Former darts champ Glen Durrant weighs up North East world title chances

Written by on 6th December 2023

Former PDC Premier League champion Glen Durrant has described the North East as a “hot bed of darts” as the region saw four local stars drawn in the 2024 World Championships.

The draw for the tournament, which begins at Alexandra Palace on Friday December 15, includes 2023 Masters Champion and Premier League star Chris Dobey, 2022 World Championship quarter-finalist Callan Rydz, Players Championship semi-finalist Ryan Joyce, and recent tour card winner Keegan Brown.

Bedlington duo Dobey and Rydz have been seeded for the tournament, ranking 17th and 30th respectively. This means they will both enter in the second round, guaranteeing them at least £15,000 of the £2.5m prize pot.

Speaking exclusively to Spark about the local names in the draw, Teessider Durrant, a three time WDF world champion, said: “Across the country, people are jealous of the North East. It’s a real hot bed of darts and I feel like I played my part in that.

“There is a new breed (of North East players) coming through, so it’s a really exciting time for darts in the North East.”

The draw

Photo by Phil Bryan/News Images

The North East’s top seed Dobey looks to end a successful year on a high. He kicks off his campaign against the winner of William O’Connor v Bhav Patel.

Rydz, who has had an up-and-down 2023, looks to carry on the form from his 2022 campaign when he reached the quarter-finals, losing out in the deciding leg to eventual winner Peter Wright.

‘The Riot’ will play the winner of Ricardo Pietreczko v Mikuru Suzuki in the second round.

Reacting to the draw, Rydz told Spark: “(It is a) tough draw but all games are difficult to play.

“I know if I bring my game from (2021/22) I win this match – the hard work begins now.”

(Photo by Pieter Verbeek/BSR Agency). Alamy

Should Rydz win his second-round game, there is a chance he will play odds-on favourite and winner of the 2023 Grand Prix, Grand Slam and Players Championship Luke Humphries in the third round.

Geordie Joyce and Durham-born Brown, who now lives on the Isle of Wight, both enter the championships in the first round, playing Alex Spellman and Boris Krcmar respectively.

Should Joyce win, he will play 18th seed Stephen Bunting. Brown will play 12th seed Dirk Van Duijvenbode should he prevail against Croatian Krcmar.

Duzza’s view

Glen Durrant playing Chris Dobey in the PDC World Darts Championship Image Credit: Steven Paston

Despite taking a step back from playing darts professionally, Middlesbrough-based ‘Duzza’ will still be present at the Ally Pally, taking to the commentary box after a successful stint at the Grand Slam of Darts in November.

Talking about the opportunity, Durrant said: “It feels like Duzza version two – I would love to still be a player but these things happen.

“Rather than sulking, I have been looking at a plan B, playing in exhibitions and doing commentary.

“I got my break in the MODUS Super Series. From there, I got a message from Sky asking me to work on the grand slam.

“Then I got offered 12 dates, of which I can do 10 and I’m commentating on Chris Dobey’s game.”

When asked about the four North East players’ chances in the tournament, Durrant said: “I like the section (of the draw) Dobey is in. He could have a huge last 32 game against Ross Smith, and a potential last 16 tie with last year’s champion Michael Smith.

“But which (Michael) Smith are we going to get? The one that won (last year), or the one who has had a bad 2023?

“Joyce is a player that goes unnoticed, fresh from the semi-finals of the Players Championships – he is one to look out for.

“Rydz isn’t going (into the tournament) with the best of form and it’s the same with Brown.

“I think the timing is with Dobey and Joyce.”

The odds

According to the Oddschecker website, Dobey has the best odds to win outright out of the four North East stars at 70/1.

Joyce follows behind at 400/1, with Rydz an outsider at 750/1 and Brown sitting at 1000/1.

We asked Durrant who he thought would win the tournament outright. He said: “I’ve changed my mind a couple of times. The obvious answer is Humphries, but I don’t think it is possible to win four tournaments in a row.

“I like Michael Van Gerwen’s section of the draw, but I think Gerwyn Price will get it right and get over the line this time.

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