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Column #HR244 The World Cup, Wade and Wacky Tobacky

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Column HR244
The World Cup, Wade and Wacky Tobacky

The Old Dart Coach is a fan of Ben Franklin, a Colony Founding Father (despite going outside in the rain to fly a kite with an iron house key tied to its tail). History reports that he got an electric shock – which he could have experienced simply by sticking his finger in a light socket. Ben’s comment: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

So, it’s never too early for the ADO to start planning for the WDF’s World Cup in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, October 8-12, 2019. They finalized their team recently at the US National Team final in Denver. This event selected four players to join points qualifiers Paula Murphy, Stacy Pace, Leonard Gates and Jim Widmayer.

The ladies went “by the book” as Cali West and Robin Curry, ranked 3 and 4 on the World Cup points list, made the team. Both Ms. Murphy (2017) and Ms. West (2015, 2017) are making their third World Cup team.

Paula Murphy went out in the first round of singles in 2015, making the quarter finals in 2017 losing to Aileen de Graft 4-3 (Netherlands). Cali West reached the top 64 in 2015 and the top 32 in 2017. Surprisingly, Robin Curry makes her first team. She’s ranked 7th in ADO points with her best finish a runner-up at the Tri-City women’s cricket (22 entries) but has oodles of top 4s and 8s.

ADO #2 ranked World Cup rookie Stacy Pace could overtake ADO points leader Paula Murphy, currently trailing by only 21 points. Pace, from the Rocky Mountain Dart Association, has been great this year winning single cricket titles at the Camelia, Shamrock, Summer Splash, Pikes Peak and Tahoe-Biltmore. She copped the ‘01 singles at the Shamrock, Cleveland and Pikes Peak.

Leonard Gates, the ADO men’s points leader, is joined by runner-up Jim Widmayer. National Team finals qualifiers Kevin Luke and Jerry Van Loan will join them. Two of the most recent ADO World Cup team members, Larry Butler and Tom Sawyer, will sit this one out. Butler, at the 2015 World Cup in Japan, made the last 8. Sawyer made the top 16 at both the 2015 World Cup and the 2017 event in Turkey.

ADO President Sawyer missed out on making the team by falling one point shy of Luke and Van Loan, who tied. Butler was third in World Cup ranking points but missed the “sweet summer” season having suffered a heart attack. Kevin Luke, like Gates and Widmayer, will be making his first World Cup team appearance. Congratulations to Widmayer on his invite to the BDO “Amateur” World Championships next January.

Jerry Van Loan is an assistant DA in Ulster County, as is his wife – was ranked 264th with 18 others and 120 points behind ODC pal Sean Downs – but he tied the one that counted. His only listed win was the Tri-City cricket. He smoked 19 entries.

The ADO team shouldn’t face a lot of pressure as it hasn’t done well at the World Cup. The ADO men took the Team Event gold in 1985 (John Kramer, Rick Ney, Danny Valletto and Tony Payne) and 2003 (Ray Carver, John Kuczynski, Bill Davis and George Walls). The ladies have fared better as they won the overall team title in 1987, 1993 and 1997. They had pairs wins in 1985 (Kathy Karpowich and Kathy Maloney) and 1997 (Stacy Bromberg and Lori Verrier). They got singles gold with Sandy Reitan-Green (1983), Eva Grimsby (1989), Kathy Maloney (1993) and the late Stacy Bromberg in 2009. Hopefully someone from the ADO will take a leadership role and spend the next 11 months building 8 individuals into a team. As Ben Franklin also said, “He who can have patience can have what he will.”

One that typifies Franklin’s quote is PDC’s James Wade. He experienced a 7-year drought from a TV victory. With patience and hard work comes wins. Maybe Wade’s recent successes will silence the “English wanker” who has made it his mission to disparage James Wade. He should remember that all players in the PDC have talent and that talent should be respected.

Wade first victory of the week, worth £100,000, came in the European Championship with an 11-8 squeaker over Simon Whitlock. On his way to victory he vanquished Steve West 10-7. West had provided the surprise of the event when he sent Michael van Gerwen packing 10-7 in the opening round. West led 4-1 when van Gerwen leveled at 5. West then broke free with 3 on the trot using just 36 darts.

In the final, Wade found himself down 3-1. Taking 3 of the next, 4 new father Wade (baby’s named Arthur) took a 4-3 advantage. After being level at 8, Wade used a 13-darter for 10-8 lead. He then closed the deal with a double 10.

Next up for Wade was the £250,000 World Series of Darts finals in Austria. North American hope, Canadian Dawson Murschell, had to withdraw due to illness. Murschell had beaten James Wade at the US Dart Masters.

Wade’s road to victory was fraught with peril. In the second round he had to defeat hometown favorite Mensur Suljovic which he did 6-3. He then took care of Jamie Lewis 10-5 in the quarter finals. Also escaping the quarters was Raymond van Barneveld who won the battle of Holland 10-8 over Michael van Gerwen. Before Wade’s semi against van Barneveld he said, “Going into the semi-final with Raymond I said to myself, ‘come on, you are up for this’ and I kept that focus all the way through to win it.”

That mental state combined with the way too typical “I’d rather be somewhere else” van Barneveld attitude saw Wade advance 11-2.

The final against Michael Smith had a little of everything. Wade led 3-0 when Smith came back to level at 5 with a 100-check averaging 105. Wade would find himself level at 6, then ahead 7-6. Smith leveled again with a 170-check which Wade then answered with a 112-check for an 8-7 lead.

After Smith leveled at 8, he checked 87 for his first lead 9-8. Wade held and broke for a 10-9 lead. With victory but 121 away Wade busted allowing Smith to level. In the final leg Smith was in control when he missed 5 match darts. Wade worried his score to 36, then took out the double 18.

“I threw it away but then Michael did the same and I was very grateful for my second chance to win that game.”

The Dart God works in mysterious ways as do the good folks of Canada. They legalized “Wacky Tobacky.” Rumor has the opening words of their National Anthem will be changed to:

“Oh Cannabis, we smoke weed while on guard for thee!”

Stay thirsty my friends.