Column #HR344 A new Axiom?

Wednesday, May 24, 2022
Column HR344
A new Axiom?

The Old Dart Coach loves axioms.  “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t teach it to fish.” “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but you can’t make him drink.”

New axiom, “You can’t beat your opponent until you beat yourself.”

Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith have beaten themselves out of Premier League title competition.  Price should study Pogo: “We have met the enemy and it is me.”  Poor playing?  Like in Joe Biden’s world, “It’s someone else’s fault.”  Next, Price will blame Putin.

“Playing three games a night doesn’t give you time to regroup.”  How would he know?  He lost first round 9 times, second round 4, withdrew once and won once.

Price’s chandelier’s missing some bulbs.  “I need Premier League to hurry up and finish.  I can get on just knuckling down.  Premier League takes it out of you.”

If £275,000 for a PL win isn’t enough to knuckle down for, what is?

Price’s current 6th place will yield £70,000.  Call Bobby George to cry about only £70,000 for 14 exhibitions.  George would work four exhibitions a day for a pound, a pint and a plate of Indian.  If he stopped for gas on the way home and there were 10 people, he’d do a 5th.

Price and “has been” Adrian “Big Baby” Lewis got onto a verbal kerfuffle at the Czech Open.  Separated by Referee Russ Bray, the PDC take was “much to do about nothing.”  PDC TV voice, Laura Turner: “Adrian does now how to get under players skin.”

USA translation: “He’s a jerk.”  Going with Price this time.

Then, there’s Michael Smith.  Playing like a world champion, he misses a few darts and then “Chuckle-headed Morris” arrives and is shocked that darts are not supplied.  Smith needs a sports psychiatrist.

“Calling Dr. Batten, calling Dr. Linda Batten.  STAT – report to Michael Smith’s practice room.”

What drama there was at the O2 in London – including who would finish top of the PL table, whether Joe Cullen, Gerwyn Price or Michael Smith could advance to the final four and whether Peter Wright would hang on to 4th.

Answers came quickly.

Following John McDonald’s best impression of Ed McMahon with a “Herrrrrrrrrre’s Jonny,” the Ferret Clayton attacked Price dressed as a Cobra, breaking into a 5-1 lead.   Price showed some life with a T27 for 2-5.  Price needed 15 darts to grab one back after Clayton missed the Red Bull on a 118-check, getting green.  Clayton closed in 17, wining 6-3.

Clayton’s win assured him top spot on the PL table as he tries to repeat as champion.  Three others finishing on top went on win: Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor and “where’s he now?” Glen Durrant.

Michael Smith, dichotomy personified, was a longshot to beat Michael van Gerwen who will finish second in the PL Table.

The good Smith came out smoking with a 3-1 lead.  Going for a 4-1 win, the bad Smith arrived.  Wanting T70, Smith fell 25 short with a green bull.  MvG was way back at 244 so Smith used 8 to check from 25.  MvG got 1 for 2-4.  Smith reached 5 in 21 as MvG couldn’t check from 12.  MvG narrowed to 5-4 (a T45 check) then 5-5 as Smith couldn’t score.  Smith wins in 20 darts using 4 from 32.  UGLY.

Peter Weight needed a win facing James Wade who was out last week with illness.  Wright’s darts have been ill for weeks.

Wright needed the win to hold 4th place.  Silly, but true, the PL rules dictate that someone must win a match.  Wade took leg one in 15 on a T01-check.  That was Wade’s highlight as Wright won 6-3.  Wade held third against a charging Joe Cullen who faced Gary Anderson.

Anderson has been MIA since his win in week one.  Against Cullen he threw a dart, hit a wire and it came back to almost hit his foot.  Back in the day, the ODC was playing with three ladies in the Canadian Open four person.  The opponents were Mr. John Lowe, Keith Dellar, Bob Anderson and Cliff Lazarenko.  

“Mr. Lazarenko to throw first.  One-hundred and eighty.

The ODC stepped to the Oche cool as a cucumber, brought his arm up and threw.  Alas, he forgot to let go of the dart – hitting himself in the foot.  “Owie’s never seen a one-eighty before,” said Mr. Lazarenko.  Mr. Reed replied, “Not lately, because I’ve been doing exhibitions with you for the last week.” 

Anderson again was MIA as Joe Cullen (6-1) went through him like “loud gas through ‘tighty whiteys’ soon after the preacher says, ‘Let us pray.’”

Michael Smith gave Jonny Clayton all he wanted.  Each held serve through 6 legs (3-3) in the first semi.  Clayton had a big check with T20.  Smith broke in 15 (T11), then Clayton answered in 15.  At 4-4 Clayton edged ahead in 14 after his T40 left 38.  At 5-4, when Smith had 3 darts at 40 to extend – he missed.  Clayton with 40 didn’t miss for the 6-4 win.

Peter Wright for the night wore glasses and used longer dart stems.  Wright got off the Snyder when Cullen missed tops from 114 making it 4-1.  Cullen would continue to pound Wright’s “pistachios” (6-1) in 14 and 15, finishing 93 and 64.  Wright ended the night with 22 points as Cullen closed in.

The final began with Jonny Clayton leading Joe Cullen 2-1.  Then the “thought plickened” as Cullen ran a string of 4 in 13, 15 (T10 check), 14 and 21 for a 4-2 lead.  Cullen took a gift as he used 9 from 36 for the 5-3 advantage when Clayton had one at tops. Clayton narrowed to 4-5 with a T44 in 12 and then one at 32 to extend, as Cullen erased 62.  “The format is really cut-throat, I was under a lot of pressure tonight and I responded well.” 

In the seeded final next week, the only drama involves Cullen and Wright.  A win by either would assure them of an appearance in the final.

A loss by James Wade plus the win by either Cullen or Wright would give them a shot at third place.  A semi win by either would ensure third place.

Why important?  In the finals, 3rd place plays second (thus escaping Jonny Clayton in round one).  They start even in the finals.

Jonny Clayton (38 points) vs. Gary Anderson (9 points).  Joe Cullen (22 points) vs. Peter Wright (22 points) – winner to playoffs.

Michael van Gerwen (31 points) vs. Michael Smith (18 points).  James Wade (25 points) vs. Gerwyn Price (18 points).

1st round win = 0 points

Semifinals = 2 points

Runner-up = 3 points

Winner = 5 points

Is it over?

Another new axiom: “It’s never over until the Weight Watcher’s reject he who identifies as a woman.” Croons.

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.