Column #HR32 Merry Christmas from the Old Dart Coach – and Mel Torme!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Merry Christmas from the Old Dart Coach – and Mel Torme!
The Old Dart Coach on this Christmas Eve won’t be much help in this effort as he is suffering a severe case of the “Whips and Jingles.” This condition, also known as the “Ws and the Js,” was brought on by copious amounts of stupid fluid taken orally before, during and after the Las Vegas Bowl football game. He is expected to recover before Santa arrives so he can sing along with Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.”
For the 32 players who are no longer in the World Championships at London’s Alexandra Palace, called the Ally Pally, they’ll have a year to recover from exiting after first round play. With a total prize fund of £1 million this is the time to be at the top of your game or suffer the consequences.
That was the question that Phil Taylor had to answer in his first round match with Gary Mawson who plays out of the USA. Did he answer? Well, yes and no. Mawson said prior to the match, “He’s past his prime. I’m going to pull the biggest upset.” Mawson is half right as Phil Taylor, while probably not past his prime, sure didn’t deliver “prime darts” against the former mailman from Toronto. He did deliver an 88 average and some sloppy finishing but got the “W.” Sure Taylor won 3 sets to nil but after “some prime” cruising in the first set 3-0 he struggled taking the next two sets by 3-2. Mawson and Taylor both missed a pocketful of doubles at times finishing like two guys from a beginners league. Mawson set up the match with Taylor beating the lone Philippines entry Juanito Gionson 4 legs to 1 in a preliminary round. Taylor’s win set up a possible match with former Champion John Part.
That won’t happen as Part got bounced by Denmark’s Per Laursen who had won a preliminary round earlier in the day. For the three times World Champion Part it was his second first round exit in three years. This time he went out 3-0 (3-2, 3-1, 3-2) after leading 2-1 in the first set. The frank speaking Dane said after, “I think it’s the biggest win I’ve had. He had a lot of darts at doubles and I punished him.” Be interesting to see what he says after Taylor although his honesty is refreshing.
James Wade is one that is always honest. If some don’t like his answers they shouldn’t ask the questions. After his easy win in the first round he was asked how his draw looked down the line. “I don’t know. I haven’t looked at it.”
“But you have to have looked ahead to maybe a meeting with Barney?”
So much for that interview.
As a “on a given day sport” there were some surprises during the eight days of the first round. One was Mark Hylton taking out Steve Beaton 3-2 (3-2, 2-3, 3-2, 2-3, 3-1) who had played well in taking out Phil Taylor at the recent Grand Slam. Not a surprise, maybe, was the fact that Dennis “Like Wine Gets Better” Priestley dropped just two legs in three sets appearing in his 21st World Championship. “When I set off in 1991 I wasn’t as nervous then as I (am) now, 20 years on. I thought it would get easier when I got older but it hasn’t. I’m more unpredictable now and I could do a 100 average, but I could be well below that and I’m more inconsistent, and that leaves a doubt in my mind.” Next up for Priestly is Scot Gary Anderson. “The last time I played Gary I beat him but this is a longer format and I need to bring my A-game onto stage.”
Second round action starts Monday December 27th at 1:00 pm GMT. GMT? Computer folk, which include geezers like the ODC and people without real lives, can watch by going to Justin TV and then clicking where it says to click.
ADVICE? NO THANK YOU?
Having recovered somewhat from the “Ws and the Js,” the Old Dart Coach wants everyone to know that he’s happy because his two pals Denis “The Heat” Ovens and “Rocket” Ronnie Baxter will be playing in the round of 32. That Christmas present was tempered however by an article in a recent issue of BEN. BEN is a quality dart publication that fired the ODC back in the day. Silly folk they.
Even though the ODC hasn’t read the article he knows what’s included and couldn’t care less. It’s another of those “this is what you should do for darts in America” stories from the other side of the pond. Anne Kramer posted an answer on her website at Anne Kramer’s Reply to Dick Allix.
The English for some reason seem to be of the opinion that all that’s necessary is for them to speak – the “subjects” then follow and everything is “peachy keen.” Don’t work that way and hasn’t since we told old King George where he could put his Tea Tax. That’s right where the sun doesn’t shine… in Boston Harbor.
The PDC was not exactly going gangbusters until Barry Hearn came on the scene. He had television connections, an ability to attract sponsors and promotional talent. He probably knew “Jack Squat” about darts but did know about making money. He did so with snooker and boxing.
The article may have included the information that the PDC has given up on America. Not North America as they’ll still have a tournament in Hockey Puck Land next year. Well America gave up on the PDC a long time ago.
As Ms. Kramer points out, “they came to our sandbox to play.” They came with their rules set up for “their” players. It’s always all about them.” They came to pillage, rape and plunder, assuming (one can only guess) that the natives would worship their godlike abilities while paying tribute with Coin of the Realm. They took over the North American, Windy City and Peachtree Opens – that are all now in the bone yards of dead tournaments. Nice job guys. You take something that works and break it.
It had to be the English way or no way. Guess what? It was and it is. Put that in your watercress and cucumber sandwich.
And oh yes, it’s not a flipping biscuit it’s a cookie!
Always the self serving cling-on individual, the ODC also wants it known that he was asked by 91.5FM Radio in Phuket to name his favorite Christmas songs. Each Wednesday Mr. David Brook and Doris the DJ (he’s a Scot and a guy which might explain using the name Doris) host a chat show seeking input from celebrities from throughout the world. 91.5FM is “The Sound in the Land of Smiles.”
The ODC’s favorite Christmas song is “The Christmas Song” as sung by Nat King Cole. The opening lyric is “Chestnuts roasting on a open fire… Jack Frost nipping at your nose.” The song was written by the late Mel Tormé and Bob Wells during a blazing hot summer in 1944 in Southern California. “We wanted something cool,” said Tormé.
The ODC, always cool, ordered that this space end with the last line from The Christmas Song: “Although it’s been said many times, many ways, Merry Christmas to you.”