Author Archives: Howie Reed

Column #HR282 Alright already!

Thursday, May 21, 2020
Column HR282
Alright already!

Like most everyone the Old Dart Coach has had it up to here with the coronavirus or Covid-19.  Photos of the virus, which looks like a golf ball sprouting mushrooms, appear wherever one looks. As the late Irene Maude Reed would say (using a fake Jewish accent to sound like Molly Goldberg of the original Goldberg’s TV show), “Alright already!”

While all sports have been affected most will bounce back with ridiculous ease. NASCAR has already started in the Colonies.  That won’t be the case for steel darts in the USA.

Our sport in the USA has been on tender hooks for years ever since machine darts took center stage. The break of a year isn’t going to help.  Machine darts (a game) will come roaring back since each league or area has a promoter (operator) and pub owners whose financial wellbeing is at stake. “Follow the money!”

The ODC thought that the “little guy” in Jerry McGuire said, “Follow the money.” He was wrong – the “little guy” said, “Show Me the money.”  So close.

In real life “Follow the money” is attributed to Mark Felt, aka “Deep Throat” of Watergate notoriety. (The ODC went with Linda Lovelace.)

The American Darts Organization (ADO) tournament schedule has been shredded like parmesan over a nice pasta. They’re not alone as the WDF/BDO/PDC have major cancellations followed by hope and a prayer re-scheduling at a later date.  That scenario is dodgy at best as everyone and their brother (even if they don’t have one) is pontificating on when sports will return.

Darts has made an attempt to remain “prevalent” with virtual matches that have all the excitement of the sun rising in the East and setting in the West. Using that as a given the ODC, known for reporting drivel, will report on two virtual matches only because they involved Phil Taylor playing a pair of ladies.  To add a touch of legitimacy there were financial enhancements for the players that went to charity.  T80s were worth £1,000 and a one dart out £200. To the ODC a “one-dart out” is a myth perpetrated by people who can actually play.

Taylor’s first Paddy Power match against Raymond van Barneveld raised £15,000 for charity. Taylor was up 6-2 but then lost 4 on the trot to end up on the short end of 7-6.

When Taylor met Fallen Sherrock the game was played on a machine board. To give the feeling of “real” the players, in their respective homes, were introduced by the smartly dressed and exuberant John McDonald.  Despite standing in front of a wall with only a dartboard he was brilliant. When he finished, he checked the mike and then exited as the camera followed out the door – showing him sans shoes.  Heck, a guy can’t remember everything.

The match itself was fun when Taylor won the first leg, then fell behind 4-2, 5-3 and 5-4 before drawing level at 5 in the race to 7.

Taylor went ahead 6-5 when Sherrock threw 7 perfect darts leaving 81. She then went for the T19 hitting a single then tossed for a T15 and hit it, leaving 17.  Taylor took out 46 with 3.  Sherrock would level at 6.

In the decider Sherrock had the darts and opened with back-to-back T80s, then 60 to leave 81 with Taylor away at 167…

No problemo! 60-57-dead bull. Winner-winner chicken dinner.  Taylor would average 116 as opposed to Sherrock’s 121. They would win £16,200 for the National Health Service.

The resplendent John McDonald out did himself when introducing the match between Phil Taylor and “Miracle” Mikuru Suzuki. When introducing Taylor, he was looking skyward, possibly taking his cues from the Tungsten God (as most should when mentioning the name Phil “The Power” Taylor).

When finished, McDonald could be heard saying, “Not bad that. Smashing. Didn’t forget anything.”  Then he clapped his hands and exited stage right as the camera followed – displaying the fact that McDonald forgot his pants.  He’s a boxer guy.

Taylor jumped ahead from the get-go, leading 5-2. With 3 on the trot Suzuki leveled at 5 but fell short, losing 7-5.  At 6-5 Taylor wanted 189.  He threw T80 which gained £1,000 for his charity but left him with 9 which he took out with 3. The pair earned £11,200 for their charities.

There’s an Irish Lug Head who purports to comment on darts. The real fact is that he seldom has a kind word to say for anyone. One of his constant targets is darts commentator Wayne Mardle.  As Nurse Jackie says when the ODC picks on her “Stop it!”  The charity dart matches were made much more viewable thanks to Mardle’s commentary.  He’s good so stuff it you Irish Potato Head.

Roger “The Dodger” Nickson remembers the night that “Coat & Tie” David Justice brought the ODC to his knees at the Oche..

“The night out was in Camden Town; I believe we went to an Italian before meeting Dave in the “Mother Red Cap.”  Justice comes from the old days of darts and is still living up to the spirit of the days.

“Just spoke to Dave; yesterday he took 3 weeks washing down his local launderette at 11:30 am along with a bottle of Jack D.”

Lesson learned. Never go to the launderette without the proper essentials. Wonder if soap was included although it doesn’t go well with Jack D.

George Santayana wrote, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” In darts that wouldn’t be a bad idea.

The aforementioned Roger Nickson was Governor of three dart famous pubs around London – The Morning Star (aka The Morning Sickness), The Cricketers and The Lewisham Arms.  “Dixon” was also the Secretary of the first Players Association.  Back then, he wrote everything in cursive handwriting.  Nickson has established a Facebook page called Darts from the Past.  In just a short time it has more than 3,500 friends.  Those in the Colonies who remember fondly those Golden Days might check it out.  There are posts from Bill Specht, DK (Dave Kelly), Russ Lopez and even the ODC. Them was the days.

The ODC found a new friend on Facebook – a darter from England. His daily posts provide a chuckle. Two of his latest…

“Don’t believe everything you read in public toilets! Sharon was not up for a good time! What an awkward phone call that was.”

“The Irish have solved their fuel problems and imported 5 million tons of sand from Kuwait.  They’re going to drill for their own oil.”

Stay thirsty my friends.

Column #HR281 Beware! They walk among us!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Column HR281
Beware! They walk among us!

With sports in virtual mode until goodness knows when, the Old Dart Coach has to actually do some creative thinking – a task which many, including his Most Honorable Editor, label “impossible.”

The PDC has transformed into virtual group matches called the Unibet Home Tour on Thursday nights. In this event 4 players will play from their homes in a round robin format. 128 players will compete over the course of 32 nights. Some of the big names in the PDC have opted out including Gary “Gary, Gary” Anderson, Michael van Gerwen, Barney and Daryl Gurney. Others may follow.

Needing 128 players there’s a great chance that some non-card holders will be included as some players will play more than once. The format?  Best of 9.  The winners of each of the 32 nights advance to the next round. The excitement is palpable which equates to a “non-fever pitch.” The alternative is actually talking with a “maybe significant other (sometimes a stranger)” while being home quarantined.

In the Colonies “Chainsaw” Joe Chaney is playing virtual games on Facebook. Viewers who are hooked on these virtual matches have been cooped up way too long – probably having run thought jigsaw puzzles, knitting and painting the bathroom while running low on spirits.

In one case, someone, “…found a woman in my house. Had a long chat with her. Seems she’s my wife. Rather pleasant person and she cooks.”

Dave Justice was one of the early great London players. He always played the game in coat and tie.  One night while pub crawling with Roger Nickson in London the ODC was introduced to Justice. Nickson mentioned in passing that Justice used to play for London. In coat and tie Justice asked the ODC if he’d like a game. The ODC, figuring he could beat anyone who played in coat and tie, accepted. It was a slaughter which the Humane Society should have stopped. A shamefaced ODC pleaded an injury, stopping the massacre.

Justice contacted the ODC to inform him that the Robert Burns’ quote in the last column was incomplete. The ODC wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men,” leaving off, “Gang aft agley.”  Justice noted that, “I’m sure Jocky Wilson would have picked you up on it.” The ODC replied that most of his readers have trouble with Yankee-talk let along Scottish.

Justice remembers a 1970’s radio match played in the Kingsway Tavern. He played alongside the greats Tommy O’Regan and Alan “The Ton Machine” Glazier for the BDO Counties London side. Great story from them Golden Years.

Really old Geezers will remember the 1914 melodrama film serial, The Perils of Pauline. Pauline appeared in the cinema each week with another short installment from 20 to 30 minutes in length.  Each episode ended when poor Pauline was being “menaced by assorted villains, including pirates and Indians” with no chance of surviving. Then, as if by magic, when the next episode began Pauline was miraculously saved only to find herself in peril again as the episode ended.

Europe last saw The Perils of Pauline in 1916 and America in 1920. But fear not, dart fans – as tired as you may be of virtual this and virtual that, Pauline has returned in the form of the British Darts Organization – providing a death-defying crisis each week.

Perennially on the precipice, the BDO reaches out again and again for a “lifesaving rope” only to grab onto previously tried “remedies” that were dismal failures (like the definition of insanity) -praying for or expecting different results.

It’s doubtful that the dart God is listening.

The ODC has made many predictions, some of them wrong. With that verified he will make no prediction about the BDO or the World Dart Federation. He’ll merely report the news.

On March 17th, Des Jacklin resigned as the Chairman of the BDO.  Just a month later, he was persuaded to run – maybe for Chairman. The word “persuaded” is appropriate as it’s been reported by a sometimes reliable source that “Jacklin initially declined the invitation, although he subsequently reversed that decision and will now return to the BDO fold, however he will not resume his role as Chairman, it is claimed.”

He was then re-elected as “maybe Chairman” by 66% of those who represent the counties of the BDO.

As Joe Friday (Dragnet) would say, “Just the facts Ma’am.”

During Mr. Jacklin’s tenure the BDO made £700,000 disappear, Houdini-like. In the last year alone, the BDO made £468,000 go bye-bye

During last year’s World Masters, it was reported that fake names were entered into the draw which prompted a re-draw of qualifiers. There have been reports that this action benefited Jacklin’s wife.

Due to this controversy (pronounced “con TRAV IS he” by the Motha Country) the World Dart Federation will no longer recognize BDO-operated tournaments. (The WDF for years was under the thumb of the BDO doing more tricks on command than a monkey with 28 feet of rope.)

The last two “major” BDO tournaments (the World Masters and the BDO “Not Nearly” World Championships) have been unmitigated disasters. The BDO “Not Nearly” World Championships changed venues after eons resulting in empty seats disguised as dart fans. The amount paid to the men’s champion, Wayne Warren, was £23,000, which was the lowest sum in 30 years (and a 77% decrease from 2019).

There are reports that Jacklin will not return as Chairman but instead oversee finances before the next Annual General Meeting at which time a decision will be made, or not. That makes as much sense as the ODC guarding the last supply of Miller Genuine or Popeye’s Chicken – or setting Bill Clinton loose in a girl’s high school.

Nothing in darts is official until the Sage of Sittingbourne, Dave Whitcomb, opines. He has filed a report about being physically and emotionally abused during the quarantine.  Regardless, knowing his place in history he has posted, “Whomever voted Des back on the board wants their head examined, and like quick. This is just one disaster over another, and the counties must love the mess. The first chance to leave the players get they will take it.”

Another (alternative) view posted: “Des will haul the BDO back to the pinnacle of World Sport, the governing bodies of other sports will be clamoring for his services within 12 months. We (the BDO family) should think ourselves lucky to have him (and his missus).”

The Sage’s take on this? “Totally agree. There will be an almighty queue of sponsors and tv soon, lockdown or not!”

Then Anthony Eno wrote: “Dave Whitcombe’s not wrong – then the haters will see how great the BDO family is.”

Mr. Eno doesn’t recognize the sarcastic key on a computer.

Beware! They walk among us!

Stay thirsty my friends.

Column #HR280 Danger in success

Monday, April 13, 2020
Column HR280
Danger in success

From Day One the Old Dart Coach has exalted what the Professional Dart Corporation has done for darts.

During a recent phone conversation, a longtime force in darts said, “I never would have believed what has happened and where the sport is today.”  He was spot on.

Twenty years ago, if anyone was to suggest that a dart player would earn £1,675,000 (or $2,064,169 in real money) the guys in white coats carrying butterfly nets would have tracked him down with offers of a full ride at an institution not of his choosing.

Current PDC rankings list 32 players with earnings of more than £162,500 ($200,322).  Forty-nine have earned more than £100,500 ($123,275).  Even considering that this is a two-year rolling total it’s still great.

By any criteria the PDC is a remarkable success.  But while there’s always danger in failure there can also be danger in success.

The increasing irrelevance of the BDO, ADO and WDF is the result of some great successes enabled in large part because for many years they had no organized competition.  But over time those organizations stopped listening to anyone not “in the circle” resulting in stagnation peppered with a large dose of self-aggrandizement to support already inflated collections of bloated egos. Taking their advice was like taking diet advice from a subject on My 600 Pound Life.

The PDC hierarchy could potentially isolate themselves from outside ideas while assuming the position to embrace the “critical mass of political correctness.”  This action never increases popularly.  Playing to the “PC” crowd is a fool’s plan.

The 18th-century Scottish poet Robert Burns is given credit for writing “best-laid plans of mice and men oft(en) go astray.”  While a program or plan may have some merit in placating critics one must beware of unexpected consequences as they can sometimes be a killer.  It’s too easy to forget that “critics” are interested in advancing their own agenda, not yours.

During the playing of the last two PDC world dart championships two lady darters were included in the competition, taking the place of two male PDC players.  The two male players who cast their lot with the PDC were rewarded with the “ridged digit.”

First, it was Lisa Ashton and Anastasia “The Russia Fox” Dobromyslova.  This year, it was Fallon Sherrock and “Miracle” Mikuru Suzuki.

It’s the ODC’s humble opinion that the PDC was praying for a Suzuki win.  A win by her would have been gangbusters.  Enter Robert Burns as Fallon made it into the third round thereby being crowned “The Queen of the Palace.”

No one can dispute that inviting these talented ladies was anything but a publicity stunt – along the line of using reusable cups for pints to save fish in the ocean.  Silly.

Everyone involved in darts should bow three or four times a day towards wherever PDC Chairman PDC Barry Hearn happens to be.

When the first two women were included in the draw Hearn said (probably with a sly grin), “We haven’t done it to look good.” The statement had the ODC rolling on the floor with tears in his eyes.  Then, just as the ODC’s condition resolved itself, Hearn added, “There should be no restrictions in a sport based on ability.”

That’s pure sophistry as the PDC is based on ability.  For her performance, surviving two rounds, Sherrock got an invite for one Premier night and some World Series of Darts events.  The latter has been dubbed “the Fallon Sherrock road show.”

Enter Robert Burns.  And in stepped the Coronavirus (aka The Kung Flu) to put the kibosh on darts and all sports.

The PDC at first “postponed” the U.S. Dart Masters scheduled for New York City.  The ODC at the time predicted the event would be canceled.  It later was, allowing the PDC extras time to keep advanced sales ticket money.

One PDC darter joined the ODC in seeing through the charade.  “How pathetic it is that they claim to have postponed the U.S. Masters when they, in fact, cancelled it.  It’s not like there will be two U.S. Masters events in 2021.  It’s a pathetic linguistic con job.  It’s a predictable knife in the back of the North American game.”

With all sports at a standstill TV is replaying old events, most of which the ODC didn’t care about when they were live.

There are darts available on YouTube, one of which features the first lady to beat a man on TV.  The lady in question fell behind 3-1 to Aaorn Turner at the 2005 Budweiser UK Open after she led 1-nil.

Turner, with the darts, lead early in the 5th leg only to have the lady pin back-to-back tons for her first lead.  When they traded tons, the lady got to 104 as Turner wanted 160.  He managed 100 to leave 60.  The lady stepped up with 18, t18 and d16 for the leg and leveled the match at 3.

After a so-so start, the lady, with the darts, collected t40 and ton for a lead that allowed her to survive a t80 by Turner – that moved him within 2 points (178-176).  The lady garnered a ton to leave 76.  Turner managed a mere 60.  The lady missed d18 for the match leaving 18.  At 118 Turner missed the t20 with the dreaded t5.

Wanting 18, the lady’s first dart was wire high, blocking a portion of the red of the desired pie.  The second was spot on.

Queen Deta Headman became the first female darter to win a match against a male on live TV.  The Queen reigned – and still does.

From the “Golden Age” was the Pub Challenge when pubs played via a telephone…

Roger ‘The Dodger” Nickson, then Governor of the Morning Star in Peckham, got a call from a pub in San Francisco for such a match.

The late Phil Jones was called into officiate.

The Brits gave the ‘mickey’ to the colonists (as they have want to do) on the other end of the phone.  With Jones assistance “we kept adjusting (our) scores downwards so they wouldn’t lose interest (i.e. 140 became 85).”

The original phone call came because someone had heard about the Morning Star from a travelling Brit…

“When we agreed to the game, we thought we were taking on San Francisco’s finest.  A month later, a trophy arrived all engraved by the ‘fun dart team’ sponsored by a local paper to create a story.”

Stay thirsty my friends.

Column #HR279 Drivel

Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Column HR278

This is not an April Fools effort.  Sad but true.

With sports locked down tighter than a Scotchman’s wallet the Old Dart Coach will revert to writing about nothing or, as the late Bill Nicoll Sr. would say, “You write drivel.”

Darts currently is deader than Kelsey’s reproductive organ. If it weren’t for “Poor Old Kaw-Liga” (written by Hank Williams and sung by Country Charlie Pride) old Kelsey, a good old Irish Catholic lad from the old sod who after 29 years of marriage was childless despite 6 wives), would be the all-time loser. It must be said that he kept trying. Credit must be given for his staying power despite the lack of results.

Darts worldwide has been put on hold for the foreseeable future. For darters it’s a glimpse into the future when their lives will no longer revolve around darts.  In a way it’s a temporary retirement. Advice as to what do is flying around like accusations when your beloved comes home with lipstick on his collar or she has new Henry Winston diamond earrings that she got from “a friend.” “A friend” is a devious bastard.

Famed football coach John Madden retired from coaching to “spend time with my family.” Three days later, appearing on a local radio show he said of his retirement statement, “I found out that the family had their own lives, so I better find something to do.”  He became a broadcaster.

There was the professional football player who retired saying “I want to do a book.”

“Oh, you’re writing a book?”

“No, reading one.”

Which path will darters take?

The PDC Premier League is stalled until at least April, May or June (those being very optimistic projections).  The best guess is that everything will be on hold for the “pros” from across the water until at least July and maybe August. The economic impact for darters will be a trip back to the future without the option of pub exhibitions to fill the coffers. The top players will be fine with good sponsorships.  The average players (who are very good) might have to go back to actually working to make ends meet.  The odds are great that should one take a flight they will not hear air steward Gary Anderson say, “Coffee, tea or me.”

The first darter to be diagnosed with the Coronavirus or Covid-19 (aka Kung Fu or Yu B Fuk’d) is Australian Kyle Anderson.  Anderson’s biggest win came in the World Series of Darts Auckland Darts Masters in 2017.  He knocked on the door during the 2016 Australian Darts Open when he took out Michael van Gerwen 6-4, then in the semis going 4-1 up over Phil Taylor only to miss a match winning double to lose 6-5. This was a replay of his second Players Championship when a missed double in the semis against van Gerwen cost him a spot in the finals.

In the 2016 PDC World Cup, Anderson and partner Simon Whitlock had a chance for payback.  After eliminating hometown favorite Germany, they took down Demark to meet Netherlands in the quarter finals or round of 8.  After Whitlock lost to van Gerwen the pressure was on Anderson against still formidable Raymond van Barneveld. Anderson rose to the occasion wining 4-3. Alas, Netherlands would win the deciding doubles match 4-3 with an 11-dart leg.  Get well quick Kyle.

From the Motha Country comes the news that Des Selecta the head honcho of the BDO has resigned his position. According to all news reports he did this in total disgrace or “like a rat deserting the ship he sank.”  His long-winded resignation speech was a chance to blame “everyone except himself” for the problems of the BDO. From various sources, Selecta seemed to “squander” almost half a million pounds sterling, with creditors hoping to collect £200k when BDO Limited has only £60k in cash.

Two of the BDO majors lost a bundle.  The World Darts Trophy lost £100k+ while the World Masters lost £182k in the lasts two years.  The BDO “Not Really” World Championship lost £30k in coin of the realm. More could have been lost as the prize money was severely decreased by £136k. The move to the Indigo (from the Lakeside) also cost the BDO the £329k that annually came from the Bob Potters Hostel. The problems of the BDO prove that the trip from the Penthouse to the Outhouse is at times a short elevator ride.

America’s steel and machine leagues have been suspended as have most tournaments (many times with the words “temporarily” footnoted).  The ADO and the local committee have postponed the Cleveland Extravaganza which included the World Masters National Final and National Youth Championships. Not that anyone wants my advice, nor should they, but if rescheduling events try late July or early August.

The June 5-6 U.S. Dart Masters is dodgy at best. That’s especially true as New York City currently leads the USA in Coronavirus cases with 66,500 which is 4 times higher than runner-up neighboring New Jersey. The New York death toll surpasses all the other 49 states together.  As they say, “the situation is fluid.”

With Debi Downer disposed of it is time for some good news…

As the darting community knows, Timmy Nicolls is fighting a battle against inoperable cancer. The end of February there was a blind draw/ benefit/raffle held on his behalf at Mullvaney’s Sport Pub in Fairborn, Ohio. More than $5,000 was raised which will be used to sustain the Nicoll family for a short time. Speaking for the family Julie Nicoll said, “On behalf of the family we want to thank all those who participated either by donating raffle items or attending the blind draw.”

That’s not to suggest that that Timmy Nicoll and family still don’t need financial assistant.   To donate go to Gractia Manning’s Go Fund Me page.  It’s a big, fat link but it works:

As the ODC was ready to type “Stay Thirsty My Friends” a voice from above interrupted.  The ODC was sure it wasn’t God as he sort of recognized the voice (God’s voice would be unfamiliar)…

Then it hit – it was the late Bill Nicoll Sr. saying, “Pal, you still write drivel.”

Stay thirsty my friends.

Column #HR278 Coronavirus and a Great White attack!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Column HR278 and a Great White attack!

The edict came down from on high (translation: from the Most Honorable Editor) that the Old Dart Coach must prepare a darting column this week.  But the Most Honorable One had a ground rule…

“You may not mention the coronavirus or any boring stories about standing in line at your local market to stock up on Miller Genuine.”

So, speaking of the coronavirus…

In 2017, Peter Wright captured the UK Open.  His critics didn’t get “jiggy with it” as they claimed, “it was a weak field.”  One would think those critics would have zipped it after Wright won the 2020 PDC World Championship earlier this year. Not a chance.

Now they are at it again as he’s had a “supposedly” subpar Premier League.

After 6 weeks, Wright is tied with Michael Smith and Nathan Aspinall – each with 3-1 records. The league is topped by Glenn Durrant who was to face Wright this week in Newcastle.  Wright defeated Durrant at this year’s UK Open.

The real question is: will the PDC fall into line and cancel Premier League play due to the coronavirus?

The answer is “yes,” at least for this week.

The virus, now called a pandemic, has been masturbated by governments and the public to hysterical heights.  Already delayed is the March 25-26 Premier League twin in Rotterdarn. That postponement had no effect on the Netherlands’ “wacky tobacky” coffee shops – they have been closed.

The PDC’s European Tour visits to Leverkusen, Sindelfingen and Munich have been cancelled as has the opening 3 weekends of the PDC Asian Tour. The odds are better than even that the next two Asian events in Seoul and Kobe will also be cancelled.  To fill the gaps the PDC has added some Players Championships although the event scheduled for March 28-29 has been placed in File 13.

In the Colonies many states are limiting gatherings to less than 50 people which mean that only Joe Biden for President rallies qualify to be held.

Virginia Beach has been delayed from March 26-29 to October 15-18.

With the ADO still holding out hope that the Cleveland Extravaganza will run as scheduled on May 1-3 there is also hope that the ADO World Masters National Finals and ADO National Youth Championships will still be held in conjunction with “the mistake on the lake.”

The WDF Americas Cup has been postponed from July.

Before the bans went into place the “Shark” storm warning flag was flying in Southern California as the players toed the oche in the 2nd Dart Players of Los Angeles event of the year.

Chris “The Great” White emerged victorious making it two wins on the trot and 4 in toto. (Editor’s note: “in toto” refers to the number 2, not the musical group Toto which had hits with “Rosanna” and “Africa”.) 

The UK Open had 159 players with 32 seeded who didn’t step up until the 4th round. Of the total purse of £450,000 a whopping £100,000 went to the winner.

The ODC called this the first major of the year. He can do that. Two ladies were in the field, both losing early on – Lisa Ashton 2-6 to Mike De Decker and Fallon “The PDC Queen” Sherrock 6-1 to Kyle McKinstry.

Just as critics had clambered on about Peter Wright they also began to chant “van Gerwen is finished” as the Marvelous One hadn’t won a tournament in 3 months.  The win came in a Players Championship against Gerwyn Price where he hit another 9-darter.

Critics seem to all be those of little knowledge, large egos and loud mouths many times exasperated by the Golden Elixir known as lager.

Michael van Gerwen opened a can of “whip ass” at the UK Open as he fled the field like an Englishman does the dentist.

Included with the can was a dose of 9-dart oil which he used like a beginner does the score of 26.  At the round of 32 van Gerwen took out the reigning UK Open Champion Nathan Aspinall 10-8, averaging 105.5 with the best yet to come.  (Aspinall would get a slight measure of revenge when he dusted van Gerwen 6-1 at the next Players Championship.  Aspinall would go on to win by dispatching Brendan Dolan 8-4.)

van Gerwen overcame his biggest challenge when he squeaked by Jason Lowe 10-9.  Following this win James Wade went quietly 10-4.  In the quarter finals van Gerwen sailed to a 10-4 win over Rob Cross averaging a sub-natural 111.

The semifinal was a romp in the park for van Gerwen when his can of “whip ass” was working perfectly – he laid an 11-3 spanking on Daryl Gurney.  During that match van Gerwen threw his second 9-darter of the UK Open.

The final didn’t start out too well for van Gerwen as he fell behind Gerwyn Price 5-1. After opening with a T80-fueled 13-darter van Gerwen fell victim to Price’s owning double tops with checks that included 105 and 97.

But when Price stalled on doubles van Gerwen would edge closer to 4-6.  van Gerwen followed a Price 13-darter by capitalizing on Price’s misses to narrow the gap to one game at 6-7.

Price missed 6 doubles in the next two legs which gave van Gerwen the opportunity to lead for only the second time since opening 1-0.  At 8-7 van Gerwen used checks of 136 and 97 to move one leg from victory.

Down but not out, Price cashed in checks of 94 and 80 to level.

In the decider Price missed the bull for the win as van Gerwen “Houdinied” 66 for the win.

van Gerwen got off the 4-month “Snyder” by beating Price who was his title victim then. Heck of a deal.

For Price it was his second UK Open loss in 4 years. His other was in 2017 against the much-maligned Peter Wright.

Price, like many dart players, sometimes appears clueless. “Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but I’ll move onto the next one. I think Michael would agree that I probably lost that game.”  No, Gerwyn everyone agrees you lost. 

“I bombed numerous opportunities – my scoring game was there but in three or four legs I bombed doubles.  I could have been 9-6 up.  If I hit my doubles, I think possibly I am the best player in the world.” 

“If my Aunt had cojones, I’d have another uncle,” says the ODC.

Stay thirsty my friends.

Column #HR277 Is the PDC losing its mind?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Column HR277
Is the PDC losing its mind?

As difficult as it may be to believe The Old Dart Coach has an ego as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon. This condition can affect anyone (or entity) which becomes overly enamored with oneself (or itself).  As an expert on ego it is the ODC’s opinion that the PDC is very close to becoming afflicted. Its natural as it comes with some measure of public notoriety.  The main problem is that those stricken take council only from themselves.

As the ODC and most politicians should know it’s easy to become infatuated with your persona while having no degree of self-awareness.

Poker players have “tells.” Infatuations do too. In public this “tell” sometimes manifests itself with outlandish statements combined with helpings of “delusions of grandeur.” The late comedian Norm Crosby would have said “protrusions of glandular.”

The PDC may have fallen into this trap.

The “First Lady” of the PDC, Fallon Sherrock, recently played her first Premier League match in the City of Nottingham, a place previously noteworthy for being the home of Robin Hood who robbed from the rich. Old Robin was no dummy – he knew the poor didn’t have anything. As a plus he was doing the “dirty” with Made Mariam (pun intended).

Here’s what the PDC said of Nottingham…

“Sherrock, who became a global sensation at Alexandra Palace in December… picked up where she left off at a packed-out Motorpoint Arena.”

Equating Ms. Sherrock’s performance at the World Pro with a “global sensation” is a bit much, either that or the writer was using his own personal globe.  At last count there were 7.3 billion people on Earth. It would not be unreasonable for the ODC, or anybody, to suggest that 99.9999% are unaware of Fallon Sherrock.

What was also over-the-top was that during Premier League play an advert/promotion ran comparing Sherrock to the greatest female athletics of all time.  Shirley you jest!

From such a lead one might conclude that Ms. Sherrock put on a display of darts that wowed the well-fueled crowd at Nottingham.  The fact is she had a 6-4 lead over Glen Durrant, then settled for a 6-6 draw (with an assist from Durrant who missed 17 doubles). Post-match Durrant baked a “porkpie,” as a gentleman should, saying of the pro-Sherrock crowd that booed his every attempted a double, “It had no effect on me.”

Of course, the crowd was behind Sherrock. There’s nothing a male or female dart player enjoys more than when a man loses to a lady. A draw is not a victory.  Remember, “close” only counts in hand grenades, horseshoes and the results of deviled eggs and beer at a church social.

The Scottish Open followed Sherrock’s Premier League appearance.  In the Lady’s Singles Sherrock would run into teenage phenom Beau Greaves.  Greaves reached the final when she bested Deta “The Queen” Hedman. In the final Greaves would prevail beating Sherrock with a 94 average to Sherrock’s 93.

Make no mistake, Ms. Sherrock is everything the PDC wanted. She’s articulate, attractive and very television friendly.  How long will it be before Ms. Sherrock faces off against “Miracle” Mikuru Suzuki in a match promoted in the same fashion as the Phil Taylor (PDC Champion) vs. Raymond van Barneveld (BDO Champion) in 1999? The Match of the Century.

Ms. Sherrock will make her first USA appearance when the US Masters kicks off June 5-7 in New York City. This USA visit spent 3 years in Las Vegas on the most impossible dates. Each trip encompassed the July 4th weekend.  Darters and the ODC complained about the dates as the 4th of July is a big family holiday in the USA. The English view the date differently.  Funny that.

The PDC couldn’t resist going “bananas” over the move to New York.  The PDC’s announcement “informed” that it was to be played at Madison Square Garden. Like the BDO which bragged of playing at the O2 (actually, the Indigo Theatre) play really is being held at a venue adjacent to main arena.

“This is a world-renowned venue and 20 years ago it would have been a pipedream for darts players to take to the stage in such an iconic arena – but this is another exciting move for us as the World Series continues to grow.” The “world-renowned” venue is actually Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden which no one would recognize. Madison Square Garden seats 20,789 and the Hulu Theater 5,600.  The cost of a weekend pass is $765, $234, $165

The fans attending will find transportation, hotel rooms and food very expensive with the $6 dollar beers of Las Vegas a fond memory.  The PDC ignored the dart history of Las Vegas but more importantly the pride that North Americans take in their darts and Las Vegas’ place in darting history.  Las Vegas for years been synonymous with major darting events. The North American was a “must attend” for eons. Now, the Las Vegas Open is a major.  Las Vegas is a destination city 12 months a year. New York? Not so much.  It’s not only the blind who can’t see and the deaf who can’t hear.

The Camellia Classic is a tournament that has grown into a major from the year when it was a “bar room shoot.” Today, the Camellia in Sacramento, California, is a major dispensing more than $25,000 this year.  According to the incomplete ADO schedule, the Camellia is second or third in terms of payouts of all ADO tournaments. This year’s event was another reminder that women’s participation in darts is on the decline. Only 39 women played in the singles as opposed to 170 men in theirs. The Camellia (and Syracuse) also showed the continued decline of cricket entries.  This makes the ODC happy, as if he had good sense.

On the other hand, all the above notwithstanding, the PDC may be spot on (as they’ve made few mistakes so far).

This column is dedicated to the ODC’s long-time dear friend Tom Ewald of Ohio.  He passed on recently. He may get a chuckle out of this effort as he reads in Heaven.  He will be an addition to God’s land. God Bless.

Say thirsty my friends.

Column #HR 276 Peter Wright’s critics should STFU!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Column HR276
Peter Wright’s critics should STFU!

Back when the Old Dart Coach was still waiting to add the word “Old” to his nom de plume he was asked by a lady, “How do you write a column?”  He gave some lager-fueled answer which seemed to satisfy her – a first for the Coach.

Now, as time has passed a more cogent response seems appropriate.  Usually a column begins with an idea, a news story or the editor yelling “Jones (another nom de plume), I need 1,000 words STAT.”  Those columns usually start with nothing and end up in the same place.

There’s a term used when an individual is shamed into admitting a mistake. The person is said to “eat crow.” Today’s column was preceded by one in which the Old Dart Coach confessed to eating crow (medium-well and prepared rotisserie style). It was Hannibal Lector who inspired the addition of fava beans and a cheap Chianti.

In that column the ODC guessed that the PDC dropped the tungsten dart when it failed to invite Japan’s “Miracle” Mikuru Suzuki to their World Championship. In fact, like the recent impeachment trial of the U.S President, he had no facts.

He implied, incorrectly, that Suzuki was the first choice of the PDC and assumed that either she or her sponsor told the PDC to “take a hike” leading to Fallon Sherrock getting the invitation instead. The ODC was wrong hence the resulting and well-deserved crow dinner with the aforementioned fava beans and Chianti accompaniment.

Mikuru Suzuki was indeed included in the 2019-2020 PDC World Championship. She would be a first-round loser to 46-year old James Richardson 3 sets to 2. For her stage play she would receive £7,500 which is a good day’s work.  Suzuki had four darts to take the first set but didn’t convert. She wasted a 151-check. From that point, Richardson went up 2-nil.

Taking 6 of the next 7 legs, Suzuki would level the match at 2.  In the decider, Suzuki missed 2 darts to go two legs up when a 101-check by Richardson forced a “sudden win” leg.  As Suzuki sat on 36 Richardson hit double tops for the win. Commented Suzuki, I was really unlucky but next time I think I will win. Everybody was cheering me on and that made me really happy.

Suzuki went on to win the BDO “Our” World Championship for the second year in a row.

Fallon Sherrock, as we know, advanced to the third round pulling in a cool £25,000. In addition, she was invited to all 6 World Series events and one Premier League event.  Ms. Sherrock played her way into next month’s 2020 Ladbrokes UK Open in Minehead as she bested a field of 204 players. One of her victims was Mikuru Suzuki’s PDC bully James Richardson. Sherrock would take down Stuart White 5-1 in the finals.

In the UK Open Sherrock will be joined by four-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton (by virtue of her ground-breaking success at PDC Qualifying School last month). Actually, the ground didn’t break but it damn sure moved a bit.

The PDC headline screamed, “Van Gerwen Avenges Wright Defeat.”  So, Michael van Gerwen defeated Peter “Snake Bite” Wright 7-5 on night one of the Premier League. Let that sink in.

Peter Wright won the PDC World Championship by beating Michael van Gerwen 7 sets to 3. For those who love averages van Gerwen averaged 102.88 to Wright’s 102.79. Same, same. It’s the checkout percentages that tell the story – Wright’s 53.33% to MvG’s 40%. They both had 45 opportunities. Wright picked up the Sid Waddell Trophy and £500,000.

Then van Gerwen won night uno of the Premier league and that’s his revenge?

Shirley, you jest!

Maybe now the Peter Wright critics will “STFU” by giving him credit for being the quality dart player he is.

Previously, when Wright would win the critics would find a way to disparage the victory. “Well van Gerwen wasn’t there.”  If his world title didn’t shut them up maybe his follow up win the Ladbrokes Masters will.  On the way to winning Wright demolished Dave Chisnall 10-0 and a now regaining form Gary Anderson 11-7.

Anderson took the first Players Championship of the year with an 8-4 win of Canadian Jeff Smith.  Smith reached the finals with a 6-5 over Peter Wright.

Wright annexed the Masters after Michael Smith squandered three match darts. Wright hit d8 for the title and £60,000.  The Snake’s bite is serious.

Also serious is the inoperable cancer which has stricken Timmy Nicoll. Via a note from his family Timmy, “sent thanks to all those who went to long-time friend Gractia Manning’s Go Fund Me page at to make donations. They are greatly needed for my wife and children. They will be put to good use.”

Mulvaney’s Sport Pub (560 N. Broad St., Fairborn, Ohio) is holding a benefit shoot and raffle on February 29 for Timmy. The entry fee for the darts is $10 dollars with $5 going directly to the Nicoll family.  In addition, there’ll be a $2 mystery out with the caveat being you must be present to win.

Russ Lopez, who assists with this column, has made dart donations for the raffle. He and the ODC encourage others to donate dart related articles. They can be mailed to 780 Ogden Road, Willington, Ohio 45177.

Darters stick together, pitching in when a member of their society is in serious trouble. Timmy Nicoll is both a Dart Brokers and L-Style flight player. Each entity is supporting Timmy’s family through dart and barrel promotions.  Buy a “Stache” L-Style flight with a portion of the proceeds going to the Timmy Nicoll family. For donations of cash, again, be sure to go longtime friend Gractia Manning’s Go Fund Me page.

The comedy show that’s the BDO continues to entertain the darting world much like Benny Hill did many years ago.  Their BDO “Our” World Championship ended on January 12.  The following statement was found, ...the prize money for the BDO World Championships will be paid out on the 30th at the end of this month.

Must mean January, as February, has just 29 days (even in leap year).

Stay thirsty my friends.