Column #HR 372 HU?
Wednesday, October 7, 2022
The response by Colonies’ dart players, including the Old Dart Coach, when the North American Open Dart Tournament bit the dust after 2001, was “Hu?”. “Hu” combined with the “Brook Trout Look” indicated that they had no idea what was going to transpire.
The North American was a combination of darts and gathering. The yearly visit for darters was akin to “Muslim’s going to Mecca”. Not to attend? A tungsten sin. A few years earlier, dart players broke from the BDO. Those two events and Covid changed the landscape of darts forever.
The Colonies’ players became more isolated except when North American darters vied for a place on either the Pacific or World Cup Teams. That changed when Japan’s major domo and WDF VP (the late Bud Brick) torpedoed the Pacific Cup and replaced it with the Asia Cup so “My Nips can win” (according to Brick). What a class act.
With the ascendency of the PDC, with TV dominance, WDF events became less impactful on the world scene. The English dominance in WDF events was considerably less. The recent WDF Euro Cup was a trip back to the glory days for England. Euro Cup 2022 drew 42 men’s teams and 36 women’s teams to the Gandia Palace Hotel on the Costa del Azahar in Eastern Spain.
There were eight gold medals at stake with England pulling the heist on 7. They failed to medal in the men’s singles after Luke Littler lost to semi finest Andy Baetens from Belgium. Litter had three darts at 16 to win.
The English ladies starred – led by the spectacular teenager Beau Greaves. She won the singles over Spain’s Almudena Fajardo, leading 3-2 and 5-2 and wining 7-4. In the pairs Beau joined regular partner “Queen” Deta Headman to defeat Sweden’s Vicky Pruim and Susianne Hägvall 6-3. Greaves and Headman overcame double trouble, trailing 2-nil. Then came a 5-leg run that buried Pruim and Hägvall for the 6-3 win. England would best the Netherlands in both the men’s (9-8) and women’s team (9-1).
France’s Jacques Labre had himself a time to remember in Spain. He took the Euro Cup singles. The semi was a tester between Labre and Andy Baetens. Each held serve until Labre broke in 16 darts for the 6-5 win. In the final it was a stroll in the park. Labre won 7-2 over Finland’s Teemu Harju averaging 96.55.
The Spanish Open for Labre was a struggle against Czech Vitezslav Sedlak. Tied at 5… going to 6 – one needs a little luck. Labre got it as Sedlak failed to check with 3 from 48. Labre made 75 disappear for the 6-5 win.
The Spanish Open wasn’t kind to Beau Greaves. She withdrew as tonsillitis got the win.
The first round of the BoyleSports World Grand Prix is completed with no real surprises. The pesky double start tournament has the pros “crying for Momma”. Is this a real or imagined concern? The ODC chose some randomly selected matches to compare staring darts against finishing. Common sense suggests the starting double is easier to hit as the player can choose a favorite. The finishing double would seem more difficult as it’s dictated by the game. There are times a stray dart (or Soldier-like counting) puts a player where they never want to be. In five matches the starting figures were 64 of 183 or 34.97% while those same darters finished 12 of 31 or 38.70%. Almost same-same.
The TV announcer aggravated the ODC on the opening day with his allegation: “It’s a sprint format.” Sprint? First to 2 sets with best of 5 legs composing a set. Bushwa.
One of the most entertaining matches on Day One was between defending champion Jonny Clayton and Dirk van Duijvenbode. It was the only one to end 2-1 (1-3, 3-1, 3-1) and van Duijvenbode got the ‘RA” before the not very vicarious crowd” (the crowd description, courtesy of John Par). For van Duijvenbode it was a taste of the meal served up for non-Dutch players in Netherlands. Even the always mild mannered ODC once got involved in a dust up at the Dutch Open and was saved by Eric Bristow and “The Legend” Russ Lopez.
Former two-time world champion Adrian “Big Baby” Lewis may be back. If so, it’s been a long and difficult road. After playing well in Belgium he took his first round match 2-0 over Jose de Sousa (3-2, 3-2). Vintage Lewis had him taking deciders with big clean finishes. Lewis used 15 darts twice finishing 101 and 70 for sets.
Day Two of the first round had pros “mind freeze” (called by scientists “The Gates Effect”). Madars Razma led Ryan Searle 1 set to nil and 1-nil in the second. After 12 darts Razma wanted 85 as Searle sat on 340. After 15 and t18, Razma needed 16. Now considering you’ve got Searle’s at 340 what do you do? You throw the third dart on the outside edge of the d8 or off the board. Not Razma he hits a fat 8. Searle reaches 200 as Razma’s first dart at d4 scores 4, at d2 off the board. Now the “mind freeze” hits big time. He can bust, but he doesn’t – his fat 2 leaves 2. In 11 darts Razma fails from 8 as Searle takes the leg in 23 darts. The Tungsten God was looking out for Razma though and he recovered to win the match 2-1.
The ultimate double start tournament was the North American. It was also a reunion of sorts where once a year the darting clan gathered. As darters get older, they remember the North American as a chance to renew old friendships and swap tales of battles fought on dartboards everywhere. That point driven home when we said goodbye to Dusie last Saturday.
Then just hours later came the news that Maggie Martel had passed on. In all of God’s kingdom Maggie was one of the sweetest people. She was nice thru and thru – genuinely nice. And, oh yeah, one hell of a dart player too. As a partner she played and won with many of the greats of the game. She’s now joins her husband Bob in heaven. God can take some lessons from her. God Bless Maggie.
Stay thirsty my friends.