Betfred.com League Of Legends
Whitcombe seeking double delight
Surprise early table-topper Dave Whitcombe has a double incentive to defend the only 100% record in the Betfred.com League of Legends when night three of the competition takes place in Birmingham on Friday.
The Kent publican sits proudly at the head of the standings after convincing victories over John Lowe and Bobby George and is now the 7/2 second favourite to lift the trophy at the Circus Tavern on August 22.
And the next round of action will be a big one for Whitcombe, for not only is it being staged on his 54th birthday but he comes up against the man he faced in two World Championship finals, Eric Bristow.
Whitcombe did not produce his best darts in those showdowns, losing 7-1 in 1984 and 6-0 two years later, but warns that the inaugural Betfred.com League of Legends is "a different kettle of fish".
"This is a whole new scenario," says the man from Sittingbourne. "It’s a league format and really there are no winners and losers until the semi-finalists are decided at the end of the round-robin phase.
"But it’s not really a case of seeking revenge for those defeats against Eric. At the time I felt I was his equal because I had beaten him in other tournaments, but in the World Championship finals the big stigma of competing for the game’s biggest prize played its part.
"I wasn’t totally confident going into those finals. On reflection, looking back with an older head, I should have won one of them even though the scorelines suggest otherwise. I didn’t put Eric under pressure and I was just hanging on for the whole of both matches."
Whitcombe admits he, like some other people, is a little surprised to find he is the only player to have won both his matches in the Betfred.com League of Legends so far but points out there is still a long way to go.
"I didn’t really expect to be top of the table at this stage," he confesses. "But someone has to be top and someone has to be bottom. I’ve not played the tournament favourite Bob Anderson yet though.
"However, if you are happy with your game it doesn’t really matter who you play. It’s all about producing the goods yourself."
Two of the highest-profile competitors have still to get off the mark in the event, with Bobby George and John Lowe having lost on both their appearances to date.
‘Bobby Dazzler’ bids to open his account at the Hilton Metropole Hotel next to the NEC against Peter Evison, while Lowe meets Keith Deller, who has one victory and one loss to his name so far.
Anderson, who is Betfred’s 5/4 favourite for the title, faces ‘Big’ Cliff Lazarenko, a winner against Bristow in Blackburn last week.
The other highlight will be provided by comedian Duncan Norvelle, who follows original Big Brother winner Craig Phillips in throwing nine darts for charity.
Phillips recorded a total of 133 at King George’s Hall, a score that was multiplied by 10 and converted into pounds for a donation of £1,330 by Betfred to UCARE, a urological cancer charity supported by the Legends.
Schedule of play on night three of the Betfred.com League of Legends at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, Birmingham (all matches to be screened live on Setanta Sports):
Keith Deller v John Lowe
Peter Evison v Bobby George
Bob Anderson v Cliff Lazarenko
Eric Bristow v Dave Whitcombe
For further information on the Betfred.com League of Legends and how to purchase tickets for the events, please visit www.leagueoflegends.tv
Note to Editors
If you require an image of any of the participants in the Betfred.com League of Legends, or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jon Wilde at Betfred on 01925 288598 / 07794 395356
Vikki McCrindle at Bird Consultancy on 0161 839 4846