Sunday evening’s final was set up to be a classic. An all-Welsh final between Jim Williams and Wayne Warren to crown the 43rd BDO World champion. It toed and froed too, Williams heading into a 2-0 lead early on, with Warren missing the chance to level, before ‘Yank’ gritted through to win the 3rd set. He then took set 4 on a decider before taking the lead for the first time, 3-2. A break via the bull then helped ‘The Quiff’ to level at 3 all, but a missed chance to go 4-3 up saw Warren regain the advantage. Then it was Williams with the control of the game once again, levelling at 4-4. But all of a sudden, the 59-year-old Wayne Warren, the oldest ever world champion, took the next set with a breeze. And then 5-4 soon became 6-4, and the BDO number 2 could just not hold back the man from Treherbert any longer. The title was his.
And it wasn’t just the narrative that made it fascinating and thrilling to watch. It was the quality. Warren continued on from his excellent form of the event, including a 58% checkout percentage in his semi-final which would leave most throwers incredulous, recording a 93 average. Williams picked up his game for the big event too, averaging 94. We also saw 25 180s across the 11 sets of action, the pair not failing to impress.
But there is still a sour feeling in all BDO fans. The off-the-oche events that defined the beginning of the event (namely the announcement the prize money would be significantly reduced) were still lingering by the championship’s end, with players not knowing by the climax of the final and still not knowing now how much they will be banking in prize money for their efforts. And many fans, with the WDF’s recent severing of ties from the BDO and the overall poor financial picture, watched Sunday’s action in the knowledge it may be the last BDO World final, an ever increasing possibility.
“Des Jacklin must accept his failure to manage the organisation, address the prize money issue immediately for the sake of the players, and hand over to competent and capable leadership”
And the simple fact is, whatever may be said about the BDO and its directorship in the years leading up to Des Jacklin’s election as chairman in August 2018 and the mistakes and poor judgement that occurred, all of the problems stated above have to lie at the BDO chief’s door. The WDF specifically cited the organisation’s mismanagement of last year’s World Masters and the introduction of affiliation fees as driving factors in their decision, both very recent events for which he must take his share of the responsibility. Jacklin’s lack of honesty and transparency has made whatever may be significant financial problems much worse, leaving players confused and, in the case of Tony Martin (partner of Anastasia Dobromyslova) and the competing women, fundraising to bolster their own prize fund. His absence at the trophy presentation on Sunday was telling and pretty indicative of Jacklin’s attitude to the post, particularly over the last year.
Without any doubt, the situation now for the BDO is undoubtedly bleak. It would be wrong to come to conclusions about the nature of the body’s financial irregularities and even make predictions about what may happen with the prize money yet to be delivered, but the immediate future of the organisation is definitely not certain. I’ve wrote about the BDO’s predicament and future in the past, both in 2018 after Jacklin’s appointment and in 2019 after the Lakeside departure was announced, but at neither of those times did it feel that the BDO was imminently at threat. The same simply cannot be said. For the BDO to have any hope of survival, Des Jacklin must accept his failure to manage the organisation, address the prize money issue immediately for the sake of the players, and hand over to competent and capable leadership.
Image Credits: BDO