Column #HR272 Some WDF World Cup participants may need to visit the Three Dot Lounge

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Column HR272
Some WDF World Cup participants may need to visit the Three Dot Lounge

During this visit to your computer screen the Old Dart Coach was going to introduce you to the Three Dot Lounge…

Were the Three Dot Lounge an actual physical structure it would have 8 dartboards and a juke box filled with tunes by George Strait, Buck Owens, Rod Stewart and Tammy Why Not.  There would be two discs featured: David Allen Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me by My Name” (which the proprietor would love to sing in the key of ugly) and Lee Ofam’s “Luv Ya Blue” (which was the “old” Houston Oilers fight song).  When played at Houston Hartwell’s (a pub long gone) JR Smith inserted the words Houston Hartwell’s for Houston Oilers.

In what remains of the ODC’s mind, outside the Three Dot Lounge would be a sign advising “Men no shirt, no service – women no shirt, lots of service” but that plan had to be 86’d. (Or in more literary terms as John Steinbeck wrote in 1936, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men oft go astray.”)

The original words were those of Scottish poet Robert Frost. As he had been dead for 150+ years there was no lawsuit for copyright infringement. (On the other hand, it’s well known that the Scottish only get credit for their whiskey, Jocky Wilson and shagging sheep.)

In the final weekend of the Championship Darts Circuit, Darin Young secured his 10th trip to the William Hill World Darts Championship with a win in event #9 of the 10-event series.  He earned his ticket to London by besting (which has nothing to do with sheep) Canadian Jim Long 6-3.

The next day, North American Championship winner Danny Baggish demolished John Part 5-0 with an average of 112.2 in the round of 32. Baggish continued his terrific scoring as he gave an exit pass to Chainsaw Joe Chaney. He then slipped to a 98 average beating Chuck Puleo 6-2 and then Joe Huffman by the same score for the title.

Baggish also captured the Witch City Open singles. The Bald Eagle may be ready to soar again as Larry Butler made it to the semi s losing to Jim Long.

October 7-12 will see the renewal of the World Darts Federation’s World Cup – this one in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. This is really the World Championship for amateur players. This year has the largest entry list ever as 54 men’s teams, 48 women’s teams and 20 youth teams are entered. This includes England and their acolytes (Scotland, Wales) attending after missing the 2017 event due to financial problems. Hopefully they didn’t book tickets thru Thomas Cook as they went belly up leaving 150,000 travelers stranded.

The North American contingent (America and Canada) have been AOL in recent World Cups when it comes to winning medals. The one exception is Canada’s Jeff Smith who took the singles in 2017 and the Canadian 4-person team in 1989. Smith will return to defend his title – which will be a daunting task. Hong Kong has entered a men’s team that includes professionals Royden Lam and Leong Hwa (aka Paul Lim), both proven at the highest levels of the game. Lim sets a record as he’s competed for Papua New Guinea, Singapore, America and now Hong Kong. He’s living the Ricky Nelson tune, “I’m a Traveling Man. Lim new business card states “Have Darts Will Travel.”

Should Smith repeat he will tie John Lowe and Martin Adams as two-time winners. The late Eric Bristow took home four World Cup Singles while Raymond van Barneveld had 3.

America has brought home singles gold with the late Nicky Virachkul (1979), Sandy Reitan-Green (1983), Eva Grigsby (1989), Kathy Maloney (1993) and the late Stacy Bromberg (2009). No lady has repeated as singles champion though Stacy Bromberg was at the top of her game when prevented from playing in 2011 thanks to the WDF, aided by the ADO.  Both acted like the arrogant dictators they are.

In 1985, America won overall silver thanks to the 4-person team win (Tony Payne, Rick Ney, John Kramer and Dan Valletto) and Tony Payne’s and Rick Ney’s great play in the singles. With two players in the singles semis they had two shots at winning the gold.

The late Rick Ney would fall to Eric Bristow 4-3. Bristow then faced Tony Payne in the final. Payne took the first two legs in 18 darts. He used a 112 finish in one. After Bristow tied it at 3 he finished on bull for the 4-3 win. If the ODC’s memory is still functional Payne had darts of the match.

America took the 4-person gold in 2003 with Ray Carver, John Kuycznski, Bill David and George Walls. This year, the American men’s team is comprised of Kevin Luke, Jerry Van Loan, Jim Widmayer and “Chainsaw” Joe Chaney. The later qualified to play in the BDO version of the World Championships in January.

On the distaff side it’s Robin Curry, Cali West, Stacey Pace and Marlise Kiel. The ADO points leader for the ladies’ team, Paula Murphy, withdrew for “personal reasons” – an example of principle overcoming expediency. There is hope.

No one in any of the World Cup singles disciplines has repeated since Raymond van Barneveld in ’87 and ’89. No lady has ever won two in a row. England’s Trina Gulliver has three singles (1999, 2003 and 2009) and Valery Maytum of the Netherlands as two.

The English ladies send a strong team comprised of Lorraine Winstanley, Maria O’Brien, Fallon Sherrock and Deta Headman. Marie O’Brien is replacing Tina Gulliver who declined to be part of the England Team. Why? No EYE DEAR.

The ladies’ singles is in fact a World Championship with a field that includes two former winners: Deta Headman (England) and Sweden’s Vicky Pruim – and a new factor. That new factor is Japan’s “Miracle” Mikuru Suzuki who stole the show at last year’s BDO World Championships.

The ODC wishes the teams from North America good luck.  (Remember that the WDF draw always seems to work such that the home team always has someone in at least one semifinal.)

America drew well in the team group with Latvia and Gibraltar.  Canada not so well as they’ll have to take out spoiler Hong Kong.  Canada’s women’s team also runs into Hong Kong while America drew a little better getting Isle of Man and Russia which will have the services of Anastasia Dobromyslova – who also has a good chance in the singles.

Those that want to follow the WDF World Cup can do so via the WDF’ website

The ODC’s longshot for the men’s gold is Hong Kong.  They have the players to win.

Those that don’t can visit their own version of the Three Dot Lounge.

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.