Scott Waites’ preparations for his defence of the BDO world title this weekend have been hit by a freak injury.
The 36-year-old, who lives just across the Calderdale border at Fixby but considers Halifax to be his home town, has been unable to practice this week due to pains in his neck.
The injury, legacy of falling asleep on his sofa, means he is unable to stand up properly but it didn’t stop him from going to work, as a joiner for Pennine Housing, today.
“I’ve jarred my neck - it’s a nightmare,” said Waites, who plays Alan Norris in the first round at Lakeside on Saturday afternoon.
“I’ve not been able to practice. It’s not good - I’m in lots of pain.”
Waites will head down to London as planned in the morning and has no intention of withdrawing from the tournament, dosing up on painkillers if necessary in an effort to get through Saturday’s match.
“I’ll give it a shot and see how I go,” said Waites, who cruised through last year’s event with wins over Willy van de Wiel (3-0), Geert De Vos (4-1), Paul Jennings 5-2 and Richie George (6-1) before crushing Tony O’Shea 7-1 in the final.
Waites’ build-up to the Grand Slam at Wolverhampton in November was marred by a bad back but it didn’t stop him from reaching the semi-finals.
He added: “I’m a walking disaster at the moment.”
“Scotty 2 Hotty” believes that if he can shake off his neck problem he has a decent chance of joining an elite list of two-time winners of the event, which includes Phil Taylor, Raymond Van Barneveld, Eric Bristow, John Lowe, Jocky Wilson and, more recently, Martin Adams.
“At this time of the year I seem to play well,” he said.
“I’ve a good chance if I play well. I’m the defending champion and I’m hoping to go down and win again.”
Waites was pleased with his performance when crossing swords with the PDC big guns in the Grand Slam event and also won the Dutch and Czech Opens in 2013.
Although the 7-2 second favourite for Lakeside, Waites is only seeded seven and that makes his task more difficult with a tough quarter final likely if he gets that far.
The seedings are based on performances throughout the year and Waites has missed out on points opportunities while playing in events against the PDC boys and working full time.
Norris is a familiar rival. “We’ve played each other a fair few times,” said Waites.
“At Lakeside two years ago I beat him in a good, close game. He’s a really good player but hasn’t much consistency.”
Favourite for the Frimley Green event is Stephen Bunting, who won eight tournaments in 2013 and reached the final of three more.
The event will be televised exclusively by the BBC with live play on Monday to Thursday afternoons and a highlights programme every evening.
The Waites versus Norris clash is the second match on, following the event opener between nine-times ladies world champion Trina Gulliver MBE and Tamara Schuur from the Netherlands at 1pm.
The men’s field has increased to 40 with players from Australia, Belgium Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland and the USA as well as England, Scotland and Wales.