Column #HR6 “Duel in the Desert” Preview”
Thursday, June 24, 2010
“Duel in the Desert” Preview”
With the Las Vegas Desert Classic now just a memory, on Saturday the PDC will launch its latest venture into the Las Vegas and North American market. The Tropicana World Series of Darts Festival (doesn’t that just roll off your tongue?) kicks off a 5-day run with a combined prize fund of $200,000. Unlike past visits, there will be no live TV back to the Motha Country which means probably no grand over-produced entrances with over-served fans in silly hats or blaring music. The blaring music would be a respite from the damn blaring vuvuzela horns that have made watching the World Cup an effort. This would be the normal place that The Old Dart Coach would toss in some gratuitous remarks about English Footbol. He has declined the offer as they seem to be beating themselves up “quite nicely thank you.”
155 players have entered events with 73 of those coming from North America which considering the cost of entry fee is pretty darn good. The North American’ – have to use that term or California may boycott – have their best chance to leave a mark in the opening day’s World Cricket Championships. Cricket is after all primarily a game made popular in North America so the “conventional wisdom” would lead one to believe that they should win. As most know “conventional wisdom” is always “conventional” but very seldom shows much wisdom. With £15,000 at stake it is interesting that the PDC included in their press release the information that the Cricket would proceed “with no seeding being used but a random draw (that) could pit (PDC) stars together in the early stages”. That can only be a plus for players but especially the credentials of the PDC as maybe the first honest organization in darts. Others played lip service to “random draw’ but everyone knew that draws were as crooked as a dog’s hind leg. With Tommy Cox running things if he says “random draw” that’s what it will be.
The “usual” suspects from the PDC will be “Toeing the Oche” along with the top names from North American, past and present. The PDC contingent is lead by Phil Taylor, James Wade, Terry Jenkins, Ronnie Baxter, Adrian Lewis and Mark Walsh. Of the travelers, “Rocket” Ronnie Baxter should be a favorite in cricket as he campaigned many years in North America winning cricket events back in the day. Much has always been made of strategy in cricket. One American player writes about cricket strategy on a regular basis. While that may be well and good, if you can hit triples that’s the best strategy.
The North American contingent will be lead by Canadian John Part, a former world champion trying to climb back up the ladder after a couple of slim years. He should do very well in cricket as he cut his teeth on the game. Other well known players from the colonies are Larry Butler – the only Yank to win a PDC event (the 1994 World Matchplay), Gary “The Mailman” Mawson – the only Yank to play regularly on the PDC circuit, Bill Davis and “Big John” Kuczynski from the Philly area, Roger Carter, Jim Widmayer, Chris White, and Darin Young. Down from Canada are Dan Olson and many- time International Bob Sinnaeve. The best player ever to come out of Asia, Paul Lim, takes time out from his regular job selling the game of “toy darts” for a shot at some foldin’ green. Lim has the distinction of being an International for three countries. He started in Papau New Guinea, then Singapore, and finally the USA. Back in the day Paul Lim and Bob Sinnaeve were the best cricket doubles team “going down the road.” After a long break Sinnaeve is back which can only be good for the game. Couple of ODC “favs” have tossed down their money and will take their chances. Many times USA International, Sean Downs, is joined in the field by Big Frank Hernandez who’s smile and good nature will insure a happy venue. For many years America’s top lady player Stacy Bromberg, off her great showing in England, is also in the field.
Let the darts begin!