“The Gladiator” Mark McGeeney is a former BDO World Championship finalist from 2018 where he lost to Glen Durrant 7-6. Matt Campbell is Canada’s number one at the moment and is another debutant this year.
McGeeney’s a class operator and it’s him all the way for me in this one.
It’s the Austrian Zoran Lerchbacher’s fourth World Championship appearance. In 2014 he lost to MVG in the first round, and he lost to Robert Thornton in 2017 before making it to the second round in 2018 where he lost to Keegan Brown, but he’s been a bit out of sorts recently.
Jamie Hughes from West Bromwich is a two-time BDO World Championships semi-finalist and he’s got the class in this showdown, so he’s the one I’ve got to back here.
It’s going to be emotional with Barney retiring after the tournament, and this is a tough opening match for him. There’ll be one or two shakes of the head during this one and he won’t have everything all his own way, but he should come through
He’s one of the most successful players in darts history, a five-time world champion, and this’ll be a tough competition for him, but he should be just good enough to get past Darin Young. 3-2 to Barneveld is 4/1
Don’t write off Rob Cross this year, he’s playing alright. He knows how to get himself ready for the World Championship. He didn’t have great performances at the Grand Slam, there were glimpses of his old self though, and he won the World Matchplay earlier in the year.
That tells me he’s got the pedigree to have a good run at the World Championship. He’ll beat Huybrechts on Saturday.