Column #HR319 American Royal Darts Family loses a Prince… PDC finds a Queen

Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Column HR319
American Royal Darts Family loses a Prince… PDC finds a Queen

Yes, the Old Dart Coach has been absent while celebrating Thanksgiving here in the Colonies.  The guess is that the same holiday is celebrated in the UK but for a different reason.  We celebrate for the bountiful glories of the life in the USA (Editor’s note: It’s an old holiday and traditions die hard.)

In the UK they celebrate giving the “Heave Ho” to us.

Darts players should be giving thanks to the PDC and the £1.5 million that was deposited into player’s pockets in just the past few weeks.  As the late US Senator from Illinois, Everett McKinley Dirksen, once said, “a hundred thousand here and a hundred thousand there… pretty soon you have real money.”

In less than 10 days Peter “Snakebite” Wright went from “Good Golly, Ms. Molly” to “Let the Good Times Roll.” The darting experts were pontificating upon the fact that Wright was yesterday’s news.  In essence they were proclaiming that Wright, at an advanced age of 51, was facing the situation where the “sand had run out of his darting hourglass.”  NO snarking comments about the sand settling just above his waistline.  NOT allowed.

In the Cazoo Grand Slam Wright wasn’t the star even though he finished second to winner Gerwyn Price – who bagged his third Grand Slam of Darts title.  Price won the title with a convincing 16-8 triumph over Wright.  One would think that Price with his impressive display would be the star of the show.  “Nay!  Nay!” yell the multitudes.  The star of the event was a 27-year-old lady from Milton Keynes – Ms. Fallon Sherrock.

The PDC chooses to call her the Queen of the Palace for her play in last year’s PDC World Championships at the Ally Pally.  The ODC, because this is his column and he can do most anything he damn well pleases, calls her the Femme Fatale.  That term is sometimes used to describe “a maneater or vamp, beautiful, and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers.” Ms. Sherrock uses her darting ability and grace to force darters to say, “I played well but Fallon played better.”  Her performance at the Grand Slam stole the show.

The Grand Slam is unique – aside of the £550,000 available with £125,000 to the winner, like the Mafia every player gets a “sniff.” There are four groups with two seeded players each joined by two others.  After round robin play the top two move on.  Those that don’t move on still collect £7,500 for 3rd in the group while 4th gets £4,000. A group winner collects an extra £3,500.  Every player gets an early Christmas present.

The group stage was played first to five or best of 9, whatever one chooses.  The format screamed out for drama with more escapes from death than “little Eva on the tracks with the train coming” thanks to Simon Legree.

Sherrock was featured in most.

In round one Sherrock took out youngster Mike De Decker 5-0.  Then, a loss followed by a must win against German giant Gabriel Clemens to advance and by 2 legs.

Sherrock started behind early, 3-1 in the race to 5, queuing the Fat Lady to lick her lips as she readied to sing.  With the cool nonchalant demeanor of a Mafia hitman, she used 12 darts followed by a 141 to level the score.  That was followed with a double top for a 4-3 lead.  In the decider, Clemens logged a T64 to leave a one dart double as Sherrock was entrenched at T70.  Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, like little Eva on the train tracks Ms. Sherrock made a miraculous escape!

When Sherrock was interviewed by a gushing female “reporter” (the term reporter is questionable) who asked, “How did you did you do it?” the ODC was praying for the following answer: “Well I hit triple 20, then another triple 20 and a double bull.”

Sherrock gave the standard, “I don’t even know how I did that.”

Next up, Sherrock faced Mensur Suljovic who she defeated in last year’s World Championship.  Suljovic took the first two legs in the race to 10.  After Sherrock used 11 darts, followed by a 124-check to draw level she never looked back as Suljovic developed a case of the “whips and jingles,” losing 10-5.

The quarters finals found Sherrock against an in-form Peter Wright.  She would take 3 of the first four legs when Wright woke up.  It was close the entire match and Sherrock actually had a chance to level at 14 when Wright took out 115, then one more for the 16-13 win. During the match Wright had 14 180s, averaged 100.33 with runs of 11, ten and 11 darts.

Dear dart writer: please stop referring to Fallon Sherrock as a “lady dater.” She is a “Dart Player.”

Gerwyn Price was in fine fettle as he opened a large can of “WA,” defeating Peter Wright 16-8 in a match that wasn’t that close. At 4-3 Price, Wright was as close as he would ever get.  Price averaged 103 and a meaningless .90 for which he collected £128,500.  The Grand Slam begat the Ladbrokes Players Championship.

This time Peter Wright had the stage all to himself.  He reached the final after defeating Michael van Gerwen and Johnny Layton by scores of 10-6 and 11-6.  van Gerwen does seem to be “off the boil” – combating head games, which is never good.

In the final Weight faced one of the ODC’s new favorites in Ryan Searle.  Searle, built like a lumber jack with long flowing hair, has a throw as smooth as a baby’s bottom.  He does have a problem in that he can’t see too well which would indicate that maybe he should play with a seeing eye dog.

To reach the final Searle won a nail biter against Daryl Gurney 10-9, followed by an easy 11-6 win over a very in on form Brendan Dolan.

Wright would win 11-10 but almost gave it away at 10-9 when he busted 124.  Next up, he had one dart to finish 124 again but missed the double.  Searle accepted the gift to level at 10.  Weight started the final leg with T80 then whittled down the score until he was at 62.  Searle applied the pressure with a T74 to leave 24.  Wright nailed a d16 for the title.

The American darting scene lost one of its best on Saturday.  Just days after his 53rd birthday, Timmy Nicoll succumbed to the ravages of pancreatic cancer after a long hard battle – nothing less than such a courageous battle would have been expected by anyone that faced him on the dart board.  Chainsaw Joe Cheney wrote, “Timmy is absolutely hands down my favorite person I’ve ever met.”

From John Part, “America’s darts royal family lost a prince and crown jewel this past weekend.  A mix of talent, tenacity and heart, Timmy Nicoll not only left us his great example, but a smile that shines eternal.  RIP.”

Tip a cold one for Timmy.

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.