Wayne Warren made darting history by becoming the oldest first-time winner of a World Championship following a 7-4 victory over fellow Welshman Jim Williams in the 2020 BDO World Championship final on Sunday night at the Indigo O2.
The 57-year-old, featuring in his fifth World Championship – 15 years since making his debut, reaffirmed the notion that age is no barrier to realising your darting dreams by producing a fine display to defeat second seed Williams in a high-quality finale.
Peter Wright became the oldest first-time winner of the PDC World Championship less than a fortnight ago and Warren followed suit – also usurping Martin Adams and Phil Taylor by becoming the oldest player to be crowned world champion.
35-year-old Williams was the bookmaker’s favourite for the tournament before a dart was thrown and although he’s not produced his blistering best in the capital, he underlined his title credentials with a confident start, taking out a classy 102 combination and firing in a 13-darter to hit the front.
Warren conjured up a majestic 131 checkout in set two but frittered away three set darts to square proceedings, although roles were soon reversed, as Warren halved the deficit via double one, before capitalising on two missed set darts from ‘The Quiff’ to restore parity at two apiece.
‘The Yank’ was warming to the task which was illustrated in a remarkable fifth set. Williams led 2-0 and he appeared poised to regain the initiative, but Warren reeled off three consecutive legs with legs of 15, 11 and 15 darts, converting finishes of 78, 100 and 68 in the process.
Williams stormed back by wrapping up set six without reply, although a missed dart for a 116 checkout enabled Warren to edge back ahead. His advantage was short-lived however, as the World Trophy champion battled through a gruelling eighth set decider to draw level once more.
Fifth seed Warren was starting to dominate proceedings after securing set nine and the prolonged interval appeared to hinder Williams far more than his elder compatriot, with the 57-year-old firing in a timely tenth maximum and completing a 15-dart hold to establish a 6-4 cushion.
The second seed continued to battle valiantly in a bid to begin the fightback, yet Warren wasn’t to be denied. Williams forced another set decider – the sixth of the evening, only for the former roofer to close out a 14-dart hold on tops, provoking jubilant and emotional scenes of celebration.
Warren’s triumph sees him crowned the oldest ever darts champion – Martin Adams held that particular honour having won his third world title at the age of 54, whilst Phil Taylor was 52 when he lifted the Sid Waddell Trophy for the final time.
It was an encounter befitting of the occasion. The pair’s averages dwindled slightly in the latter stages, although Warren prevailed with a 93.59 average and ten maximums, defying a 94.53 average and 15 maximums from his younger countryman.
“I can’t believe it,” Warren told Eurosport. “This is a dream. I tried my hardest all week. We’re great mates. I think Jim will be world champion multiple times. This might be my last chance. He’s the best.”
Williams, who was also beaten by eventual champion Glen Durrant in last year’s semi-finals, was unable to hide his disappointment, yet he was typically magnanimous in defeat.
“I’m gutted, but I couldn’t wish for a nicer guy to win it. If it wasn’t for me, I’m glad it’s him. The better guy won on the day. He was relentless with his scoring, so fair play to Wayne.”
Warren is the fourth Welshman to be crowned world champion – the first since Mark Webster defeated Simon Whitlock in 2008. Leighton Rees was the first – winning the inaugural BDO World Championship in 1978. Nevertheless, given the uncertainty that has at times marred the event, darts fans will sincerely hope that Warren isn’t the last.
Photo Credit: Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics