Column #HR348 ENGLAND and AUSSIES SHINE… SCOTLAND and BELGIUM – NOT SO MUCH

Friday, June 17, 2022
Column HR348
ENGLAND and AUSSIES SHINE… SCOTLAND and BELGIUM – NOT SO MUCH

Today, darts fans got their first look at #1 seed England and an answer to the question, should one ask, “Can Michael Smith continue to be the best player on earth?”  That title (bestowed by Wayne Mardle) was spot on.  England delivered with a nifty 5-1 win over the Czech Republic – with a 98.86 average that led the day.

The reemergence of Simon Whitlock as “The Wizard” was a surprise – giving Australia a shot at the Cup.  Scotland was average, actually workmanlike, which is not nearly enough, and Belgium showed flashes.

Latvia 5-1 (91.78) over Hungary.  WOW!  Latvia’s Madars Razma lit up the stage with 2-T80s (one to leave 40), a T04 & 72 finish – then, set up the wining leg with T62 for 143 followed by Nauris Gleglu’s T25 to leave 18 which Razma took out on d4.  This was Latvia’s best team play so far with 91+ average.

Poland 5-4 (85.13) over USA (81.49).  It was there for the taking for the USA, but their combined finishing was the worst (9 for 41) since the ODC played himself.  The Polish Eagle, Krzysztof Ratajski, was flying on a broken wing.  Teenager Sebastian Białeckivs bailed Poland out when his only T80 left 40 which Ratajski took.  His double followed Danny Baggish just missing a T60 finish with a single 20.   

Sweden 5-2 (88.33) over South Africa.  Sweden notches its first World Cup win EVER as Johan Engström led them to victory.  Lots of smiles by Mr. Stefan Lord and Sweden’s Sweetheart Ms. Annette Richardson – as they tip a few in victory.  At 4-1 down, had South Africa hit just half of their missed doubles they would have been up 4-1.  But they didn’t.

Portugal 5-3 (80.39) over Italy.  Italy came from 1-4 down to make it close thanks to the player with the worst throw in darting history – Portugal’s Vítor Jerónimo.  His throw would make a bomb defuser nervous.  He did take three outs, but Jose de Souza did the scoring – 4-T80s.  Italy’s still never won a World Cup match.    

#5 Australia 5-2 (90.48).  Many (like the ODC) questioned the Aussie’s starting off with Simon Whitlock.  The Aussies had a chance for the first World Cup 9-darter when d18 hit the wire.  Bummer.  Whitlock was super, delivering the T17 finish for the first hold and a 3-1 lead.  Heta’s got to step it up as he had some uncharacteristic wayward darts at critical times.

#1 England 5-1 (98.86) over the Czech Republic.  The Brits played well as a pair, setting up d10 (4 times) and d20 once.  Wade actually missed d10 with 3 – first time in 30 years, according to Wayne Mardle.

#8 Scotland 5-1 (88.38) over Hong Kong.  The score is misleading as Hong Kong had darts to be 3-nil up instead of 2-1 down.  Then, they had darts in the decider for the leg, so this was an “if I’da” for Hong Kong.  Lee Lok Yin is an outstanding young player.  Jon Henderson played okay but Peter Wright was spotty.

#4 Belgium 5-2 (91.71) over Japan.  At 4-1, Belgium looked like the best team of the day.  Then they faltered.  Kim Huybrechts loves the World Cup stage having the highest singles average of 121.97 against Paul Lim.

Starting on Saturday the format will take a new direction.  Singles play rules in second round, quarter and semi-final play: two best of seven legs singles matches.  If the scores are tied at 1, a best of seven legs doubles will settle the match.  It takes two points to win.  Each team will nominate an “A” and “B” player as “A” plays “A”, etc.

Unlike the other World Cup of Darts (WDF) this one has money involved.  First round losers collected £4,000 each.  On Saturday, losers will collect £8,000 with the winners reaping at least £16,000.

Saturday AM

#7 Germany (Germany – Gabriel Clemens & Martin Schindler) vs. Denmark (Vladimir Andersen & Andreas Toft Jörgensen).  Germany was up and down in pairs.  Denmark’s Anderson played well.  Like this one to go to doubles with Germany winning 2-1.   

#6 Northern Ireland (Daryl Gurney & Brendan Dolan) vs. New Zealand (Ben Robb & Warren Parry).  Brendan Dolan played poorly in pairs while Gurney had his moments.  Ben “Big Rig” Robb, who throws exactly like Eric Bristow with pinkie out, could win his singles – the match is in veteran Parry’s arm.  Kiwi’s melt under pressure.  Northern Ireland to advance.   

#3 Netherlands (Danny Noppert and Dirk van Duijvenbode) vs. Republic of Ireland (Steve Lennon & William O’Conner).  Like the Netherlands to take this 2-0 – unless William O’Conner returns to former form.  Doubt he will.  

#2 Wales (Gerwyn Price & Jonny Clayton) vs. Austria (Mensur Suljovic & Rowby-John Rodriguez).  Wales set on returning the Cup.  Austria has two chances: “slim and none.”  2-nil win for Wales.

Saturday PM

#1 England vs. Latvia (which will have a problem wining a leg).  Latvia’s Madars Razma has a chance for a singles win.  Latvia – no chance.    

#8 Scotland (Peter Wright & Jon Henderson) playing average should beat Portugal (José de Sousa and Vítor Jerónimo).  Scotland 2-0 as Portugal’s Vítor Jerónimo incapable of winning anything.  José de Sousa could scratch out a win to make it look close. 

#5 Australia (Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock) vs Sweden (Daniel Larsson and Johan Engström).  Going with Australia 2-1 as Heta picks it up from pairs.

#4 Belgium (Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts) vs. Poland (Krzysztof Ratajski and Sebastian Białeckivs).  Depends on teenager Sebastian Białeckivs for Poland.  Ratajski’s broken wings will heal, and the Eagle will soar.  Belgium too much firepower – wins 2-1.

All seeds settled into top 16.  Let the fun begin.

See ya tomorrow.

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.