Column #HR143 They celebrate July 4th in England too!

Friday, July 3, 2015
Column HR143
They celebrate July 4th in England too!

In 1863, a group of people gathered in London, possibly in a pub, to set down the rules for footbol. Civilized people call it soccer. Rules of darts? Simple folks in a bar.  Like the rules of darts, the rules of soccer are simple and straight forward.  Hard to believe that either group envisioned what they had wrought on the world.  To quote ABC’s Wide World of Sports, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

Or in Women’s soccer, “The Thrill of Victory and the agony of DE Feet.”

The Women’s World Cup game between Japan and England was the perfect example. The English women – with a goalie born and raised in Santa Monica, California – played brilliantly on their way to victory, then they lost.  Asked to comment, a well-placed PDC dart executive wrote, “Absolutely – snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is a great British sporting trait!”

In darting terms, the English ladies led, got to the double, and then hit the wrong double.

If England had won, it would have set up a “delicious” re-match with America of their meeting on December 16, 1773, in Boston. This time, it’s doubtful the Yanks would have been disguised as Indians. That’s Feathers, not Dots.  England-USA on almost July 4th.  Whoa, Nelly.

Now, the USA women will play Japan in a rematch of their OT final four years ago.  It’s the  “Remember Pearl Harbor Bowl” on July 5th, which would be the 4th if it were played a day earlier.

The World Cup has great meaning in soccer but in darts “not so much” with competing World Cups. This year’s WDF World Cup of Darts is scheduled to be held in Turkey in October. Turkey, as everyone should know, is about to become a target for the radical Islamists who are causing havoc throughout the world. In Blazing Saddles’ parlance, they’re doing a #5.

Canada has already told the WDF “Neit,” proving once again they get it. On July 1, Canada Day, all darters should have sung  “Oh Canada” along with “All Right Ah.”

The ADO is dithering, which should surprise no one. The ADO does have $11,000 in the kitty, which just might be used to solve some of the ADO’s problems. If the ADO wanted to make a statement they not only wouldn’t go as a team to Turkey but also wouldn’t send any representative.  As one of the WDF’s vice presidents is from the USA, let him represent the “interests” of those whose interest counts.

Then take the $11,000, call Canada, and put on a Canada vs. America event. The odds that any of this will occur? Maybe 1 to 5.

Speaking of odds and betting, the PDC has brilliantly used England’s love of betting to advance their goals. You will have noticed that many of the PDC events are sponsored by betting interests, or “turf accountants,” as they use to be called. The PDC’s latest venture, the Zipang Casino Japan Darts Masters, was in the Land of the Rising Sun and Falling Yen, is but the latest example.

With a prize fund of $200,000, the World Series event had a first place prize of $50,000. Not chump change.  Eight PDC players traveled to Japan. Seeded to the top 16, they faced eight locals in the first round.  In those eight matches, PDC players won 48-12.  One of the locals, Morihiro Hashimoto, is an excellent soft tip player, as are many Japanese.  Down to James Wade, he hit the wrong double.

The Japanese audience saw some great darts in the semis and finals.  Peter Wright fell behind “Marvelous” Michael van Gerwen 1-4 before running off six on the trot for a 7-6 lead.  The match was leveled at seven when van Gerwen hit a 13-darter after Wright missed bull for the match. Van Gerwen got to 44 but “could only watch on as Wright takes out a stunning 141 checkout” for the 8-7 win.

Phil Taylor trailed or was level against Gary Anderson until he tied it at seven.  Taylor would get the winning leg with double 7.  Taylor would never trail in the final. He opened a lead of 2-0 and built it to 7-2, just one leg from victory.  Then, aided by a pair of missed match darts by Taylor, at 7-2 Wright took five legs to level.  In the final leg, Taylor missed a pair of match darts at tops, although Wright was unable to convert 156. Taylor’s double 10 won the match.

The Fourth of July brings back the memories of back-to-back $25,000 tournaments in West Palm Beach over a four-day period.  There were some locals, but most of the players were “travelers.” The tournament was played at the home of the  PGA, which included not only the venue but a hotel. With not a great number of entrants, even the “names” were coerced to chalk. The Ladies Singles started 30 minutes before the gents. The late Peggy Philipps asked the ODC if he would chalk her opening match.

Someone had the bright idea to use large sheets paper to keep score. It would be very unkind to write that the ladies had trouble with scoring – but their doubles were worse. Tied a one, the third leg went on and on and on. The ODC at one point, while the ladies were racing to the ace,  bent his knees to keep from fainting.

“Quit moving while I’m throwing.”

“Yea, right,” he thought, “you’ve missed 20 darts at the double one.”  Had the ODC been on his game, he would have sung the Sony and Cher hit, “It Ain’t Me Babe.”

Mercilessly, the match ended after using enough scoring paper to replant a major portion of the rain forest.  As the ODC walked between the tables to score a well-deserved beer, Paul Lim asked…

“Howie, I hate to ask this, but could you score for me?”

Lim, like others, had watched the “double one” torture the ODC had just endured. “Sure, if I can chalk two ladies I guest two guys will be easy.”

Ms. Phillips heard the comment, shared one of her own, and then tossed a dart – hitting the ODC in the middle of the back.

“First thing you hit all day!”

It was 4th of July when the “crew” met that evening in the downstairs bar. The ODC was sitting next to the late Barry Twomlow…

“So Barry, I guess the 4th of July is a big holiday in England.”

“One of our biggest.”

“One of your biggest? What’re you celebrating?”

“Getting rid of the likes of you.”

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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