Column #HR196 The REAL DEAL!

Sunday, May 21, 2017
Column HR196
The REAL DEAL!

I hate you, Peter Wright.

I hate you, Peter Wright.

I hate you, Peter Wright.

To quote Author Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), which the Old Dart Coach seldom does, “I have said it trice. What I tell you three times is true.”

Lewis Carroll was the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The ODC hates Peter Wright because of a adventure at the O2. Nothing personal. It‘s just that the ODC hates Peter Wright.

Wright is the guy who tears the wings off butterflies, tells toddlers on Christmas Eve that there is no Santa Claus, and leaks news that the Easter Bunny hides his eggs to keep people from finding out he has sex with young chickens.

He’s the guy from the Sinatra hit song that “stomps on a dream.”

On the night of May 18 in the City of London at the O2, a jam packed crowd of revelers gathered for the finals of the PDC’s 2017 Premier League. The last night of the 27-week season would pay out £450,000 to the four contestants with the winner taking home £250,000. Quite a nice night’s work.

When the telecast began the announcers of course stated the oblivious, that “the crowd is anticipating a historic night” although many were anticipating their next pint of “watching liquid” hoping that their costumes would be on the telly.

The announcers implied that as the night progressed more stories would emerge than could be found in a darter’s home the night after league when “he” showed up with lipstick in places where it not ought to be. Well, no, not in that language.

For Phil Taylor it would be his 17th and final Premier league appearance. He would be joined by “Marvelous” Michael van Gerwen, the Premier League points leader for the 5th straight year, Gary Anderson, and the aforementioned Peter Wright. van Gerwen would open the action against the 4th place Anderson who squeaked into the semis over Dave Chisnell.

The event got underway when introducer John McDonald yelled, “Let’s get this party started!” McDonald, who is really good, cut his announcing teeth in the boxing ring where accuracy is secondary. He made a grievous error that his predecessor Phil Jones never would have made. Jones would have looked out at the crowd and thought, “Hmmm, they seem to be having a party” and said, “Lets continue this party!”

The semifinals would be the first to 10, which is also the best of 19. The highest ranked player would throw first. van Gerwen and Anderson spilt the first four legs before Anderson took a pair for a lead of 4-2. Anderson would lead 5-3 before van Gerwen used a pair of T80s to level at five at the break. To write that doubling was a little dodgy would be accurate. Following the break they would still be level at 7-7 when van Gerwen blew it open. He won two of the next three, with the decider being a nifty 10-darter for a 10-9 win.

Yes, the ODC hates Peter Wright. Wright could have folded like a cheap suit in a London rain in his semifinal with Phil Taylor, but he didn’t. The match began with Taylor tossing a T80 to leave 97 at which he never got a shot. Down 1-nil, Taylor’s play was horrid, to be kind, as he fell behind 4-0. Down 5-2, Taylor managed to get back to 6-4. Neither player was hitting doubles but Wright was a little better at it.

After the break Taylor became the Taylor of old. The situation was not lost on the crowd as they began singing, “Walking in a Taylor Wonderland.” That and good play would propel Taylor to a 7-6 lead. Taylor wanted 32 to go up 8-6 when he missed six darts that were “oh so close.” For the record, “close” only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, drive-in movies, and flatulence caused by a combination beer, hard boiled eggs, and sauerkraut.

Up 8-7, Taylor squandered T40-83-T80 and 134 to leave 32 when he missed five allowing Wright to steal the leg and draw even. Taylor forged ahead 9-8. Then, Wright erased 95 with d18 after Taylor missed a dart at tops for the match. Wright would make the finals when he took out 40 with a 20 and d10. The finishing was terrible. Wright finished 10-23 and Taylor an intolerable 9-30.

While the final was kind of an 11-10 nail biter it really wasn’t that close. It was actually a replay of the Wright-Taylor semi. Wright started off leading 3-1, 5-1, 5-2, 6-2, 7-2, and 7-3 at the break. van Gerwen, as is his want, sometimes comes out firing blanks.

van Gerwen took two to narrow the gap to 7-5. The pair would then hold their throws for 8-6. van Gerwen broke and then held for a tie at eight. The pair then held for another tie at nine in the race to 11. Wright held (T40, T, T, 65 and 96-out with d9) to move 10-9 and one leg from the championship in his first Premier League appearance.

Against the darts, Wright used 140, T80, 149 to leave 32 and see victory in sight, while van Gerwen sat on 186.

Wright then missed three at 32 leaving 16, which van Gerwen followed with 134 to leave 52.

Wright again missed the 32/16 pie leaving eight…

…allowing van Gerwen to seal the leg.

Then with the throw, Wright managed only 101 with his first two trips. van Gerwen dropped the hammer when his first six yielded 317 – which took what wind there was still left out of Wright’s sails. Wright’s last trip to the oche produced a T40 but that was too little too late as van Gerwen took out 88 with d4.

One blogger called out Wright the “GLOB” of the week, implying that he was a poster boy for choking. “He missed six at the easiest double on the board.” A bit harsh.

The best story line that could have come out the finals when the event started was, “Phil Taylor Goes Out in Style – at the O2 on a London evening Phil Taylor turned back the clock when in his 17th Premier League final he took the measure of Michael van Gerwen.”

Instead, millions of young children went to bed with tears in their eyes because Peter Wright had been rude to Mr. Taylor – he had rained on their parade.

Mr. Wright: you’re colorful with your 12-inch multi-colored Mohawk, John Daily pants, bald paite hand painted with a snake as the theme, and your tight fitting shirt that reveals a slight pot belly which sports an “outie.” When your darting days are done with a change of costume who could work as a gnome in a garden anywhere.

Least it be forgotten, you are also ONE HELL of a dart player with a manner that is a breath of fresh air.

You are the REAL DEAL!

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.