Darters Storm the Palace!
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Darters Storm the Palace!
Tomorrow at 7:00 pm Greenwich Mean Time (11:00 am Las Vegas time), a resplendent John McDonald will stride onto the stage, with microphone in hand, at the Alexander Palace. (The Palace is situated between Wood Green and Muswell Hill in the London Borough of Haringey.)
When McDonald says, “Let’s Get This Party Started” the 2021-2022 PDC World Championship will be under way.
The PDC World Championship is a combination of sport, no-host cocktail party and dress up “do” spread from the end of 2021 (December 15) and the beginning of 2022. It’s a multi-ring darting circus. There will be millions of tales to tell with songs to be sung, mostly “Hey Baby” and “There’s Only One Phil Taylor.”
The reader may have noticed that (and wondered why) the Old Dart Coach inserted the names “Muswell Hill” and “circus” into the opening paragraphs. He’s terribly clever and sneaky guy…
Muswell Hill was the home of the BDO from whence the World Championships sprang in 1978. That year, the late Leighton Rees would best Mr. John Lowe 11 legs to 7 to win the princely sum of £10,500 (as Mr. Lowe banked £1,700). Could they have been splitting? There is that chance.
This year the winner will take home £500,000.
Those championships were held in the Heart of the Midlands nightclub, then Jollees in Stroke before moving to the Lakeside in 1986. When the players spilt in 1994 the PDC championship was held at Purfleet’s Circus Tavern in Essex. The move to the Aly Pally came in 2008. The BDO Championships left the Lakeside in 2020 for the O2 Arena in London, then went belly up.
The World Darts Federation returns to the Lakeside, taking over the BDO World Championship, now the WDF World Championship. They kick off January 1 when Yank Leonard Gates plays the second match against Johnny Haines. Day 1 also has both Darlene van Sleeuwen and Rory Hansen from “Oh Canada” in the spotlight.
America’s Paula Murphy takes the stage January 2 against Veronika Ihasz of Hungary and Kevin Luke faces Brit Steve Hine. Also on Day 2, Canada’s David Cameron and Shawn Burttoeing toe the oche.
Deta “The Queen” Headman gets the #1 seed, bolstered by a win in the Czech Open and runner up to Anastasia Dobromyslova in the Irish Open. The ODC likes “Miracle” Mikuru Suzuki, the two-time champion, to become a 3-time champion, collecting £25,000.
One of the most memorable World Championship moments came in 1983. Qualifier Keith Deller snatched victory from the hands of defeat against Eric Bristow. Deller had beaten #3 Jocky Wilson and #2 Mr. John Lowe. The final was level at 5 sets and legs were even in the decider. Bristow passed up a dart at the bull to win and instead tossed 16 to leave 32. Deller wanted 138. Piece of cake – T20, T18, d12. “Thank you, sign my card, I win,” could have said Deller.
Fallon Sherrock became the “Queen of the Palace” for her pair of wins two years ago. This year, she draws The Bronzed Adonis (Steve Beaton) whose year would have to improve to be terrible. If a new Queen is crowned (ladies only – men optional) it would have to be Lisa Ashton – she’ll face #54 Ron Meulenkamp. Ashton needs two wins to avoid Q School next year.
The original Queen of the Palace was the late Stacy Bromberg who in 2010 won the only PDC Women’s Championship 6-5 over Tricia Wright. By far the King of the Palace and most everywhere else was Phil Taylor with 16 World Championships. He had a runs of 8 and 5 on the trot, both broken by Canada’s John Part.
Being parochial, as the ODC can sometimes be: what is the possibility that a North American could emerge as King?
Zero. Zip, Nada.
But they’ll give it the old college try.
Canada’s Matt Campbell faces two-time champion, #35 Adrian Lewis, whose stock has fallen faster than President Biden’s approval rating. Oche Puck Jeff Smith gets #34 Ross Smith in a battle of the Smiths. While Ross Smith has one Player’s Championship win this year, a win for Jeff Smith is in the cards. Yank Danny Lauby draws the always tough William O’Conner who always impresses during World Cup then fades. He’ll be favored as he made the last 64 last year but one’s got to like Danny for the upset.
No World Championship would be complete without Leong Hwa (aka Paul Lim) – as he makes his 25th visit. His best result was a second round loss to runner-up Gary Anderson in 2018. Lim drew #95 Joe Murnan of Bolton. Murnan has had a so-so year without a win with only one top 16 in a Players Championship. A Lim win would put him in the second round against Nathan Aspinall, the #10 seed. Don’t bet against the “ageless wonder” as he marches on leading Lim’s Legions.
Predicting a winner at the Ally Pally should begin, so it will…
…by eliminating last year’s champion – as no one has repeated since “Gary Gary” Anderson in 2016 (Anderson also has two runner ups in 2017 and 2021, losing both times 7-3).
“The winner will come from one of the 11 seeds,” writes Captain Oblivious…
Toss out #3 seed Michael van Gerwen (4-1) who lately has chocked more times than Debbie when she did Dallas.
#4 James Wade has his moments but when down loses interest.
Eliminate any player not a POM.
#5 Dimitri van der Bergh is out as no “farang” has won the World Championship since John Part in 2008 (Simon Whitlock was runner up in 2010).
It would be fun to tout “The Special One,” #7 José de Sousa, except for the “POM only rule.”
It’s a well-known fact that the ODC goes where angels fear to tread. He’s also called a “chalk eating weasel” like his pal Slopes for betting on favorites.
He’s predicting the final four will be Gerwyn Price (7/2), Peter Wright (6/1), Johnny Clayton (6-1) and Gary Anderson (25-1).
Fortunately, the ODC doesn’t listen to his own advice so is touting Gerwyn Price to repeat as the PDC World Champion. He will have his way with Jonny Clayton who starts fast, then fades after the second break. Peter Wright will start slow against Clayton, losing but still collecting £100,000 as will Gary Anderson when he starts slow against Gerwyn Price, then tappers off with a “kick ass” loss.
How good is the ODC at predicting winners? Well, he took the Axis and points in World War II. And predicted a win for Lewis Hamilton with one lap left at the most recent Formula 1 Grand Prix. Just saying.
Stay thirsty my friends.