Big guns take flight

Oche legends Eric Bristow and John Lowe are among the famous names bidding for one of the remaining 16 places up for grabs in the Ladbrokes.com World Championship at tomorrow’s qualifying event.

Oche legends Eric Bristow and John Lowe are among the famous names bidding for one of the remaining 16 places up for grabs in the Ladbrokes.com World Championship at tomorrow’s qualifying event.

A field of 166 will battle it out in Hull including four former world champions, with Bristow and Lowe joined by Richie Burnett and Keith Deller. Other stars of yesteryear aiming to clinch an appearance at Purfleet’s Circus Tavern are Rod Harrington, Dave Whitcombe and Cliff Lazarenko.

Lazarenko, 53, has played in a World Championship on 23 previous occasions and retains plenty of enthusiasm for the game even though his form has suffered in recent years.

“I’m excited about it, really looking forward to it,” he told the Professional Darts Corporation’s official website, www.planetdarts.co.uk.

“You’ve got to go there focused and if you don’t turn up in the right frame of mind you will go out early, it’s as simple as that.”

Popular ‘Big’ Cliff believes he is still capable of making an impact and pointed to the achievements of Bob Anderson, who reached the World Championship semi-finals last year at the age of 57, that darts is not necessarily a young man’s game.

“Bob has regenerated himself in the last five years and done marvellously,” said Lazarenko. “And I’ve been quite pleased with my form recently. But as you get older it’s not always about playing well – your concentration disappears now and again.”

With the World Championship – which starts on December 19 – expanded to 64 players, the successful 16 in Hull will be joined by the top 32 in the world rankings and 16 international entrants who secured their slot thanks to results in domestic competitions.

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