Column #HR21 Champions League – Par Uno

Monday, September 13, 2010
Column HR21
Champions League – Par Uno

After frenetic play the first three day’s of the Champions League are now in the books. The League is a great example of the PDC (that would be Barry Hearn) using modern technology to advance the sport while increasing money available. This while other sports are crying “Uncle” and looking for handouts. For the Champions League it’s more than 10 betting websites footing the £200,000 bill in prize money. The ODC reminds us that once in an advert for the Thai Open the amount available to be won was called “Price Money.” There is some logic there. Not much but some.

The “on line” tournament involves 8 players playing round robin best of 11. At the end of a day’s play the top four play knockout in a semi and final. The winner of the final each day advances directly to the “league” final to be held on October 14. The bottom two players in the day’s standing are gone, replaced by three new players for the next round. Got it? Best study it well as it will “Shirley” be on the entrance test to Dart Heaven.

The League is a perfect example of why North American players should travel to England to play for extended periods of time. Why? To learn to play the real pro game. Any player going to the finals of a day’s League play could play upwards of 99 legs best of 11. The ODC points out that in his undistinguished career which started slow then tapered off he probably played 98 legs in “Toto.” Only two players, James Wade and Adrian Lewis, who “Toed the Oche’” for the first round, are still in the mix for round 4. Winners Phil Taylor, Simon Whitlock and Alan Tabern have moved on to the finals on October 14. In three days Wade played 209 legs collecting £4,900 pounds while Lewis played 189 legs pocketing a keen £5,000. That’s PDC Style “pro darts.”

Appearing to shake off the any rust he might have, Phil Taylor was the first player to book a spot in the Champions League final. There’s a shocker! After the first day’s round robin Taylor found himself in second place behind Mervyn King who had beaten him 6-4. Once in the knockout round Taylor laid a 6-1 spanking on Simon Whitlock while the still red hot Colin Lloyd eliminated King 6-2 after losing to him 6-3 in the round robin. King was rolling along undefeated until his last match of the day when he lost to Whitlock. The final was all Taylor as he put away Colin Lloyd 6-2. Taylor twice missed double 12 for a nine-darter during the day. If Taylor’s first name was Artie would the headline read “Artie Chokes on 12”? Adrian Lewis and James Wade both had to win last round matches to advance.

Prior to the start of play on day two Mervyn King was forced to pull out of play with a heel problem. One of those “farangs” who choose to travel to the Mother Country to play and learn was Aussie Simon Whitlock. The first day’s runner-up proved that he learned his lessons well. He came from 1-nil down to defeat Gary Anderson 6-2 in the final. Anderson reached the final with a 6-2 win over Ronnie Baxter. Whitlock advanced via the same score line over Adrian Lewis. As Whitlock awaits the October final he can spend some time counting the £4,950 he earned in two days.

Round two also saw the crash of Colin Lloyd after three weeks of stellar play. Lloyd, who had been on a hot streak, is the first player this time around to draw the “donut” or the “O Fer” as in 0-7. Great example of how one can go from the “Penthouse” to the “Outhouse” between rounds. Lloyd did make £3,200 for his two days. Not to Chablis. Joining Lloyd in the “you’re out of here” group was Co Stompe, a late minute replacement for the injured King, and Paul Nicholson.

Someone once penned the phrase, “Always the bridegroom never the groom.” It’s possible – OK, stretch it a tad – that Scot Gary Anderson may have had those thoughts after round three of the Champions League. For the second day in a row he was leading in a final only to come up short. Anderson this time lead 3-1 and 5-3 before “portsider” Alan Tabern came from 5-3 to get the 6-5 win. After Tabern took out 100 to sneak to 5-4 down Anderson then experienced “double trouble” which would be costly. First he missed the bull for the match which allowed Tabern to draw level. Then when Anderson missed two at double 8 for the match Tabern turned out the lights with a double 10 which would indicate that he probably missed tops. Anderson did take away £5,300 for his two days with more to follow when the League resumes on September 21 for the next 3 rounds.

Hmmm… does he fret missing those doubles or was Scotland’s Gary Anderson being devilishly clever?

What’s under the kilt?

Is there dart life after blind draw women’s doubles?

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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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