Column #HR330 A plan gone awry

Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Column HR330
A plan gone awry

Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote in To a Mouse, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men.  Gang aft a-gley”.

Recently, the Old Dart Coach was a victim as his plans went “a-gley”.  The plan?  To write a detailed report on the Camellia Classic and a brief comment on the PDC’s Interwetten International Darts Open in Riesa, Germany.

Then, Robert Burns’ words became reality.  With no real time information on the Camellia available it was on to Plan B, which the ODC didn’t have.

When the Interwetten International Darts Open got to the round of 8 there was only one non-ranked player still alive.  Dancing Dimitri Van den Bergh fell to Jonny Clayton 6-4, failing to finish as he only checked 4 of 25.  Nathan Aspinall (#16) moved on with a 6-2 win over James Wade.  The ODC takes some of the blame for Wade’s loss, having previously called him “underrated” and “really good.”  The ODC hex lives on!  The truth is Wade averaged 99.89 which finished second to Aspinall’s smoking 102 – including a 115-check and finishing 6/7.

Gerwyn Price found himself down 3-4 as his finishing was horrid.  From there he never missed a double winning three on the trot in 13, 14 and 11 darts (93, T80, T80 with 48 out in 2).

Peter Wright reached the quarters with a sloppy 6-2 win over Niko Springer.  His outfit had more colors than a big box of Crayolas.  As he was doing his post-match interview a fly landed on his head.  Now we know that flies land on honey or ****.  And Wright’s uniform wasn’t honey.

Whomever wrote the script for the semifinals did one hell of a job.  Both Price and Wright came back from the “almost brink of defeat” where one leg made the difference.

Nathan Aspinall was on a roll and playing as well as he has in ages.  He jumped to a 3-0 advantage in 13, 14 and 14 darts.  Price got one back in 12 with 80, 135, T80 with a 106 finish.  Then it was 3-2 in 11 darts (T80, 140, 141 – bye-bye 40).  Then it became 3-3.  Aspinall got plowed 7-3.

Jonny Clayton is the “come from behind guy” as he starts slow and then picks up steam – so when he jumped to a 3-0 lead on a subdued Peter Wright the ODC could hear taps in the background.  Then Old Mo (as in momentum) donned a multi-colored headpiece and took over.  Wright took 7 on the trot when Clayton missed one dart each to win two legs and three to win another.  On this day, Wright killed the Ferret in a brutal way.  Only two things can kill a ferret: fruit and vegetables.  Wright was a peach.

There have been better finals but not on this day.  On this day, Price was nearly perfect taking the final 8-4, collecting £25,000 and holding onto the top spot in the PDC rankings. Both had averages above 106 with Price edging Wright 106.95 to 106.74.  An example of score for show but check for dough.

Price was 8 for 9 and 11 of 12 counting the semis.  Wright was a miserable 4/16.  The only check Price missed was in leg 1, which he won anyway.  Wright had chances as he missed 7 of 7 darts to win 4 legs which could have turned things around.   Those missed doubles resulted in checks by Price of 108, 81 and 80.  There was only one ugly leg – that of 19 darts.  Price had an 11-darter where he took 86 in 2, then finished things with a 12-dart classic (137, 134, T with T30 finish of 20, T20, dead bull).  Afterwards, Price would tell Wright: “You’ll have to wait another week to become world number one.”

Next week is the Cazoo UK Open with almost as many entrants as Wilt Chamberlin had female conquests.  Just kidding as there are 158 all chasing the £100,000 that’s goes to the winner.

Among the entrants are North Americans good guys Matt Campbell and Jeff Smith of Canada joined by Jules van Dongen, Danny Lauby and Danny Baggish of the USA.  All will be in action on day 1 when play will extend over 8 different stages.

The scene (to be polite) will be Charlie Foxtrot.

Can Wright replace Price as Numero Uno?  Yes.  Price is defending £20,000 while Wright is defending £7,500.  Those winnings disappear from the money list after the UK Open.  Price currently leads Wright by £6,250.  If Price reaches the quarter finals as does Wright, the latter will take a slim lead.  Maybe…

Just a guess, but it appears that the Camellia Classic took a bath.  The combined ’01 men’s and women’s singles had 40 entrants at $26 dollars yielding $1,040 – but $6,780 dollars in prize money. In the Classic Men’s ’01 the “Soldier,” Leonard Gates, continued to take no prisoners with another win.  He took out Jeff Springer 5-4 for a $1,200 payday – his third Camellia win ’01 win.

The Titian Tornado, Paula Murphy, blew into Sacramento for the Camelia Classic winning the ’01 Women’s Classic.  There were just 8 competitors.  Murphy entered the final 8-0, then finished with a 5-3 win over Lisa Yee.

Murphy is ranked #6 in the WDF, a mere 10 points behind #5 Fallon Sherrock. Murphy could pass Sherrock at the WDF World Championships as Sherrock is not entered.  Murphy’s first match is against unranked Veronika Ihasz of Hungary.  A win would set up a round 2 meeting with teen wunderkind, Beau Greaves.  Greaves has evidently overcome the “yikes” as she beat Fallon Sherrock 7-5 recently.

One aspect of darts is that it’s often passed down from parents to offspring.  The best-known family is the Nicolls.  From dad Bill and mom Ellie they begat Billy Jr., Julie and Timmy.  All made their mark in America…

Julie was a winner of both the North American and, as a teenager, the Golden Gate Classic where she beat the original Queen of Darts Maureen Flowers.

Now comes the late Timmy’s son, Gavin.  For years, Timmy paired up with Larry “The Eagle” Butler.  Butler was a mentor.  Now Butler is doing the same for Gavin…

Last weekend, they won the 501 doubles 2-1.  Down 0-1, a pair of 16-darters secured the 2-1 win.  In their first leg win Gavin tossed 85-135, then tossed 56 leaving 40 which Butler took out.  Then Gavin went 135, 174, 26 – leaving 16 which Butler erased.

One can almost hear Timmy from Tungsten Heaven saying to Butler, “Now Galvin can carry you.  His legs are young.”  (Timmy learned the art of the Mickey from his dad.)

Condolences to Nancy and the kids and grandkids on the passing of Tom Carroll from cancer.  He battled to the very end.  He was one hell of a dart player, a great teammate for many years and a dear friend.  The Lord’s getting someone special.  God Bless.

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.
Howie Reed

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