Glen Durrant retained his Lakeside World Championship title after surviving two match darts to edge out BDO number one Mark McGeeney in an thrilling deciding-set tiebreak on Sunday evening.
In one of the most dramatic finals ever witnessed on the Lakeside stage, Durrant prevailed with a 93.97 average, 15 maximums and a 32% checkout conversion rate, despite missing an incredible 61 darts at double.
McGeeney’s maiden World Championship final ultimately ended in heartbreak, but he battled valiantly throughout. ‘The Gladiator’ averaged 86.31, crashed in ten maximums and converted 46% of his attempts at double, but he was edged out in agonising fashion as Durrant retained his title and picked up the £100,000 winner’s prize.
It was a scrappy start to the contest, with McGeeney registering successive 18-dart legs to seize the initiative. Durrant drew level with 14 and 15-dart legs, but McGeeney held his nerve impressively to draw first blood with a 13-dart hold via tops.
Durrant responded by kicking off the second set with a majestic 121 outshot for a 12-dart hold and he rounded-off the set with a sublime 11-darter to restore parity, but McGeeney rallied and regained the initiative by clinching the third set without reply; wrapping it up with a clinical two-dart 78 combination.
However, The Teessider responded once more; converting 106 and 116 finishes to level up proceedings, having also fired in an 11-darter midway through the set. ‘Duzza’ was comprehensively outscoring McGeeney, but his profligacy was proving particularly costly.
McGeeney crashed in a 92 finish for a 12-dart hold midway through the fifth, before capitalising on eight missed darts from Durrant to peg tops and establish a 3-2 lead. ‘The Gladiator’ then punished further missed doubles from the top seed to break with a tidy 68 kill, but Durrant reeled off three straight legs to restore parity at three apiece.
McGeeney dispatched a fine 97 combination to move 2-0 ahead in the seventh, but Durrant squared matters with 64 and 69 finishes, after the Stockport ace had squandered two set darts. Nevertheless, he was handed a major reprieve after ‘Duzza’ missed two set darts at tops, which saw McGeeney pin D10 to regain the lead for the fourth time.
Nevertheless, the defending champion then upped the ante considerably to seize total control of the final. He wrapped up the next set in just 45 darts to make it eight consecutive sets with throw, before breaking that monopoly in a similarly dominant ninth set.
Durrant followed up his 12th maximum with a precious break, before converting a clinical 68 kill for a 15-dart hold, en route to clinching the ninth set to nil. McGeeney managed to stop the rot with a spectacular 157 checkout out of nowhere but the Middlesbrough ace responded magnificently.
He broke back instantly with a 13-darter on tops, dispatched a nerveless 72 kill to hold, before rounding-off a 14-dart break to establish a commanding 6-4 cushion. ‘Duzza’ had won nine of the last ten legs after completely outscoring the second seed, and he seemed destined to close out victory.
However, whilst Durrant had dominated the scoring stakes, he had been plagued by profligacy in the finishing department, which resurfaced during the latter stages. He missed seven darts at double across two legs as McGeeney reduced the arrears to 6-5, before missing four at a double midway through set twelve.
This enabled ‘The Gladiator’ to level up at six apiece and force a deciding set, where he drew first blood after Durrant squandered two more darts at double to break throw. The pair then traded maximums to kick off the second leg, before McGeeney completed a nerveless 81 checkout on D6 for a 12-dart break, to move to the cusp of a shock victory.
However, Durrant bounced back to peg a 14-dart break on D18, before a dramatic fourth leg ensued. The reigning champ spurned three clear darts at double to force a tiebreak with McGeeney sat on D18 for the title. Yet ‘The Gladiator’ went inside with match darts at D18 and D9, as ‘Duzza’ sank D1 with his sixth dart at double to save his skin.
McGeeney was visibly deflated after spurning a wonderful opportunity for title glory and Durrant compounded his misery moments later, powering in an inspired 149 checkout to break throw and close in on victory. The top seed had survived a major scare but his nerve eventually held, pinning D3 with his fourth match dart to prevail in an epic.
It was a topsy-turvy tussle, with Durrant’s prolific scoring and McGeeney’s clinical finishing making for a thrilling spectacle, but the 47-year-old Teessider enjoyed some good fortune and maintained his composure to join the likes of Raymond van Barneveld, Eric Bristow and Martin Adams in retaining the Lakeside trophy.
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