Column #CM79 2020 World Championship – “Fairy-tale of New York”

Monday, December 16, 2019
Column CM79
2020 World Championship – “Fairy-tale of New York”

Well, yesterday was, with a few exceptions, not really a high-class affair. There were only a few averages over 90 and only one over 100 – and that was recorded by a losing player. There were quite a few very one-sided matches as well. But, as always is the case, what will linger in one’s memory are the hard-fought matches and the upsets.

We had one hard-fought match in the afternoon which was won by Kyle Anderson and two in the evening – one which was won by American Danny Baggish and the other lost, only just, by Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki. And there were two more big upsets – as with Ian White and Michael Smith two more seeded players were eliminated from the event. The only player who has survived his second-round match so far is Michael van Gerwen.

Monday is a short day with only an evening session, and it is the Irish day of the event as probably in all four matches an Irish player will stand on stage. The Irish sing some different Christmas songs than the English and the oldest is the Wexford Carol, which is from the Middle Ages and comes – as you’ve probably guessed – from County Wexford. The song was rediscovered last century and published in 1928. Since then it is a must in Ireland at Christmas.

Even more popular is a song of the British folk-punk band, The Pogues, from the year 1987 – “Fairy-tale of New York.” The song is about an Irish migrant who sleeps it off in a prison cell. For 52 weeks the single – a mix of Irish folk and Christmas music – was in the charts. In 2005, it was televised for the first time. Besides The Pogues countless other singers and bands have performed the song, among them Sinead O’Connor, Coldplay and Angelo Branduardi. Under the title “Weihnachtsnaach” there exist a German version with BAP and Nina Hagen as well. Here the link to the original version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l14aDp-4NKk.   Wouldn’t that be a nice walk-on song?

It could well be an interesting evening tonight. The first Irishman on stage will be Steve Lennon who will play against Callen Rydz, who has been a quite successful BDO youth player. During his play on the PDC Development Tour he has improved a lot. Nevertheless, I think Steve Lennon will be the favourite to win as Rydz has very little experience on the big stage.

Next on will be William O’Connor against Marko Kantele. I see O’Connor as the favourite. He played a good year in 2019 and reached, together with Lennon, the final of the PDC World Cup. Sometimes he lacks consistency, but I feel he is the stronger player in this match.

Third match, third Irishman – Keane Barry. I first saw Barry a few years ago in the youth tournament of the World Masters – he lost in the final, but I was nevertheless very impressed. This year, he won the event and he won the Irish Matchplay – by which he qualified for the world championship and the JDC International Open. During the world championship he will stand on the stage in the final of the JDC world championship and, during the BDO world championship, he will play in the final of the BDO world youth championship against Leighton Bennett. Here on the fourth day of the world championship he will play against Vincent van der Voort. Will he have a real chance? Van der Voort is not an easy opponent and, in contrast to Barry’s other opponents, a well-established rather than upcoming player. It will be a tough match for Barry to be sure.

The last match of the night will be the second-round match. Gary Anderson will play against Brendan Dolan who demolished Nitin Kumar in the first round. Nobody knows how well Anderson will play. He played only a few tournaments this year. Some of his matches were good and it seemed he was back – but often they were followed by weak performances.

Of course, an in-form Anderson will beat Dolan and I hope he will – not because I would like to see Dolan defeated, to be sure that is certainly not the case. it when Dolan is beaten – to be sure not. It’s just that an in-form Anderson would be a gain for the tournament.

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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.