Column #HR361 AT LAST, THE END IS NEAR… but not for ladies!

Sunday, July 24, 2022
Column HR361
AT LAST, THE END IS NEAR… but not for the ladies!

There are some out there that think the Old Dart Coach is going to use the old “Let’s use a Frank Sinatra song to start this column.  Then the ODC will quote a few lines thinking it’s cute or clever.”  They were right…

And now, the end is near,

And so, I face the final curtain…

(They knew he’d do this, of that they were certain.)

LADIES FINAL (8:00 AM EDT and 5:00 AM in Las Vegas)

“Wakey, wakey ODC!”  For the ladies the first ever PDC World Ladies Matchplay is just the beginning of a trip that may change the face of ladies darts. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon saying, “A giant step for man.”  These 8 women playing on worldwide TV today are taking a baby step up the ladder which could take them to new heights.

The oddsmakers for the Men’ World Matchplay had Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price as co-favorites at 2-1 yet MvG was the slight dog (as Chalk-eating Weasels like to say) against Dimitri Van den Bergh.  Van de Bergh was 3-1 and Noppert the longshot at 5-1.

THE MILLER REPORT

Winter Gardens exploded with Gerwyn’s 9-darter.  Don’t have the words in my vocabulary to express.  Old Winter Gardens was shaking at her seams and the floor felt like a carnival ride.  Needless to say, quite a bit of beer was flying around...   

MENS SEMI-FINAL (Best of 33 or first to 17)  

#3 Gerwyn Price 17-11 over Danny Noppert

This one was sailing along in quiet waters with Price up 7-5 when the storm hit.  In blew a Price 9-darter of T20, T20, T19, and D12.  At 8-5 Price opened with T80 (for 15 perfect darts in a row) which begat 9-5.  At 10-5 Price the “Over Weigh Lady” prematurely licked her lips ready to sing “Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” – the Welsh National Anthem.

At 15-8 she wasn’t so sure as Noppert got to 11-15 but, alas, Price closed the deal and signed the check with 13 and 14 darts for the 17-11 win.  Noppert couldn’t hit d20 which hurt him from the first dart.

#2 Michael van Gerwen 17-15 over #8 Dimitri Van den Bergh.

The best description of the match came from John Part.  When things are going good you run to the oche.  When they go bad you stroll there.  These two guys look like they’re getting ready to walk the plank into an ocean full of sharks. 

MvG looked discombobulated early when broken for 1-3 when he wanted 48 going 12, d7 miss.

5 ugly legs combined with 6 missed doubles – Van den Bergh gets another for 4-1.

MvG made a 3 leg run which was stopped when Van den Bergh, with 32, closed d7, d9 to lead 6-4.

When MvG mucked up 82 (3-13-10), Van den Bergh took 100 to re-establish a 2-leg lead at 11-9 into 12-9.

Then something strange occurred.

Like a golfer MvG started hitting GREAT approaches to finishes.  T68 = 40, T77 = 40, T74 = 36, T3 = 66, T02 =22, T59 = 24 and 105 = 20.

Of the 7, he was denied a double on only 2 which wasn’t good enough to deny Michael his first lead at 15-14.

Early on, John Part commented, “If Michael ever gets the lead, he won’t give it up.”  He didn’t, using 27 darts to take the last two legs including the final where his 105 left 20.  He took the d10 when Van den Bergh never got a double with a 96 leaving 8.  

THE FINAL (#3 Gerwyn Price vs. #4 Michael van Gerwen)

#4 Michael van Gerwen was World #1 in 2019.  He has slipped to #3 currently although he has shown flashes of his old self here.  In his three wins over Adrian Lewis (10-7), Joe Cullen (11-5) and Nathan Aspinall (16-14) he has never trailed, and his averages have risen from 89.66 to 101.86 against Aspinall.

#3 Gerwyn Price came from behind in two of three wins.  Averages spiked in his nail-biter against José de Sousa to 104.64 – the highest of this year’s Matchplay.  He needed that average as his finishing sucked, connecting on only 16 from 35.  Price is able to explode as he did in the third session against Noppert when he averaged 119.10.  As usual, he had a slight stall mid-game that could have been fatal but wasn’t.

The favorite is Gerwyn Price who had to relish MvG and Dimitri Van den Bergh beating the hell out of each other.

As an amateur boxer, Price will be trying to land the haymaker on van Gerwen scoring the early KO.

But MvG is resilient, takes a great punch and you’ll find no “dog” in him.

Anyone that watched the semi-finals has got to go with the current World’s #1 Gerwyn Price.  On paper it’s a blowout.  Both have “High Hopes,” another Sinatra tune.

But as the Chalk-eating Weasel has learned: there’s no sure thing…

That’s why they play the game.

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.