O'Shea v Kist: A worthy final to savour
Throughout all the drama of the semi-finals – draftgate, boardchangegate, hissyfitgate – two men emerged victorious. And on reflection of the week as a whole, few could argue that Tony O’Shea and Christian Kist do not deserve to be here this Sunday.
Neither player produced their best darts on Saturday, but each displayed battling virtues and mental fortitude that are imperative, perhaps more so than raw ability, at this juncture of major tournaments.
In victory over Ted Hankey Kist’s average dipped below 90 for the first time this week, while O’Shea was down in the mid-80s as his doubling deserted him at pivotal moments in the early exchanges. But that won’t bother either player, they’re both in a Lakeside final. Now it is down to who can hold their nerve.
A sign of just how difficult this one is to call is that most bookmakers daren’t make either player their betting favourite. Those that do, however, suggest that the Dutchman has a slight edge; Sky Bet go 8/11 about Kist and offer 11/10 on Silverback.
But I agree with those that can’t pick a favourite and believe that this one is too close to call. So I won’t try. There is plenty of betting value to be had elsewhere.
In this best-of-13-sets final Sky Bet offer odds of 5/4 that we see more than 11.5 sets. With the players so evenly matched I can’t see either stretching too far ahead in the opening exchanges and a 7-5 scoreline (12 sets) either way seems the most likely outcome, if indeed we don’t get a final-set decider.
BetVictor also offer an appealing 4/6 on Kist having the highest three-dart average. There are almost five points between the pair’s tournament average, while Kist has only dipped below the 90 mark once this week. This is one area where the Dutchman has a clear advantage over his opponent.
Finally, a glance at the 180s market where Boylesports offer odds of 9/10 that there are either more than or less than 18.5 maximums in the match. As we’re anticipating a long match it is natural that we plump for a high number of big scores. However, neither of these players have really pummelled the lipstick this week.
Kist has the most maximums in the tournament, but still averages fewer than one per set played (0.89), while O’Shea’s ratio is even lower (0.69). Neither player was fluent on the 180s in their semi-final match – hitting only 10 between them, despite both matches going the full distance – and the pressure will only be magnified here.
We may not have seen ton+ averages, bags of 160+ checkouts and walk-on girls to rival any catwalk, but the darting drama at Lakeside this week has been nail-biting, grip-the-arms-of-your-seat stuff. At the end of this weekend we will certainly have a deserving newly-crowned World Champion. For one it would be the perfect swansong, for the other it may be the beginning of a spectacular career at the oche.
• Hankey v Kist: Terrible Ted too tough for Kist
• O'Shea v Harms: The year of the Silverback
• Kist v Norris: Dutch delight for Vroomshoop flinger
• Hankey v Atkins: Count to take out the Assassin
• Harms v Jennings: Sparky has lit up Lakeside
• O'Shea v Adams: Wolf to tame Silverback
• Waites v Hankey: You can Count on Ted
• Kist v De Vos: Dutchman to Kist the lipstick
• Winstanley v Norris: Chuck your money Over The Top
• Adams v Stone: Champ to cruise through
• O'Shea v Montgomery: Ross to Boss the 180s
• Green v Harms: Seeded duo to go all the way
• Van de Pas v Norris: Chuck to use experience
• Winstanley v Ten Berge: Over The Top of the 180s
• Waites v Boulton: Waites has Scott the lot
• Hankey v Barden: Out for the Count
• Phillips v Harms: Welshman to keep Wes at Harms length
• Adams v Mitchell: First round tester for the champ
• Fitton v Green: Dazzling Darryl to get off to a flyer