The oldest trophy in darts, the Winmau World Masters, is being contested in Hull the weekend beginning the 1st of September. The 8 seeds in both the Men’s and Women’s draws have been released, and it is difficult to see anyone beyond these top 16 players lifting the Men’s and Women’s trophies on Sunday night.
The Winmau World Masters seeds:
1 MARTIN ADAMS
2 DEAN WINSTANLEY
3 ROBBIE GREEN
4 SCOTT WAITES
5 GARY ROBSON
6 ROSS MONTGOMERY
7 TONY WEST
8 JOHN WALTON
Martin Adams is rightfully the number 1 seed, and the favourite in the Men’s draw, going into the Winmau World Masters. He is not the 3 times and reigning World Champion, and the 3 times and reigning Winmau World Masters Champion for nothing. Since 1974, and the inception of the tournament, no one in the Men’s World Masters has won four titles in a row. Eric Bristow has 5 World Masters titles to his name but he only (only is not a fair word in this context) achieved 2 in a row in 1983 and 1984. Bob Anderson achieved a hat trick of titles in the eighties, in 86, 87 and 88. History is perhaps Adam’s biggest opponent this weekend. If he can lift his fourth title he will be second only to Bristow in the all-time total list and will have achieved 4 in a row, a feat that has never been equalled in the Men’s competition.
There is one noticeable accolade missing from the roll call of achievements listed above for Adams; that of World Number 1, that honour belongs to the tournaments 2nd seed, Dean Winstanley. Winstanley had a great 2010 with wins in the Belgium Open, English Open and German Open followed by the British Classic in 2011. But his finest achievement is still his dramatic run to the 2011 Lakeside final where he faced Martin Wolfie Adams. The exciting final did see the man from Doncaster ultimately defeated by Adams, but it was a close contest with Wolfie winning 7-5.
At 30 years old Winstanley is still a baby in darting terms; and his greatest achievements are undoubtedly ahead of him. Winning perhaps the most distinguished title in darts would crown a fantastic couple of years for Over The Top.
Robbie Kong Green, the former Winmau World Masters finalist and former World Number 1,is always a contender for the top prizes on the BDO tour. In 2011 he has won the Scottish Open and the Gwynedd Open; but he is of course aware players are ultimately judged by their performances in the Big Two of the Lakeside World Championship and the Winmau World Masters. The Scouser known as Kong has seen his best major result in the Winmau World Masters reaching the 2009 final. This tournament has been good to him in the past and a repeat of his great 2009 run would be an impressive return from a weekend in Hull.
Off the back of his recent Swedish Open victory, Scott Scotty 2 Hotty Waites is the man in form going into the Winmau World Masters. He is also not short of big match experience having reached three Lakeside quarter finals and a Winmau World Masters final. The number 4 seed is hitting form at just the right time. If anyone can stand the heat of the Winmau World Masters pressure cooker it is Scotty 2 Hotty.
Gary Big Robbo Robson is a steady performer in big events, reaching the quarters of both the Lakeside and the World Masters on many occasions, but he is yet to see a semi in a Major tournament. Another quarter final exit could be in the future for the number 5 seed, unless he can prove his doubters wrong and go on a tear this weekend.
Ross Montgomery at 48 is seeing a late renaissance in his career. The only non-Englishman in the World top 10, and the Winmau World Masters top 8 seeds, has won the BDO Gold Cup, the Welsh Open and the Belgium Open in 2011. His best result at The Winmau World Masters was a quarter final in 2008 but the smart money this year is on the Scotsman at least equalling that achievement.
The 7th and 8th seeds in the Men’s draw, Tony West and John Walton have been there, done that and bought the darts shirt. John The Boy Walton won the Winmau World Masters and the Lakeside World Championship in 2000 and 2001 respectively. While Tony West lifted the World Masters crown in 2003. When it comes to these two players the ornery cliché about form is temporary and class is permanent applies. An unkind commentator could say their best days are behind them, but it would not be the most intelligent prediction to count out West and Walton from reclaiming former glories.
1 DETA HEDMAN
2 JULIE GORE
3 TRINA GULLIVER
4 IRINA ARMSTRONG
5 KAREN LAWMAN
6 ANASTASIA DOBROMYSLOVA
7 LORRAINE FARLAM
8 KARIN KRAPPEN
The stars of the ladies game will be out in force for the Winmau World Masters, and just like their Male counterparts it is difficult to look past the top 8 seeds for an eventual winner.
It may be a surprise to some that the 9 time Champion of the World Trina The Golden Girl Gulliver is not the top seed. Gulliver has already achieved the feat of 4 titles in a row that Martin Adams seeks to emulate this year; but Gulliver herself will not find it easy getting past the top 2 seeds in the Women’s draw. Julie Ice Cube Gore will have every motivation to defend her 2010 Winmau World Masters title and the Welsh player will be no pushover in this year’s event.
It is hard to match the year that Deta Hedman has had in the Women’s game. After reaching the semi-final of the Lakeside World Championship she has went on to win the Women’s Belgium Open, the Women’s German Open, the Women’s Isle of Man Open and the Welsh Open. Not a bad year by anyone’s standards, rightfully earning her the Number 1 seed going into the tournament.
In a year when Martin Adams seeks to emulate one of the many achievements of The Golden Girl, and the Golden Girl herself faces a stern test in the Women’s competition, who will lift the Winmau World Masters trophy can’t be guaranteed, but what can be guaranteed; when the darting world converges on Hull, it will not be dull.