Column #HR211 WDF World Cup XXI

Monday, October 9, 2017
Column HR211
WDF World Cup XXI

The World Darts Federation (WDF) with 31 teams recently descended on the city of Kobe, Japan, for World Cup XXI. Little remembered, except for those from Kobe, is that on April 18, 1942, Kobe was one of the targets of the famous Doolittle Raid which was the beginning of the end of World War II. On October 3-7, 2017 it was a tungsten bombing.

Absent for World Cup XXI for the first time were England, Scotland and Wales. Sure, it was 100% certain that the players didn’t give a “rat’s posterior.” Also absent were Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia – from where travel is convenient. Perhaps this is an indication of the “decline” of steel point and the WDF.

Those that are used to the usual Toeing the Oche – full of humor, brilliant writing and philosophical musings that would shame Aristotle – are about to be disappointed. But then you usually are. This edition is about (as the late Joe Friday of Dragnet would say) “Just the facts Ma’am.”

OVERALL WINNERS

Men

Gold: Australia – 98 points

Silver: Canada – 69

Bronze: America – 63

Women

Gold: Netherlands – 128

Silver: Sweden – 95

Bronze: Russia – 79

The overall win for the men’s title for Australia was the first for a country not named England (14 previous titles), Wales (3) or Netherlands (3). So much for the EU. The top three means teams were all part of the old Pacific Cup competition.

For the women it would be the Netherlands second title, having won in 2001 in Kuala Lumpur.

SINGLES

Men

Gold: Jeff Smith (Canada)

Silver: Raymond Smith (Australia)

Bronze: Willem Mandigers (Netherlands) and Ricardo Pietrezko (Germany)

Women

Gold: Vicky Pruim (Sweden)

Silver: Sharon Prims (Netherlands)

Bronze: Anastasia Dobromyslova (Russia) and Aileen de Graft (Netherlands)

Jeff Smith’s win is the first for a North American since American Nicky Virachkul beat Cerri Morgan (Wales) in 1979 on stage at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas. That was the Sahara’s introduction to darts, starting a 20 year relationship when the North American Open took up residency. Smith would take the final with a 7-5 win while averaging 92.03.

Women’s champ Vicky Pruim of Sweden used to be Vicky Pruim of Belgium. Like Istanbul used to be Constantinople. Vicky has been a world class player for some time. Her 5-3 victory was emblematic of her march through the field. After an opening round bye she won her matches 4-0, 4-2 and 4-2. She was an Old Dart Coach pick at the start as a medal winner.

PAIRS              

Men

Gold: Koltsov/Oreshkin (Russia)

Silver: Smith/Edmunds (Canada)

Bronze: Martinez/Verdonck (Belgium) and Dekker/Johansen (Norway)

Women

Dobromyslova/Kononova (Russia)

Byrne/Breen (Republic of Ireland)

Viinikainen/Rekinen (Finland) and Zijlstra/Zuidema (Netherlands)

Boris Koltsov and Alezandr Oreshkin took their final with a convincing 6-3 win over Jeff Smith and Kiley Edmunds. In the quarter final, Yanks “Chainsaw” Joe Chaney and Tom Sawyer took their opponents to the wire before falling short 4-3. Except for Sawyer/Chaney the Ruskies controlled the field like their Crimean Army. It was the first men’s gold ever for Russia.

For Anastasia Dobromyslova it was her second World Cup gold in the pairs, having won her first in 2007 with partner Irina Armstrong. She teamed with Marina Kononova for the 6-1 drubbing of Robyn Byrne and Caroline Breen (Republic of Ireland). Dobromyslova lives in England, played in the PDC, but can represent Russia. Go figure.

4-PERSON TEAM

Men

Gold: Australia

Silver: America

Bronze: Switzerland/Norway

Women

Gold: Netherlands

Silver: Sweden

Bronze: Australia/Japan

“Revenge is a dish best served cold” is an aft-heard comment. For Peter Machin, Raymond Smith, Eddy Sims and Mitchell Clegg of Team Australia – they’re savoring the feast (although 30-plus might just be a little too long to wait).

It was 1985 on stage at the Old Town Hall (Brisbane) when America beat Australia 9-6 for the World Cup Team title…

Australia broke on top only to fall behind before they drew level at 6 when Russell Stewart beat Tony Payne. The Yanks would then win 3 straight with Payne hitting the decider. This time Australia broke on top and was never headed on the way to an easy 9-3 win.

The ladies from the Land of the Wooden Shoes and “Adult Brownies” had the services of 3 of the top world-ranked women – #1 Aileen de Graaf, #3 Sharon Prins and #11 Anca Zijlstra. They were joined by Paulina Söderström to win the 4-person 9-6 over Sweden. They went through the field like corn thru a goose taking the round robin 9-2, 9-2 and 9-0. In the KO round they took out America (9-7) and Russia (9-7) before beating Japan 9-7 for the win.

USELESS INFORMATION

If you added the points of the men and women together the champion would be the Netherlands (179 points) followed by Australia (150), then Sweden (149). The medal count is courtesy of Steve Brown of the ADO even though he doesn’t know it. The Netherlands collected a total of 14 medals (6 gold, 4 silver and 4 bronze.), Australia (2 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze) with Iran and Russia tied with 4. Iran’s medals all came in the “Yute” events.

North America didn’t fare well. Canada had 1 gold and 1 silver. America had 1-silver and 1-bronze. Sorry.

William Shakespeare in 1610 wrote The Tempest. Found is a reference to a “sea change.” Today, that’s evolved to a “C change” – or “radical transformation.” World Cup XXI may be the harbinger of that course of action for the World Dart Federation…

For the first time, the UK holds no elective WDF office (although pet poodle Roy Price remains). They lobed a bomb when for the first time, they did not attend a WDF event. The results of this World Cup have not been posted on the official BDO web – as if it didn’t happen.

On April 1, 2010 Dartoid penned a perfect April Fools article where the PDC’s (Barry Hearn) met with the BDO’s (Oily Croft). At the conclusion of the meeting the PDC owned the BDO lock, stock and barrel – taking over amateur darts and the WDF. It’s possible that Dartoid’s fantasy is becoming reality.

One disappointment was Australia’s Corrine Hammond. She’d been on a tear at the British Open and Masters. She lost in the first round of the singles to Choi Hye Jin of South Korea 4-1.

The entire American Women’s Team, except for titian-haired Paula Murphy was horrid, winning only 8 of 15 legs – going 1-5 in singles. Ms. Murphy lost (4-3) in the top 16 to semi finalist Aileen de Graaf.

Once a darting nation to be feared, now the American ladies are a joke. A bad joke at that. They’ve been shut out of World Cup Gold since 2009. They did seem to be having a good time, at least it appeared so via photos on social media. They’re lucky that the late Stacy Bromberg, Kathy Maloney or Julie Nicoll weren’t on the team. Had they been the ladies of the 2017 team would have had their personal “darting come to Jesus moment.” Going to the World Cup isn’t about getting kudos for showing up – it’s about results.

One is almost tempted to write, “The ADO could have spent the money to send the ladies more wisely” except that would never happen – as in them “spending the money wisely.”

Then there was the men’s team where 5 of the ADO points leaders weren’t even on the team.

Darrin Young withdrew as did his replacement, Larry Butler (which they have every right to do). Actions must have consequences. Actions without consequences are the definition of disorder.

Their replacement Tom Sawyer did fine but this was not the strongest possible team. If the ADO were to “grow a set” (very unlikely) they would immediately pass a rule that states: “Any player that qualifies to represent the ADO in an international event with expenses paid that chooses to not compete will forfeit all ADO points and all cash bonuses for a two- year period.”

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.