Darts audiences won't be left wanting after the high-octane start to 2014, with the BDO World Darts Championship commencing this weekend at the Lakeside Country Club in Surrey.
Just a few days after Michael van Gerwen succeeded in winning the PDC World Darts Championship, attention now switches to the sport's other batch of big names.
The field has grown to include an all-time high of 40 male players, with the women's ranks doubling from last year to a record 16 participants.
Saturday's action will begin with the best-of-five-sets first round, where those competing will be swiftly whittled down as we set off toward next week's final.
|BDO World Darts Championship First Round Schedule (Saturday, Jan. 4)|
|Seed||Player 1||vs.||Player 2|
|16||Jim Williams||vs.||Jeroen Geerdink/David Prins|
|10||Glen Durrant||vs.||New Zealand Reg (TBA)/WM Champ/Sam Head|
|1||Stephen Bunting||vs.||Jim Widmayer/Garry Thompson|
|7||Scot Waites||vs.||Alan Norris|
|9||Remco van Eijden||vs.||Rick Hofstra|
|11||Geert de Vos||vs.||Madars Razma/John Michael|
|8||Jeffrey de Graaf||vs.||Martin Atkins|
|6||Jan Dekker||vs.||Benito van de Pas|
|12||Wesley Harms||vs.||Paul Jennings|
|14||Ross Montgomery||vs.||Harley Kemp/Michael Meaney|
|5||Darryl Fitton||vs.||Tony Eccles|
|3||Tony O'Shea||vs.||David Cameron/Martin Adams|
|13||Gary Robson||vs.||Ron Meulenkamp|
|4||Robbie Green||vs.||Richie George|
|15||Scott Mitchell||vs.||Karel Sedlacek/Paul Hogan|
|2||James Wilson||vs.||Shimizu Hiroaki/Christian Kist|
Date(s): Jan. 4 - Jan. 12
Venue: Lakeside Country Club, Frimley Green, Surrey
Prize Money: £300,000 (Men), £29,000 (Women)
Key First-Round Matchups
Scott Waites vs. Alan Norris
The reigning BDO world champion Scott Waites comes to Surrey this week with a lot more pressure to perform than last time around.
Having breezed his way to the 2013 championship with a 7-1 demolition of Tony O'Shea in the final, the Yorkshire native shoulders a lot more expectation a year later.
The difference between BDO and PDC standard is clear in the fact that Waites can become a world champion in his trade and only practice for an hour a day, as the Telegraph's Jonathan Liew attests:
Nonetheless, Waites' standard throughout last year's tournament was exemplary.
The coming encounter with world No. 27 Alan Norris should provide Scotty "Too Hotty" with an appropriate opening test. Norris is talented enough to provide the title holder with a challenge, but not so tough that the champion should fall at the first hurdle.
Robbie Green vs. Richie George
Fourth seed Robbie Green will meet Richie George for the first time in their careers this weekend, when "Kong" faces a stiff test of his talents against one of the sport's emerging faces.
At just 24 years of age, George hasn't been on the circuit for long, but has already climbed to BDO world No. 18 and was something of a surprise semifinalist in last year's tournament.
That's one stage further than Green managed, the 39-year-old forced out by eventual runner-up O'Shea 12 months ago.
Although it's the elder of the two who'll be tipped as favourite for this clash, there's a lot to be said for the often undeniable enthusiasm that comes as a result of youth, which "Richie Rich" possesses in spades.
Stephen Bunting vs. Jim Widmayer/Garry Thompson
The No. 1 overall seed for this year's championship hasn't yet found out who will line up opposite him in his first examination, with qualifiers Jim Widmayer and Garry Thompson set to duke it out for a pop at the tournament favourite.
Of the two contenders, Bunting would undoubtedly rather see world No. 166 Widmayer triumph over the heavy favourite and world No. 23 Thompson, but the American underdog will head into his opener with a nothing-to-lose attitude in the hopes of advancing.
That being said, Thompson's progress would certainly be the preferred route for the neutral viewer, with Bunting hoping to move further than the shock second-round exit to Darryl Fitton that was suffered this time last year.
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