Column #HR292 Congratulations Wales!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Column HR292
Congratulations Wales!

As Slim Pickens said in Blazing Saddles, “What in the wide, wide world of sports is a goin’ on here?”  He could have seen the future of the just concluded PDC World Cup of Darts X…

The Old Dart Coach was wrong with his predictions of the outcome.  The darting world is in stunned in silence (well, not all of it).

After Wales tossed a 3-0 Snyder on England to win the Cup one fan of the Mother Country took to unsocial media to complain.  I know this isn’t from the past… but… Rob Cross, as last year, has been atrocious in this World Cup… most games he looks like he couldn’t throw a tantrum…   As Mom always said, “Hindsight is 20/20.”

The Wales 3-0 win was the first shutout in the World Cup final since 2014.  Then it was the Netherlands (van Gerwen and Barneveld) over England with Taylor and Lewis.

England lost as a team with both players contributing to the effort.  Wales, the betting favorites with Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton went through the Brits like a chocoholic does a bag of M&M’s.  Price stated the rout off with 4-1 win over Michael Smith.  After trading the opening two legs Price triumphed with steady play that negated a pair of Smith T80’s.

Smith also squandered 6 darts at a double in the fourth leg from 128.  Clayton was absolutely super coming from 2-1 to wave goodbye to Rob Cross averaging 105.

Throwing first in the pairs Wales and England traded legs and were even after 6. The goodbye to England came when Price took out 64 with tops for the Cup and the £70,000 top prize, after which Cross said, we didn’t play our best in the final and they deserved to beat us.

Could we please stop with the “I didn’t play my best garbage.”  Translation?  “You won but you were lucky we didn’t play good.” Say, “They won and congratulations.”

When the always resplendent John MacDonald, microphone in hand, said Ladies and Gentleman around the world welcome to the Bet Victor PDC World Series of Darts brought to you by the Professional Darts Corporation” two of the original 32 teams were absent.  Singapore was a victim of the Chinese Flu (replaced by Portugal) and China fell victim to Chinese bureaucracy, replaced by Lithuania.

John MacDonald: how about “Gentleman, toe your oche.”  A touch of class.

The Old Dart Coach did accurately predict the first-round exit of the USA.  They couldn’t have drawn any worse than the Austrian team of Mensur Suljovic and Rowby-John Rodriguez.  The Austrians had World Cup experience with Suljovic playing exceedingly well, leading to the Cup.  Playing doubles only they dusted the USA 5-2.

Austria would beat late replacement Portugal (2-0) then face England in the quarter finals.  The countries were tied at 1 in the race to 2, after Suljovic defeated Smith and Cross got Rodriguez, both by 4-3 scores.  The doubles (with first to 4 winning) came down to a nail biter for England, but they emerged triumphant when Suljovic missed match darts.  The Brits didn’t and chalked up a 4-3 win.  England then advanced to the semifinals with an easy 2-0 win over Belgium which ran out of gas and darts.

Canada, as predicted by the ODC, did better than their American neighbor waving “adios” to Northern Ireland 2-0, and then New Zealand 5-2 to reach the round of 8 where their opponent was the red-hot Belgium team.  Canada’s Jeff Smith lost to Kim Huybrechts 4-1, but rookie Matt Campbell evened it at 1 with a 4-1 win over Dimitri Van den Bergh.  But Belgium was too much in the doubles, winning 4-2.

The eventual winner Wales was sailing along against Australia when Gerwyn Price hung a 4-3 “L” on Aussie Simon Whitlock.  First timer Damon Heta would level for the Aussies with 4-3 win over Jonny Clayton.  The doubles went to Wales 4-2 as Whitlock missed numerous doubles.  Price would get the ODC MVP Award for the World Cup.  No money, no plaque just the prestige of ODC recognition.

Germany reached the semifinals against Wales when they saw off depleted Netherlands 2-1.  Michael van Gerwen had been hospitalized with a pinched nerve in his back, a reoccurring injury, so was playing on pain killers.  Against Germany he was able to beat Max Hopp 4-1 as teammate, Danny Noppert, fell to Gabriel Clemens 4-3.  The deciding doubles went the distance with Germany winning 4-3.

Meanwhile, out in the ether the World Darts Federation Virtual Cup run by DartsConnect crowned English lass Fallon Sherrock the winner.  She achieved the honor with a 6-1 win over Ksenia Klochek.  To reach the final Sherrock had to defeat Canadian Diane Gobeil 5-4 in the semis.  Gobeil was the only lady to win more than a single leg against Sherrock.  In the KO portion minus Gobeil, Fallon went 18-3.

One of the pure joys of being a member of the darting fraternity is not triples or doubles but the people.  As with all fraternal organizations distance doesn’t end the bond…

There’s an inviable sadness when a friend passes.  Before the Old Dart Coach was “old” his first out-of-state tournament was in Portland, Oregon.  There he met a fellow named Roger Crystal and a lady named Lori who would become Ms. Crystal.

The ODC’s first Portland tournament saw him enter the Friday blind draw. (Editor’s note: this was before the ODC found drinking beer more enjoyable then the draw – but quickly after he drew too many players like himself.)

Roger drew the ODC and a lady named Linda.  She approached, introduced herself and then said, “Oh you bring your own darts?”  The result?  Pre-ordained.

The following year, the ODC drew the same lady.  With the call he looked over at Crystal at the control desk.  A slight giggle was noticed.  The results were again preordained.  Linda said, “I brought my own darts!”  The only logical response was “Why?”

Roger Crystal became a dear friend as did his wife.  Roger passed away recently.  He was darts in the Pacific Northwest.  More importantly he was a good man, husband and dear friend.  He and his wife welcomed the ODC into their home even when they were under pressure to reject him as an outcast as the ADO painted him.

Roger was a very special person. God bless.

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.