Column #HR335 Darters invade Beach… but first, a FREE ANNA update!

Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Column HR335
Darters invade Beach… but first, a FREE ANNA update!

FREE ANNA!  As is now widely known, the World Darts Federation has banned Anastasia Dobromyslova from their “We want a World Championship Too” tournament.  Their only semi-legitimate “defense” is that they are a member of the Alliance of Independent Members of Sport (AIMS) which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).  AIMS is an organization primarily engaged in anti-doping.  In reading the WDF “defense one” can hear Cousin Vinny Gambini questioning Ms. Mona Lisa Vito:

“Ms. Lisa Vito, does the defense’s case holds water?”

“No!  The defense is wrong!”

The WDF is hiding under their resident mushroom.  Few defenders have come forward.  Three from the USA have…

One lady put it bluntly: I am completely okay with the WDF banning her.  This was “bolstered” by another lady: I am too – the only way this stops is by the Russian people standing up to their government and they aren’t doing that without pressure.  From Boston, Good – ban all of them, hoping they do it in the NHL also.  (His Bruins have no Russian players.)

USA’s Holly Young hit a 9-darter.  She should have the right to play under the Russian flag period!  Does no one understand that you don’t punish citizens of a country for the actions of their governments?  Imagine if we were punished for the actions of ours!

Canadian pro Jeff Smith reminds the WDF that it’s requited to operate under UK law.  That may be a surprise to the WDF.  The 2010 Equality Act clearly negates the WDF ruling.    

The Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the grounds of any of these characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion/belief, sex (gender) and sexual orientation.

This weekend, North American darters make their annual pilgrimage to Virginia for the 35th annual Virginia Beach Classic.  The Tidewater Area Darts Association (TADA) was one of the founders of the ADO (the American Darts Organization, for those who care) and unlike the ADO is still going strong.

In 2021, some complained of late night/early morning play.  Tournament Director Paula Duritza Bushey explains, (with) WDF sanction we tried our best to abide by their rules.  Honestly, we didn’t have the bandwidth to police the drinking (even though we tried) because we had multiple events (doubles and singles) going on at the same time.  (NO WDF points this year.)

There was a sighting last Thursday night in Nottingham during Premier League.  No, it wasn’t a pair of party goers dressed as Robin Hood and chick Maiden Marian doing the horizontal mambo.  Actually, someone named Gary Anderson actually played like the Gary Anderson of yesteryear.  Anderson’s play in the Premier League had been dreadful with only a single match registered in the win column.

On Thursday night it, at first, looked like the “same ole” Anderson when he allowed a 5-3 lead in the opener against Jonny Clayton to morph to 5-5 when he missed from 100 trying the 20, d20, d20 for a 6-4 win.  Anderson did win after missing 3 from 36, which was followed as Clayton missed the bull from 128.  An Anderson d8 got the “W”.

Michael Smith continued his climb out of the cellar with wins against James Wade (6-1) and Gerwyn Price (6-4).  Against Wade the only leg lost was in 14 darts when Smith didn’t have a double.  He won the last three in 13, 12 and 13 darts.  Smith got by Gerwyn Price (6-4) who had reached the semis after beating Michael van Gerwen (6-4).  Against van Gerwen, Price was brilliant averaging 102.7, finishing 6 of 8.

Price came out “smokin’” – jumping to a 4-0 lead over Smith.  To that point, neither player was particularly competent on doubles.  Price missed one to go 5-0 up opening a can of WA for Smith to utilize – as he capitalized on good play and Price’s inability to finish.  It got to 2-4 when Price couldn’t convert with 6 from 86.  Smith checked 106 to level at 4 – then taking the last two while denying Price a double.

The first leg of the final, a 10-darter (T40, T80, T65, d8) by Anderson, validated the case for the old Anderson.  It was vintage as Andersen’s darts entered the board with point down, flight up, dead center leading to a 5-2 advantage.  After losing 2, Anderson came close to losing the 10th leg, missing 2 from 68.  Smith got to 30 when a T50 hat trick (50, 50, 20) failed.  An Anderson d4 ended it.

It was a Saturday-Sunday double dipper for a Players Championship.  Gary Anderson was fixing for a double.  Anderson met van Gerwyn in the round of 64 winning 6-4 from 4-2 down.  Chris Dobey with a 3/14 finishing rate had no chance as Anderson prevailed 6-3.

Joe Cullen had won 19 straight Players Championship matches.  Anderson ended that with a 7-3 thumping averaging 104.23 and a trip to the finals.  Damon Heta has been accused of stealing Dennis Ovens’ sobriquet “The Heat” and Keith Deller’s walk on “Things Can Only Get Better.”  Then he stole Gary Anderson’s opportunity to repeat his Thursday Premier League win.

Heta started off T80, winning in 12.  After 6, they were level with darts of 12, 13, 12, 13, 14 and 12, including the Anderson’s T16 to level at 3.  Heta would break to level at 4 with a 146 (t19, t19, d16) – adios in 15.

Heta then held with a T01 finish (19, t14, d20) after Anderson missed 2 from 96.

Heta’s lead would grow to 6-4 (with darts) in 10 darts (T40, T80, T65, d8).  A pair of 14 darters would draw Anderson even at 6.

Heta turned up “The Heat” winning in 12, then finishing in 14 after Anderson missed d20 to extend – losing 8-6.  Heta averaged 107.12 to Andersons 102.32.

Sunday?  Que Dinah Washington singing “What a Difference a Day Makes”.  The darting venue was littered with big name darters…

Out at 128 were Anderson and Wright.  Cross, Cullen, Gurney were gone at 32.  Clayton lasted to 16.  Michael van Gerwen escaped by taking the day off as the Lord once did.   That left the door wide open for a first-time winner.

Jim Williams from Wales stepped through the door.

After dropping the opener to Ricky Evans, Williams would build a 3-1 lead, which Evans tied.  Williams again built a 2-leg lead using a pair of 16-darters which disappeared after each held serve.

Evans leveled at 6.  Williams regained the lead 7-6 with a 12- darter (T40, T80, T and 81-out) which is an average of 125.25 should someone ask.

What proved to be the decider could be found in the dictionary under UGLY.  The pair combined for 18 missed doubles with d1 claiming 6.  Williams won 8-6 in 25 darts.  No penalty for winning ugly.

Mr. Williams collected his first win and £12,000.

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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