Glen Durrant faces Scott Waites in Sunday night's BDO World Darts Championship final. Here's our preview including facts, statistics and predictions.
It's already been an historic week at the Lakeside and there's every chance there'll be a fitting finale to match.
First we saw the youngest ever winner of the Youth event crowned as 13-year-old Leighton Bennett clinched the title in spectacular fashion and on Saturday the brilliant Mikuru Suzuki defeated Lorraine Winstanley with an average of over 90 to become the first Asian world darts champion.
Now Glen Durrant is bidding to emulate what the late, great Eric Bristow achieved in 1984-86 by lifting the prestigious trophy for a third year in succession - but standing in his way is my 25/1 each-way pre-tournament tip Scott Waites, who has also triumphed here twice before.
Interestingly, no male player in the history of the Lakeside has won three finals out of three here but that will change no matter who lifts the trophy.
Below I've compiled each player's tournament statistics and their respective routes to the final as well as their head-to-head record, before previewing the final and picking out my best bets.
BDO World Darts Championship final: Sunday January 13
- TV Coverage: Eurosport/Quest (5pm start)
- Format: Best of 13 sets
TOURNAMENT STATS (Waites first)
- 3-dart Average: 90.27 - 96.34
- 180s: 24 - 33
- 100+ checkouts: 7 - 9
- Highest checkout: 160 - 124
- Sets won/lost: 18/6 - 18/8
- Legs won/lost: 60/36 - 66/50
ROUTES TO THE FINAL
- First round: 3-1 v Jeffrey van Egdom
(Av: 86.55, 180s: 8, Legs Won/Lost: 10/5)
- Second round: 4-1 v Richard Veenstra
(Av: 92.82, 180s: 5, Legs Won/Lost: 14/8)
- Quarter-finals: 5-3 v Conan Whitehead
(Av: 95.34, 180s: 8, Legs Won/Lost: 17/14)
- Semi-finals: 6-1 v Michael Unterbuchner
(Av: 85.29, 180s: 3, Legs Won/Lost: 19/8)
- First round: 3-0 v Mark McGrath
(Av: 93.9, 180s: 7, Legs Won/Lost: 9/3)
- Second round: 4-3 v Scott Baker
(Av: 95.91, 180s: 8, Legs Won/Lost: 18/14)
- Quarter-finals: 5-2 v Kyle McKinstry
(Av: 98.01, 180s: 7, Legs Won/Lost: 18/14)
- Semi-finals: 6-3 v Jim Williams
(Av: 96.06, 180s: 11, Legs Won/Lost: 21/19)
Scroll down for head-to-head records and predictions
- Overall: 3-7
- 2018 meetings: 0-2
Waites 4-5 Durrant - Finder Masters, Dec
Waites 2-6 Durrant - World Championship SF, Jan
- Lakeside meetings: 1-1
- BDO Major Titles: 4-8 (Lakeside: 2-2)
2018 Titles: 1-6 (Majors: 0-2)
PREVIEW, PREDICTIONS & SUGGESTED BETS
"Eric Bristow is such a hero for all of us and to go three each with him would be something special - but if I think like that, I'll lose tomorrow."
It's often said in sport that wanting success 'too much' can be a hinderance against a more relaxed opponent and this could potentially be the chink in Glen Durrant's armour when he faces the bullish Scott Waites on Sunday night.
Anyone who follows the BDO even remotely closely will known how passionately he cares about the big titles, to the point he often talks about how nervous he gets on the oche and how irritable he can be with himself (or those who shout out in the crowd), with a giveaway clue being the biting of his flights.
That said, his undeniable quality and consistency to average in the mid to high 90s means he nearly always gets over the line when it really matters, and even during the most nerve-shredding of occasions. Take last year's final with Mark McGeeney, who blew match darts, and his last-eight showdown with Jim Williams as two prime examples when he had to deal with immense pressure situations.
And while he's only been involved in one deciding set on this stage this year - against the plucky Scott Baker in round two - the final scorelines don't show just how much he's had to hold his nerve in many key legs.
He only won four more legs than the talented Kyle McKinstry in a 5-2 quarter-final triumph while four of the six sets he edged against Williams on Saturday came in deciders, taking two of them with 100+ checkouts.
Hense the reason I said that caring too much is perhaps only a 'chink'.
The 48-year-old Teesider has also won eight of his nine BDO major finals, which also include two World Masters, three Finder Masters and his BDO World Trophy that he lifted last year.
Interestingly though, Durrant was desperate to become only the fourth man alongside Eric Bristow, Bob Anderson and Martin Adams to win the highly prestigious World Masters three times or more last year - but despite playing superbly throughout the whole tournament, his pocket was picked by 80/1 pre-tournament outsider Adam Smith-Neale in a dramatic final that finished 6-4, with Duzza averaging 99.68 compared to his opponent's 96.86.
He put that behind him to win the Finder Masters in December, beating Waites along the way, and he won't fear the Yorkshireman on Sunday especially considering he crushed him 6-2 in the semi-finals here 12 months ago.
Nevertheless, Waites won't be short of confidence and unlike many of the opponents Durrent has edged out in pressure cooker situations, he actually knows how to become a Lakeside champion. Twice to be precise, with the last time hardly being a distant memory of 2016.
The 41-year-old, who famously came from 8-0 down to become the BDO's only every winner of the Grand Slam of Darts eight years ago, is one of the last players you'd ever say was guilty of stage fright, with both his final triumphs here coming in 7-1 scorelines.
In 2016 he also defeated Durrant with a 95 average in the quarter-finals and managed that same mark in their dual 12 months ago, so there's no reason to think he can't raise his game to the levels required.
It speaks volumes that Waites headed to the Lakeside as a 25/1 outsider yet went into his semi-final meeting with Michael Unterbuchner, who was 10/1 pre-tournament, as the favourite, such was the manner of his performances against Richard Veenstra and Conan Whitehead, which more than suggested he was fired up to win back the trophy.
As everyone knows, when his attitude's right he's not only hard to stop but also quite an imposing figure in the heat of battle. Unterbuchner wilted on Saturday night and the Halifax man didn't need to get out of second gear to register a 6-1 victory.
I wouldn't isolate his average of 85.29 and just three 180s as evidence to say he won't be able to deal with Durrant, who we can expect to be a minimum of 95, because as we all know with any sport you raise your game depending on the opposition.
Waites is surely too big a price at 13/5 given his experience to cope with the biggest of occasion while you can even get him at 5/4 with a +2.5 set start on the handicaps.
Whoever wins, it won't be a pushover either way and with both players so strong on 180s and high checkouts how about the 7/2 on the match having 42+ legs, an outshot of 143+ and 21+ maximums.
Prediction: Waites 7-5 Durrant