Author Archives: Howie Reed

Column #HR296 HOLY MOLEY, MR. FOLEY… THE PRICE WAS RIGHT!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021
Column HR296
HOLY MOLEY, MR. FOLEY… THE PRICE WAS RIGHT!

The PDC has crowned a new World Champion and new World #1 – Wales native, Gerwyn Price – and presented him with the Sid Waddell Trophy and a check for £500,000!

Price defeated former World Champion Gary Anderson 7-3.  When Price was up 6 sets to 2, he might have recalled the words of Frank Sinatra singing, “And now the end is near.”  Those words must have been ringing in Price’s head as he wasted 11 darts for the match.  His failure to hit a double followed a run where he hit tops ten on the trot and had a 75%+ check rate.

The day before, Price came from behind to defeat Steven “Family Guy” Bunning 6-4.  During his comeback he owned double 10 free and clear.  Funny, but when Glen Durrant was losing to Gary Anderson (4-0) he missed enough doubles 10s for a lifetime.  Durrant finally wised up – left with 10 he went straight for the 2 to leave double 4.  Missed that also.

Price joins the ranks of Leighton Rees, Richie Burnett and Mark Webster as World Champs from Wales.  He’ll now represent the Red Dragon when toeing the oche in 2021.  The symbol of Wales, The Red Dragon, was used by Henry VII in the battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Going into the finals Price had a slight edge in scoring average and check rate over “whining” Gary Anderson.

“Whining?”

Anderson whined (brie and crackers optional) after beating Mensur Suljovic (4-3).  Both had darts that were up and down more than the girls at the old Honey Hotel, Soi 11, Pattaya Beach.  Despite the win Anderson complained of “slow play” and that Suljovic was using the wrong water table (oh horrors!).

After beating Devon Peterson (4-0) he continued whining.  Commentator John Part suggested that Anderson was using a little “gamesmanship.”  The ODC chuckled, as he has want to do, thinking, “How long would Anderson have lasted playing Gerald “Boy G” Verrier, Kathy Maloney or the late Judy Campbell.  One dose of them and he’d be back saying, Coffee, team and please return your seatback to the upright positon before landing. 

What happened to Michael van Gerwen?

Prior to his exit he averaged 108.98, 106.85 and in the tungsten war with Joe Cullen (4-3) average 100 as Cullen averaged 97.32.  van Gerwen would have two of the top three tournament averages as he sandwiched Dave Chisnell’s 107.34.  Cullen tossed 19 T80s against MvG, missing bull for the win.

It was a shocker when van Gerwen went bye-bye 5-0 to Dave Chisnell.  Chisnell averaged 107.34.  He tossed 55 T80s for the tournament.

In the final both player’s scoring was about the same, but Price averaged 100.08 and Anderson 94.25.  The big difference, writes Captain Oblivious, was finishing…

As the “overweight lady” was licking her lips preparing to sing as the end was near, Price got a case of “whips and jingles.”  It was as if the ODC had been playing on the board and messing the doubles up so bad no one could hit them.  From a high of 75% on doubles Price ending up with a rate of 26/57 or 45.61%.  He had 11 match darts.  The “whips and jingles” allowed Anderson to gain some respect for the 3rd set and he had darts for a fourth.

While the PDC World Championships is about the winner it’s more than that.  It’s an old-time radio “soap serial.”  Like the old radio show “Grand Central Station” from 1930s to the mid-1950s the World Championship is packed with stories that tease darters’ minds and captivate the fans.

Each “Grand Central Station” began with, the crossroads of a million private lives, a gigantic stage on which are played a thousand dramas daily.  That’s the PDC World Championships.

One story that held the ODC in a death grip was Glen Durant misbehaving against Diogo Portela.  A reader posted, Glenn Durrant sucking on his darts and then leaving them in the board when he went on break!  WOW, what a Douche Canal. 

The Old Dart Coach made an egregious error his last column of 2020.  He’s ashamed of his behavior.  His actions leave him in the 2021 doghouse.

He called the poster “one of my biggest fans.”

The record was set straight via an email stating, I am not of fan of yours, in fact I think you are a supercilious arrogant horse’s ass.  May you see the light.

There’s a chance…

Gerwyn Price is a remarkable World Champion for many reasons.  Here was a dart player, and former professional rugby player, who only got his PDC tour card in 2014 after playing darts for the first time 2010 at the age of 25.

He earned the grand sum of £12,750 in ‘14.  In 2015, at the World Championships he lost to Peter Wright (3-0) and in 2016 also 3-0.

In 2017, Price actually won a set, losing 3-1.

In 2018, Price came into his own, at least at the World Championships, making it to the third round before losing to Michael van Gerwen.

In 2019, Price lost in the second round.  Who would have thunk it?

This time out Price won in sets and legs 26-18.  Anderson’s doubles were ODC-like with 18 of 67.  Pathetic.   If Anderson looks in the mirror he can only quote Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Only dart players can understand the mental pressure on Price.  He was within a dart of reaching the pinnacle of his profession.  He was faced with a “gimmie” putt for the greatest title in his sport.  He felt “mo” shift as his doubles disappeared.

As he missed and missed, he must have asked himself, “beth y ffwcio?”

But as a champion he conquered all.

With little respect, the stupidest question of the tournament was asked by the “eye-candy” presenter while talking with Gary Anderson after his semi win.  Anderson had explained he wanted to win another world championship.  “Is the £500,000 important?”  TFO.  You ask a Scotsman’s if money is importantly?  That’s like asking a fish if it requires water.  Anderson with a twinkle in his eye replied, “It’ll buy a cup of coffee.”

What’s in store for darters in 2021?

For World Champion Gerwyn Price – he’ll find new pressures, a target on his back and the realization that staying on top is harder than getting there.

Will Price, who had no record of wins prior to joining the PDC, be the forerunner of what’s to come?

Is the era of van Gerwen over?

Anderson says he’s playing the full tour next year.  Will he?

Peter Wright has a lot of work to do.

Or will the three big names (the others are “window dressing”) take a path suggested by John Part?  They can retire to cash in on the lucrative exhibition circuit and make a good living.

With the continued lockdown can darts (machine and steel) survive in the USA?

Stay tuned for the answers.

Stay thirsty my friends.

 

Column #HR295 Baggish Bags Big Baby!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Column HR295
Baggish Bags Big Baby

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” are the Old Dart Coach’s two favorite Christmas songs – the latter written in the heat of a July day in Los Angeles by Mel Tormé.  The ODC sings it in the key of UGLY. 

Danny Baggish won’t be home for Christmas in Winter Haven, Florida after his stunning spanking of two-time world champion, the fading Adrian “Big Baby” Lewis, in the PDC World Championships.  It was a Christmas present for all those that toe the oche in North America.

The ODC resisted picking a winner in The William Hill World Darts Championship where the winner will pocket £500,000 with the runner-up garnering £200,000.  Not too “Chablis.”  The total prize fund is £2,500,000.

But TV commentators, Wayne Mardle and John Part, boldly stepped forward.  That’s their job.  Part favored Peter Wright while Mardle opted for Michael van Gerwen.  It should be noted here that all darts fans got a stocking stuffer when the PDC wisely paired these two for commentary.  They are the very best.

When Baggish took the stage against Lewis, London was in Tier 3 lockdown – meaning no fans.  Fake crowd noises exempt.  In Baggish’s first win against Damon Heta (3-2) he needed nerves of steel coming from 0-2 down in the first set which he ended with 113-check.  If that wasn’t drama, he held it together to survive 6 match darts.

There were 29 countries represented which caused some distress to a Eurocentric “darts writer.”  His theory?  Euro is the world.  “Sorry Pal, that ship sailed.”

First up, Brazilian Diogo Portela beat Steve Beaten (who was making his 30th appearance) 3-0.  Portela broke out in tears after the win.  Unfortunately, he lost next round to Glenn Durrant who came under fire from one of the ODC’s biggest and most loyal fans.  Glenn Durrant sucking on his darts and then leaving them in the board when he went on break!  WOW, what a Douche Canal. 

Canadian Jeff Smith was convincing in his 3-1 win over Keane Berry.  Then Smith broke into an early 2-0 lead against #22 Chris Dobey.   As the ex often accused the ODC, Smith couldn’t finish losing 3-2.  Notre Americano Danny Lauby played well enough to win but didn’t falling 3-2 to Ryan Searle.  At one point Lauby wanted d7.  When a dart was embedded on the wire of the d7 the fake crowd went wild.  Some claim that “eruption” so discombobulated Lauby that he lost.  Chainsaw Joe disagrees.  I kinda disagree about the crowd noise.  Only because the crowd gets it wrong just as much.  They boo and cheer randomly.   

Before Baggish there was Singapore’s gift to the world of darts, Paul Lim.  The official PDC scribe called his 3-2 win over Luke Humphries “astonishing.”  Silly.  Nothing Paul Lim has done in the last 40 years should surprise those who know him.  In this 35th appearance Lim gave the young whippersnapper a dart lesson.  Humphries rapid throw is reminiscent of “Rocket” Ronnie Baxter.  Three darts faster than a serpent’s tongue.  The throw works when everything is going well, not so when off.

Lim is a precision, deliberate and steady player.  Humphries got off to a 2-0 start in sets although

Lim’s doubles were “wanting” in the first set.  In typical Lim fashion he had a talk with himself.  I kept telling myself to pressure him [Humphries] after losing the first set.  I dug deep and it paid off. 

The 7-T80’s by Humphries were wasted when he missed doubles galore.  Those who know Lim, which is anyone whose played darts anywhere in the world, is aware of his sneaky humor.  Lim said, This is one for the old guys.  Looking down at the someone who laughed, Lim answered with a sparkle in his eyes, Not funny!  It was a win for “Old Timers” everywhere.

It was unfortunate that the PDC didn’t see fit to have two of Lim’s contemporary’s, Part and Mardle, call the match.  Part, for instance, had paired with Lim on many occasions.  Instead, fans heard Stuart Pyke and Laura Turner who had nothing to add but, he’s 66 years old and he’s the Singapore Slinger.  He’s more than that…

Part in a social media post wrote, As Dart Maple I have to say that Paul is my Yoda, now having played a World Championship match in five different decades.  My friend, my hero and inspiration.   

In Lim’s next round match, he ran into the buzzsaw that was #9 in world, Dimitri Van den Bergh.  While many have had a bad year, Van den Berg had a good year with a Matchplay win over Gary Anderson.  Against Lim he was nearly perfect with an average of 105.61, doubling with 9 of 17.  Lim was perfect with 2 for 2 but his scoring lacked.

The headline blared: Adrian Lewis was sent crashing out of the William Hill World Championship.

To be accurate, Lewis has crashed lately more than Evel Knievel…

The cause of this crash was Yank Danny Baggish as he advanced 3-1 to the next round.  Baggish took it to the former champ winning the first two sets assisted by Lewis missing 15 doubles.  Lewis would gain a leg to narrow Baggish’s lead to 2-1.  The fourth set was a glittering triumph for Baggish.  He tossed the first T70 out then followed it up with a 91 using the bull.  Lewis proved that you score for show but finish for dough as he was 6 for 28.

Baggish got it done.  People have written me off before both games, but I will keep showing it. 

Another world champion bit the dust on the same day.  2018 champion and 5th seed Rob Cross was taken out in dramatic fashion.  Matchplay runner-up, Netherlands’ Dirk van Duijvenbode, did the deed 3-2.  They went to a deciding leg with Cross on a one dart finish.  van Duijvenbode needed 91 and took it out for a 12-darter.  Afterwards he said: No, I never practice but still play good.   That’s a Christmas present every darter could use.

Whether at home or roasting chestnuts by an open fire the Old Dart Coash would like to wish one and all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Please take a moment to remember the darting fellows that left us this year: Terri Marcello, Katy Hopkins, Alan Glazier, Roger Crystal and DK (Dave Kelly) and those they left behind, Hoppy, Sally and Lori.  We miss you and thank you for what you gave to the game and us.

We’ll not be thirsty as we look forward to seeing you next year.

Column #HR294 A Clown Moans

Thursday, December 3, 2020
Column HR294
A Clown Moans

In practically all sports some athletes reach a point where they view themselves as abused and put upon – chagrined that they’re not receiving the fawning praise they feel they “deserve.”   They expect respect.  They feel slighted if they aren’t granted assorted wishes with a snap of their fingers or a nod of their heads.

After dispatching an opponent in an early round of the recently concluded Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals, reigning World Champion Peter Wright took center desk for a post-game interview.  Anyone watching the interview had to be on the verge of tears for what this poor man has had to “endure.”

One might think he’s “earned” Go Fund Me pages set up by fans – or at least a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

For the purpose of this soapbox tirade let it be stipulated that dart players are accepted as athletics, which is a stretch at best.  The only contest that most players are in physical shape for is a possible audition for the Goodyear blimp lookalike contest.  In England, their physical condition makes them well suited for planting their ample backsides in a BarcaLounger to watch a Peter Kay 24-hour marathon on the telly.

One of Wright’s complaints was that there were no fans, making it hard to play.  Yes, I won but my darts didn’t feel right.  I played rubbish. 

It wasn’t that many years ago when he would have been happy with any win.  Back in the day when he was a tyre fitter or out of work getting £14 a week he would have been “over the moon” with this success.

He hadn’t really set the world on fire with the BDO, getting to the last 32 in the World Championships in 1995 and the last 64 in 2001 World Masters.

One would think that with earnings of £1,011,000 over the last 2 years with a possibility of £5 million overall in his career in the PDC he’d be one happy puppy.

Nay, nay.

His main complaint was that because of the Chinese Virus (Kung Flu) he’d been locked in a room for of couple of weeks.  They won’t even let me decorate it.

Blimey!  What heartless bastards.

But fear not – when he gets to All Pally everything will be okay, but it’ll be a struggle, he admits.  The Old Dart Coach was shedding crocodile tears over the plight of poor old Peter.

Wright would be set free from his “undecorated prison cell” in the semifinals of the Players Championship – sent packing by Mervyn King 11-4.  He probably had to be forced to accept the £25,000 that came from being released.

One can only wonder if following the defeat Wright went outside and yelled at the top of his baby lungs, Free at last!  Free at last!   

The Players Championship is the culmination of a year-long series of individual Players Championships.  It’s those events that allow the PDC players to make a living.

The current Order of Merit has 63 PDC players banking more that £50,000 during a two-year period.  The leader of the pack is Michael van Gerwen with £1,494,750 followed by Wright at £1,011,000.  Wright joins van Gerwen and Phil Taylor as the only three players to break the £1 million barrier since the PDC moved to an Order of Merit system in 2007.

Going into the Players Championship Mervyn King was a favorite along with van Gerwen.  This although King hadn’t made TV final in six years and van Gerwen was in a slump.  King advanced to the final with a 11-8 win over Gerwyn Price.  van Gerwen, as mentioned, had been on a cold streak, not winning a TV event since the UK Open in March.

This caused critics, which are people who know everything but are dumber than a lump of clay, to suggest that van Gerwen has lost “it” – he was on the way down.

His performance during the weekend should have his critics eating crown with a nice Chianti and fava beans.  Best put the Chianti in a paper bag while drinking so the world will not know what a dunce you are.

During the weekend van Gerwen went 42-32 while averaging 102 over the 54 legs.  He topped out when he averaged a whopping 110 when dispatching Dirk van Duijvenbode 10-5.

Stating the oblivious, in which the ODC has obtained a master’s degree, van Gerwen did good.  In the final he was challenged by Mervyn King squeaking out an 11-10 win.  The 11-10 score is called sudden death.  It was for King but sudden life for van Gerwen.

The final was one of those “I got it you – take it!” affairs.  van Gerwen took the opening leg with 96-check only to see King take three on the trot for a 3-1 lead.  King used finishes of 115 and 107 for that lead.  van Gerwen answered with a hat trick of his own utilizing 146 and 94 checks leading to a pair of 12-darters which when aided by a 14-darter gave him a 4-3 lead – which King would eventually level at 5.

van Gerwen would move two legs adrift with checks of 72 and 160.  He went up 9-8 with a 135 finish on the bull.

In a “monkey see-monkey do” response King would toss a 13-darter from 126 using the “little red hole finish.”  In what had become a familiar scenario King would post another 13-darter to tie at 10 when van Gerwen then stumbled to get over the line – it was a pedantic finish when he took out d8 for the title.

Holding a £100,000 check van Gerwen was emotional.  I’m proud of myself.  I’ve worked hard for this, and to come back stronger and stronger like this means a lot to me.  Of course, it’s been a long time since I won a tournament so I’m glad I played a very nice tournament.  I played well and I’m glad to have my hands back on the trophy. 

King has at least one critic who posted the following: Am I the only one who thinks Mervyn King is behaving like a child… already he’s called MVG a wanker and just now a f****ng pr**k under his breath. He knows already how MVG reacts when he wins a leg…  grow up King or I’ll tell your mummy you sword.  

Naughty, naughty – momma always punishes a boy that swords.

Babs Evans is a women darter from the Golden Age with a wicked sense of humor.  She contacted the ODC with the tale of a group of Irish Animal Rights activists who raided a turkey farm, rescuing 5,000 imprisoned turkeys.  When asked what they were going to do with the birds a spokesman said, when they defrost, we’re going to release them into the forest.   

Stay thirsty my friends.

Column #HR293 CONGRATULATIONS José Augusto Oliveira de Sousa!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Column HR293
CONGRATULATIONS Jose Augusto Oliveira de Sousa!

For those in the Colonies may I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.  It’s the one day of the year that we feast on turkey, a bird that just days ago was yelling “BAHH.”

Can’t fool a darter.  For those into history the recorded first Thanksgiving the Colonies celebrated was in 1621.  The Pilgrims celebrated their first harvest.  The party lasted three days with the Pilgrims, mostly English, inviting the natives – then called Indians – to share in the festivities.  While the exact menu is not available it is known that “Golden Elixir” was plentiful.

After many gourds of “Meade” were consumed the Pilgrims broke out the darts.  What transpired was the first Blind Draw Doubles in American history.  The pairs were drawn with Pilgrims in one hat and the Indians in another.  This event, Pilgrims & Indians, foreshadowed children for years playing Cowboys & Indians.  The format?  301 double in and double out, best of 3.

As today’s Colonists were preparing for turkey, football and family fights the PDC was deep into the 14th staging of the BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts.  The tournament consists of a 32-player field with the winner walking away with a nifty £125,000.  The group stage players toed the oche in the best of 9, best of 19 in round two, then best of 31 onward.

With more darts than pages in the bestselling book How to Understand Women the Grand Slam went on and on and on.  Two-time defending champion Gerwyn Price, going for the hat trick, got sidetracked by “on the rise” Nathan Aspinall 10-8.  Price didn’t fall without a fight.  Aspinall jumped to a 7-3 lead when Price roared back closing to 8-7.  The next two were in Aspinall’s pocket to move to a decider.  Price missed 2 darts at d4 to extend the match allowing Aspinall to erase 92 on the bull.  He would exit next round to semifinalist Dimitri Van den Bergh 16-15.

It would be up to Simon Whitlock to end Michael van Gerwen’s run for a third Grand Slam title.  Whitlock collected his third TV win of the year over van Gerwen racking up 20 T80’s as part of the 16-15 decision.  Whitlock trailed 2-0, 9-5 and 11-7 before drawing level at 13.  van Gerwen collected a 146-check on his way to a 15-13 lead.  But van Gerwen missed eight match darts and Whitlock marched to victory.  I feel on top of the world, said Whitlock.  It’s incredible – I think this is my best victory I’ve ever had in darts.  To beat Michael when he’s off his game is another thing, but to beat him when he’s playing well – which I thought he did today – is amazing. 

Whitlock would get his comeuppance in the semifinals when Portugal’s Jose de Sousa upended him 16-12.  It looked as though Whitlock would continue his roll with 2-0 and 5-2 leads which included a pair of 12 darters.  Leg eight went to de Sousa as did the next 6 of 7 giving him an 8-6 lead.  Then, when tied at 8 de Sousa took the next 7, including a “brace” (a brace being more than one) of 121 checks, two double tops and two double 18s) and was one leg from victory – and done.

In the other semi James Wade took advantage of a missed bull for the match from Dimitri Van den Bergh for the 16-15 win and trip to the final.  It looked like gloom and doom for Wade as he missed doubles to fall behind 5-1.  Wade would be Wade though and would use d10 to move within 1 at 10-9.  They would level at 14 when Wade then took 4 of 5.  Van den Bergh posted a 14-darter to lead 15-14 but then missed the bull for victory in leg 30.  Wade leveled and then won with T40, T80 and a “goodbye” 76 for 12-darter a trip to his 3rd Grand Slam final.

Oh, baby what a finals finish, but first…

The final began with de Sousa showing all the signs of a 46-year old talented rookie falling behind 3-0, wasting three T80’s with 9 stray doubles.  But he would right the ship with a T30-check to enter the break at level 5.  After leveling at 6 de Sousa took 6 of the next 8 for a 12-8 lead.  Although he dropped 2 of the next 3 de Sousa would get to 14-11 – only two legs from the title.

Wade stayed on stage during the break to little avail – when behind a pair of T80s de Sousa mucked about on the double but still got the leg to move to 15-11.  Wade answered with a 161-check as de Sousa sat on the winning leg.

Would the rookie feel the pressure and choke?

At 15-12 and with Wade at a low 2-dart double and de Sousa on 158, de Sousa stroked 60, 60 and d19 for the title – winning a “major” in his initial appearance!

One announcer called him a debutant.  At 46 he’s a little old for a debutant but what the heck, it’s his day.  Go with it.

The PDC has become so good that to quote Jim “The Bizz” – what “darts, bloody darts!”  The tournaments, Players Championships, this tour and that tour – it all becomes a madding blur.  Writing about a pair 12 dart games has become commonplace.  The focus now is on the drama that is in evidence at every darting event – whether it be the PDC World Championship or a Blind Draw at Joe’s Bar and Grill, mostly bar.

The Grand Slam produced a couple of zingers…

Every so often a darter takes to the podium to proclaim someone the “best ever.” Lately, that person has become called the Greatest Of All Time or “GOAT.”  When playing doubles and missing a double the ODC was called the GOAT.  Different meaning.

On the first day Michael Smith had his way (don’t go there) with Lisa Ashton 5-1.  Smith averaged (averages are for losers) 102, which is PDC good.  After the match Smith called her “the best female darts player ever.”  To set the record straight Smith appears to be a nice gent that made a sincere but common mistake.  Any athlete who tries to equate players from one era with another makes that mistake.

I played Lisa in Germany and she beat me.  Now we don’t play many women but not being rude, I don’t think Lisa is a woman in that sense of fact.  (Michael, you’ll be running that statement back.)  She could play darts better than anyone of us here and when she’s on, she’s on so I’m glad when I got the chance, I took it every time.  Old adage: “When you’re in a hole stop digging.”

I know Trina’s (Gulliver) won how many – nine or ten world titles – but Lisa Ashton is the best ever women’s darts player.  Mensa will never call the Smith household.

Then there’s Gary, Gary Anderson – always good for a little controversy (pronounced “Con-Trav-Is-See” by those who refused the Colonist’s help in improving their language).  The Flying Scotsman with the engaging smile always provides good copy (when understood).  The ODC uses written transcripts to decipher Anderson during his remarks the ODC enjoyed a tray of Eiffel Tower French brie complimented by champagne and, of course, Anderson whine.

Anderson was upset after he saw off young 18-year old Adam Gawlas 5-3.  He went on a bizarre TV rant.   He insinuated the 18-year was “snarking” and “sniffing.”  The ODC understands sniffing (aka, the Biden effect) but “snarking” is a new one.

Any one whose played darts knows that “gamesmanship” is just part of the game.  Anderson doesn’t accept that theory.  He seemed upset that “gamesmanship” raised its head. 

Gamesmanship – PATHETIC.  They’re not dart players, they’re just COWARDS!  This from a guy whose dropped more bombs on the oche than a darter on Sunday morning after two days of beer, sauerkraut, boiled eggs and broccoli.  Please.  Anderson would get hammered by Michael van Gerwen 10-2 next round, not whine or brie.

Of course, if a turkey goes “BAHH” in Scotland it’s in real trouble.

Stay thirsty my friends.

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.

Column #HR291 It’s PDC World Cup time!

Thursday, October 29, 2020
Column HR291
It’s PDC World Cup time!

With a chill in the air and All Hollow’s Eve knocking at the door the Old Dart Coach is ready for his once a year treat.  Yes, it’s PDC World Cup time!

The drunk Irish Potato Head has called for the PDC World Cup to be tossed in the trash and to replace the Cup with yet another ranking event.  In its effort to become global the PDC is doing what it should do, not to mention that losing the World Cup would break the ODC’s hard as diamond heart.

There was a possibility that the PDC World Cup would share the spotlight with the WDF Virtual Cup.  That possibility now?  Between “slim and none” with “slim” out of town.  Slim left after reports of cheating in the Virtual Cup appeared.

In one case, Australian Justin Thompson was a victim.  In another game, related video and audio were sent to the WDF.  The WDF (World Dumbness Federation) ruled the game stands.  In a women’s game (where cheating was confirmed) they didn’t toss the two cheaters out. The WDF had the game replayed.  An inquiry to DartsConnect (running the event) was not answered.  No surprise there.

Meanwhile, the ladies knocked on the PDC door.  When opened, they got a treat with a non-fattening but nourishing 4 events over two days.  Deta “The Queen” Hedman (who the drunk Irish Potato Head called “washed up”) beat international star Aileen de Graaf 6-5 to earn a spot in the PDC World Championships.  In the four events “The Queen” reached the semifinals 4 times with 2 finals appearances.  “Washed up” my more than ample backside.  Lisa Ashton copped two final wins with Fallon Sherrock snagging one.

Look forward to more PDC Ladies events soon, maybe the addition of one ladies match on each Premier League night along with a limited number of ladies only tour events.  It would be the PC thing to do.  It would depend on the ladies being able to create betting interest.  How about adding one lady to the PDC World Cup?

“Great idea, Coach!”

THE OVERVIEW… 2020 PDC World Cup X 

As the 32 National teams meet for the PDC World Cup on November 6-8 in Salzburg, Austria, they’ll be battling for £350,000 in prize money.  Certainly not chump change.  The “coin of the realm” is up £200,000 from £150,000 in PDC World Cup I in 2010.

For the first time the World Cup is wide open.  This does not mean that Italy or Lithuania will figure to win.  They won’t.

Defending champion Scotland is unranked with John Henderson and Robert Thornton (both event rookies) replacing Gary Anderson and Peter Wright.  Strange, as the teams are supposed to be comprised of the two best in the PDC Order of Merit.  Both Anderson and Wright are in the top 10 but Henderson and Thornton aren’t.  Guess the defending champions took a Pasadena on collecting £35,000 each for winning and defending their title.  So, Scotland is unranked and got a dodgy draw – if they get by Japan, no walk in the park, they’ll face #2 Wales.

The first-round doubles-only would seem to favor “doubles playing” Norte Americanos.  It’s “fake news” though as both Canada (Jeff Smith and Matt Campbell) and USA (Chuck Puleo and Danny Lauby) are sending rookie teams.  And not getting any break in the draw…

The USA gets the veteran team from #8 Austria led by the gentle giant Mensur Suljovic, who has played in all WCs, joined by Rowby-John Rodriguez.  Austria will have the added advantage of a county crowd.  (Yes, fans will be allowed to attend.)  Looks like “one and done” for the USA.

Canada may get a Sunday delight, having drawn #4 Northern Ireland with Daryl Gurney and Brendan Dolan.  This team has played together in the WC and been ranked since 2017.  However, they failed to take advantage of their seed, underperforming in each case.  Canada has a better than 50/50 chance of winning.  A win would put Canada up against either New Zealand or Denmark, both of which they are capable of beating.

PREDICTIONS

NOTE: This is not for betting purposes – rather, merely to prove how brilliant the Old Dart Coach is.   

The Singapore duo of the Lim “not brothers” (Paul and Harith) have always outperformed their non-ranking.  Their first-round draw (Hungary) should go down setting up an “even Stephen” meeting with #8 Austria#1 England would be next, and they are very beatable.

Hong Kong is another sleeper.  Kai Fan Leung and Royden Lam will squeak a win over China.  Lam is the key for Hong Kong as he’s quality, whether steel or machine darts.  A win and they’ll face #5 Belgium which should get by the Czech Republic.  Belgium has 8-time WC competitor Kim Huybrechts who is joined by Dimitri Van den Bergh.  This pair has outperformed their seeding with 2 semis and a quarter, losing to the eventual champs on two occasions.

With Gerwyn Price currently playing at his best Wales (ranked #2) should get by Russia’s Boris Koltsov and Aleksei Kadochnikov.  Wales will then have to raise their game to beat Scotland (Henderson and Thornton) for a trip to the elite eight. The Guys Who Scare Sheep should then move on to a final four showdown with #7 Republic of Ireland after they beat Australia.  The Republic of Ireland was unseeded last year and made it all the way to the final where they lost 3-1 to Scotland. The team of William O’Connor and Steve Lennon return for yet another try.  O’Conner has played in every World Cup.

#3 Netherlands (Michael van Gerwen and Danny Noppert) gets a great draw, Brazil in the first round.  Then it’s on to Spain (Cristo Reyes and Toni Alcinas) after they’ve taken out Italy.  The Spain guys will make it close because they’re both veterans of the Cup.  The win by the Wooden Shoes Guys puts them in the semis against #6 Germany, if Germany gets by Greece (which will likely struggle but survive against Sweden).

OKAY, BUT WHO’S GOING TO WIN?

One has to love #7 Republic of Ireland to prevail over #3 Netherlands in the semifinals.  Michael van Gerwen is no longer “The One.”  It’ll will have been up to Danny Noppert (and a good draw) to have gotten the Dutch this far.

In the top half of the draw the ODC sees #1 England losing to #8 Austria in the quarters then Austria falling to Belgium in the semis.

Drum roll please…

Take the Republic of Ireland to win their first PDC World Cup.  Well done lads.

How good is the ODC with predictions?

He took the Allies giving points on December 7 in 1941.

Stay thirsty my friends.

Column #HR290 Whoops – the ODC did it again!

Thursday, October 15, 2020
Column HR290
Whoops – the ODC did it again!

Like many humans and despite evidence to the contrary, the aging Old Dart Coach tries to multi-task.  That usually results in disaster.

When he appears in print, he’s often held accountable with malice aforethought.  Many recent emails suggest that the ODC’s fireplace is missing a few bricks and his chandelier “operating” with burned out light bulbs.

The Gentleman Darter, Chris “The Great” White, won the Dart Players of Los Angeles title not the CDC Cup as reported in this space.  Accordingly, the ODC will be fined one month’s pay by his Simon Legree-type editor/publisher aka “The Almighty in Florida.”  Unlike Judge Judy, he’s firm but only fair by accident.

Another USA darter has emerged to be designated as a “gentleman” by the ODC…

Tip a pint or more in honor of one Darin “Big Daddy” Young.  He’s been a fixture at all nine editions of the previous PDC World Cup representing the USA.  He was scheduled to make it 10 this year when players toe the oche November 6-8 at the Premstättner Halle in Graz/Premstätten in Austria.

Darin won’t be there.  He posted the following on Facebook…

I have recently been diagnosed with vertigo.  It’s not a severe case but it makes playing darts quite the experience.  After careful consideration I will not be attending the PDC World Cup in next month.  It was the hardest decision of my dart career, but it wouldn’t be fair to hold out and hope it clears up before then.  I’m hoping my doctor gets my head right soon.  I want to wish my replacement and Chuck Puleo the best of luck!  Go USA!!

Good on ya, Darin.

Meanwhile, there’s a virtual World Darts Federation International Cup going forward from October 4 to November 8.  Forty-seven nations will play in groups, each represented by two men and two women.  Groups will play a full round-robin with four men and four women from each group joining a 32-person knockout round.

Only Canada’s Diane Gobeil has played all nine of her matches with a record of 8-1 – her only loss being to America’s Robin Curry, 2-3.  The 8-1 record assurers Gobeil a spot in the round of 32 with the possibility of #1 seed.  America’s Robin Curry is 5-0 and teammate Dani Warmack stands at 2-1.  Canadian Trish Grzesik struggles at 1-3.

To the surprise of no one England’s Fallon Sherrock is sailing at 5-1.  Her teammate Lorraine Winstanley is 3-0.

The men’s scores?  This is a little slow in getting started.  Still, DartsConnect deserves a pat on the back for this endeavor.  It would however be a great help to lazy writers if each player were identified by nation.

Once upon a time PDC darters were playing 501, best of 11.  Then, up jumps the Grand Prix with a double start and finish, best of 5 sets.  For those who may inquire, there are no other tournaments with straight start and finish.

“Oh, but there were.”

While watching, the ODC heard the chick commentator speak of how unusual the double start is (practiced only in Northern England).   A respectful FYI to the fair damsel – double-double was very popular in the USA before USA darters became Englishfied.  The term “respectful “was used to make up for the ODC calling her a “chick.”  Bad ODC.  A true misogynist pig.

In the day, the two most prestigious tournaments were double starts.  They were the North American and News of the World.

There are those out there who disparage double-double as “not real darts,” promulgating that only straight in 501, best of 5 or 7, or 1,001, best of 7 are the real deal.  That argument is 100% bologna.  Each requires different acquired skills.   Usain Bolt ran the 100 meters in 9.58.  Would anyone with any sense say, “Well, he’s not that good unless he can break a world record at 1,500 meters”?  NO.

The final of the Grand Prix was for Gerwyn Price a pot of gold worth £110,000 (and back-to-back TV titles).  Price also won the World Series of Darts in September.  In the end Price would prevail 5-2 in the Grand Prix (3-0, 3-2, 1-3, 3-0, 3-2, 2-3 and 3-2).

Price jumped to a 4-1 lead in the final.  The debutante Dutchman, Dirk van Duijvenbode, could have folded his tent then and there in his quest for his first major TV title and just have headed back to the Netherlands with the £50,000 runner up sum – an amount that would buy a lot of adult brownies at a neighborhood “coffee shop.”

But no.  van Duijvenbode fought back to get it to 4-2 and then built a 2 leg to nil lead in the 7th set – before Price woke up to win 3 legs on the trot for the title.  In a touch of a “how you like this?” Price closed the deal with a 102-check. Thank you.

When the ODC used to visit his second home in Thailand, each Friday morning he would do three things.  He’d grab the Bangkok Post, get a cup or three of coffee (always good after a Pattaya Thursday dart Night at I Rovers) and light up a cigar.  With that done, he’d read “The Night Owl” column by Bernard Trink in the morning newspaper.

Bernard Trink passed away last week…

Trink covered the night scene (aka “Naughty Boy Scene”) in Bangkok and Pattaya.  The ODC and Trink agreed that one of the greatest songs ever recorded was Dinah Washington’s What a Difference a Day Makes (which segues perfectly into the 2020 BoyleSports World Grand Prix that recently concluded).

No player at the Grand Prix (the ODC’s father would always pronounce the “X” as a “CK”) typifies What a Difference a Day Makes more than Simon Whitlock.  (Whitlock was a late replacement for Adrian “Big Baby’ Lewis who caught the Chinese Virus.)

In the quarter finals, Whitlock took out defending champion Michael van Gerwen 3 sets to nil.  He did this by scores of 3-1, 3-0 and 3-1 – impressively dropping only 2 of 11 legs.  And his starting and finishing were brilliant – he was 11 from 16 starting and 9 from 17 in finishing.

Sing on Dinah Washington!

Stay thirsty my friends.