Column #HR1 Toeing the Oche with the Old Dart Coach Howie Reed
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Toeing the Oche with the Old Dart Coach Howie Reed
Some, but not the Old Dart Coach, have missed the nuance – that Phil Taylor’s demeanor is totally unlike Tiger Woods, who the ODC argues couldn’t carry Taylor’s Unicorns. A much better comparison would be between Taylor and Phil Mickelson. Both always put a positive spin on what others would consider a less than positive result. After the Masters, Tiger’s “snarky” TV interview showed the true person. Compare that to when Mickelson blew the US Open on the final two holes. Difference? Brass and Tungsten.
When the Premier League rolled into the 5,000-seat Sheffield Arena, Phil Taylor was unbeaten and pretty much unchallenged in 9 league matches. He would be facing James Wade, who won the league title last year and had defeated Taylor twice in prior league play. In a match where Taylor never hit a single 180, as opposed to Wade’s 7, trailed 5-2, 7-4, and Taylor escaped with a draw. Down 7-6 Taylor crafted a 171 setting 16, which did a Houdini when Wade failed on a check 145. “The 171 was a massive shot and I’m delighted in many ways to have got a point out of this game. James has got loads of guts and it’s great to see him playing well again.” Here a draw was a win.
With the battle for the top spot about over, the 2 and 3 seed’s are the road maybe to the pot of gold. Those two spots escape Taylor in the first round of playoff’s. Ronnie Baxter and Mervyn King were tied going into play at Sheffield. To the disappointment of his hometown fans, Baxter had come from 6-4 down to lead 7-6 only to miss double 18 for the outright win settling for a draw at 7. Terry Jenkins moved out of the cellar as he beat Adrian Lewis 8-5. That win by Jenkins left Raymond van Barneveld lonesome on his own in the cellar. Barney came up short losing 8-6 to Simon Whitlock, whose win moves him into the 4th spot based on positive legs won. Barney lost 8-6 but “my oh my” what a great comeback from 6-1 and 7-4 down to force a 14thleg. Barney missed two darts for the draw and a point.
PREMIER LEAGUE… LIVERPOOL
CHAMP WADE FIRES INTO TOP FOUR
Reigning champion James Wade had to be singing “Love. Love Me Do” as he crashed the top four for the first time this year. Wade has come back from a terrible 0-3 league start and a disappointing draw with Taylor to move into a joint third tied with Ronnie Baxter and Simon Whitlock. Wade was tied with Raymond van Barneveld at 3 at break time. The return had Wade taking the next five legs for the win averaging 100. Baxter didn’t help himself when he fell 8-4 to Terry Jenkins. Jenkins took control of an early even match for his second win in a row. Simon Whitlock had the opportunity to move into a joint second but couldn’t “get’er done” against Phil Taylor, losing 8-5. After 10 legs this one was all knotted up when Taylor took the last three while Whitlock sat waiting a finish. Taylor’s last was a 125 done bull-25-bull. But of course. Mervyn King took over sole possession of second place at 13 points with an 8-3 hammering of Adrian Lewis who sees his playoff hopes going “bye-bye.” Lewis actually led 1-0 when the roof caved in as King won the next 7, then coasted to the 8-3 win. Reminding one of the Old Dart Coach as he choked away the Pattaya League title with missed doubles against Rising Sun. The ODC wanted 40 and left 3. What a clown. Lewis missed 8 game shots in the 4th leg to level it at 2. Little known or cared for fact. The top four in the standings are also the top for winning games against the darts.
PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP DERBY
To quote singer Jerry Reed, “when you’re hot you’re hot.” Simon Whitlock is as hot as the volcanic ash that cover’s much of Europe as this is written. For the second Saturday in a row Whitlock emerged victorious with a Players Championship title and £6,000. This was not one of those “Phil’s not here” deals as Whitlock took care of Taylor in the semi’s 6-2, which is the same score he “86’d” Ronnie Baxter in the quarters. Whitlock was tested only twice. In the opener he came from 5-1 down to give the old “heave ho” to Kevin Dowling. He then got by Gary Baxter when he finished from 301 with 180-121. Colon Lloyd started 3-1 and 4-2 but was punished for missed doubles to find Whitlock up 5-4. Whitlock then wrote “finnie” with a nifty 11-darter (140, 180, 149 and double 16) for the win.
And then came Sunday at Derby which was also the 6th UK Qualifier. To the surprise of probably no one, Phil Taylor rebounded from his semi-final exit on Saturday for a 6-2 win over Peter Wright and £6,000. It was a typical Taylor performance as he was tested only once by a reinvigorated James Wade. Wade had a 4-1 lead when the “Power” came on. Final 6-4. Kudo’s, worth £3,000 in today’s market, go to Wright who was appearing in his first final as a professional. In legs won Taylor would go 42-10. Not too Chablis.
FOX STALKS AT WIGAN
The Old Dart Coach said he was “Over the Moon” as his favorite lady PDC player, The Russian Fox – Anastasia Dobromyslova – stalked the male species at the Wigan Players Championship. She took out Co Stompe (6-3) and Dave Askew (6-1) before losing a squeaker to Colin Osborne (6-0). This time out the Fox got the best of the hounds for three rounds worth £300. Even with the Fox out, play continued with Wes Newton defeating Andy Smith 6-2 for the title. The win for Newton, his first since Scotland last November, qualifies him for the World Matchplay in Blackpool while adding £6,000 to his bank account. The only real challenge that Newton had was in the semi’s when he had Andy Hamilton down 5-1 and failed to close the deal. Hamilton tied it at 5 to force a “decider leg.” The final was all Newton who started off 3-0 while never relinquishing the lead. Oh yes, like the ODC, Newton said “I’m over the moon.” The area around the moon must be getting crowded. Isn’t anybody just happy any more ?
Sunday at Wigan provided Colin Lloyd with his second Players Championship of 2010. The first in Gibraltar. This win give’s Lloyd a spot in the last 64 at the UK Open. Lloyd was in control most of the day while losing the first leg of the final to Colin Osborne. Lloyd then took four straight off, including an 11-darter for a 4-1. The final score would be 6-3. Sunday also saw a resurgence of some names that have been missing from deep in Players Championship results lately. John Part lost in the quarters to Dennis Priestly (6-4) while Ronnie Baxter exited in the same round. Priestly, dart’s Old Man River as he just get’s rollin’ along, would lose in the semi’s 6-4 to Colon Osborne. The ODC gives a big “Way to Go” to Lloyd after his win when he didn’t say “I’m over the moon.” He did say, “It’s a great win for me.”
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