Column #HR174 PDC World Matchplay – a Midsummer Night’s Dream

Thursday, July 28, 2016
Column HR174
PDC World Matchplay – a Midsummer Night’s Dream 

Having passed the halfway point in the year, is it too early to start thinking about Christmas? That’s the time of year when, according to myth, “The children (are) nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums (dance) in their heads.”  And it’s not just children. The Old Dart Coach’s pal Ernie, the Blind Guy, has a vision too, but not of dolls and bicycles. He dreams of owning a big company. On Christmas Eve he’ll give all his employees a nickel along with their walking papers. He doesn’t feel the love. The Blind Guy makes Scrooge look like Mother Teresa.

Dart players dream too. They dream about the PDC World Championship and their £1.65 million prize fund, with £350,000 going to the winner. ‘Till that time, there is the PDC’s midsummer night’s dream, called The World Matchplay – in Blackpool, where the winner gets a miserly £100,000.

ALERT!  ALERT!  BREAKING NEWS!

Howie CoverThe first hot-off-the-press hardcover copies of the ODC’s latest book, One Night I was Out Drinking with The Fat Swede, have arrived at Toeing the Oche Central! Order now and get a personally autographed copy to cherish for years. It’s the one book that will prompt others to recognize you as a person of substance, with good taste and an engaging personality. Placed on your living room cocktail table, at posh parties it will identify you and your family as something special. People of all ages will read it once, again, and then again. You’ll find more joy between the pages than you’ll experience from a 13-dart game. It has only one side effect. Pure joy.

Order today at: mygreatbook1@gmail.com.

WE NOW RETURN YOU TO TOEING THE OCHE..

As most are aware, “Marvellous” Michael van Gerwen won the event for the second year in a row.  In doing so, he went through Phil Taylor like salts through seagull. “Don’t look up Martha!”

Drama? Nope – this year’s final lacked any semblance of real excitement. The van Gerwen 18-10 win tells the story. Big finishes? One on either side, as Taylor logged a 130 to MvG’s 112. High averages? Not really, as the winner gathered 103.91 to 101.13. Van Gerwen did check at a rate of 67% which has merit.

In all honesty, this one was over after the first two legs. Taylor, with the darts, took the first leg after missing three at tops, then tapping double 10. In the second leg, Taylor missed three for the win, against the darts, that would have given him a 2-nil lead.  Van Gerwen stole the leg as the “Fat lady was getting ready to sing.”

The Fat Lady? The term refers to Valkyrie Brunnhilde (in a Wagner Opera) whose “aria last(ed) almost 20 minutes, lead(ing) directly to the end of the opera.”  This brought forth the colloquialism, “It ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings.” Dallas Morning News sports writer Ralph Carpenter gets the credit for this dandy. If that’s all he’s remembered for his career sucked.

In the post “Unbeatable Taylor Era,” when The Power got the “woogily doodles” his face would mirror the top of the world’s largest thermometer, located in Baker, California, about 65 miles from Las Vegas – where this mid-summer the mercury hit 109. Didn’t happen this time.  Going for the 38 legs and a win, the match is played in sets of 5. Van Gerwen took leads of 3-2 and 6-4. The first set against the darts. Van Gerwen then blew it wide open when he a laid on a 5-nil skunking for a lead of 11-4 in set three.

When your darts don’t work, some go to Plan B – mind games. Taylor, as a wily veteran, did just that with no apparent effect. In the good old days, the Bristows, Lowes, and Wilsons would have played with van Gerwen like Itzhak Perlman plays his Soil Stradivarius, made in 1714. The violin not Itzhak.

In the process of Lewis losing the second set 4-1, Rod Stud, the TV commentator, suggested that “maybe Lewis should speed up the play.” John Part, being the gentleman he is, didn’t point out that play can’t be fast enough for van Gerwen.  Down 6-3, Lewis opened with a T80, his second,  but was unable to convert tops, allowing van Gerwen to advance to 8-3.

Lewis then decided to slow down play as he opened with T80, giving it the “Heck yeah!” to the crowd that roared its approval. Van Gerwen answered with his own T80, retrieved his darts turning to the left from the board. Looking directly at the crowd, he gave the “two finger salute,” which in Europe is the American equivalent “Up yours, pal!”

At 12-8, Lewis tossed in the towel as van Gerwen took 6 of the next 7 for the 17-9 win.  Post-match, Rod Harrington – a darn good player in his day – remarked, “Addie (he calls him Addie) doesn’t have to play games. Just do his thing.”  But his thing wasn’t working. Un-social media was not kind to Lewis. They called him “childish and immature,” which were the positive comments. He is a world class talent who has never even come close to his potential.

Phil Taylor’s 17-8 win over Gary Anderson was never close.  Okay, after Anderson tied it at two, Taylor then took eight of the next ten legs to seal the deal. Anderson was outscored (101 to 97) while being able to break serve only once, and that in leg when he was down 11-5. Anderson, never known as a good doubles layer, was horrible – hitting on only 8 of  22. It just wasn’t his day.

A SUBWAY CELEBRATION

This is a special day for the Old Dart Coach. In celebration, he broke from his strict “almost vegan” diet to visit, for the first time ever, a Subway. His friend Annette, a world traveler, raves about the cuisine that can be found at Subway. The ODC could think of no better way to celebrate the arrival of his first book.

With an array of breads and goodies to choose from, the ODC was overpowered with choices. As the ODC muddled his way through, a very patient serving person counted to 50 with a smile. When the ODC finally made his final choices, he felt compelled to tell her, “This is my first time in Subway. My friend Annette told me about it.”

With a smile, the serving person replied, “Well you’re living the life now.”

A POLITICAL STATEMENT

In the politically charged era now dominating the USA, the Old Dart Coach has decided to make a long-awaited political statement. He makes this under no threat of violence and with the clear conscience of a newborn baby.

From this day forward, I will strive to the best of my ability to live by and promote the  agenda of the LGBT community as defined by Victor “Old Rugged” Cross of Pattaya Beach, Thailand: “God Bless ladies, guns, beer, and tits.”

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.