The British Darts Organisation, the darting body which launched the careers of Eric Bristow, Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen, went to the wall this year after 47 years in existence. The highlight, every year, was the pilgrimage to first Jollees, then the Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green and finally London’s O2 for the BDO World Championships.
We look back at five of the very best finals to grace those stages.
1983 – Keith Deller 6 Eric Bristow 5
Keith ‘Baby Face’ Deller stole the show on his debut, taking out the world No.3 and No.2 – John Lowe and Jocky Wilson – to set up a showdown with the best of them all, Eric Bristow.
Deller was a massive outsider and looked like he’d blown it when he missed nine match darts. That’s certainly how Bristow must have seen it because he famously turned down a shot at the bull for a 121 finish with Deller sat on 138, only to see the youngster nail it to claim the title.
1991 – Dennis Priestley 6 Eric Bristow 0
The most unlikely star was born when Dennis Priestley, a 40-year-old newsagent and former coal merchant, brought the curtain down on Bristow’s BDO career in some style.
‘The Crafty Cockney’ was hoping his tenth appearance in the final would yield a sixth world title but debutant Priestley, the man they called ‘Dennis the Menace’, was having none of it, dropping just four legs in an incredible whitewash.
1992 – Phil Taylor 6 Mike Gregory 5
The beginning of a darting dynasty was back in ’92 when ‘The Power’ won the first of his 16 world titles – though he was the luckiest man at the Lakeside that evening.
He and Mike Gregory were the top two seeds and laid on a feast of entertainment, but Gregory to this day still can’t believe how he lost it. He had two match darts on double eight, two on double top and two on double ten but missed the lot and Taylor stepped in on a tiebreak.
2004 – Andy Fordham 6 Mervyn King 3
The Lakeside never had a more popular winner than Andy ‘The Viking’ Fordham, the 30 stone, gentle giant from south-east London whose throwing style was memorably described as “like a buffalo blowing a kiss”.
The publican and man mountain had four times reached the semis and four times blown it, but he wasn’t about to let Mervyn King stop him from wearing the crown. Only Bristow and Taylor had produced higher final averages than Fordham’s 97.08.
2007 – Martin Adams 7 Phill Nixon 6
The wolf howls were echoing around the Lakeside as fan’s favourite Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams stormed into a 6-0 lead against Phill Nixon, who for six sets had been a rabbit trapped in the headlights.
But the pre-tournament 200/1 outsider wasn’t about to sign off from his debut without a fight and produced one of the most gripping comebacks in BDO history, reeling off six straight sets to level the match with a shell-shocked Adams on the ropes.
‘Wolfie’ managed to gather himself in the nick of time and took the decider to claim the first of his three world crowns.ReplyForward