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Column #HR193 Following Brexit, will the UK ban all vans? Will the PDC follow suit?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Column HR193
Following Brexit, will the UK ban all vans?  Will the PDC follow suit? 

A terrible accident occurred at the Palace de Old Dart Coach…

While he was pontificating upon all things darts he fell off his soapbox. Fortunately he landed on his head so not much damage was done (the same result as from his pontificating). Once the doddering ODC was returned to a upright position he decided it might be a good time to watch some darts on the PDC TV network.

The Happy Bets German Open was being streamed live. He signed in and heard a voice in German. “Holy Stuff,” he thought, or words to that effect. The match was between Benito van de Pas and Paul Nicholson. In 2011, Paul Nicholson was acting as the “bad boy of darts.” Some say he was acting like a jerk – that he wasn’t acting. Now back on tour after having recaptured his tour card he’s added the “ET” to his former nickname. Nicholson now goes by handle “The Asset.” He lost. 6-3.

The commentators on the live stream were especially good. They approached the action like a sport, obviously having done their pre-show work. During the “Marvelous” Michael van Gerwen-Ronny Huybrechts match they were a special kind of good. Huybrechts jumped out to a 2-nil lead, checking 32 each time.

Ready to go up 3-0, Huybrechts had 6 darts in hand. One dart to set up either 40 or 32. He choose 40 which proved to be a brain freeze. As Irene Maude would have said, “Always dance with the guy that brung ya.” He missed 5 at a double and van Gerwen won the leg, going on to a 6-3 win.

One announcer observed, “You have two choices. Either you let van Gerwen walk all over you or you make him mad and he kills you.”

Or had he chosen to quote from the Bible, Deuteronomy 32-4, he could have said, “When I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those that hate me.”

Those words were written before Ian White laid a 6-1 “fanny whacking” on van Gerwen in the semis. van Gerwen did miss 2 darts to extend the match. White has a 3-13 record against van Gerwen with the last win (April of 2016) a 6-nil victory.

When van Gerwen got knocked out it opened the German Open to the hottest player on the circuit, Peter “Snakebite” Wright. He jumped on the chance like the ODC does a cold Miller Genuine. In the semi-final in a meeting of the snakes Wright disposed of Jelle Klaasen 6-2. That would be “Snakebite” vs. “Cobra.”

A few weeks ago when Klaasen played countryman van Gerwen, after the match van Gerwen refused to shake hands. Of course a “kerfuffle” ensued. Most of the verbal abuse was unfairly heaped on van Gerwen. First, only a moron would shake hands with a cobra and secondly, Klassen sent a “naughty” photo to a mentally challenged girl – whose mom is van Gerwen’s lady.

Darts doesn’t need another reptile. Maybe Klaasen should change his nickname to “The Skunk.”

Wright’s final against Benito van de Pas was a barn burner. Wright led 3-1 and 5-3 when van de Pas cranked it up to draw level with a win against the darts. The “other” van from Netherlands opened the decider with a T80 finding himself with double 7 for the title. He missed, allowing Wright to erase 121 with a bull finish for the title and £25,000. This was Wrights 6th PDC title of the year.

Recently, some loyal dart people started a conversation as to who was the “best American dart player ever.” While that’s a fun game to play it’s really irrelevant. It’s silly to compare athletes in any sport from different eras. One reason is that “in the moment” sometimes trumps “memories” while the opposite is also true. Adding “most decorated” (titles won, awards) usually is not a defining factor. For those that follow soccer, without the aid of Google they probably couldn’t name the most decorated player. If you guessed Pele, Messi or Maradona you’d be wrong. The most decorated player in International Soccer (called footbol in developing countries) is Ryan Giggs of Man U. Go figure.

As the days dwindle down to the PDC’s visit to Las Vegas, July 11-14 the PDC players involved was released. Six of the eight are dart household names. Any field that includes van Gerwen, Anderson, Wright, Lewis, van Barneveld and a guy named Taylor is a must see. It’s hard to believe that Phil Taylor now ranks 7th in the Order of Merit. Yes, from the penthouse to the outhouse but still a force.

PDC Chairman Barry Hearn said: “It was our intention to inject fresh blood into the World Series of Darts this year, and this is a fantastic opportunity for Daryl (Gurney) and Max (Hopp) to showcase their talents on a global stage.” Gurney, a former Welsh Rugby player – both Union and League for those that know the difference – gets the invite off his UK Open semi-final appearance. Hopp, from Germany, is a former world youth champion.

Chairman Hearn also said, “Anyone familiar with the sport knows that the 2017 U.S. Masters will be an amazing addition to this year’s series. Those who are getting to know darts for the first time won’t find a more thrilling atmosphere than Las Vegas in July.”

It’s appropriate that the biggest stars play Las Vegas. The question is how many tickets are available? U.S. Dart Masters coordinator, Charles Peterson, said he’s sold 200 tickets with another 300 sold to visitors from the UK. Toss in another 100 or so from those North American qualifiers and a question of ticket availability comes into question. Some will balk at the prices of $40 for the North American finals, $50 for the first day of the U.S. Dart Masters, and $60 for the final. Compare this price with the cost of $39 for the World Series of Darts final to be played November 5th.

There might be some fall out when the UK exits the “Eruption” Union down the road. Would the PDC go along with a UK ban on all imported Dutch vans? Like van Gerwen, van Barneveld and now van de Pas.

Yea baby.

Stray thirsty my friends.


  • Howie Reed

    Astute, often controversial, and always humorous, the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed (a former rodeo cowboy and advertising executive), is heralded as the Dean of Darts Chroniclers - the most prolific and widely followed writer ever about our sport. He goes back decades with the legends and knows where the skeletons are buried (just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers!). Here are four well-known facts about the Old Dart Coach: 1) he is a Republican, 2) he loves the ladies, 3) he can drink most anybody under the table, and 4) he throws darts as bad as Dartoid.