By Christopher Kempf
20 JANUARY 2017 •7:47PM
Glen Durrant, the newly crowned BDO world champion, had much to prove after the two very shaky wins he recorded en route to the Lakeside semi-finals.
It was only by virtue of Paul Hogan’s three missed darts at doubles for a 4-0 whitewash he managed to reach that stage at all.
But even if Duzza’s extraordinary comeback against Hogan turned heads, his throwing of anaemic sub-90 averages in both the second round and the quarter-finals, and missing every finish greater than 85 he attempted in 58 legs of darts assuredly did not.
His struggles seemed to continue in the initial legs of his semi-final match with Jamie Hughes, the BDO world number two.
Through the first six legs, Duzza was again averaging in the 80s, scoring erratically and only winning three of his first four legs by virtue of missed doubles from his opponent.
Despite winning the first set 3-2, it seemed that Durrant was in for a gruelling semi-final, as he struggled to overcome Hughes’ efforts and capitalise on his mistakes.
Within a half an hour’s time, however, Hughes’ confidence had been utterly broken.
En route to a 4-0 set lead, Durrant threw two 12-dart legs and won six more in five visits, conceding only two legs to Hughes on the West Midlands darter’s throw.
Durrant knew full well that he would need to build a massive early lead to stymie Yozza, and he did it in a way that made the comeback seem hopeless.
As if a 132 checkout on the bull to kick off the third set wasn’t enough, Durrant matched the highest checkout of the tournament with his ensuing 170 finish, doing his celebratory “Duzza shuffle” as he walked to the board to retrieve his darts.
The cameras trained on his opponent, and caught a bewildered Hughes bowing his head as he sought to recompose himself.
His next score, however, was a 47, and Durrant later denied Hughes a shot at 74 when the last of his three darts hit double 10.
Duzza had only won three legs in that spectacular set, but it had the psychological impact of thirty.
After a fourth set in which Durrant continued in exhibition form, setting up a double after nine darts in the first leg and hitting the 117 finish in the second, even scoring another 170 visit along the way, the comeback against an opponent romping to victory must have seemed impossible.
Hughes’ scoring, to his credit, remained consistent – his average of 10.46 darts needed to reach a finish was one of the best recorded in the tournament.
Taking advantage of a sudden spate of inaccuracy on the treble 20, Hughes won the fifth set and pulled ahead 2-1 in the sixth.
Then Durrant threw a third 170 visit and Hughes’ comeback crumbled.
On his own throw, with two clear visits to win the set, Hughes missed four doubles – none of them by close margins – before ruefully busting after missing double five to the inside.
With that, all the energy and momentum left in Hughes’ game drained away, and the seventh set seemed an afterthought.
The averages from the match tell a tale of a close fight between two men on form, but Duzza’s psychological onslaught brought to the match something unseen in his previous two games.
This time, Durrant proved why he is ranked number one in the BDO.
He did not hesitate to remind Hughes of that with every spellbinding score – and in doing so threatened him still with more.