Column #HR42 The ODC’s “rubber” meets the road on the Premier Asia Darts League Tour.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Column HR42
The ODC’s “rubber” meets the road on the Premier Asia Darts League Tour.

Anyone remember the tyre commercial that used the theme “Where the rubber meets the road”? Well that’s where the Premier League 2011 found itself with just two weeks remaining. It was put up or shut up time in the race to a play-off berth.

That story was all lost in the British and the world press on the eve of the Royal nuptials at historic Westminster Abby (don’t call it a church) in London. It’s said that two billion people watched the Royals say “I do” with considerably less watching Phil Taylor say “I did” for the 11th straight time. One news service reported that 2.2 million Kiwis watched the Royal wedding. Remarkable in that the population of the country is only 4.4 million.

Conclusion? More would have watched but half were on dates with their favorite sheep.

For historians, the Old Dart Coach once visited Westminster Abbey. He was roaming the streets of London wearing a rather large cowboy hat for reasons that seem lost in time. Maybe the era of the TV Show Dynasty, which the Brits mispronounce as “DIN AS TEA,” was the culprit. During the stroll drivers of London’s famous black cabs would yell out “Who killed JR?” The ODC thought they meant his pal JR Smith who was and is very much alive now in Latrobe, PA. Inside the Abbey as he walked about wearing the cowboy hat he felt a tap on his shoulder. Being a legend in his own mind he thought “Hmmm… probably some local wanting an autograph.” A very polite young gentleman dressed in a black Cossack reminded him, “We don’t wear our hats in the Abbey.” The black Cossack probably prevented the words “you stupid F’ing Yank.”

As a prelude to the Royal’s festival, darting royalty descended on the Echo Arena in Liverpool led by King Philip Douglas Taylor and his band of 7 for round 12 of the Premier League. King Phil didn’t disappoint as he crushed Gary Anderson 8-3. Taylor yet again opened an early lead, this time 4-nil, assisted by Anderson’s inability to a hit a double. For the match Anderson was only 3 of 10 which is “common” so when his usual scoring went AWOL Anderson was in deep end of the pool with no water wings.

The term “commoner” was on the lips of Brits all week as Prince Bill’s bride Kate was said to come from “common” folks. The ODC correctly points out that there is nothing more “common” than British Royal family. Prince Philip said before Prince Charles was married to Princess Di, “At least it will improve the heights of the family.” Duchess Kate should improve the “smile and get real factor” by 100 %. The new Duchess may be a lot of things but “common” isn’t one of them. The ODC has the theory that inbreeding has been the Royal’s problem for century’s.

Back to King Phil. He’s never one to miss a chance for a little stick, “The fans expected fireworks and I thought Gary was going to play brilliantly. Gary didn’t fire on all cylinders.” Anderson was much more candid “Last week I played well (11-180’s) but this was atrocious compared to that.”

Terry Jenkins got an 8-4 win over Mark Webster in a battle between cellar dweller’s. Neither will make the playoffs although Jenkins possibly could but with Wade and Lewis on deck his shot is “slim and none.”

World Champion Adrian Lewis saved his Premier League season as he broke a three game skid beating Simon Whitlock 8-5. The win moved “Baby” Lewis into the final playoff spot level on points with Whitlock but with an enormous 11 legs in the plus win category. This back and forth match had a little bit of everything. Lewis used an exhibition finish, 20-double top-double top, for the opening leg. Whitlock would level when he used a 180 and 90 to close to level. When Whitlock missed three darts to lead, Lewis used “Old Mo” to build a 4-1 lead. The Aussie Assassin answered with three of his own wins to tie at 4. Reading between the lines that 8th leg was UGLY, to wit, the PDC’s Dave Allen wrote: “a nervy eighth with Lewis wasting his chance to punish earlier misses.” Nervy eighth? That code word “nervy” means sloppy. Whitlock returned the honor by missing a pair of darts in the 9th falling behind 5-4. Lewis then applied the coup de grâce with a pair of 14 darters for the win.

Those who discount James Wade do so at their own peril. Down 7-6 to Raymond van Barneveld, Wade finished 138 to snatch a draw that was a lot better than kissing your sister or for that matter the “no tongue” job between William and Kate on the balcony. It kept his slim playoff hopes alive. Heck all he has to do is beat Taylor then toss a shut out, 8-0, against Terry Jenkins on the final night. Oh yes, he also needs Adrian Lewis to lose twice to the aforementioned Mr. Jenkins and Gary Anderson. Still as the ODC says “Where’s there’s will there’s a way.”

UK QUALIFIER

Prince Will and Duchess Kate delayed their honeymoon as everyone knows. It can be reported here that they did not show up Wigan’s Robin Park Tennis Centre which as you may have guessed is in Wigan for the final Speedy Hire UK Open.

Two who did show up were King Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson. Bad news for the competition as the pair dominated the proceedings as they did a fortnight ago in also in Wigan. Fortnight? It’s either four nights or two weeks. We’re going with two weeks. Fact is ‘twas the same scenario at the same venue (“Same-Same,” as they say in Thailand) with Anderson winning on Saturday over Taylor 6-2.

On Sunday, Taylor would dispose of Anderson 6-2 in the semis, coming from naught two down, taking the best from Colin Osborne 6-3. In addition to the £6,000 each player won they will be the #1 and #2 seeds for the UK Open in Bolton. Taylor edged out Anderson by £400 for the top spot.

THE ODC ON TOUR

The Old Dart Coach returned with vengeance to the Premier Asia Darts League on Tuesday and Thursday leading his team, Skol, to a pair of resounding wins. The Skol is a small bar on Soi Doo Dee whose walls are adorned with mostly black and white photos of famous or infamous American gangsters. The one exception is found on the wall panel directly alongside the dart board. On that wall are found black and white photos of Albert “The High Executioner” Anastasia, Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, the complete organizational chart of the Colombo crime family and a full color photo of the Old Dart Coach in all his resplendent glory. The photo, taken prior to a Rod Stewart concert, shows the ODC in bright silk yellow sport coat, white silk shirt, yellow and black striped tie and black slacks topped off with a very smart snap-brim straw hat. Sans the hat it is the same attire worn by Stewart at his famous Royal Albert Hall concert albeit a cheap copy. The yellow sport coat was also the same color that the Queen Mother wore to the Royal wedding. That prompted a guest on the Imus radio show to comment that she looked like “Ms. Pac Man.” Then again the ODC, Rod Stewart and the Queen Mother are all fashion trend setters.

The Skol team was facing a pair of home games without Mr. Stefan Lord who was MIA. On Tuesday the ODC used a nifty 35-darter for his first singles win of the tour. It came against a team that included the “6-10 spit gap-tooth wanker” who uttered nary a word. In his pairs match the ODC deftly used two markers (barely on the board) before taking out 38. On Thursday, it might have been the wall photos when Skol, a team made up of Swedes-Danes-Thai’s and a Yank, decimated a Raising Sun side that had gone five months without a loss. It was a good old fashion “butt-kicking” aided by a giant can of “WA” 10-3.

The now “in form” ODC had only a minor slip in his singles as he overcame a busted 128 for yet another win. How could that happen? The “bust” not the win. Triple 12 then double top to leave 52. Now of course the ODC knows that the shot is 12 but “stupid fluid” taken orally took over so being “in form” he hit the triple 20. As Bob Uecker would say, “Just a little too many.” No worry. After 40+ darts he got the double.

SKOL WINS with Queen with Paul Rogers singing in the background “We Are the Champions.” Okay, Queen wasn’t singing but they should have.

Next on the ODC Asia Tour 2011: Bangkok and Phuket, the later which is not pronounced “F’ IT”.

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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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