Column #HR28 Halloween Eve

Saturday, October 30, 2010
Column HR28
Halloween Eve

It’s Halloween Eve which brings some sadness and a tear to the eye of the Old Dart Coach. T’was the last century when his ex-wife perished on “All Hallows Eve” when her broom crashed and burned. T’iz also the time when witches are out and about rushing to and fro, asserting their will while demanding attention with voices that could shatter a porcelain bath tub while encouraging dogs to howl. But enough about the ever popular ladie’s blind draw doubles.

The ODC does have fond memories of his favorite witch, Ms. Judy “The Witch” Campbell. She was and is a “one off.” There was once a proposal, by the ODC, to produce an “All Lady’s Dart Calendar” to be sold through Bulls-eye News. Ms. Campbell had agreed to pose in full witch garb as Ms. October. Unlike said ex-wife’s broomstick the project never got off the ground but did crash and burn. Ms. Campbell had the ability to irritate most anyone at anytime for any reason. She was “Evil Irish” and displayed a very wicked sense of humor. There was a pair of 4th of July tournaments, held back to back – with a combined total purse of almost $50,000 – held one year at the PGA Golf Course in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Following a full day of play the finely turned dart athletics adjourned for some liquid refreshments to a lower level bar named after a guy named Larry but which had a bartender named Jose. Go figure. One of those who joined the “real” dart players was a somewhat attractive female player. She was unique not for her two God-given physical attributes – which were apparent to all – but for wearing a bandana tied around the forearm of her throwing arm. Ms. Campbell asked the lady why she wore the bandana. “It refreshes my arm.” “I ought to tie it around my thigh,” quipped Campbell.

Years later the ODC and his pal Dick “I Use to be called Richie” McGinnis were attending a darting event at the MGM in Las Vegas. While picking up credentials they engaged a low-level employee in idle conversation. He mentioned that his daughter used to be a top dart player and in fact won many championships. The name was familiar to both so being gentleman they spoke “glowingly” of the man’s daughter. They lavished praise on her for not only being a great dart player but also her popularity with other players and her charm. Of course both were lying through their teeth, honoring as we all should the code that “what a father doesn’t know doesn’t hurt him.” There was also the factor that she once treated the pair to dinner at Williamsburg, Pennsylvania restaurant.

So they asked gentleman to pass along their best wishes and say “Hi” the next time he spoke with his charming daughter.

The next day the ODC saw the father again and asked, Did you pass along our best wishes to your daughter?” “Yes,” he replied, “and she told me that you two were always hanging around her trying to capitalize in her fame.” The ODC agreed that she was number #1 with a “one finger salute” as he walked away. The ladies name? Here’s a clue. Finish this sentence: “She is not the ******of the Nile.” Queen? NOT.

TAYLOR’S OCTOBER… No Treat!

Phil Taylor may try to blame his October performance on goblins and other things that go bump in the night but that probably won’t fly. For Halloween month he got nothing but “tricks” with treats going to others. He doesn’t read this column, silly boy, but if he did he’d probably agree with the oft quoted words of Mark Twain, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” On the other hand, in addition to having four fingers and a thumb, he has lost four darts tournament on the trot. How can that happen? Probably global warming, lack of a green energy program, or missed doubles. The ODC opts for missed doubles while the politically correct give the nod to global warming or lack of green energy policy.

Taylor’s first loss of course came in the semis of the World Grand Prix at the hands of Adrian Lewis. That was followed just days later when Taylor reached the finals of the Championship League losing to World Grand Prix Champion James Wade 6-5. Wade had a great couple of days winning £100,000 at the World Grand Prix and then adding £23,000 for the Championship League win. Before the naysayers explain away this loss as “Taylor wasn’t playing good,” don’t go there. In the final round robin among winners Taylor beat Simon Whitlock, Alan Tabern and James Wade 6-1. In the semi final he tossed the 6-0 “Snyder” on Steve “The Blue Eyed Beauty” Beaton.

In the final Taylor would lead 3-1, trail 3-4, and then lead 5-4, just one leg from the win. Both players landed T80’s in the 10th leg with Wade finishing on 84 with double 12 to tie at 5. Wade used three-ton plus scores to force Taylor to convert 164 which he couldn’t. Wade then erased 72 with trip 16 and double 12 for the championship. “It’s disappointing to lose but James played superbly and full credit to him.” Wade was, as expected, classy in his post match statements. “A month ago I was struggling with my game but it’s such a different feeling for me now. I’ve won two majors and beaten Phil in the final so this is a precious memory. It’s only a short format but I can go away from this and celebrate a win over Phil in a great game of darts, because he was brilliant all day and it took some special darts to beat him.”

Taylor’s two other loses came against Simon Whitlock in the Irish Grand Masters and to Joe Cullen 6-5 in the last 16 of the John McEvoy Gold Dart Classic Players Championship. The latter qualifies as one of the longest names in sports.

GERMAN PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP

Phil Taylor is nothing if not smart. He knows when you’re doing the same thing and the results are bad then do something else. Taylor changed his October fortunes by staying away from the German Championships. Mark Webster, the “portsider” from Wales, took out fellow countryman Richie Burnett 6-4 to annex Saturday’s play. This is Webster’s first PDC title since he jumped the good ship Croft last year. Burnett was on a slight roll having reached the semi-finals of the Players Championship the previous Sunday. Burnett looked to be a winner here when he led 3-1 and 4-2. Webster then went on a 4 leg run to win his first PDC title.

No player has been better than Simon “The Thunder From Down Under” Whitlock the last couple of years. During play on Saturday Whitlock was level with Richie Burnett when Burnett hit with finishes of 141, 91, 83 and 81 for the win. On Sunday Whitlock was able to extract a measure of revenge when he beat Burnett in the finals 6-4. This was Whitlock’s sixth Players Championship win of the year which hoisted him atop the Players Championship Order of Merit with £53,900. In a reverse of the previous day’s play Burnett held a lead of 2-1 when Whitlock erased 116 then double tops for a 3-2 lead. A 123 finish with the bull by Burnett would level the match once more. Whitlock regained the lead at 4-3 only to find himself level again when Burnett used a 180 with a 81 finish for a 12-darter.

Whitlock retook the lead when Burnett seemed to be coasting when three tons and a 141 left 61. Burnett missed the “little bull” leaving 25 which morphed to double 4 which he also missed. Whitlock finished “clinically” on 92. Clinically? That would be treble 20, 16 and double 8. Maybe. Down 5-4, Burnett wanted 121 with Whitlock at 160. Burnett’s first dart of treble 20 left 61. At this point a little “déjà vu” or a little voice should have spoken to Burnett. “Richie remember last leg when you went for the 25 and hit the bull? Now with big lead how about you try the old 11 with a bull finish because you can’t miss the dead bull.” “Naw – 25 to leave 36 is the shot.” Wrong. History has a way of repeating itself and it did as Burnett hit the dead bull to leave 11. The ODC reminds all that there is no one dart out for 11. Whitlock got the Halloween treat with a 160 finish for the win. Burnett had a great two weeks wining £6,000 with two semis and a final.

WORLD CUP TEAM NAMED

The PDC announced the 24 teams for its’ first attempt at a World Cup. To the surprise of almost no one England gets the #1 seed with the team of Phil Taylor and James Wade. The ranking is based on the combined Order of Merit winnings of the players. The December event held at the Rainton Meadows Arena in December (the month not the town), will offer a £40,000 first prize and be televised live on Sky. The Netherlands with Raymond van Barneveld and Co. Stomp cops the second seed over Australia (Simon Whitlock-Paul Nicholson) while Scotland (Gary Anderson-Paul Nicholson) round out the top four.

North America will be represented by the number #7 seed Canada (John Part-Ken MacNeil) and the USA is at #8. The American team will be made up of Darin Young and really good guy Bill Davis of Philly. The ODC, always a skeptical old codger, at first questioned Davis as a member of Team USA. He pointed out that Gary Mawson, Paul Lim, Larry Butler, Nico Depaynes, Scotty Burnett and Chris White are all ranked higher than Davis in the North American rankings. The teams were selected based upon the PDC Order of Merit and not the North America rankings. Why? Like the Good Lord a Dart Poobah works in mysterious ways. The format? The PDC announced that the “draw and format (will be) announced in due course.” See above about Dart Poobahs.

ODC’S DRIVEL

West Coast darters have a tournament coming up at the Tahoe Biltmore November 5-7th. One of the events will be “Lades Blind Draw Cricket.” Oh baby wouldn’t you love to chalk that mother?

Last year during the Las Vegas Open there was a rumor that some folks from the East Coast where going to step in a save the tournament. Not rumor as this year’s $22,000 tournament will be held January 28-30 at the Tuscany Hotel Casino in Las Vegas run by ADO President Buddy Bartoletta and Vice President Ms. Laurett Meddis.

The tournament is sanctioned by the ADO, the WDF (Wanker’s Dart Federation) and the ever popular BDO (Bring Dollars to Olly).

Heck of a deal.

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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.
Howie Reed

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