Peterborough man Dennis Harbour reckons he has a chance of lifting the BDO World Championship after qualifying for the final stages for the first time in a decade.
Harbour, who lives in Dogsthorpe, meets seventh seed Daryl Fitton in the opening round at the Lakeside Country Club tomorrow (January 2). Fitton, twice a semi-finalist and a quarter-finalist last year, will be a hot favourite to progress
But Harbour (54) goes into the championship boosted by the best year of his lengthy darts career.
Harbour has won four tournaments on the BDO circuit to climb up to No 18 in the world rankings and secure a return to Frimley Green, where the action will be captured by BBC cameras.
Harbour said: “I’m not scared of anyone at the Lakeside. I’m playing well and I think I’ve got a chance of going all the way. I’m going to go out there and enjoy it. I feel I belong there.”
This season, Harbour has scalped big names like Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams, defending world champion Scott Mitchell and Glenn Durrant, the current world No 1, and says he will be well supported when he returns to the Lakeside.
Harbour, a grandfather of four, said: “My boss (Stuart Timms of Door Barns in Wisbech) is letting me have the week off work and has said to me: ‘Go out there and do the business.’
“It’s nice to know he’s behind me and I should have a few family and friends going to the Lakeside as well.
“I want to give them plenty to shout about.”
On his last appearance at the world championships in 2006, Harbour bowed out in the first round, beaten 3-2 by Jelle Klaasen.
The Dutchman came from 2-0 down to win a thriller and went on to lift the trophy with victory over Ray van Barneveld in the final.
Harbour, beaten in the first round by James Wade on his only other appearance at the world championship, said: “I’ve been trying to get back to the Lakeside ever since, but kept falling at the last hurdle.
“I have a sponsor now (John Beddows of Ebeneezers in Woodston) and that’s allowed me to play the circuit and pick up the ranking points I needed.
“That’s made a massive difference. It’s taken the pressure off.
“John sponsored me to go to the Scottish Open (last December), I won it and I haven’t looked back since.”
World ranked number two Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams from Deeping starts his World Championshop campaign on Tuesday (January 5) against either Matthew Medhurst or Jeff Smith. They meet in a qualifying match tomorrow,