Jim Williams insists facing Michael van Gerwen at Grand Slam is 'perfect draw'
"I love the BDO to bits and picking up titles is great, but there comes a point I think when you've got to get something back out of it, rather than just trophies."
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 10/11/19 11:10am
Having barely featured on the BDO circuit of late due to the birth of his son, Jim Williams faces the unenviable task of playing two multiple world champions at the Grand Slam of Darts. However, the Welshman is raring to go in Wolverhampton.
The 35-year-old scooped World Trophy glory in September, just days before the birth of his son Max, which has understandably seen darts take a back-seat over recent weeks.
Nevertheless, as he returns to the Aldersley Leisure Village for his second consecutive appearance in the cross-code event, the BDO world No 3 has been pitted against top seed Michael van Gerwen and two-time world champion Adrian Lewis.
Ross Smith - who defeated Van Gerwen at the recent European Championship, also awaits in Group A, although Williams is relishing the prospect of rubbing shoulders with the PDC's elite.
"It's a perfect draw I think," Williams told Sky Sports. "[Michael] Van Gerwen - everybody wants the opportunity to play him don't they? Adrian Lewis has been awesome for years so I was really happy with it.
"You always feel pressure because we don't get to play on television that much. You want to try and impress so you've got that pressure. As for playing Van Gerwen and Lewis - it doesn't bother me, because I've got nothing to lose.
"The pressure is different really. Rather than playing the person the pressure is more on yourself and your performance I suppose."
Five of this year's BDO representatives are making their Grand Slam bow, although Williams experienced this event for the first time 12 months ago, suffering a narrow group stage exit in the process.
However, 'The Quiff' is hoping to build upon his promising showing last year and insists that he finds the partisan PDC atmosphere preferable to the more low-key BDO environment.
"It's great to be back. It's obviously something all BDO players aim for at the start of the season. The first time was awesome so I'm looking forward to it again.
"Last year helped to be fair, the big stage and the crowd is a bit different to what we're used to. It's different to acclimatise to.
"I wouldn't say it's tougher, it's kind of easier in a way. The Lakeside for example, everyone is on top of you and they're all quiet, whereas at the PDC it's louder but you don't pick up certain voices, it's more consistent noise so to be honest I found it easier."
Williams has clinched three ranking titles in 2019 with his BDO World Trophy win over Richard Veenstra - another BDO debutant in this year's Grand Slam - the obvious highlight.
Nevertheless, he admits it's hard to assess his form at present due to his lack of match practice ahead of the competition.
"I had a spell three or four months ago where everything I was going to I was winning, so that was great.
"We've just had a little baby so I've hardly played at all in the last few months, so I'm a little bit rusty at the moment. We'll see how we go."
The BDO has been the subject of considerable scrutiny over recent weeks following chaotic scenes at the World Masters, which was marred by a late re-draw and information on prize money being withheld from players.
Williams admitted he 'lost heart' due to the uncertainty surrounding the event, although he maintains that the organisation is generally moving in the right direction.
"Jim seems to be pulling it out of the bag when it comes to these big competitions. He won the World Darts Trophy, had a really good run in the World Championship and also won the BDO Gold Cup."
Laura Turner on her BDO colleague...
"I think everything in general at the BDO is going the right way to be fair, but the World Masters - there was a rule change two months before the event started.
"I think me certainly and a lot of other top 16 players just lost heart in the event before we'd even started. The World Masters to be honest was a bit of a write-off this year, for me personally anyway."
However, a Grand Slam return for Williams also marks a reunion with his close friend Glen Durrant - who switched to the PDC in January having secured his third successive Lakeside title.
The pair will reunite in Wolverhampton as 'Duzza' represents the BDO as their reigning champion and Williams has lauded the way in which the Teessider has adjusted to the professional circuit.
"We speak pretty much every day me and Glen. It's a shame because we're [playing] in different sessions.
The eight BDO representatives at the 2019 Grand Slam
He's in the afternoon and I'm in the evening so we're probably not going to see a lot of each other I expect, until the semi-finals," he quipped.
"He has made a very good start but it comes as no surprise. He was averaging 110 or 115 in semi-finals and finals within the BDO so he's just taken that form over and carried on going."
Durrant and Williams will be joined in Wolverhampton by women's world champions Lisa Ashton and Mikuru Suzuki, whilst BDO No 1 Wesley Harms returns alongside debutants Richard Veenstra, Wayne Warren and Dave Parletti.
At least one BDO representative has progressed to the knockout stages each year since the tournament's inception in 2007, with a record high of five players qualifying in 2016.
Williams believes all eight representatives are capable of producing the goods, but he is tipping Surrey star Parletti to shine on debut.
"I don't know where my game is at the moment to be honest with you, because I have not played for two months."
Williams unsure over current form...
"I think all of them on their day can play brilliantly, I've seen it. I think Dave Parletti has got a very good chance.
"Of course there are two players in his group that are quality players but have been carrying injuries for a while [Anderson and Webster]. Any of the players are capable of averaging 110, that's what you've got to do."
After the annual pilgrimage to Wolverhampton it's all eyes on the Indigo at the O2 in January - which plays host to the BDO World Championship for the first time.
Williams will be one of the hot favourites to clinch a maiden title - particularly with Durrant out of the picture. Nevertheless, like 'Duzza', Williams harbours ambitions of becoming a star in the PDC.
The Welshman competed at Qualifying School in January and although he hasn't made a definitive decision for 2020, he revealed that he plans to cross the darting divide in the near future.
"If you had asked me about Q School three months ago I would have said 'definitely', because I was playing so well.
"I don't know where my game is at the moment to be honest with you, because I have not played for two months. I don't know, we'll have to see a bit closer to the time I think.
"If things keep going the way they are going then definitely. I love the BDO to bits and picking up titles is great, but there comes a point I think when you've got to get something back out of it, rather than just trophies."
The action is back on your Sky Sports screens next month with the Grand Slam of Darts, nine days of coverage from the Aldersley Leisure Village gets underway on Saturday, November 9.