Column #CM77 2020 World Championship – “White Christmas”

Saturday, December 14, 2019
Column CM77
2020 World Championship – “White Christmas”

At this time of year in London one hears Christmas music everywhere. And what one hears is as international and colourful as the world championship. So, I have decided to feature a holiday song for each day I am in London for the tournament. Since today two players from North America will stand at the oche my song of the day is “White Christmas.”  It’s a shame there is not yet a bit of snow except for what you can find in the shop windows of Selfridge’s. I am sure a lot of people would prefer a white Christmas to the wet Christmas with rain that is forecast.

The composer of “White Christmas” was American Irving Berlin – who, unknown to many, was unable to read or write music. So, his secretary Helmy Kresa had to write the song down. From the start Berlin was sure the song would be a success and his chosen singer Bing Crosby was delighted to be selected. On Christmas day in 1941 Crosby sang White Christmas for the first time ever in a radio show.

The following year it was recorded together with other Berlin songs for the film Holiday Inn. However, it did not really fit – the film got into the cinemas in August 1942 and both the film and the song struggled. But in October the song the top position of the pop hit parade chart and for many years thereafter remained among the top 30. It is not quite clear how often “White Christmas” has sold but it is estimated the number is more than 100 million singles in multiple languages. Today it stands uncontested as the most valuable song ever authored.

With Crosby another “White Christmas” film was produced which came into the cinemas in 1954 under the title “White Christmas.” Frank Sinatra recorded the title as well and in 1957 Crosby and Sinatra together sang the song during Sinatra’s TV show. In 1975, the song initiated the evacuation of the US soldiers from Saigon – more evidence of how significant the song is in the culture of the USA.

But I am nevertheless sure neither Matt Campbell nor Darin Young will walk-on to “White Christmas” – though that would be quite a nice idea during the world championship…

The second day of the tournament is the first of many long days of darts to come. There will be two sessions both with three first round – and one second round match at the end of the session. Jermaine Wattimena and Rob Cross will be the two seeded players. We we’ll see several of the international qualifiers.

The afternoon session looks at first view to not likely be as high class as the evening session, but you never know! First, Darius Labanauskas meets Matthew Edgar – we had the same combination last year. Labanauskas played well in the last world championship but after that one didn’t see much of him, though he was rather good on the Nordic and Baltic Tour. Nevertheless, I think he has a better chance to win than Edgar. He defeated him last year which always is an advantage.

After that Ryan Meikle will play against Japan’s Yuki Yamada. I haven’t seen Yamada often, but in his home country he is successful. Ryan Meikle developed quite well during the past year. Were it possible in the world championship I would say this match will end in a draw!

Luke Woodhouse faces Paul Lim is the next match – another one of those contests either player could win. Lim to be sure will again be supported by the crowd and he is, despite his now 65 years, still a force in darts in Asia. A small advantage for Lim – I would say. I am sure we all would love to see him produce a nine-darter!

In the last match of the afternoon Jermaine Wattimena will play against Luke Humphries who on Friday was never in danger against Devon Petersen. It will be an easy match for Wattimena but one he will likely win.

In the evening session we will see two former BDO players and… Raymond van Barneveld.

In the first match Mark McGeeney will play against Canadian Matt Campbell about whom I don’t know anything – only that he was stronger than Jim Long on this year’s CDC Tour. Jim Long last year represented Canada in the world championship and impressed. Campbell could be just as impressive against McGeeney who is far from settled in the PDC, yet.

Next, Jamie Hughes will meet Zoran Lerchbacher. Hughes this year has displayed some magic on stage while Lerchbacher has won very few matches on the Pro Tour. Should Hughes get off to a good start in the match Lerbacher will have no chance at all.

In the third match a Dutchman and an American legend will step to the stage – Raymond van Barneveld competes in his last world championship against Darin Young. This year, Young was once again the dominant player in America, but he has, so far, failed to show the Alexandra Palace fans what he really can do. For van Barneveld it was a very patchy year, but he showed some signs of improvement during the last few months but often he just didn’t get into his stride. We’ll see what will happens…

The last match of the day will be between Rob Cross and Kim Huybrechts (who had to fight hard to beat Geert Nentjes). And well, what you can say about Rob Cross. It was a year with ups and downs for him – he is not very consistent. But you never can write him off and he could well become one of the favourites to win the title. We’ll have to wait and see – this very first match could be crucial.

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Charis Mutschler
The founder of Global Darts, darts journalist Charis Mutschler hails from Marbach, near Stuttgart, Germany. A regular at most major PDC tournaments, a lover of literature, dance and music and cats, Charis' popular writings about darts and its players often transcend the usual. She brings something unique to the chroniclers of the sport we all love.