Column #HR229 A preview of PDC World Cup XIII

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Column HR229
A preview of PDC World Cup XIII

If you woke up this morning with Huey Lewis singing “This is It” in your head then you’re READY… as in just two days on May 31st (Thursday) 32-two man teams will toe the oche in the PDC’s World Cup XIII. On that day you’ll hear Master of Ceremonies John McDonald yell, “LIVE from Frankfurt’s Eissporthalle it’s the PDC WORLD CUP.”

The PDC World Cup has in a short space of time taken the spotlight from the WDF’s World Cup, an event that has fallen on hard times with nations opting out.  If you’re in an area where live TV isn’t available you should have PDC TV.  The coverage is wall-to-wall.

On the other hand (and even better), Dartoid’s World will carry daily reports by world renowned reporter, the Old Dart Coach, in this Toeing the Oche space.

In 2010, the first PDC World Cup was held in England with sparse attendance. Since then, a change of scenery to Germany has improved attendance and interest.  Total prize money has risen from £150,000 to this year’s £300,000 ($403,898). Not too Chablis or even a “nice Chianti taken with liver and Fava Beans.” The winning team will take home £60,000 ($80,798).

In the seven previous editions England has taken the title four times while Netherlands has three including last year when they  put the kibosh on an England three-peat 2-nil in the semis.  van Gerwen beat Adrian Lewis 4-3 and Barney beat Dave Chisnell.

The seeding, based on the combined PDC rankings of the players, failed last year as the #1 seed Scotland went out first round to Singapore 5-2.  Scotland again gets the top seed followed by England, the Netherlands and Australia. At press time the bookies favored the Netherlands duo of Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld even though van Barneveld of late has been average and seemed disinterested.

Things don’t look bright for the lads from North America as the USA’s Larry Butler and Darin Young get the #1 seed Scotland. Canada gets a better draw with Italy.  The first round is doubles only, best of 9, which could well give the North American duo a slight edge.  Hitting triples and doubles would give them a bigger edge.

Thursday, May 31 (8:00 p.m. Frankfurt, 7:00 p.m. England, 1:00 p.m. New York and 11:00 a.m. Las Vegas)…

ROUND #1 “Par ‘ins”

Canada (John Part & Dawson Murschell ) vs. Italy (Michel Furlani & Alessio Medaina ). Former World Champion John Part (2003, 2008) teams up with rookie “Awesome” Dawson Murschell.  The Medicine Hat native qualified for the North American Championships last year losing to champ Willard “The Chief” Bruguier. In the US Darts Masters he beat the PDC’s James Wade before losing in the quarters to Gerwyn Price 8-4. Italy fields a pair of rookies who are in deep stuff against Canada.  Canada to easily advance.

Russia (Boris Koltsov & Aleksandr Oreshkin ) vs. Spain (Cristo Reyes & Toni Alcinas ). Boris Koltsov lost in the 2015 World Championships to Kevin Painter but don’t hold that against him. Aleksandr Oreshkin beat Paul Lin in the 2016 World Championships before losing to Mervyn King. This pair lost to the Netherlands in the 2016 World Cup (5-3) and in 2017 they made it to the quarters beating Hong Kong (5-3) and Australia before losing to Wales.  The Spanish team has been to many World Cups with limited success. Last year, they lost to Singapore 2-0 after seeing off Japan 5-3.  Take Spain in a mild upset.

Switzerland (Alexander Fehlmann & Andreas Bless) vs. China (Momo Zhou & Xiaochen Zong). Both teams are first timers. Momo Zhou is the first female to appear in the PDC World Cup which is probably important to someone. Making the male chauvinist pick – Switzerland.

Denmark (Per Laursen & Henrik Primdal ) vs. Brazil (Diogo Portela & Bruno Rangel ). Per Laursen has been around for a long time – this time with rookie Henrik Primdal.  Brazil got to the second round last year by beating Switzerland 5-4.  Denmark went down 5-4 to Australia. No samba for the guys from Ipanema. This time Denmark moves on.

#5 Wales (Gerwyn Price & Jonny Clayton ) vs. Thailand (Gaweenuntavong & Eupakaree). Wales got to the finals last time out losing 3-1 to the champion, the Netherlands.  Price teams with newcomer Jonny “The Ferret” Clayton, a new PDC cardholder.   Gaweenuntavong played in the 2014 World Cup and in 2017 with Eupakaree. They got drilled by Greece 5-3 last year. There will be some upsets in round 1 but not here. Take Wales. “No ma’am, I wasn’t talking to you. It’s spelled Wales not Whales, although SlimFast should be on your mind.”

#4 Australia (Simon Whitlock & Kyle Anderson) vs. Hong Kong (Royden Lam & Ho Yin Shek). This could be a barn burner mainly because Royden Lam is world class. For Australia to win, Whitlock will have to regain his form and Anderson will have to play well. It didn’t work last year as they lost 2-1 to Russia. Royden Lam’s new partner, Ho Yin Shek, is probably a machine dart player. As a rookie he’ll be nervous.  He’ll have to handle the pressure. He won’t.  Take Australia.

#1 Scotland (Gary Anderson & Peter Wright) vs. the USA (Larry Butler & Darin Young).  Last year, the Scots duo went out opening round 5-2 to Singapore (Lim x 2). Gary Anderson warmed up by reaching the semifinals of the Premier League and winning a Players Championship which indicates he is rounding into form.  Anderson and Wright have a genuine dislike for each other. While neither is playing in top form they are still probably too much for Butler-Young. Pairs best of 9 does give the Yanks a slight edge. But not enough.  Scotland.

 #8 Austria (Mensur Suljovic & Zoran Lerchbacher) vs. Japan (Seigo Asada & Haruki Muramatsu ). Mensur Suljovic has emerged as a top pro after winning the 2017 Champions League with wins over Gary Anderson, Peter Wright, Dave Chisnall and Anderson again in the finals 11-9 on double 14. He got to #14 in the PDC rankings this year. His “herky-jerky” style makes him difficult to play. Last year, Austria made the quarter finals beating China (5-0) and Canada (2-0) before losing to England.  Rowby-John Rodriguez is replaced this year with Zoran Lerchbacher.  As noted, Mensur Suljovic’s style makes him difficult to play against.  Austria says “španělské předsednictví” which is “sayonara” in Japanese.  The guys from the Land of the Rising Sun will see the sun set on their World Cup hopes.  Austria advances.

The results of Day 2 of the first round will be published on Thursday May 31.

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.