Column #HR15 Darts Needs a Mercy Rule!

Saturday, July 24, 2010
Column HR15
Darts Needs a Mercy Rule!

The Old Dart Coach is in his cups and almost inconsolable after yet a third trip to the local Wal-Mart for his favorite “red-skinned potato salad.” As is usually the case before being over taken by demon alcohol he ranted on and on about all things darts. He is a sorry soul. In particular he wanted the PDC, which he refers to as Phil’s Dart Club, to consider shortening the matches during the Stan James World MatchPlay.

Do you remember watching the 6 Day Bicycle Races? No, of course not – they’re gone. How about 6 day cricket tests? No, gone the way of the hula hoop. Golf has four major championships – do they play them at 144 holes rather than 72? NO!

Finally, convinced that his plan was deader than Kelsey’s reproductive organ, he offered an alternative: OK then how about a “mercy rule” like in women’s softball and little league baseball? For example: if you fall behind by 7 legs call the match off.

That would have saved those watching on TV and in the Winter Gardens at Blackpool a lot of time in the quarter finals as two of the four matches were blowouts. Simon Whitlock, whose “killer-eyed stare” should send fear into the hearts of opponents, sliced and diced his way to a lopsided win over Jelle Klaasen. Early on this was a humdinger with both showing great skill. Whitlock, after losing leg one, took the next three on the trot. Klaasen would draw level with finishes of 132 on the bull and 148. The answer was two T80’s and double 18 finishes. Klaasan got to 6- 5 with an 11-darter. That’s when Klaasen lost all touch for a double as Whitlock took the next 9 for 15-5. The final was 16-8.

Phil Taylor and Kevin Painter have played each other 24 times. On 23 occasions Taylor has won, including the 2004 World Championships at the Circus Tavern where Painter had darts to win but “lost his bottle.” At this meeting he never lost “his bottle” mainly because he never was a factor. The press release said, “Taylor rarely broke sweat in an emphatic defeat of his long-term rival.” One could consider Painter a rival in the same way that a nail is the rival of a hammer. Taylor’s 9-1 lead was a cry for the mercy rule. Where the hell is Greenpeace when you need them? In a pre-match interview Painter explained that “he’d have a better record if he hadn’t had to play against Taylor so often.” The ODC, just prior to his nap, yelled, “Yea and if my Aunt had two more pieces of equipment then I’d have one more uncle.”

The two surprises in this year’s tournament, Wayne Jones and Co Stompe, both played very well in losing. Jones battled number 3 seed James Wade right down to the wire before losing 16-12. Wade, the 2007 Winter garden Champion, came back from a 0-2 deficit to lead 5-2. Jones answered with legs of 13, 14, and 14 to level at 5. They would tie again at 6 when Wade found the passing gear, winning the next four, helped a bit by a couple of missed doubles. Jones would edge back to 11-9 which shortly became 13-9 and which then became 14-11. Saving the best for almost last Wade used only 11 darts, his best of the night, for 15-11. Following Jones double tops Mr. Wade followed suit for the 16th leg and the win.

By far the best match of the day was Co Stompe against Raymond van Barneveld. The score of 16-12 for Barney is not indicative of how close the match was. They would be tied at 5-5 and 10-10 with Stompe missing a double to lead 11 to 10. After Barney held for 12-10 Stompe got one back for 12-11. Barney held serve for 13-11 then Stompe started with a T80 but missed 3 at a double to climb back to within one when Barney took out 82. At 15-11 Stompe got a T80-led leg before Barney closed the door.

THE SEMI FINALS (11 AM PDT Justin TV)

Lady’s and gentleman, boys and girls, the semi finals are a tasty dish served up on the Boardwalk. James Wade against Raymond van Barneveld is one of the most intriguing. Announcer Dave Lanning calls van Barneveld an “elegant” thrower. Best description yet. Wade is calm, cool and usually collected. He didn’t play the first couple of rounds with much flair but then he didn’t have to. Off the quarters (97.93) one would have to think that Barney (95.89) is there for the taking if Wade is up to the task.

Phil Taylor against Simon Whitlock. Whitlock knows that he can beat Phil. Phil knows that Simon knows that he can beat him so knowing that he knows might make a difference. Figure that out. Simon had a nice 97.93 average in the quarters but Taylor has never been under 100 for the tournament. Taylor averaged 103.30 in a non-competitive quarter final so there is another step there. Taylor with “Power” on and on.

WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Following the two semi’s America’s Stacy Bromberg will face-off against Tricia Wright in the finals of the PDC (Phil’s Dart Club) Unicorn Women’s World Championship. The stage will be daunting for both ladies, maybe even more so than for the many gentleman who have taken the “gas pipe” since the first dart was thrown last Saturday. It will be the lady that wants it most in the battle over 11 legs. They’ll probably be tied at 4 or 5 when someone will miss a double and wave the white handy.

Predict a winner? Shirley you jest.

Otherwise the ODC would need the mercy rule!

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Howie Reed
The one and only Howie Reed (the Old Dart Coach) goes back decades with the legends of our sport - he knows where the skeletons are buried. Just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers! His widely popular column, Toeing the Oche, is a must-read.

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