Column #HR360 ALL GONE BUT FOUR!

Saturday, July 23, 2022
Column HR360
ALL GONE BUT FOUR!

The Old Dart Coach’s father’s favorite song was “One the Road to Mandalay”. He would sing it with all the gusto of Pavarotti calling Figaro at the Theatro dell’Opera di Rome.  In the song Padre would sing:

On the road to Mandalay 

Where the flyin’ fishes play 

And the dawn comes up like thunder 

Out of China ‘cross the bay 

The PDC no longer takes the road to the “Mandalay” in Las Vegas as they have forsaken us for New York – a lateral move for sure.

That aside, when the sun came up on Blackpool Friday, across the Irish Sea there may well have been thunder as rain was expected.  That sun would have passed over the Isle of Man, renamed “The Isle of Persons” (but he, she, it, they and them is acceptable), settling not where “flying fishes play” but where people in bowling shirts throw darts and drink beer.

The Miller Report: “Ever notice that when a player throws all eyes are on the board.  Who is watching to see if he steps over the oche?” (One fact you may not know – there is a 2nd referee backstage watching the oche line and players.)

When Gerwyn Price toed the oche in the last match of the day he was #1 in the world, passing Peter Wright regardless of winning or not.  Wright was defending £15,000 from the Matchplay 2020.  Price was defending nothing so even with a loss he would move to the top of the table.

In the aftermath of #1 Wright and #8 Dimitri Van den Bergh was a reported “frosty handshake” on Wright’s part.  When Van den Bergh gave him the obligatory “dreadful man hug,” Wright acted like he smelled something bad.

Danny Noppert 16-11 over #14 Dirk van Duijvenbode.

Captain Oblivious states that Dirk van Duijvenbode is the Stefanos Tsitsipas of darts.  In short, he resides in “Whack a Doodleville” – he’s a true head case who plays well.  Tsitsipas builds on it to win big.  van Duijvenbode loses it.

Against the darts Noppert led 4-1 with a helping hand from Duijvenbode who missed 12 doubles.  Noppert led 6-4 when Duijvenbode took the 2nd set 3-2.  Noppert had one dart to make it 7-3 but missed.

Door open – and in walked van Duijvenbode to lead 8-7.

Noppert then took advantage of van Duijvenbode slowing down and aiming his throw a tad to take 4 of the next 5 in 15, 13 and 12 darts including a T50 check.  At 12-11 Noppert took off – finishing T21 (T20, 11, 50) and secure a trip to the semi-finals against Gerwyn Price.

#3 Gerwyn Price 16-14 over #7 Jose de Sousa.

Price led 3-2 where between them the legs were 4 x 15 darters and a 14 dart leg.  Both players had finishes of T60.  Price averaged 105.26.

They were even at 5, despite Price out-scoring de Sousa 103.63 to 91,67. One might ask, “How can that be?”  the answer: on doubles de Sousa was 5/6 and Price 5/11.

Price then takes 4 of the next 5 and a 9-6 lead.  de Sousa’s one leg win came with 90 points left and 18, d18, d18.  Showtime.  Price then breaks to lead 12-8.

With the throw, Price made it 13-8 in the race to16.  de Sousa grabbed a leg back in 13 darts for 9-13.  Then, The Special One broke in 13 darts for 13-10 after Price missed 3 at 36.

Next came a hold for 11-13.  de Sousa followed that with a 12-darter (taking out 100 with 20, d20, d20) to get to 12-13.

The match leveled at 13 when de Sousa held.  Price grabbed a leg back to retake the lead (14-13) needing 4 from 32.  Price then used 14 darts to get to 15-13, one from victory.

“There is no quit in de Sousa,” said Wayne Mardle.

de Sousa, when on the brink, after going off the boil, presented T80, T40, T45 and 36-out with d18 for a 10-darter and 15-14.

de Sousa made one last effort when he wanted 50 to level at 15 with Price on 112 – hit the 10, then missed tops, then 20.  He would come back as Price managed to work T12 down to 16.  With 20 left the tank was empty with 10, miss and 5.  Price laid two on the d8 wire, hitting it with the third.  There is ICE in Price.

The semi-finals

#2 Michael van Gerwen vs. #8 Dimitri Van den Bergh.

Both players have improved with each match.  This would be a big win for MvG – to salvage a bad year.  A win would move him into third place in the standings, displacing Michael Smith.  Asked if he would win MvG replied, “Of course.”

#3 Gerwyn Price vs. Danny Noppert.  Noppert won’t be able to melt The Ice Man.  Price averaged 104.64.  Noppert’s finishing will do him in.

Calling for a Price vs. MvG final on Sunday…

Another favorite song of the ODC’s father was called “Abdul Abulbul Amir” which he would sing:

And, but the bravest 

of all is Abdul A Bull 

Bull A Mer 

Well, that’s how it sounded.

(Earlier, Danny Noppert just may have been singing a variation of that.  At 15-11 staring at 121 with 50 left.  “I’m the bravest by far, a bull a bull would be dear.”)

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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