Column #HR25 “Timothy the Mouse” with a Pint and a Cigar

Friday, October 8, 2010
Column HR25
“Timothy the Mouse” with a Pint and a Cigar

Any sporting event that is really good fits the “MO,” or modus operandi, of a stage play, movie or book. This revelation struck the Old Dart Coach as he was watching round two of the £350,000 World Grand Prix. There’s the setting of the scene which is followed by the action to the climax and then the cool down. Some refer to it as the “drink before and the cigarette after” theory.

When the ODC was in graduate school at the Harvard of the West he was forced to take a class that dissected the “MO” of plays, movies and books. The professor, Dr. Hadley, who in the most irritating manner used the term “Any who…” hated in no particular order males, Frat Rats and jocks. The ODC qualified on the first two counts with the third up for debate. Seems the professor’s daughter was done “wrong” by a male, Frat Rat, football player at the University of Oregon. Imagine that! Graduate school for the ODC meant he could prolong looking for a real job while extending his juvenile behavior. The latter remains evident today. He received a “C” which in grad school is a failing grade. It would have been a “F” but he floated the rumor that he would take another class from the good Dr. the following year. Now that’s an out shot.

As a youngster the ODC’s long suffering mother would read him Timothy the Mouse at bedtime. He knew the story by heart but listened in rapture waiting to see if it would end differently but knowing it wouldn’t. That’s about the same as watching Phil Taylor play a game of darts. You love the story and know how it’s going to end. Phil Taylor’s dominating 3-0 performance against Andy “The Pie Man” Smith would be great drama except it was Phil Taylor. It was expected. Those who found the match stimulating would root for the lions against the Christians. Smith, who captured only 2 legs, smiled through it all in the knowledge that he would leave Dublin with £7,500, a featured spot on the “telly,” a 100% check out rate (2 for 2) and maybe even a couple of 6 course Irish gourmet dinner’s which we all know are a pint of Guinness and five boiled potatoes. Taylor is human though as in one leg he took 6 darts to get started. Oh yes, then he tossed a 160 on. Taylor’s also only lost 2 legs in 5 sets. So much for being human.

Gary Anderson is the Man of 1,000 Lives two of which he used up this week. He snatched victory from the jaws of defeat eliminating Painter 3-2 (3-0, 1-3, 0-3, 3-0, 3-2). The match had it all: high drama, humor, great and average play and a surprise ending. Gary Anderson must have found a four leaf clover somewhere in Ireland. First he escapes a first round defeat when on the precipice of elimination against Ronnie Baxter. Then he pulls a rabbit out of the hat against Painter. With the match tied at 2 sets and Painter leading in legs 2-1 Anderson put his darts away. Painter missed a bull leaving 25. Anderson would score 85 to leave 40. Painter hit the 9 to leave 16 with 2 darts in hand. He missed. Anderson took his darts from storage taking out 40 to extend the match. The decider was all Anderson with 96-T80-65-100 leaving 60 which he took out as Painter looked helplessly. Next up: Anderson-Taylor.

Adrian Lewis may be the closest thing that darts has to the Man of a Thousand Faces. Lewis in his 3-2 (3-2, 1-3, 3-1, 1-3, 3-1) win over Terry Jenkins displayed most of them. The key in a five-setter if you don’t have the darts to start is you’ve got to break serve to move on. In this match every set was won against the darts. So much for dart advice. Jenkins provided some exciting moments. He had outs of 158, 111 and went from 300 to nil in 6 darts with 180 and 120-out but alas in a losing cause. Lewis will have to be at his best if he’s to beat Wayne Jones who whitewashed Steve Brown 3-0 (3-0, 3-2, 3-2). Jones win in the second set probably turned things around in his favor. Tied at 2, Jones made 124 go away with a 20-54-bull. Jones held serve in the 3rd for the win. “The score line flattered me a little bit but the 124 finish turned the match,” said Jones.

When you’re playing Raymond van Barneveld he’s like the Man That’s Coming to Dinner. Offer him a snack and he’ll eat forever. Mark Walsh was up 2-0 in the opening set of his match against Barney when he missed the bull-out on the end of a 99-check. With out nary a “Dank je wel” Barney won the leg then ran off 5 legs in a row for a 2 set to nil lead. Walsh would manage to win the 3rd set 3-0 but it was more Barney losing interest than great darts on the part of Walsh. When Barney played well he was really good. The 3-1 win doesn’t indicate how well Barney played.

Not many would have placed a wager on Barrie Bates to advance to the quarter-finals. He’s there after a heart stopping 3-2 (3-1, 1-3, 3-0, 2-3, 3-2) win over Wes Newton his pal and PDC traveling partner. Bates will take on world #2 Raymond van Barneveld next.

Some would argue that Barney isn’t #2, that the honor belongs to either Simon Whitlock or James Wade. Off Whitlock’s play in the opening round a case could be made for that point of view. As they say on TV “after further review,” let’s reconsider. Andy Hamilton eliminated the Shrimp on the Barbie Guy 3-2 (3-2, 0-3, 3-2, 0-3, 3-1) in a weird kind of encounter. At one point Hamilton had hit either double 16 or double 8 to start 12 times in 15 tries. Yet he missed those numbers to win multi legs. Go figure. Whitlock, who is known for finishing, couldn’t. He missed darts by the carloads. In the second set which Whitlock won 3-0 he used double 10 for all three legs. Hamilton would go up 2 sets to 1 with a 154 (60-60- 2 x 17) finish. Whitlock got it level when he laid a whitewash on Hamilton aided by a 160 finish. In the 5th set Hamilton had starts of T40, T12 and T52. He didn’t finish too “Chablis” either with a 130 (60-60- 2 x 5) along with the winning leg in 11 darts and a 76 finish.

James Wade engaged in a match that was strange from the start. Both he and his opponent Colin Osborne always look cool and collected. In addition for some reason the crowd, said to be 1,500, was deadly silent while James Wade put on a show winning the first set 3-0. Wade opened with 14 darts and a ton finish. What appeared to be a legal lynching continued as Wade took two legs, but then something happened. Wade missed 3 to start while Osborne put together a nice leg for his first win. Then Wade would miss 11 darts to start and Osborne would level with a check of 76 for the set. Two events then occurred. The Irish crowd fueled by copious amounts of golden elixir started to sing seemly for no reasons other than they were Irish and well primed. It proved to be a wake up call for Wade. He took the next two sets (3-1, 3-1) for the 3-1 victory.

Some thought that Osborne had been able to slow the pace which caused Wade trouble. “I’m pleased to win,” said Wade, “but annoyed with myself because I started well in the first set and lost my way. Once Colin got going he was okay but I struggled with his pace. I should be able to handle that and it was silly darts from me because I should never have let that affect me.”

It was a round of darts that probably will be forgotten soon. With but a couple of exceptions there was no high drama and almost no surprises or shocks. It was like reading Timothy the Mouse with pints of lager and the occasional cigar, which isn’t all that bad on autumn days.

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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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