Column #HR248 CONGRATULATIONS Michael van Gerwen and Mr. John Lowe

Friday, January 4, 2019
Column HR248
CONGRATULATIONS Michael van Gerwen and Mr. John Lowe

Michael van Gerwen started the New Year in fine fettle earning his third PDC World Championship convincingly over Michael Smith 7-3 (3-1, 3-1, 3-1, 3-2, 2-3, 0-3, 3-1, 3-2, 2-3, 3-1). On his way to the £500,000 top prize and Sid Waddell Trophy the “Marvelous One” continued his form following his 6-1 shellacking of Gary Anderson in the semis.

Earlier in the tournament, van Gerwen was the recipient of a beer thrown by the typical drunken rabble seen at PDC events. The cup was recyclable as the PDC is committed to keeping the seas safe from pollutants. After van Gerwen’s victory over Anderson a somewhat emotional van Gerwen explained, I work my nuts off. The ultimate equipment change – although not a practice routine likely to gain popularity it does, perhaps, open up possibilities for bathroom choice and harem guarding.

In addition to upping the prize fund to £2.5 million, this year’s PDC World Championship added two ladies to the field and another in the commentary booth. Both decisions had nothing to do with ability. If the PDC was looking for “Atta boys” from the press they weren’t overwhelmed – although one writer was “over the moon” with Anastasia “The Russian Fox” Dobromyslova playing on Day 5.

Despite it being a Monday evening, the venue was well filled as was the press room. As it turned out the strong attendance was not because of Raymond van Barneveld who played the last match of the night but because of Anastasia Dobromyslova. The crowd enthusiastically cheered Anastasia Dobromyslova as she came on stage.

To devalue the popularity of Barney and his Army is ridiculous.

Mr. Ryan Joyce drilled Ms. Dobromyslova 3-0 (3-1, 3-0, 3-2).

Continued the writer, After her match a lot of the journalists and photographers disappeared.

Did the many in the crowd dressed in orange leave? Of course not.

Even sillier, It was not really difficult for Joyce to win as Anastasia’s average was almost 15 points lower than his. It looks as though Dobromyslova is not back to her old strength after the birth of her son last year.

Bad excuse as van Gerwen won the championship as a “gelding.”

What totally “politically correct” rubbish.

Lisa Ashton made a much better showing against Jan Dekker – taking the first set 3-0 with a 127 on the bull check and 100+ average. She would lose 3-1 (0-3, 3-0, 3-2, 3-1) averaging 88.56.

The other experiment of injecting Trina Gulliver into the commentary box didn’t go well. But those who blame Ms. Gulliver should be ashamed of themselves, except they have no shame. She did the best she could with the tools she was provided. What training she was given by Sky TV is unknown and could have made a big difference.

Golden Age darters were rewarded with the news that Mr. John Lowe is to be honored with a M.B.E. It was announced in the Queen’s New Year’s Honors. It’s a recognition way too long delayed. The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry established on June 4, 1917 by King George which rewards outstanding “contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organizations, and public service outside the civil service.”

Mr. John Lowe was a professional and a gentleman at a time when such traits were few and far between in the darting world. He never made excuses or belittled an opponent. He dealt with fans as friends. He rubbed elbows with the great but never let his fame go to his head. He was the everyman who involved himself in charity work not for self-promotion because it was the right thing to do and personally gratifying.

As a joiner (carpenter) living in Chesterfield Mr. Lowe entered the 1976 World Master as pretty much of an unknown outside his Derbyshire County, except maybe for the late great Barry Twomlow. In the quarter finals he played the late Tommy O’Regan. Tommy had been known to like more than a drop of Golden Elixir.

When they took the stage O’Regan seized command. But as the Irish have want to do after a wee drop O’Regan began to sing between throws and encouraged the crowd to join in. Mr. Lowe later commented, As he was singing, I was playing – and beat him. If Tommy didn’t think he was a singer, he may have won. It was my first big win.

Mr. Lowe then beat Californian Javier Gopar in the semifinals and Phil Obbard 3-0 in the final.

The rest, as they say, is history. Mr. Lowe has won 32 major titles including 3 world championships in three decades. In 1984, Mr. Lowe achieved the first televised 9-dart finish, when a 9-dart finished actually meant something. His professional demeanor both in public and private should be the standard for all PDC players. Win, lose or draw Mr. John Lowe was a true gentleman.

Two former world champions could have used a dose of Mr. Lowe’s persona. Adrian “Big Baby” Lewis whined about the time between matches: There’s been far too many games and you’re waiting around a hell of a long time. He’s apparently not smart enough to realize that more TV matches mean more money or maybe he was just looking for an excuse as he lost his next match 4-1 to MVG. Gary Anderson at his press conference, after a difficult early round come-from-behind win, was asked if he was tired or in pain. What do you do, he responded, sit around and write stories? Maybe he wants to go back to “coffee, tea or would you like a blanket.”

Later this year, Mr. Lowe will visit London to accept his MBE from the Queen who lives at Buckingham Palace. Are there other Queens in London? The ODC was made aware that there are lots – many are found on Thornton Heath.

The New Year brings promise of things to come but also a sadness for those that left us. Internationally, the passing of Tommy Cox, Phil Jones and Eric Bristow leaves a gap that will never be filled.

The ODC has his dart roots in Northern California where his first dart was thrown at 2:20 a.m. on New Year’s Day 1977. Gone from that scene is Bob Martell who with his wife Maggie were darts in NorCal for more than 20 years. He ran leagues and tournaments, promoted events, built boards and always offered a helping hand to beginners.

On December 19th, Nadine Chapman lost her battle with cancer. The ODC’s friendship with Nadine dates back to the early 1970s when both were competing in professional rodeo. They shared a common background and on occasion when the ODC was filled with Golden Elixir had been known to hit the dance floor. A bad dancer with a sweet lady.

It should be noted that both Mr. John Lowe and Jesus started their working lives as carpenters. Only one of them got MBE.

But then, so did Twiggy.

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.