Column #344 Malice at the Palace
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Malice at the Palace
Last night, between re-reading and my mortification at all the typographical errors in yesterday’s furiously written column about the semi-finals and trying to find a good kebab, I had a chance to do more than just admire the photographs of Helen Chamberlain and Juicy Lucy in the first issue of the Professional Darts Corporation’s (PDC) new magazine, 180. What a publication!
For example, I’ll bet you didn’t know (and you’ll probably wish you didn’t as soon as you finish this sentence) that Wayne Mardle once autographed some bloke’s penis! It’s disgusting but true.
Here’s another tidbit from Hawaii 501 in response to an interviewer’s question about pranks and darts…
“A few years ago, Alan Warriner-Little was on a flight to the States and sitting next to the American player Steve Brown. Anyway, Steve had these thick-rimmed glasses and was sparko, so Alan thought it would be funny if we rubbed butter all over his lenses, then shout ‘We’re going to crash!’ Steve’s woken up, can’t see a thing because of the butter and starts screaming like a girl!”
I’m telling you, you MUST subscribe to this magazine. Subscription details can be found at the PDC website soon.
So today’s The Day, the Final Chapter of the 2009 World Championship.
Phil Taylor versus Raymond van Barneveld.
England versus Holland.
Thirteen-time world champion versus five-time world champion.
The Power versus The Man.
As Sid Waddell put it to Sky Sports this morning, “It just doesn’t get any tastier than this! It will be like the old Norse gods clashing all over again! I think it will be played in a great spirit. The atmosphere in the Ally Pally has been electric so far and the women in the crowd have more than played their part. I’ve already had twenty proposals of marriage even though I’m already spoken for!”
“This battle is like Prince Valiant saying the sword in the stone belongs to an usurper. Taylor definitely thinks this title is his. That’s one of the things Eric Bristow told him: ‘If you are going to be world champion, you’ve got to work at it and make it your right’. I’ve known Eric since 1978 and never agreed with him on anything in my life and I’m not starting now! He thinks Taylor will win 7-3, but my prediction is 7-4 to The Power.”
Two weeks ago there were 70 hopefuls. Yesterday there were four. Today there are two. In just hours only one man will be left standing. And whoever that is will be $250,000 to the better.
Last year John Part won the tournament with a 95 average. Taylor and Barneveld averaged 104.5 the last time they met – two months ago in the final of the World Grand Prix. In their epic 2007 world championship final to which they advanced on the back of respective 6-0 semi-final romps they averaged 103. Barneveld hit a 9-darter, the first ever in world championship history, just three days ago. Taylor scored a 10-darter just yesterday.
So although, like Waddell, yours truly has also never agreed with Erik Bristow on anything in my life, I’m making no predictions. But I’m hoping it comes down to the last blow, the final glorious flight of tungsten to sisal.
It has the makings. The atmosphere is as electric as any Rumble in the Jungle, as any Thrilla in Manila. Taylor and Barneveld have tremendous respect for each other but they are coming tonight to fight.
THIS is what world class darts is all about!
THIS is Malice at the Palace.
STAY TUNED for the Dartoid’s World blow-by-blow!
From the Field,
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