It is an age old debate amongst darts fans. Which is superior…the BDO or the PDC? Every November the debate is reignited thanks to the PDC’s Grand Slam of Darts which gets underway at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall today. It remains the only major event where the PDC and BDO players cross the great darting divide and compete on the same oche.
Although the British Darts Organisation has only enjoyed one winner of the tournament since its inception some nine years ago, the allure that the cross-code competition brings never fails to entice. Here we relive some of the most memorable BDO moments in Grand Slam history, and remember why this tournament takes pride and place in any darts fan’s calendar.
The Grand Slam debut of Martin Adams
It was a moment most darts fans thought they’d never see – three-time Lakeside World champion Martin Adams on the PDC’s Grand Slam stage. But just last year, one of the BDO’s most iconic players accepted the invitation to compete after years of rejecting the invite. He did not disappoint. He topped the group with wins over Ian White, Jelle Klassen and Steve Beaton with multiple ton plus finishes to boot. His attitude was also commended, constantly smiling and laughing, and even saying “good darts” to his opponents when they threw well. He was a breath of fresh air. It has been a difficult year for Adams, having been diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier in the year. But the 60 year-old is playing on, and a mouth-watering tie against Michael Van Gerwen is surely a clash every darts fan wants to see.
Martin Adams fixtures: Group A – Michael Van Gerwen (12/11, evening session), Brendan Dolan, Max Hopp.
Scott Waites reaching the 2009 Final
The two-time Lakeside champion wasn’t initially invited to the 2009 tournament, but after Martin Adams turned down the invite Waites was drafted in as a last minute replacement. He took full advantage. The Yorkshire based player beat Ted Hankey, Wayne Mardle, Simon Whitlock, Gary Anderson and Terry Jenkins. He was eventually drubbed 16-2 against an imperious Phil Taylor in the Final. It was however at the time the furthest a BDO player had ever progressed in the tournament.
Scott Waites fixtures: Group B – Robert Thornton (12/11, afternoon session), Gerwyn Price, Dimitri Van den Bergh
Geert De Vos and his 115+ average
The BDO Belgian number one was bottom of the group and winless by the time he came to play Johnny Clayton in his final group game of last year. All the more impressive then was the dominant display from De Vos, who blitzed his way to an average of over 115 in a 5-0 whitewash of the Welshmen. It ranks him 19th on the all-time list of TV averages recorded at PDC events.
Anastasia Dobromyslova beating Vincent van der Voort
In a landmark moment for women’s darts, Dobromyslova became the first woman to defeat a man at the Grand Slam of Darts. The three-time Lakeside champion edged past Vincent van der Voort in a final leg decider at the 2009 event to complete the historic feat. It remains the only time a woman has beaten a man at the Grand Slam.
Andy Fordham’s Grand Slam debut
The Viking had never performed at the Grand Slam before last year. The 2004 Lakeside champion had been struggling to reach those heights after a number of health scares. But at the Qualifiers in Hull, Fordham rolled back the years and came through a field of over 200 players to reach the Grand Slam for the very first time. The crowd favourite averaged just under 100 in a loss to Adrian Lewis, hitting a 180 with his first three darts. He bagged an emotional win over Wayne Jones in his second game before losing out to Michael Smith.
Ted Hankey’s run to the Quarters…plus a famous meltdown
The two-time Lakeside champion has arguably one of the most iconic entrances in the game. His run to the last eight was notable for wins over Raymond van Barneveld and a 100+ average when beating Ian White. He also edged past a certain Michael van Gerwen in the last 16. Perhaps memorable for the wrong reasons was an infamous meltdown in 2013 against Scott Waites when he was competing under the PDC banner. Type in “Angry dart players” into YouTube and you’ll see what we mean!
Alan Norris in his first Grand Slam
Alan Norris arrived at the 2014 Grand Slam having finished runner-up at Lakeside earlier in the year. The Somerset player beat Ronny Huybrechts and Terry Jenkins to qualify for the last 16. Memorable perhaps for the wrong reasons if you are a BDO fan, just two months later Norris switched to the PDC. He has since been a mainstay of the top 32 and reached the PDC World Championships semi-finals this year.
Alan Norris fixtures: Group E – Nathan Derry (12/11, evening session), Gary Anderson, Glenn Durrant.
Stephen Bunting beating a future World Champ
Bunting had already left the BDO by the time of the 2014 Grand Slam came around but he had qualified by virtue of winning Lakeside in January. The St Helens based player averaged over 100 against former BDO rival Wesley Harms and then repeated that feat in a win against Gary Anderson. Noting that the flying Scotsman would become World Champion just a few months later perhaps makes Bunting achievement even more impressive. Bunting would also claim the scalp of James Wade before bowing out in the last eight.
Glen Durrant’s debut
Ok ok, this one hasn’t actually happened yet. But out of all the BDO Grand Slam debutants this year none is more hotly anticipated than that of Glen Durrant. The BDO number one has been on prolific form again this year amid speculation he may switch to the PDC come the conclusion of Lakeside. What is for certain however is that a curtain raiser in Group E against reigning World Champion Gary Anderson is an encounter surely every darts fan can’t wait to see.
Glen Durrant fixtures – Group E, Gary Anderson (12/11, evening session), Alan Norris, Nathan Derry.
Scott Waites and his 2010 victory
Waites is arguably the BDO’s most successful player in this tournament. His win in 2010 remains the sole victory from a BDO competitor. His imperious run began in the group stages when he edged through a final leg decider against Co Stompe, averaged over 100 against Martin Phillips and took the scalp of Adrian Lewis. Further wins over Raymond van Barneveld and Steve Beaton further cemented the two-time Lakeside champion’s credentials. Then came one of the most remarkable comebacks in PDC TV final history, with Wade leading 8-0, Waites launched an astonishing rally to eventually prevail 16-12.
The Grand Slam of Darts will be shown live at Rileys Sports Bars with the final on the 20th November.
Photos courtesy of DG Media