Column #HR299 Understanding “Q” School (and women)

Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Column HR299
Understanding “Q” School (and women)

There are reports circulating that the largest book ever published is the recently released “How to Understand Women – Volume I”.  The book itself is 13,248 pages with an appendix of another 2,000 pages.  The equally hefty Volume II is due out early in 2023.  After reading all 13,248 pages and appendix the Old Dart Coach has a better understanding of women than he does the PDC Qualifying School procedure (compared to which, solving the chicken and the egg quandary is a piece of cake.

Followers might ask, “How then does the ODC expect to provide insight and news of the recently concluded PDC Qualifying school?”  There is a famous baseball catcher, turned announcer, named Bob Uecker.  In baseball (which those in the Motha Country call rounders) it’s a fact that the knuckle ball is the most difficult pitch for a catcher to handle.  It’s akin to an “ant successfully having sex with an elephant” or stopping Devon Peterson in mid-dance.

Asked how he managed a knuckle ball Uecker said, “I wait till it rolls to the backstop, then pick it up.”   That’s the ODC approach to “Q” school.

Most players who obtained Tour cards for the year are unknown in North America but two are not.  Floridian Danny Baggish became the first Yank to obtain a card since Gary “The Mailman” Mawson (that could be an “upon further review” as Mawson is sometimes listed a Canadian or Can-AM).

Baggish won the 2019 North American Darts Championship when he defeated Canadian Jeff Smith in the finals 6-5 with a 20 and tops.  Now at age 37, Baggish is planning to play in the PDC full time.  While Lakeland Florida claims him as theirs, he was born in Hagåtña, Guam and chances are he was bred there also.

On the final day of Qualifying School, Baggish needed to make a run as he had garnered no points the first three days.  When he reached the last 16, he rolled 6-2, 6-5 and 6-2 which meant he needed only one leg in the final against Scott Mitchell.  Drawing level at 1 sealed the deal – although he didn’t know it until the match was over.

The international “feel good story” came via retired, many times champion Raymond van Barneveld (aka Barney) who will return to the PDC having won his tour card.  Maybe this will shut up his critics, especially the Irish moron who equates the use of foul disgusting language with actual knowledge.  Barney’s Army is back!

Both Barney and Baggish made their first appearances in the 4-day Players event in Bolton.  Baggish didn’t fare well, never reaching the top 32.  Barney emerged triumphant on Day Three.  Critics will maintain the field that day wasn’t strong.  You only beat who’s there.

Neither player survived the first day of The Ladbrokes £450,000 UK Open.  That day had four rounds that whittled the field from 151 to 32 chasing the £100,000 first place money.  The Butlin’s Minehead Resort resembled a battlefield littered with bodies of those discarded, including past champion Gary Anderson and Adrian “Big Baby” Lewis.  Baggish and Barney both got ejected 6-5 in the second round.  

Possunt Quae Volunt best describes Lisa Ashton’s first round.  Not only was it her first TV appearance for the PDC but a victory (6-2).  It the first win for a lady in the UK Open since Deta “The Queen” Headman in 2005.  Four-time Womxn (the new politically correct term for a female) world champ Aston averaged 100.3 which the PDC claims is a world record.  Out next round, the PDC’s official press release read, “…although he progress was later halted…”  Typo or breaking news?    

It was news that the only new name in the semifinals was 26-year-old Luke Humphries.  He joined James Wade, Gerwyn Price and Michael van Gerwen.

Humphries, a former youth champion, credited Michael van Gerwen for his tutelage on how to “handle big moments.”  In a “what the heck happened” moment van Gerwen and Humphries faced off in the semis.  Could be that MvG taught him a tad too much as Humphreys rolled to an 11-5 win.  Humphries streaked to a 4-1 lead with outs of 128, 132 and 108.  van Gerwen had outs of 139, 106 and 130 with a bull but to state the oblivious: “not enough of them.  Perchance van Gerwen did teach Humphreys a little too much.

James Wade is the most underrated player in the professional darts.  He’s been consistently winning while others who started with him have been cast aside, retiring to cup and slippers and warm milk at night.  On this day Wade was superb.

He took #1 Gerwyn Price to the woodshed for a good old “AK” with a 11-6 win, melting the Iceman.  Wade, the 2008 & 2011 UK champ, was in control – jump started by a 5-nil lead at the first break.  It would lead to Wade’s 24th TV final.  Asked what he said to himself at the 7-4 mark he replied, “Stop being silly and get this done.” He did.

Prior to the first dart being thrown a controversy (CON TRAV IS SEE) aroused between #3 Peter Wright and #1 Gerwyn Price about who was best.  Asked to comment, Michael van Gerwen answered, “I’m better than both and they know it.” Those matchups will have to wait for another day.

Luke Humphries will have to wait another day for his first major TV win.  James Wade, averaging 102 with a check rate of 11 for 27, had his way with his “out of gas” opponent.  Adrenalin can only carry you so far.

Wade, The Machine, was clicking along as he jumped to a 4-1 lead and was never trouble.  This would be Wade’s 10th major and third UK Open.  According to the announcers his 2008 win came against Canadian Gary Mawson.

Wade, ever the gentleman, said afterwards, “I’m enjoying it again, I think I’ve reinvented myself.  I’m very happy to be in the world of darts, it’s a great place to be when you’re winning.” Ain’t that the truth.

Possunt Quae Volunt?  “Girls who have the will have the ability.”

How to understand Womxn better?  Say, “Yes, Dear.”

Stay thirsty my friends.

 

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Howie Reed
The one and only Howie Reed (the Old Dart Coach) goes back decades with the legends of our sport - he knows where the skeletons are buried. Just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers! His widely popular column, Toeing the Oche, is a must-read.