Having opted to cross the darting divide and join the PDC in January last year, three-time world champion Glen Durrant has spoken of his sadness at the current plight of the British Darts Organisation.
Durrant was the BDO’s leading light during a tumultuous period for the organisation, although their woes intensified following the Teessider’s departure, with their flagship World Masters and World Championship events descending into chaos over recent months.
The World Darts Federation (WDF) – the sport’s governing body – subsequently announced in December that they would no longer be recognising BDO operated tournaments with immediate effect, which saw the organisation downgraded to Associate Member Status.
January’s BDO World Championship was held away from the iconic Lakeside Country Club for the first time in over 30 years and men’s champion Wayne Warren received just £23,000 for his triumph – the lowest sum for a World Championship winner since 1990.
Des Jacklin announced his resignation as BDO Chairman with immediate effect in March, although Durrant concedes that he is indebted to Jacklin for lifting restrictions which previously denied the 49-year-old the opportunity to join the PDC without fear of financial repercussions.
Speaking exclusively to Josh’s Dartistry regarding the BDO’s current malaise, Durrant admitted: “It’s very sad. I have thought if Des [Jacklin] hadn’t relaxed that ruling of the champion not being able to go to Qualifying School, where would I be today?
“I’ve got to thank Des for that decision. Someone was watching down on me, because I won £300,000 in Lakeside wins alone in the past three years and to see the plight they’re going through now, it’s really tough because I’m a proud BDO man. I’ve never said a bad word against them and I believed in Des.”
Durrant enjoyed a prolific spell in the BDO, reaching ten major finals from 2014 onwards, winning nine of those titles. However, his solitary defeat came in the 2018 World Masters final against Adam Smith-Neale, which ‘Duzza’ attributes as a catalyst behind his decision to make the switch.
“Honestly when I won that third Lakeside title you go to a champion’s meal, and Des got on the mic and was just saying if there’s a 1% chance that this conversation – keeping going here – and there was a part of me saying should I stay? Should I be a four-time or five-time Lakeside champion?
“Within moments of listening to that I knew that I’d given up. I played a World Masters final against Adam Smith-Neale and I didn’t want to be there. There were 27 people in the crowd and it was just: ‘What am I doing?’
“I do think thank god I left the BDO when I did and it is really sad, because England Darts – it’s fantastic the set-up, The Isle of Mans – The grassroots side of the game is still there, county darts is still flourishing.
“My local team Cleveland have never been so happy and have never been playing so well, so grassroots darts is still really important and I take no satisfaction that the BDO are struggling at the moment.
“With Des going now, it needs something. I’m not sure what it is, I’m not a businessman. They need a Barry Hearn at the helm and they need it quickly.”
Away from the BDO uncertainty, Durrant has made a blistering start to his debut Premier League campaign, which will see him feature on some of the biggest stages in world darts. Nevertheless, he acknowledges that his maiden Lakeside triumph will always be tough to usurp.
Having suffered near misses against Scott Waites and Martin Adams in the two years prior, Durrant achieved his darting destiny with a 7-3 success against Dutchman Danny Noppert in the 2017 finale – an occasion ‘Duzza’ will never forget.
Despite this, the Middlesbrough man is now locking horns with a series of modern-day greats on a regular basis in the Premier League, which provides further vindication that he made the right decision to cross the divide.
“The Lakeside final would always take some beating. Just the build-up to the day, the stories where I just couldn’t put any calories in me, I was that nervous going into my first Lakeside final. Then you’re playing at the Ally Pally and it’s just an absolute sea of noise.
“The Premier League is just another different level. I thoroughly enjoyed Ireland even though I got beaten there. Exeter is different – it really is a cowshed that you’re playing in!
“When you’re backstage and you’re just sat next to Michael [van Gerwen], Peter Wright, and then Gary Anderson walks in, it’s a realisation that coming over to the PDC was the best decision and the Premier League is everything I thought it would be and more.”
The Premier League is scheduled to resume on July 30 amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis and the Middlesbrough man will be bidding to become just the third man in Premier League history to top the league phase – following in the footsteps of Van Gerwen and Phil Taylor.
However, the three-time world champion has still identified areas for improvement and despite initially opting for a change of equipment, he’s gone back to basics and has enlisted the help of Sky Sports expert Wayne Mardle, who has provided coaching advice for multiple PDC professionals.
“It’s given me the opportunity to work with Target Darts,” Durrant continued. “There has been a concern there that my combination finishing is up there with the very best in the world, but I’m lagging so far behind on the 180 scores.
“It was a good opportunity to use a brand new dart -it’s exactly the same but a thinner version of the dart I’ve been using with Target for the last 12 months. Quite simply it didn’t work.
“I might have been getting a few more 180s but it just didn’t feel right in the finger and my finishing was not as good, so I’ve come to realise now, I believe in this period it’s about you as a person – how you handle a situation.
“The darts are fine so I’ve been working on a few little tweaks. I was going to spend some time with Wayne Mardle and have a little look at the right-hand side of the board. The double ten in particular has hurt me over the years.
“It’s given me a few extra hours to work around that and Wayne has given me a couple of things to suggest. You can only really answer that [questions about your game] when you’re under those match conditions.”
Durrant consistently reiterates the importance of work-ethic – an integral quality he’s displayed throughout his career. He’s dominated within the BDO system and he won’t be satisfied until he lands a major PDC crown, but the evidence suggests that prospect may not be too far away.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC