BDO representatives Scott Mitchell, Jamie Hughes and Glen Durrant explain what life is like outside of the PDC…
What are the differences between the BDO and PDC?
Mitchell: We play darts because we want to be watched. It’s a nice carrot to be dangled.
Most of the guys on our side are working [alongside darts] but it’s a job for the PDC guys. Today I’ve been cutting a 150ft hedge then, this afternoon, I’ve got someone coming to look at the cattle on my farm. My life is busier away from the board.
Hughes: Probably the strength in their fields in depth. They play a lot more on TV, which means when they play on the stage they have a lot more stage experience than us, which is massive in a tournament like this which is played on the stage.
As you see with the Premier League, the top players are highly consistent in their ton-plus averages. We don’t have that many in the BDO. There is plenty on the floor play but not many on the stage. The main difference I’d say is their experience on the stage.
Durrant: The BDO have been really good to me but when you are showcasing your talents you want to be on TV and Lakeside is the only place in the BDO we get that exposure. The PDC have an amazing product and they are on the TV all the time and in January when I won the BDO title I got a little window into that and a little bit of fame.
Is there a difference in standard?
Mitchell: The standard has gone up in the PDC and that has dragged everyone along. The PDC guys get more chances on TV so they are more used to it.
Hughes: With the top eight maybe. I suppose the top eight are consistently on TV and consistently hitting hundred averages, but as I’ve just said we do it but it’s normally on the floor.
Their floor tournaments you have got to do a hundred average from the onset, in the BDO ones normally you may have a couple of rounds to get into the tournament, so that’s probably another difference.
We’re probably used to playing best of 7 on the floor now and the PDC are best of 11, so best of 9 we meet in the middle. So it does fair up the odds a bit and that makes for some good darts I think, because both players are under pressure as it is a short format.
Durrant: You have to raise your level as sometimes in the BDO if you miss a double you have got a chance to come back to it but if you don’t finish against the PDC guys then you have lost the leg.
It raised my game, I was averaging over 100 throughout games and I was enjoying it, playing with a smile on my face and my lasting memory last year was how special the crowd were.
Where would you be in the PDC order of merit?
Mitchell: That’s the million dollar question. But I don’t compare myself to anybody. But I know the players I’ve beaten, and I know how well they are doing in the PDC. It’s difficult to gauge yourself.
Hughes: I don’t know. I try not to think about things like that because it’s totally different; a totally different organisation, totally different players. I wouldn’t like to say if I’m being honest.
Is the Grand Slam of Darts welcoming?
Mitchell: Everyone has been fantastic to me. I really enjoy it. We’re given the best chance to play our best darts.
Hughes: Well obviously this is my home-town tournament so I should get the majority of the support and the support last year was absolutely magnificent. Hopefully, it will be the same again this year.
Durrant: Playing Barney last year, he was so nice to me before and after the game. I got a lot of plaudits and it’s nice to hear good things but at 5-5 against Barney I remember thinking come on, now’s your chance but he then suddenly was 8-5 up before I knew it. I thoroughly enjoyed the game and I can’t wait to get back there.
Who do you really want to play?
Mitchell: Daryl Gurney. We have history, he has beaten me five times in a row. If I lost six in a row that would be fine, but if I won once…
Hughes: It would have been nice to play Taylor because this will probably be the last tournament that he plays at the Grand Slam, so it would have been nice to play Phil before he bows out in style.
Can a BDO player win the Grand Slam?
Mitchell: Ask Scott Waites, he managed it. We all know you need luck, to be on your game, and to peak at the right time. Last year, six of eight BDO players got out of their groups.
Hughes: Why not? We’ve got three darts the same as all the PDC lads, maybe the experience is in their side but with a bit of luck at the right time, one of us could pull out a couple of shocks and go all the way.
Will you support the other BDO players?
Mitchell: I support them. I’m a team player – I play better with a team shirt than with an individual shirt. For me, there is team spirit.
Hughes: I’ll be supporting everyone. I just want to see good darts up there for the fans.
The Grand Slam of Darts gets underway live on Sky Sports on Saturday November 11 with a double session as the best of the PDC compete against the best of the BDO.
Keep up to date with the news as the tungsten enters its busiest time of year with the PDC World Championships just around the corner get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts.