In one of the most incredible darting fairy tales in recent memory, former Lakeside Champion Andy Fordham has qualified for the Grand Slam of Darts in November, after winning SEVEN matches at the BDO qualifier in Hull today!
The 2004 World Champion has been in the abyss in recent years, but rolled back the years to secure qualification. The Viking certainly wasn’t viewed as a realistic contender, with the likes of Glenn Durrant, Jamie Hughes, Tony O’Shea, Jeff Smith and Daryl Fitton and former Grand Slam winner Scott Waites all competing.
However, Fordham upset the odds by coming back from 4-3 down against Neil Duff to seal his spot and send the darting twitter-sphere into a state of mass hysteria!
Fordham has endured well-documented health problems throughout recent years and his confidence was at rock-bottom. Nevertheless, his form has gradually improved and he gained major confidence from his run to the last 16 of the International Darts Open in June.
In the last 32, Fordham caused a major upset by beating last year’s Lakeside semi-finalist Jeff Smith 5-2, before beating Tim Jones by the same score line to move two matches away from the Grand Slam. He edged through a nail biting clash against Darren Clifford 5-4, before overcoming Duff in dramatic circumstances.
Fordham stormed into a 3-1 lead, but Duff battled back to win three consecutive legs to lead 4-3 and Fordham’s dreams appeared to be diminishing. But the Viking showed true battling qualities to win the last two legs of the contest and confirm his first appearance in a major televised tournament for some considerable time.
Fordham will be joined in Wolverhampton by 1994 World Matchplay Champion Larry Butler. The 58-year old American was in tremendous form throughout the day and took a number of high profile scalps.
He ended BDO World Number 1 Glen Durrant’s hopes of qualification with a stunning 5-4 victory. This was even more impressive, considering Durrant was yet to drop a single leg prior to his clash against the American veteran.
Butler squeezed past Wayne Warren 5-4 in the following round, before he faced the decisive match, against 2010 Grand Slam Champion Scott Waites.
The Yorkshireman has enjoyed a renaissance in recent months and was hot favourite to progress, but Butler displayed all his class and experience to secure his first ever appearance at the Grand Slam.
The veteran duo of Fordham and Butler will represent the BDO at the Wolverhampton Civic alongside reigning World Champion Scott Mitchell, Geert de Vos, Martin Phillips and 3-time Lakeside Champion Martin Adams.
Wolfie will make his first appearance in a PDC tournament for over a decade, after deciding to accept his invitation this year. Fordham and Adams’ participation will undoubtedly add extra spice to the event; this could be the best Grand Slam yet!
BDO Grand Slam of Darts Qualifier
Larry Butler 5-4 Glen Durrant
Wayne Warren 5-1 Rob Modra
Joe Chaney 5-3 Jim Williams
Scott Waites 5-2 Shaun Carroll
Garry Thompson 5-2 Andy Chalmers
Neil Duff 5-2 Nick Kenny
Andy Fordham 5-2 Tim Jones
Darren Clifford 5-3 Jamie Hughes
Larry Butler 5-4 Wayne Warren
Scott Waites 5-1 Joe Chaney
Neil Duff 5-1 Garry Thompson
Andy Fordham 5-4 Darren Clifford
Larry Butler 5-3 Scott Waites
Andy Fordham 5-4 Neil Duff