Column #HR170 PDC World Cup Roundup. The Week That Was.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Column HR170
PDC World Cup Roundup.  The Week That Was.

The PDC World Cup of Darts VI is history.

England reigned supreme for the fourth time beating Netherlands in a nail-biter of a final 3-2. Adrian Lewis downed “Not too Marvelous” Michael van Gerwen 4-1 for the win.

It was, in a way, an unexpected victory even though England was the betting choice. Netherlands had the credentials – with van Gerwen and van Barneveld – as Scotland had two-time world champion Gary Anderson but lost Peter Wright due to “unavailability,” so added Robert Thornton.

The event was played in the Eissporthalle am Ratsweg, a hockey arena, the home of the Löwen Frankfurt Lions. The crowd was either boisterous or just plain loud. It’s said that all Irishman full of lager think they can sing. Either the Eissporthalle was jam-packed with Irishman – or Germans should be added to the list. Their best effort? “Heeeey Hey Baby.” The Old Dart Coach joined in on a couple of mornings at 5:00 a.m., singing his baby heart out, which may have caused his neighbors to question his sanity if they already hadn’t.

The fate of the two North American teams was as different as night and day. For America’s Larry Butler and Darin Young, their opening game against the Philippines was a like a “trip on the Titanic.” They lost 3-4, missing 25 of 28 doubles including 8 darts to win 4-3. Sky Sports darts commentator Rod Harrington commented, “America is always consistent in that they always underachieve.”

One ignorant jerk took to Facebook: “America was represented by two old drunks with no respect for the game.” Grandma Reed used to say, “It’s better to be quiet, letting people think you’re stupid, then to open your mouth and prove it.” Too bad he didn’t have a Grandma Reed.

Canada’s John Part and Ken MacNeil pulled North America’s darting fat from the fire making it to the quarter-finals. Part said before play, “I have to go retro.” He did – he was the Part of old. Canada dispatched Greece (5-2 – doubles), then #5 Wales 2-1. The singles were split with Part wining 4-2 over Mark Webster. The decider doubles went to Canada 4-2. Part broke a tie at one with a 161-check.

Next was #4 Northern Ireland. Part took his singles 4-3 over Brendan Dolan with MacNeil getting drubbed 4-0 by Daryl Gurney. In the doubles Part took out 68 to level at one after which Northern Ireland rolled to a 4-1 win to move on.

Singapore with Paul Lim and “Not Brother” Harith defeated South Africa 5-1. Against #8 Austria, Lim fell to Mensur Suljovic who averaged 101.38 in his 4-2 win. Lim had his moments – one when he hit 171 to leave 94 which he took out. Harith would lose by the same score to Rowby-John Rodriguez sealing a 2-0 victory for Austria.

England got to the finals after escaping a first round match against Spain, who upset them in PDC World Cup I in 2010. The 4-3 win came with each team breaking throw once. England had no problem with China beating them 2-0. England wasn’t tested dusting Austria 2-0 as both Phil Taylor (100.20) and Adrian Lewis (103.24) averaged over 100. Their semifinals match against Northern Ireland was another walk in the park with England winning 2-0 (the singles by a combined 8-1, the same as against Austria).

The Netherlands (van Gerwen and van Barneveld) had it easy, handling Russia (5-3) and Philippines (2-0), until they ran into Australia in the quarter finals. Against Australia they spilt the singles, calling for a decider doubles best of seven. Down 2-3, Australia toyed with a 9-darter as both Whitlock and Anderson tossed T80s, which Whitlock flowed with T20 only to miss the T15 for the 141 out. Level at three, the Dutch returned the favor tossing back to back T80s, which van Gerwen set up to leave 76 – which Barney erased for a 11-dart game and a trip to the semifinals.

The “Van Guys” reached the finals with a 2-0 win over Belgium, which the ODC tipped as the team to watch. The Brothers Huybrechts play better together than they do individually, and they’re darn good individual players. Belgium got to the semis when they took out #2 Scotland 2-1. Scotland escaped in their match against Norway when Gary Anderson checked 160 for a 4-3 win,

Brother Ronny was sent packing by van Gerwen 4-1 with a 102.70 average. Brother Kim, considered the best of the duo, fell to Barney 4-2 even thou his average was higher at 101.21 (to 98.61).

The final format was first team to three wins with two singles, one doubles, then if necessary a reverse singles. Van Gerwen had recently ruled Taylor like a feudal king does his subjects. Taylor opened with a 12-darter which van Gerwen answered in like to level at one. They traded legs with Taylor up 3-2 when the Power missed two at tops for the match, only to finish first in the decider for the 4-3 win. Taylor took the match averaging 102.94

Raymond van Barneveld jumped ahead 2-0 as Lewis took two legs to level. Lewis missed tops allowing Barney to move ahead 3-2. Lewis brought it back even but fell to Barney’s 11-darter.

With the match level, Taylor checked 103 in the first leg of the doubles but the Dutch ultimately took the doubles 4-2 for a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the first of the reverse singles Phil Taylor got the best of a sometimes fumbling van Barneveld 4-2 to bring the match down to the singes between Adrian Lewis and Michael van Gerwen. Lewis’s play had been erratic which made the favorite van Gerwen. Both players opened with T80s which Lewis followed with a pair of T40s. A struggle to close didn’t prevent Lewis from erasing a double 3. Van Gerwen missed four doubles as Lewis took the second leg for a 2-0 lead. The third leg was “torn softball ugly.”

After van Gerwen opened with T40-T80 he then wallowed tossing nine darts before finally finding a double. Lewis’ win in the third leg with a 76-check was followed by a “little play to the crowd.” Van Gerwen didn’t appreciate it. At 3-1 a rejuvenated Lewis went T80, 96, T80 and then missed five match darts – but was taken off the hook as van Gerwen missed d18 for a 110-check. Lewis’ d8 gave England the Cup.

The PDC is ever tinkering with the World Cup format so they might consider a slight change. Seed eight teams, then give them a bye into the second round. Put the other 24 teams into four groups of six. Have then play round-robin – two singles and one double – with the top two teams in each group advancing to form, with the seeded teams, a round of 16. Why? Currently it’s a long way for 16 teams to travel to play one doubles match, best of nine.

There are times when a winner doesn’t deserve to win. This wasn’t one of them. England deserved to win.

Every event has “If Ida’s” and certainly this one had many.

If… America had played better.

If… Peter Wright had been on the Scottish Team.

If… when the chips were down Michael van Gerwen had played like Michael van Gerwen, rather than like a spoiled child who expects to get anything he wants.

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.
Howie Reed

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