Column #HR31 Kudos to Tommy Cox (and The Netherlands) on a GREAT World Cup!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Kudos to Tommy Cox (and The Netherlands) on a GREAT World Cup!
Being in the land of the Shakespeare and considering the burning question facing the PDC one might turn to the Bard. “Dost thou believe, Orlando, that the boy can do all this that he hath promised?” “I sometimes do believe and sometimes do not: as those that fear they hope, and know they fear.” That quote of course comes from As You Like It, Act V, Scene 4 as performed brilliantly by a 12-year-old Howard Reed in Ms. Warren’s 8th grade class at Elmhurst Jr. High in Oakland, California. Huh?
As suggested in this space previously those who were cheering with glee the demise of Phil Taylor might have done so prematurely. As this was written they are dining on crow (rare), fava beans and a nice Chianti. Taylor traveled to the first Players Championship after his exit from the Grand Slam – winning the Saturday and taking runner up during Sunday’s play. Not to mix wines but not too Chablis. On Saturday at the Derby Moorway Leisure Centre Taylor defeated Mark Walsh 6-3. While the £6,000 was welcome it got Taylor off the “snyd” he’d been on since August 1. In the final Taylor would come from nil-3 down for the win. Walsh turned the table on Taylor with 6-4 on Sunday.
Changing a few words from the Bard, we’re left with “Do you believe that that Taylor can do all he has promised?” Well maybe. Don’t bet against him.
Then came the PDC World Cup when the duo of Phil Taylor and James Wade, as the late Larry Welk would say, were who were ranked “a one-a-an-a-two” in the world, spectacularly crashed out in the preliminary round to the guys from Viva España. Super Flack Dave Allen, on site, reported “Phil Taylor and James Wade were sensationally dumped from the Cash Converter’s World Cup by Spanish assassins Carlos Rodriguez and Antonio Alcinas at the Rainton Meadows Arena on Friday night.” Rather good that! All of a sudden for those who were dinning on “crow de la elegance” it turned into prime rib and the Chianti became Dom Pérignon. There was a clue as Wade and Taylor were shown in the practice room warming up at opposite ends of the room. There did not seem to be a lot of fellowship going on. Hmmm. As The Netherlands’ Raymond van Barneveld said after winning the World Cup, “We considered not coming because who was going to beat the world’s #1 and #2, Phil Taylor and James Wade?” The answer is of course the world’s #1 and #2 Phil Taylor and James Wade with an assist to the Spanish.
This was not your Old Dart Coach’s WDF World Cup. This PDC event was made to be TV friendly and it was. That’s opposed to the WDF version that is more like a Chinese Fire Drill, organized by the amateur darting ruling class, with apologies extended to Chinese Fire Drill’s everywhere. In the first round play it was “real” pairs first to 6. The ODC watched with interest when Russia played Gibraltar because The Russian Fox Anastasia Dobromyslova was on stage. He has a “love-love” deal going on with her although she has yet to be informed nor probably would she care. Silly Fox. More Super Dave Allen, “FEMME FATALE Anastasia Dobromyslova applied the killer touch to Gibraltar’s hopes as she teamed up with Roman Konchikov to take a 6-4 victory.”
After hitting the winning dart The Russian Fox forgot to take her dart out of the board. After doing a couple of hi-five’s she noticed she had only had two darts. Whoops. During her match one blogger typed, “I’ll bet she’ll go topless if she wins.” The ODC’s heart beat faster than a self winding watch at a self gratification contest. That was answered with “I’ll bet Phil Taylor has bigger ***’s.” End of contest as something’s are best not known. When interviewed after the match Anastasia acted as the interrupter for partner Roman Konchikov who speaks only Ruskie, “Ask him how he liked playing with you?” “He says it is always a pleasure to play darts with me as I’m a good very player.” Not really, but she could have said this. The same interviewer asked the Welsh team as they were preparing for the final, “Do you think you can win?” What a moron. The answer should have been, “No, we are not as good as Netherlands. We stink and are going to lose.” This chat guy makes “chick” sideline football reporters seem smart.
Both America and Canada advanced to the group stage with preliminary wins. Canada with former World Champion John Part eliminated Belgium 6-5 in a match that it appeared no one wanted to win as missed doubles were the order of the day. Darin “Big Daddy” Young was “flipping” spectacular in American’s 6-4 win over Sweden. In ten legs he had six 180’s and erased five doubles. Bill Davis had his troubles scoring and hitting doubles – other than that he did well. Davis did though save his best for the final leg when he scored good and hit the winning double to advance America and help the ODC win a beer from the Fat Swede.
Once the PDC World Cup reached the quarter finals the format changed as teams were played in two groups of round robin. USA had drawn into what appeared to be the Group of Death that included Wales, Scotland and England. That situation changed when Spain took out England. The format changed to two singles and a doubles with singles worth a point and the doubles two points. American didn’t do well losing to Spain 3-1, Scotland 4-0 but beat Wales 3-1. The game against Wales didn’t propel them into the top two in the group so they were out. Darin Yong was again brilliant. One old timer called the ODC to say, “He’s the best even out of Philly.” High praise. Canada also departed the scene at this point.
THE SEMI FINALS
At this point only a fool or a novice would have bet that the final would not be between Netherland’s and Australia. Viva España, the giant killer, had to take on Netherlands who behind the brilliant play of Raymond van Barneveld was on cruise control. Australia with Simon Whitlock playing like Simon Whitlock can was a cinch to be in the final. At this stage the teams would play four singles worth one point and a doubles worth two points. Should the teams be tied at three then a one leg doubles 501 would be played. In throw back mode the players would go for the bull to decide who threw first in the event of a “sudden-win” leg. To the surprise of no one the Netherlands pair of van Barneveld-Stompe went through the Viva España duo like Montezuma’s revenge through a tourist by a 4-0 score. Wales-Australia should have been a walk-over but as ESPN’s Lee Corso likes to say, “No so fast my friend.” Australia took a 3-1 lead on their way to a possible £40,000 first place check in this £150,000 event.
Wales only singles win came when former BDO World Champion Mark Webster capitalized on “almost-Aussie” Paul Nicholson’s failure to hit a winning double. Down 3-1 Wales needed a win in the doubles for the 3-all tie and then needed to win the one leg playoff. They got the doubles to level the match at three. Simon Whitlock won the bull in the sudden-death leg, then kicked it off with a T80. Wales answered with a pair of T40’s but Australia landed in three dart range first. Wales Barrie Bates had been, to be polite, “not playing well.” With Simon Whitlock next at the line Bates needed 116 for the win. No problemo. 60-16-double tops. Game, match and on to the finals for Wales. Bates said afterwards, “Those were the three biggest darts of my life.”
Wales, still pumped up from their semi win, were able to split the singles with Mark Webster taking both of his 8-4 and 8-6 over Raymond van Barneveld and Co Stompe. Bates would continue to struggle losing 8-4 and 8-4. Still Wales was tied at two with a chance to win the doubles and then the “sudden life” playoff leg. Could lightning strike twice? Could this be “déjà vu all over again?” Nope, but Wales didn’t go quietly. Netherlands took a 3-1 lead in the doubles when Webster led a Wales charge to level at three. van Barneveld erased 60 for a brief lead of 4-3. The little guy with the big darts, Barrie Bates, then vaporized 136 to level once again, this time at four. They would tie again at five with doubles by Co Stompe and Mark Webster. The next two legs went in the Dutch column when Stompe hit a double 14 then broke serve with double 9 for a 7-5 lead. Stomp then hit a T80 in leg 13 while van Barneveld hit a double 4 for the win.
PDC World Cup Champs: The Netherlands. “On Thursday when our flight was cancelled we thought we might not even make it to the tournament so it’s incredible for us to win the World Cup,” said van Barneveld. “I’m so proud, both to win the event and to play with Co. He has been brilliant throughout the weekend and he has been telling me for three weeks that he had a dream we would win the tournament.” Dreams do sometimes come true.
Too often the men behind the scene don’t get the credit they deserve. During the telecast it was mentioned that PDC executive Tommy Cox was responsible for the format. Well kudos to Mr. Cox. Kudos are many “attaboys,” many pints of lager and a “way to go Tommy.” Had this had been a WDF event the format would have been changed to ensure that England advanced for the telly. When the WDF World Cup is played the host nation’s four person team usually has to beat “failed to show” and “who?” to reach the semi finals stage. But the PDC? No way Jose. Their professionals.
When you ask an Englishman for advice it should never be in regard to dental hygiene, preparation of food or dress style. “I rather like the shirts worn by the teams,” opined commentator John “The Giggler” Gwynn. They were horrid and ugly – they looked like 1970s bowling shirts that had been worn everyday with nary a wash. The WDF World Cup has unique attire which is a plus. Take note Mr. Cox. Sid Waddell had a line about van Barneveld’s superb play, “He plays darts like Stradivarius plays the fiddle.” Correction. When Stradivarius plays a fiddle it becomes a Stradivarius.
Finally it can now be revealed that the ODC was cheering for the guys from Spain. He has a soft spot in his heart for Spain. Back in 1982 the ODC was competing in the Mediterranean Open Darts in Torremolinos. While well fueled with “stupid fluid” he entered the Torremolinos Disco Dancing Championship. My old pal Dixon emailed asking the following, “Will the Torremolinos Disco Dancing Championship runner-up 1982 ever dance again?” The answer? Yes, when the stupid fluid flows or the band plays YMCA.