Column #HR184 Charlie Daniels might have the final word on the PDC World Championships

Wednesday, January 4, 2016
Column HR184
Christmas Presents!

During the Old Dart Coach’s first trip to England – “many moons ago,” as the Injuns say – he went to a soccer game on New Year’s Day. Had to since, as surprising as it sounds, they didn’t show the Rose Bowl on TV there.  Strange folks.

He was the guest of Linda Batten, now Doctor Batten-Duffy, and her business partner, the late John “I’d Murder a Pint of Larger” Markovic. The trio traveled to Highbury to watch Arsenal play Ipswich Town.  Of course Arsenal won.

On New Year’s Day 2017, the ODC decided to make it an all-England day. There were no college football bowl games, as on Sundays college bowl games rest.  A temporary abyss. Kind of a God thing. The plan was to start with Arsenal against Crystal Palace to be followed by the semifinals of the PDC World Professional from the Ally Pally.

The plan was executed with flawless perfection.  As the ODC turned on the soccer he saw Olivier Giroud score the most incredible goal in the history of New Year’s Day 2017, and maybe all-time.  The ODC was shocked though when the fans at the Emiratis sang in unison, with full beverage voice, the old Beatles tune…

“Hey Jew, don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better.”

Or some facsimile thereof.  Shocking behavior.

The above were supposed to be the first paragraphs of Toeing the Oche’s 2017 debut column. But then some English wankers jumped on stage after the finals of the World Championships and attempted to get away with the trophy. In the words of all respected journalist everywhere, then “All hell broke loose.”

Security handled the invasion as many of the drunken bums in the crowd cheered the asshole invaders. It was with great pride that the alleged ringleader, Jabo, showed off his scratched face saying…

“It’s all good.”

Reportedly, one of the invaders was in hospital. It’s too bad there aren’t more there receiving care, including their “alleged” ringleader Jabo.  If the security put boots to the hooligans, “Good on them.”

When the PDC drew up the blueprint for their emergence from the sporting wasteland they had to make some concessions. One was in the realm of TV coverage – and behavior of those  people that pack their venues. They encouraged a party atmosphere. This was assisted by TV coverage that many times spent an inordinate amount of time showing gussied up fans filled with silly fluid, not to mention the stacks of vessels which previously contained silly fluid.

When presenter John McDonald yells “Let’s get the this party started,” he appears to be a couple of hours and many pints late with the command.

At one time, American baseball and football had jerks like the trash that stormed the Ally Pally stage. In most cases they were given a good booting, followed by a trip to the Gray Bar Inn. Not so much trouble  now. Funny that. Crush the bastards.

The final itself was sleep inducing after the first four sets where the first two went with the darts and no service breaks. That would change in the third set when Anderson broke twice for a 2-1 set lead in the race to 6.  In the 4th, with Anderson up 2-1, it looked like 3-1 but Cousin Gary  missed two darts at the double.  van Gerwen took out 86 with 18, T18, D7. Then everything changed.  van Gerwen followed that with a 3-0 whitewash for 3-2 lead and then a 3-1 spanking for 4-2 lead.  At this point the Fat Lady was wetting her lips getting ready to sing.

The ODC, being the ODC, is of the opinion that when van Gerwen took out 86 he started a tsunami tidal wave that punched an opening in the dam which caused a flood that Andersen was unable to stem. Anderson is so unlike Dutchman Hans Brinker and his silver skates when he “plugs a dike with his finger.”

van Gerwen would go on to a 6-2 win for his second World Championship title and a nifty   £350,000 pay day.  For the year that’s 26 titles – which certainly will make him player of the year. His averages were ridiculous – he averaged 106.96 for the entire tournament. His highest average of 114.05 eclipsed the previous high of 111.21 by Phil Taylor back in 2002. This came when he dispatched Raymond van Barneveld in the semifinals 6-2.

Barney played great in losing. Consider that he averaged 109.34 and checked out  at 68.42% only to fall 6-2.

Where were you when “The Power” got short circuited? It was Barney who did it in the quarterfinals. The ODC was watching two college bowl games at the same time when van Barneveld and Taylor took to the stage. That’s what you call multi-tasking which is far superior to those that think multi-tasking is walking and chewing gum.

In the first to five sets Taylor was trailing 2-1 but up two legs to one in the third stanza.  He was on a finish when Barney did a “Houdini” with a 167-check. Barney then completed the “short-circuit” with a “Shanghai” 120-out for the 3-1 lead.

There are times that Barney seems to lose interest, battling fatigue brought about by diabetes.  That could explain his lackluster performance in the next set, losing 0-3.  Barney would lethargically also lose the next set 2-3 to bring the match level at three.

Some may remember the legendary football player/announcer/actor “Dandy” Don Meredith. He was a great believer in the effect “momentum” had on winning. Level at three sets, “Old Mo” joined Barney’s Army, propelling the Dutchman to a 3-0 set win and a 4-3 lead. How much of an influence did “Old Mo” have?  Tossing aside a 76-finish, Barney took out double 1 and double 3. Hardly desirable doubles. Barney would win 5-3, maybe sending Taylor into retirement or some semblance thereof.

If you listen closely you might hear Charlie Daniels singing, “The Night the Lights Went Out for Taylor.”

Stay thirsty my friends and Happy New Year.

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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.