Column #HR339 Third time’s the charm – not always!

Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Column HR339
Third time’s the charm – not always!

There’s a fine line between an average sportsman and a good one.  The good ones always forget a bad shot or play.  Like the song recorded by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, “You got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive, e-lim-i-nate the negative.”  But then there are some NFL defensive backs and their ex-girlfriends – with short memories.  It’s encapsulated in, “I meant it when I said it.”

What the Sam Hill does this have to do with darts?  When Adam invented the game, while Eve was out looking for more apples, he had three sticks in his hand to kill the snake that was encouraging Eve to eat apples.  Poor old Adam worn out.  He missed with the first two but, remaining positive, nailed the snake with the third.  The third time was the charm.

James Wade played in three Premier League finals this year.  He came up short in the first two, losing to Michael van Gerwen and Jonny Clayton.  Before 12,000 well-lubricated fans in Manchester, he finally got the win plus the £10,000 bonus.  On his way to the final, he disposed of an “out of form” Gary Anderson and Gerwyn Price both by scores of 6-2.

Wade fell behind (0-2) facing Joe Cullen who had found double magic going 10 for 19 beating Michael Smith (6-2) and Jonny Clayton (6-3).  Wade finally saw a double, reeling off legs of 13, 14 and 14 to take a 3-2 lead.  They would tie at 3, 4 and 5.  Each time, Wade came back to regain the lead with legs of 11 and 17 for the 6-5 win.  James Wade is the master of the #10.  He used 3 for the wins.  “He’s around number #10 more than Boris Johnson.”

It would seem logical for Wade to be the King of Manchester on this evening.  The Dart God (Tungsten Tillie) had stepped in earlier.  She actually stopped the crowd from singing, forcing attention on the stage.  “Who would have thunk it?”

Michael van Gerwen and Jonny Clayton engaged in a contest for the ages.  The raw scoring numbers for the 11 legs were 35 Ton-plus scores including 20 T40s and 5 T80s – with 4 of the 11 checkouts over 100.  The scoring averages were van Gerwen 105.14 and Clayton 109.1.

Clayton broke on top 2-0 in 13 and 15 – the 15 with a 110-check with MvG on 70.  The Dutchman would get one leg back when he checked 152 (T20, T20, d16) following a Clayton missed bull.  van Gerwen leveled at 2, checking 131 (T20, T13, d16) after Clayton missed tops.  van Gerwen took his first lead (3-2) in 13 darts on a 3-0 run.

Clayton leveled at 3 as MvG couldn’t make 32 disappear with 3.  Following a 112 finish (T20, 12, d20) in 12, van Gerwen retook the lead 4-3.  Clayton answered in 14 darts, checking 96.  MvG would win the 9th leg.  He needed d20 after Clayton had tossed T80 leaving 28.  The 5-4 lead disappeared as van Gerwen missed the bull for a 164 check presenting Clayton a chance to finish with 80.  He did.

The decider was cracker.  van Gerwen, going first, after 9 darts had 115 left (T21-T40, T25 = 115).  Clayton also with 9 wanted 71 (T80, T25, T25).  Van Gerwen threw 25, T18 and missed the d18.  Clayton coolly erased 71 with T13 to leave 32 which he missed and but nailed the third dart.  Third time’s the charm.

The Old Dart Coach turned in the 2022 Interwetten German Darts Grand Prix.   Two well fed Irish lasses in green with little wavy things on their heads were leading the German crowd singing, “Sweet Caroline.”  One said, “This is the greatest moment of my life.”  That would have been the highlight when up jumped the semifinal between Luke Humphries and Michael van Gerwen…

You’ve read that van Gerwen brought out the best of Johnny Crayton.  He did the same for Luke Humphries.  Humphries plowed van Gerwen 7-0.

1st leg “Cool Hand’ took out 109 (T20, 17, d16) in 15 darts. Then, another 15-darter.  Third leg – 14 darts.  Fourth leg – 12 darts, taking 98 out (20, T18, d12).  Humphries improved in the 5th leg using only 11 darts (T, T80, T40) taking 81 out (T19, d12).

At this point, van Gerwen (after missing his only double in leg 1) bent over.  The announcers said, “He’s pulling up his socks.” Actually, be wanted to make sure he still had them.

Humphries got the 6th leg in 14 darts which should have been 13 but he missed one at tops. The decider was a sloppy 17-darter.

Consider that in 7 legs Humphries had 12 sores of 100+ and an average of 107.36.  In the final against Martin Lukeman with the 8-2 win Humphries was proved human averaging 92.07.  Humphries collected a £25,000 payday for his efforts as Lukeman banked his biggest as a pro with £10,000.

The PDC announced the traveling road show, US Dart Masters, will hit New York City June 3-4 at the Hulu Theatre.  Coming from the Motha Country will be Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price, Michael van Gerwen, Fallon Sherrock, James Wade, Michael Smith, Gary Anderson and Jonny Clayton.  North America will have Danny Baggish, Jules van Dongen, Jeff Smith and Matt Campbell with the four other qualifiers coming from a Friday, May 13 event.  Friday the 13th?  Good luck.

Why would Fallon Sherrock be included – as a case can be made for #7 Jose de Sousa?

The PDC is about putting “asses in seats” and mass media exposure.  Playing in Woke New York the media will go bananas over Sherrock.  One dart fan contacted PDC commentator Rod Studd stating if “she was a man she wouldn’t be in.”  Studd replied, “Is this white male complaint about a women getting a chance?  Do me a favor.”

I’ll do you a favor Rod, “Sierra Tango Foxtrot Uniform.”

The US Darts Masters played three times in Las Vegas.  The media coverage wasn’t national.  So, the PDC traded Las Vegas’ friendly atmosphere, low visitor cost, lot’s to do, $6 beers and somewhat reasonable hotel rates for New York City.  Not to mention low crime rates on the Las Vegas Strip.

New York City is less than friendly, has sky-high costs, offers a good chance of getting mugged and a beer will run you $15 on a good day – all this for media coverage!

For Las Vegas the third time wasn’t the charm.

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.