Column #HR257 Bend over. Grab your ankles.

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Column HR257
Bend over.  Grab your ankles.

Sometimes the Old Dart Coach has to grab his ankles and admit he made a mistake. This is one of those times.  He issues this apology after first calling Guinness to register his recent error.

In his last column the ODC wrote that Ian “Cubic Zirconia” White lost twice recently in finals to Michael van Gerwen, 8-3 and 8-7.  The term “Cubic Zirconia” is used for the best of fake diamonds. White uses the handle “Diamond.”  I hereby apologize.

Most everyone knows the old saying “third times the charm.”  White would make his third final on the trot to a European darts final. This one the Grand Prix (the “x” is silent) of Germany where White wouldn’t face Michael van Gerwen. The “Marvelous One” lost in the semifinals to Peter Wright, 6-3. As another example of the late Sid Waddell’s famous “it’s a funny old game” quote about darts, the Thursday before in Premier League play van “it’s a funny old game” Gerwen opened a can of “WA” beating Wright 8-1. Entering the final night of Premier League Rob Cross sits atop the standings leading van Gerwen by a point. Should they tie, van Gerwen would win the regular league title on +legs and collect £25,000.

van Gerwen would seem to have the easiest road to the top as he faces Mensur Suljovic who is like the little girl – “when Suljovic goods he’s really, really good and when he’s bad he’s horrid.” Rob Cross faces James Wade who has 2 wins and 2 draws from his last 4. Cross is 2-1-1 in his last 4.

In the final in Germany, White would escape by the “hair of his chinny chin chin” prevailing 8-7 in a match that had more twists and turns than an argument with one’s partner for life.  White had moved into the finals with a 7-5 win over a resurgent Steve Beaton (who seems to have tapped into the Fountain of Youth) as Wright gave Jamie Hughes a schooling, 7-1.

In the final White recorded the first break of throw with a 170-check to take a 3-1 lead that lasted only for the next 2 legs when the match leveled at 3. They traded serve to stayed tied at 6. Then White misfired attempting a 120-check, missing tops. Wright erased 104 with double 16 to get the lead at 7-6, one leg from victory. White would tie at 7 when he used a T80, his second of the match, to tie things at 7. White held throw for his second European title and £25,000. Yes, White said he was “over the moon.”

The ODC should have mentioned that the ADO’s announcement of a World Cup Team was for the WDF World Cup, which some rude folks may consider “What da f—,” but not the ODC. The PDC has announced the official teams for the BETVICTOR World Cup of Darts which plays June 6-9 at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg. That’s Hamburg in Germany not Pennsylvania, New York, California, Florida or Texas.  One of the main differences between the two World Cups is that the PDC has a prize fund of £350,000 with £70,000 going to the winning team. That’s an increase of £350,000.   The WDF event provides medals and all the glory that go with them.

This year’s event will have 32 teams with some new faces on seeded team including the #1 seed England where Rod Cross will be joined by Michael Smith. The seeds were decided by the ranking number of the players involved, not money won as was done in the past.  As an example, Cross is #2 and Smith is #6 equaling 8 points for England. The lower the number the higher the seed.  It’s an English thing. Back in the day when the ODC did the ESPN Challenge of Champions with Chris Berman he explained the game of darts: “You start with 501 and when you get to nothing you win. It’s an English thing.”

Returning will be last year’s #1 seed Scotland (this year the #2 seed) with Peter Wright and the sometimes-injured Gary Anderson. Wales returns Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton to capture the #3 slot with Michael van Gerwen and rookie Jermaine Wattimena securing the #4 seed.

Not that anyone axed, but the ODC would seed Scotland #1 as they return last year’s runner up team that lost 3-1 to the Netherlands.  The ODC’s #2 seed would be the Netherlands’ van Gerwen-Wattimena (the later replacing Raymond van Barneveld).  Put England #3 and Wales returning pair of Price-Clayton in the 4th spot mainly, because some team has to be.

North America’s represented by Dawson Murschell and Jim Long of Canada and Darin Young and Chuck Puleo from the USA.  The American team was chosen based on the standings of the Champion Dart Circuit which is the recognized body in the USA by the PDC.  For the first time this year the PDC also provided some financial assistance to the CDC.  Like the PDC the CDC uses a “two year rolling Order of Merit.”  Young and Puleo rank one and two ahead of Canadians Jim Long and Danny Lauby II.

As noted, the Canadian team includes Dawson Murschell (based on the PDC Order of Merit. Then, the PDC went to the CDC Order of Merit. Jim Long and Danny Lauby II where tied for 3rd with 106 points. Ontario’s Long would win out as he had 116 wins over loses to Lauby’s 89.  A first – as neither John Part nor Larry Butler will be representing their respective countries.

How will North America fair? All depends on the draw.

If they should draw into a seeded team it’ll be “one and done.” Have a nice trip home and buy a t-shirt.

On the other hand, with a “friendly” draw they could make the top 8, with a break.

Last year, the USA got runner up Scotland. They went down 5-1. Canada had a more favorable draw taking out Italy 5-1 only to fall to Japan 2-1 in the next round.

There are always a few surprises. Last year, it was Singapore who went out 2-1 to England in the round of 16. The Singapore Slingers Paul and Harith Lim are back.

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.