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The only way is up for Tony O’Shea after BDO World title final appearance at Lakeside

By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent 

Stockport’s professional darts star Tony O’Shea is determined to continue climbing the rankings after reaching his second BDO World Championships final this month. 

O’Shea – currently ranked 8th – lost to unfancied Dutchman Christian Kist in the final 7-5 but knocked out reigning champion Martin Adams and the promising Wesley Harms in earlier rounds.

His progress to the final follows victory in tournaments in Northern Ireland and a World Cup pairs victory with fellow Stopfordian Darryl Fitton last year. 

He said: “If somebody had offered me a final spot at the start of the week I would’ve been very happy!  I played by best darts to knock Martin out but unfortunately not against Christian.”

O’Shea was the favourite for the final, with his opponent being an unseeded qualifier more used to working on roads than throwing arrows for a living. 

However, Kist knocked out some big names on his way to the last two – including Ted Hankey, who beat Tony in the 2009 final at the BDO’s spiritual Lakeside home in Surrey. 

“I was really chuffed to reach the final, but I felt the pressure this year with me being favourite – much more so than in ’09,” says Tony. 

“The way I had played throughout the week, I was confident before the final whoever my opponent was.  I think the tough games against Martin and Wesley (Harms, in the semi final), took it out of me a bit.”

O’Shea now expects Kist to turn professional and establish himself amongst the BDO’s top stars. 

“Christian has a great future ahead of him, all the best to him.  His win might have been a surprise to UK fans but he’s been doing well in the Dutch ranking tournaments this season.” 

“His confidence could easily bring him another couple of titles this season.”  

The final against Kist – some 25 years younger than 50-year-old O’Shea – made him realise changes needed to be made. 

“I’m getting too old and too fat to keep up with these younger guys.  I’m going to cut the beer right out.  My wife, Gill, is a great cook and never feeds me junk so I know that’s not the problem.” 

“People see me as a bit of a party animal – let’s have a beer with Tony – which I like, but to stay competitive I need to change my lifestyle.” 

O’Shea’s new healthy regime has seen him sign up with the gym, and doing work at home on the exercise bike. 

Despite his loss at Lakeside, O’Shea’s love for the place is clear. 

“There’s nothing like the Lakeside atmosphere – nothing can compete with it.  When I went to pick up some tickets I’d bought, just walking in the place made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.”  

“It’s like footballers and the Old Wembley – it can’t be beaten.  The crowd make it –  the support I had off them was awesome too.”

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