The BDO Darts World Championships at the Lakeside are bubbling up nicely as they approach the later stages of the tournament. With the number one seed already out, as England’s James Wilson was toppled by the qualifier and Swedish supermarket manager, Peter Sajwani, the favourite’s tag had transferred to Alan Norris. However, he became another victim yesterday as Darryl Fitton came through a deciding set tie-break against the number two seed to claim his place in the last eight of this year’s event.

They served up a mini-classic as the match went the distance, with both players locked together at three sets apiece. All the sets had gone with the darts up to that point, as both players maintained their focus, with Norris continually being pegged back after going ahead. They still couldn’t be separated at two legs all in the deciding seventh set, at which point the ultimate winner needed to win by two clear legs. Norris had chances before then to close the game out in the sixth set but narrowly failed to do so and it was Fitton who proved the stronger at the death, as his opponent missed opportunities on doubles again in the seventh set and gave him the chance to progress, which Fitton duly took to clinch the match.

For Norris it was another match to look back upon and ponder, after reaching the final at the BDO event last year when he was defeated by Stephen Bunting, who switched to the rival PDC championships this year rather than defend his crown.

Giant killer, Sajwani could not repeat his success in the earlier round against Wilson, as he went out of the competition to England’s Robbie Green 4-0 as the Swede suffered something of a reality check. His exhuberance on stage was clear as he danced a jig when winning an early leg, but his moments of success were few and far between against the consistency of his conqueror this time. The two had shared a conversation before the match and Green found his flamboyant rival to be a genuine and likeable person, but the geniality stopped on stage as the man from Wallasey simply outplayed him to cruise into the next round.

After the high scoring of the PDC event in the previous few weeks, many pundits have questioned whether the BDO event is on a par with it, as the early rounds have indicated a distinct drop in the three-darts’ averages in comparison. The jury is probably still out on that as the likelihood is that the standard of play will improve as the competition moves into the quarter-finals and beyond, but for now matches such as Fitton v Norris can serve as the hors d’oeuvre for things to come.

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