Column #HR100 World Cup XIX

Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Column HR100
World Cup XIX

Growing up in Oakland the Old Dart Coach was subject to the fads that swept the neighborhood like rain in Seattle. After a Saturday afternoon movie-cartoon fest with a Sheik of the Desert Serial – 14 cents for 12 cartoons, the serial plus a cowboy movie – not a bed sheet or garbage can lid was safe on 105th Avenue. The lid served as an excellent shield for fighting off saber swinging Bedouin attackers.

One of those fads was the ukulele – a “sometimes” musical instrument invented by three Portuguese men in Hawaii. They traveled to Hawaii due to the lack of Hula dancer in Portugal. The “not yet” ODC got a used “uke.” In time he could play “My Dog Has Fleas” using all four strings. Within weeks he could play and sing “Moonlight Bay.” Play and sing are relative terms.

We were sailing along on Moonlight Bay
All the birds were singing, they seem to say
You have stolen my heart now don’t go way

Maybe the ADO four man team in the WDF World Cup XIX were singing a variation of the same song in the early stages of the Men’s Team Final against Scotland. They had taken out the Brits 9-2 to reach the final. Take that you POMS.

Up 3 legs to 1 in the race to 9, Yank Tom Sawyer took out 40 against Scotland to make it 4-1. A Yank named Tom Sawyer? But of course. Where they singing,

We are sailing along on St. John’s Bay
All the darts are failing, they seem to say
We can see it now that the gold’s on the way

Then OSIMA hit the fan.

Scotland’s #1 Ross Montgomery won a leg back by erasing 32 for 2-4. The ODC wrote that “any T80 is good.” While correct, some are “gooder” than others. Timing is everything. Larry Butler, against Alan Souter, wanted 124 with his opponent at 200. Souter fired a T80 to leave 20. Butler missed a dart at bull allowing Souter to convert and bring the match to 3-4. Yank Robbie Phillips was on 83 when Gary Stone’s T80 left 45 which he erased to level the match.

That guy Souter would give Scotland a 5-4 lead in 21 darts after missing two at tops before converting against Gordon Dixon. In the battle of #1s Scot Ross Montgomery used a T80 setting up 35 while Larry Butler wanted 57. Both would misfire with Montgomery getting the double at 18 for a 4-6 lead for the Labs from the Land of No Zipper’s and Nervous Sheep.

Yank Robbie Phillips got one back against Craig Baxter for 5-6. Tom Sawyer would pull the Yanks even at 6 besting Scot Gary Stone. #1 Montgomery missed three at 20 which allowed Robbie Phillips to use a 120 for 56 in one of those “two little too late moments”. Montgomery checked for the 6-7.

Gordon Dixon tossed a final ton to leave 36 but Scot Craig Baxter erased 40 to move one leg from the win at 6-8. Larry Butler’s T40,T40, 131 left him at 91 which he would bust. Gary Stone managed to get to 42 before Butler checked 91 (which was the second highest of the finals).

Scot Alan Souter started with T40,T40 as Tom Sawyer answered the first only to have his next three trips yield only 135. At 85 Souter scored 60 suggesting that he missed a dart at bull leaving 25. Sawyer, at 93, left 39 which would lead one to believe he missed one at tops. Souter checked the 24. Leg. Game. Set. Match. GOLD.

The American four man team would take home the silver medal for their best showing in the team event since the Yanks won it all those many year ago Brisbane. The team of Larry Butler, Robbie Phillips, Gordon Dixon and Tom Sawyer can be proud that they also took home the bronze. Even a win over Scotland would not have produced the overall silver.

In pairs Larry Butler and Gordon Dixon got past Norway 4-3 before losing to Denmark 4-3. Tom Sawyer and Robbie Philips lost out of the box to Canadians David Cameron and Chris Wallace 4-1. In singles Tom Sawyer got to the semis before losing to Wayne Warren of Wales 5-4. Larry Butler made the last 16 losing a heartbreaker 4-3 to Kevin Burness of Northern Ireland.

The ladies of the ADO, Cali West and Brenda Roush, did not have a pleasant darting time in St. John’s. In the pairs they finished 4th from 6 in their group with a record of 2-3. It could have been worse as Brazil (same group) didn’t win a single leg. Brenda Roush got waylaid by Welsh lass Rhian Edwards in her first match 4-0. Cali West fared better wining her first two 4-0 and 4-1 before exiting 4-1 against Fin Kirsi Viinikainen. The ladies would end up in 8th place in the final standings.

As is often the case a lady, Ms. Deta “The Six Foot Chocolate Bar” Headman, clearly stole the show. Ms. Headman, a long time friend of the ODC, is dominating the international women’s scene as English ladies have want to do. Deta won the ladies singles and with playing partner Tina Gulliver took the pairs. In that final they defeated Canada’s Dianne Gobeil and Cindy Hayhurst 6-1. Ms. Deta Headman was the star of World Cup XIX, whatever XIX means.

Both England sides repeated overall wins. Canada took the women’s silver a medal the American women took in 2009 (that thanks to Stacy Bromberg winning the singles over Julie Gore 7-3). With the win Bromberg joined the ranks of America’s ladies who have captured World Cup Gold. Sandy Reitan broke the ice in 1983 followed by Eva Grigsby (1989) and Kathy Maloney (1993).

With the top men from England, Scotland and Netherlands traveling the PDC Tour it would seem the perfect time for America to finally win the gold. Did American put its bests men’s team on the oche?

Using ADO rankings, America had the players ranked #2, #3 and #4. In place of #1 (Jim Widmayer) was #7 Gordon Dixon. Would Widmayer’s inclusion have made a difference? Giving hypothetical answers to hypothetical questions is an exercise in futility.

Both men’s and women’s darts here in the Colonies suffers because the international players no longer travel to our shores on a regular basis. It is what it is. To win internationally it takes a commitment that the “Lords of American Darts” are not willing to make.

The ODC ukulele playing and singing career came to an abrupt end. After hours of practice he had mastered another song, “The Sheik of Araby,” which he sang at the top of his baby lungs.

I’m the Sheik of Araby
Your love belongs to me
At night when you’re asleep
Into your tent I’ll creep

After this third day of practice during the night his ukulele mysteriously disappeared. He did find a dime under his pillow even though he hadn’t lost any teeth lately. Probably the Ukulele Fairy of Oakland.

His career as a balladeer over, like the American team the ODC moved on.

Stay thirsty my friends.

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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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