darts journalists, pundits and commentators tackle these and other questions on the eve of the 2019 BDO World Trophy. Part One sees our experts cast their eye on the men’s competition…
Who will reach the final – and who will win it?
Chris Mason: Kyle McKinstry v Jim Williams. Kyle to win.
Faria Darting Index: I will say Wesley Harms wins the event with Kyle McKinstry to reach the final. Even though I believe Richard Veenstra and Scott Mitchell also have a good chance of coming out of that half of the draw.
Oche Balboa: I have a feeling for Wayne Warren. He’s coming into form at the right time and is solid on TV and the stage. I’ll go with Martin Kleermaker to reach the final as well.
Andrew Sinclair: After the dominance of Glen Durrant over the last three years, it’s refreshing to come to a BDO major and be able to make a case for a number of different players to win the title. The top quarter of the draw is particularly tight but I fancy Wayne Warren to come through that. The Welshman is very consistent and appears to have really stepped it up over the last few weeks and months, winning his first title in seven years at the Antwerp Open. I don’t, however, think he has enough to stop Jim Williams, who is my overall pick to win. ‘The Quiff’ has continually improved on the stage and after a difficult start to 2019, he appears to be peaking at the right time and is a good bet to break his major duck.
Dan Hutchinson: In the men’s, I have to go for two of the ‘in form’ players. I can see Wayne Warren winning the tournament, beating the unseeded Martijn Kleermaker in the final.
Jetze Jan Idsardi: I’ve said Wesley Harms will win his first BDO TV title earlier this year and I’ll stick with that for the World Trophy. He has become the BDO number one in the meantime, and he has sown he can sustain a top level, something he couldn’t always do in earlier years. On current form I fancy Wayne Warren to reach the final. He has come close to finals in the past, and it looks like he gets better by the years.
Jacco Krook: Richard Veenstra to beat Jim Williams in the final.
Who will be the player to watch?
Chris Mason: Michael Unterbuchner.
Faria Darting Index: A player to watch is going to be Kyle McKinstry. He’s a very good player but often overlooked because he’s not in the top 10 of the BDO rankings, but ability-wise he should definitely be in the top 10, maybe even top five in my opinion.
Oche Balboa: Mario Vandenbogaerde.
Andrew Sinclair: There are a number of names in the men’s draw to keep an eye on but the two main ones are Mario Vandenbogaerde and Martijn Kleermaker. Vandenbogaerde made a comeback to the sport in 2018 and has skyrocketed up the rankings after winning titles in Luxembourg and Germany. This is the Belgian’s first real exposure to a TV audience but he is a cool character capable of some impressive averages. The tall Dutchman Kleermaker has won four ranking titles already in 2019, including the notoriously hard-to-win Welsh Open. He’s an excellent front-runner and another power scorer.
Dan Hutchinson: I’ve no doubt about it that Martijn Kleermaker is the player to look out for, which is unfortunate for Dave Parletti as they meet in the first round. I would like to see Parletti do well too if he gets past Kleermaker.
Jetze Jan Idsardi: With Glen Durrant being a PDC player now, the field is really close to each other. Form on the day is really important, and a couple of players come to Blackburn in red-hot form. Wayne Warren just won a title in Sweden and looks ready for a big run, while Martijn Kleermaker is the revelation of this year. He’s become a big name in the BDO now and will be looking to impress on his debut. The qualifiers still have to be played, but I want to name Brian Raman here as well. The young Belgian won his first title this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if he qualified and made some upsets.
Jacco Krook: I would say Martijn Kleermaker and/or Mario Vandenbogaerde. Kleermaker has entered the top eight so many people will know what he is capable of, and Vandenbogaerde is one of the seeds. I myself am also very impressed by Mark McGrath, but don’t know whether he is really capable to go far at a big BDO tournament. I am also very curious how Sebastian Steyer will do. He is one fof the Polish players who are knocking on the door.
How far will the top seeds go?
Chris Mason: Richard Veenstra could go all the way.
Faria Darting Index: If I only look at the top four seeds; I’ve got Richard Veenstra losing in the last 16 to Kyle McKinstry. I’ve got Jim Williams losing in the semis to Wesley Harms. Scott Mitchell will also lose in the semis to McKinstry. And Wesley Harms will win the whole event.
Oche Balboa: Veenstra will get to the quarter-finals.
Andrew Sinclair: As I’ve mentioned already, that top quarter is very tight and that could result in an early exit for top seed Richard Veenstra. ‘Flyers’ is a very up-and-down player who can often look dead and buried before rattling off a succession of sub-15 dart legs. He starts against Justin Thompson and although he is rightly the favourite in that tie, he could well fall in the last 16 to either Kyle McKinstry or Nick Kenny, who are playing consistently better darts at the minute.
Dan Hutchinson: Veenstra has a first round, and potential second round, game against players who are winning games and are in some kind of form: Justin Thompson and Kyle McKinstry or Nick Kenny. I’m going to be controversial and predict that he doesn’t make it past the second round!
Jetze Jan Idsardi: I really rate Richard Veenstra. He can throw some serious stuff when in form, and with that he can win things. He has a tough draw here though, with potentially Kyle McKinstry in round two and Wayne Warren in the quarters. The Welshman will beat him here.
Jacco Krook: Veenstra, Williams and Harms will go very far and are candidates for the title. Mitchell will be very solid and may go far, but with some bad luck he may fall early.
Which first round match are you most looking forward to?
Chris Mason: Dave Parletti v Martin Kleermaker.
Faria Darting Index: The first round match I’m most looking forward to is Dave Parletti against Martijn Kleermaker. It’s a shame that both player drew each other first round. After the health problems Dave got he has come back more strong than ever and established himself as one of the better players in the BDO. Martijn has already proven he can win big events and for him the next step is to do well in a TV tournament. Both players have got a great chance of making a good run in this tournament.
Oche Balboa: Parletti vs Kleermaker. It’s evenly matched, both have had a great season. One mistake could prove fatal.
Andrew Sinclair: The standout tie in the men’s competition is probably Kleermaker against Dave Parletti. It’s one of a few ties only possible because of the early cut-off for the tournament, as both men are now firmly embedded in the top ten of the rankings after excellent seasons. It’s a hard one to call on paper and will be a superb end to the first day of action in Blackburn.
Dan Hutchinson: Jim Williams vs Wes Newton and Adam Smith-Neale vs Andy Hamilton have a nice look to them. Recent successful players in the BDO vs successful PDC legends. Another one that stands out is Kleermaker vs Parletti, which is really hard to call.
Jetze Jan Idsardi: When you look at the men’s draw, one match really catches the eye. Dave Parletti and Martijn Kleermaker have both shown this year that they have a great future in this sport. I compare Parletti to Daryl Gurney, I always underrate him. Gurney has proven me wrong multiple times, and Parletti might as well. I namely fancy Kleermaker to win this tie.
Jacco Krook: Dave Parletti against Martijn Kleermaker. In my opinion these guys should make a quarter-final or better. However, Kleermaker isn’t seeded so that’s why they meet in the first round. I expect the winner to make the quarter-finals at least, where they might meet Harms, who is also in good form and Williams is perhaps the only other one capable to prevent the winner of this first round tie reaching the final.
Which seeds are most in danger of going out in the first round?
Chris Mason: Ross Montgomery and Andy Hamilton.
Faria Darting Index: I don’t like to say because I really like Dave Parletti but he has had the worst possible draw he could get in the first round. Therefore he is in the most danger of losing first round.
Andrew Sinclair: Kyle McKinstry and Andy Hamilton are at risk because they face tough opening games against Nick Kenny and reigning World Master Adam Smith-Neale respectively. Likewise, Gary Robson has not always played his best stuff on the stage but he should have enough to beat the ‘Chattanooga Chainsaw’ Joe Chaney. Overall though, the two I think face the greatest danger of an early exit are Derk Telnekes and Ross Montgomery. The Dutchman Telnekes, who is the youngest player in the field, has had his issues off the oche this year and it remains to be seen where his head is at, while Montgomery’s recent stage form could once again cost him against a form player in the shape of Poland’s Sebastian Steyer.
Dan Hutchinson: Sebastian Steyer will fancy his chances of beating Ross Montgomery. Parletti, Landman, Robson and Hamilton will all have to play well to beat Kleermaker, McGrath, Chaney and Smith-Neale respectively. I think Mandigers, Telnekes and Mitchell will have one eye on the qualifiers as there’s some real talent entering those, including Jason Askew, Brian Raman and Ryan Hogarth, as well as some vastly-experienced players like Martin Adams, Jamie Caven and Dave Prins. By the way, Askew hit a 110.8 average against Mike Norton on the PDC Challenge Tour recently and any sort of form like that will take some beating in the qualifiers – only 20 players in the PDC system have hit higher individual match averages than that this year!
Jetze Jan Idsardi: Parletti has the most difficult draw of all the seeds and I don’t think he wins his game. Next to him I think another two seeds will get a difficult game: Ross Montgomery and Andy Hamilton. Montgomery plays the Pole Sebastian Steyer, who only nearly missed out on a tour card earlier this year. Hamilton plays World Master Adam Smith-Neale. Many people hoped Hamilton would find back his old form, but his days are gone. He is still getting some results, but Smith-Neale should be the favourite here.
Jacco Krook: Montgomery and Hamilton are most in danger. McKinstry and Telnekes aren’t safe either, while Landman has quite a tough draw in my opinion.
It’s a sixth different venue in as many years for the BDO World Trophy as it’s staged in Blackburn this time round. What changes would you make to give the event more of a major feel?
Chris Mason: I think it’s a fabulous venue. I think they need to find a long-term home for each of their three premier events, this will give potential attendees confidence in the product. Keep the prices of tickets down and to give the event more credibility increase prize money.
Faria Darting Index: In the end it all comes down to branding and creating a narrative for the matches in the upcoming event, the rest follows in my opinion. I don’t know too much about the venues in the UK, so I won’t talk about that side of things. Let’s face it, right now the BDO isn’t where it needs to be in terms of how it’s run at the moment. Especially with the departure of the referees last month. For an event to be anticipated by the crowd, people should at least know in advance that there will be a major event. So they need to announce it at the start of the season when they reveal the calendar. Nowadays social media is a great and cheap(er) way to create stories and narratives for tournaments. They need to make sure we can relate to players and how can we relate if we know nothing about them. Maybe I’m looking to much at the media side of things but if they would be more visible on the social media, we won’t just relate more to the players and look forward to certain events, it would also make it easier for sponsors to commit to your product. We all know the BDO won’t catch up with the PDC, but the BDO has an important role in the darting world and in order to survive they really need to increase their income and improve their bottom line.
Oche Balboa: I would drop the World Trophy and replace it with a new age style News Of The World competition (over the course of the season) for 16 places with the top 16. The World Trophy is not a major, but giving it some sort of feel that anyone can get on the stage will give it more credibility.
Andrew Sinclair: I think the two major things I would have said – secure long-term deals for a venue and TV coverage – the BDO have sorted. Although ticket sales and qualifier entries may struggle this year because everything was a bit last-minute, having the venue, the dates and the TV secured for next year will make promotion much easier. Players will know when the cut-offs are, they will know what they are building towards and it will therefore feel more important. Perhaps the only other things would be to settle on a format, both in terms of qualification and match-length. There are obviously TV constraints, but it would be better in future if they stick to the 2018 model of beginning with best-of-11 games and finishing with a best-of-19 final, while going with the player breakdown with the international qualifiers as they have for 2019. The ladies games should undoubtedly be longer and the prize money can always be higher as well.
Dan Hutchinson: For me there are certain ingredients that if put together would give the World Trophy more of a major feel. The top ranked players in the BDO, an iconic venue, big prize money, qualification to other big tournaments for the winners (BDO Worlds, Grand Slam, etc) and prime time TV coverage. At the minute we are only guaranteed the first of those, I think.
Jetze Jan Idsardi: This will only be the sixth edition of the World Trophy, and in comparison to the World Masters and World Championship it has no history. Together with the really short format that will be used this year, it has never really felt as a major. With the resources the BDO has at the minute, they can’t really change this. Ideally, it should become a week-long tournament, played over a longer format. History will create itself.
Jacco Krook: Changes to make it more like a major event: spread the event over more days, longer format, better promotion, one definite and characteristic venue.