Tag Archives: PDC

Column #HR271 Unintended Consequences

Sunday, September 8, 2019
Column HR271
Unintended Consequences

Colin Cunningham is quoted as saying, “Watch out what you wish for, you just might get it.”

The Old Dart Coach’s take on this includes “The Law of Unintended Consequences.” You get 6 wheelbarrows full of dirt from a neighbor. Then place dirt in a planter. Into the new dirt is added tomato and watermelon plants. Two months later: the plants are overtaken by weeds. The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes.

In the UK the PDC has grabbed the spotlight for steel darts. In the USA machine darts has provided an alternative. Saddest of all ladies’ steel darts is waning. Darters wanted more money. They got it. Unintended consequences strike.

A male (with original natural factory equipment) wakes up one day hearing Shania Twain singing “Feel Like a Women.” When she gets to “Oh, oh, oh, Man! I feel like a woman!” he yells, ‘That’s me!” Now he enters the lady’s singles.

The ladies’ singles could become, “The Ladies’ Cisgender Gender Fluid Nonconforming and Non-binary Open” with 54 Genders accepted. In Canada it’d be the “LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP Singles.” Steel tournament directors be on guard!

Last fall, “Miracle” Mikuru Suzuki hit the steel point world at the BDO “Amateur World Championships” like bran muffins at the Senior Center. Lately, she would win the Swedish Open defeating Lisa Ashton. Ashton is #2 in WDF rankings. Ashton and Suzuki met in the finals of the Australia Open finals.

Some argue that women can compete against the men. They can but can they win? The results to date say no.

Take the best of 15 match final in the Australian Open. Ashton would win 8-6 with only 7 legs less than 15 darts. Ashton had the low game (12 darts) on the end of a 139 check which was also the high out. Neither of the ladies would have won on the PDC Tour with those numbers.

Ashton would return to the UK to take home her third BDO world title in 5 years with an easy 6-2 win over Anastasia Dobromyslova. Dobromyslova tried her luck against the PDC guys a few years ago with no success.

After Australia, Mikuru Suzuki took on the men at the soft point world championships (Stage #3) in Japan. She finished top 64. Quite a feat with 256 entries. Paul Lim won the event 3-0 over Hong Kong’s James Law. Lim had a tournament which for some would be a career. Lim won all his matches 3-0 for a combined 30-0. Next time he loses a leg some jerk will cry “Wanker!”

Thanks to longtime friend Babs Evans (The ODC would never write “old friend,” Babs) the ODC was able to follow “Chainsaw” Joe Chaney as he cut his way through the field of the BDO World Trophy. In the quarterfinals Chaney, with the match level at 5, tossed in a T80 only to see his next three darts go awry which allowed Jim Williams to check 120 for the win 6-5. Williams would win the title beating Richard Veerstra 8-6. The BDO failed in their write up to note that Chainsaw had the highest average against Williams at 86.93. Wankers.
Then there are those times you dream for something. It happens with no unintended consequences. Mensur Suljovic probably dreamed of winning his home country tournament…

As Gomer Pyle would say, “Shazam!”

The PDC final mid-summer travels ended in Vienna, Austria. Mensur Suljovic eked out an 8-7 victory over Michael van Gerwen. The match was tied at 2 when Michael van Gerwen used a 10-darter to lead 3-2. Suljovic would level at 3 as MVG missed doubles.

van Gerwen then got serious taking the next three on the trot to lead 6-3 in the race to 8. As he does, van Gerwen got the “walk-a- rounds” (an unintended consequence of leading) missed four doubles to get to 7. Suljovic took the opportunity to take the leg and the next two, with checks of 121 and 86, to level at 6.

van Gerwen got a leg to make it 7-6. Suljović would hold to level at 7. The winning leg came to Suljovic after van Gerwen used a T80 to leave 84 but missing the bull on his next turn for the win. Suljovic erased 70 with his favorite d14 for the 8-7 win, the title and £25,000.

One of the greats from the Golden Age has put away his darts for good. John Kramer was and is irascible, caustic and loud but above all one hell of a darts player. Oh yes, he was also a roomie of the ODC’s on the road.

Among other titles, he won the North American twice (1989 and 1999) and represented his country on more than one occasion. The most famous title came in 1985 at the WDF World Cup in Brisbane. That’s when four Yanks (John Kramer, Tony Payne, Rick Ney and Dan Valletto) defeated England 9-0. What is not generally known is that after each leg won Kramer would jaunt down to the England warmup room asking, “How’d you like that?!” or words to that effect. (The night before in the hotel lobby, Eric Bristow made a comment about how England would win. At that point Kramer suggested that he “urinate up a rope.”)

Kramer was a great winner dismissing a loss as just one of those things which usually included several expletive deleted.

He was predictable mainly because he was unpredictable. There was a period where JK, Kathy Hopkins and the ODC would meet each Friday at the St. Louis airport, they flying in from LA and the ODC from NorCal. It continued to the point that the bartender knew their names.

The ODC arrived once and went to the bar. “Your friends aren’t here yet.” They usually arrived first.

Watching the arrival gate, the ODC saw Kramer walking alongside with a Catholic priest, with Kathy next to JK. As they were late the ODC met them to go straight to the departure gate. To this point they hadn’t talked. Kathy had the look that said, “Trouble coming.” As the ODC approached he saw JK look down at the shoes saying, “Happening shoes, Padre.” The reply: “Thank you my son.”

JK suffered a stroke which involved a long rehab. The last time the ODC saw him play in a tournament was at the Las Vegas Open. They had warmed up together on Budweiser and Miller Genuine. John got called to play…

He returned. “How’d you do?”

“I was doing fine until they decided I needed a double. When did that start?”

Like all true champions John Kramer’s heart is fine but he had to say “No Mas” from arthritis of the spine which made it painful to practice.

You wish for a friend and darter like JK with the “unexpected consequences” just an added plus. As he wrote, “It was a hell of a run.”

Stay thirsty my friends.

Column #CM53 PDC World Championships – day two and the first woman ever on the PDC circuit

PDC

Monday, December 17, 2018
Column CM53
PDC World Championships – day two and the first woman ever on the PDC circuit

The second tournament day was more or less “womanless“ but before I share what happened on stage let me present to you a woman who, although she didn’t manage to qualify for this year’s World Championship, nevertheless played and plays a huge part in women’s darts and in the PDC as she was the first woman who competed for several years on the PDC circuit: Deta Hedman.

Before she joined the PDC Hedman had been very successful on the BDO circuit and had been from 1994 to 1997 the ladies #1 in the world. Due to work commitments she withdrew from darts 1997 and reappeared 2002 on the PDC circuit. In the same year, she won the women’s event at the Las Vegas Desert Classic. In 2004 and 2005, she qualified for the UK Open. In 2005, she defeated both Aaron Turner and Norman Fletcher during the tournament and made history as she was the first ever woman who defeated a male player during a televised tournament. In 2007, Hedman for the second time withdrew due to work commitments and upone her return in 2009 she started to play in the BDO again. After she had won several open events she qualified in 2010 for her first BDO Women’s World Championship. Since her return, Hedman once again tops the women’s rankings and has taken part in every World Championship. But despite her winning every year a lot of tournaments until now she never managed to really perform at Lakeside. On three occasions so far she reached the final, but lost every time. Hedman played the UK women’s qualifier fort his year’s PDC World Championship but lost in the semi-finals to Maria O’Brien.

So, back to the players who did qualify for this year’s world championship – in this case to Michael Barnard who qualified by the Pro Tour Order of Merit and to Portuguese Jose de Sousa the South/West European qualifier who opened the afternoon session of the second day with an epic match. Barnard dominated the first two sets while de Sousa took some time to settle on stage and get into the match. Barnard is quite a slow thrower – it might be that affected de Sousa as well. Barnard started with a 180, de Sousa threw his first in the second leg of the second set and followed it up with another one. But he had some trouble to win the leg and that exactly was his problem throughout the match. While he scored really well he had a lot of double trouble – the reason in the end that he lost the match, as Barnard was quite clinical with his doubles. But Barnard couldn’t keep up his performance of the first two sets and de Sousa managed to level. In the deciding set a deciding leg was required – in which de Sousa again couldn’t find his doubles while Barnard hit his to get over the finish line. The match had an unexpected stoppage when suddenly a loud whistling sound filled the venue followed by some king of hissing. Then several times a stormy wind sewpt over the stage such that the players were not able to throw their darts.

Quite similar to the first match was the second match between Alan Tabern and the Australian Raymond Smith. Tabern soon was 2-0 in the lead because the Australian had a very slow start into the match. But Smith managed to level 2-2 and the match went into a deciding set which Tabern won quite commandingly. Nice to see the Saint back on the stage!

Match number three was between Paul Nicolson and Kevin Burness and it didn’t look good for the very tense Nicholson from the start. Fronm the outset he was not able to throw reasonable scores. The first leg was almost over when it suddenly got dark in the venue and players and officials left the stage. Luckily it didn’t take long until the players could get on with their match and, strange enough, Nicholson – for a short time – threw really good darts starting with a 180 as his first throw after the break (perhaps evidence that his problems are more in his head). Burness could celebrate a 3-0 win and Nicholson left the stage without his darts…

The last match of the afternoon was the Second Round match between Jamie Lewis and Cody Harris, an astonishingly evenly contest. Lewis dominated at the start but Harris came back and levelled 2-2. Another deciding set was necessary which Lewis won. It was the best match of the afternoon with good performances from both players.

After the break, Danny Noppert vs. Royden Lam opened the evening session. And this first match set the tone for this session – which was quite different from the afternoon session as most of those matches were rather one sided. Danny Noppert played to a 96.32 average, the highest of the day and had no problems at all to steam roll Royden Lam. Should Noppert play similarly against Max Hopp it will be a rather hard match for the German #1.

The next match ended 3-0 as well – for Ted Evetts, though the statistics don’t show the reason for it. And it didn’t feel during the match that Ted Evetts was so dominant, as Simon Stevenson played quite well too. Probably as so often is the case the doubles made the difference – Evetts was just a little bit better.

Match number three between Chris Dobey and Boris Koltsov was a clearly one sided one – both statistically and felt. Koltsov didn’t play good and had no chance at all against a solid playing Dobey – Koltsov won only two legs.

For the last match of the night Gary Anderson walked on stage to face the impressive playing Irishman Kevin Burness. Burness had won 3-0 over Paul Nicholson and he didn’t look like he was intimidated by Gary Anderson. I suppose it is not by chance that his nickname is Ironman. And so… Anderson had his problems – after he had won the first set in his usual express-train speed he lost the second set to Burness. One could almost see how Anderson started to think – that possibly he had underestimated his opponent. So, he decided to gear up a little bit and conclude it, perhaps not spectacularly but effectively. A solid 3-1 win for one of the favourites.

Anderson had overcome his first hurdle of the tournament.