Column #HR373 That’s (Dart) Life

Thursday, October 13, 2022
Column HR373
That’s (Dart) Life

The Old Dart Coach is sure the Chairman of the Board (the late Francis Albert Sinatra) won’t go ballistic for the borrowing of his song title, with a slight modification.  Just read the opening two stanzas:  

That’s life (that’s life), that’s what all the people say 

You’re ridin’ high in April, shot down in May 

Few words could summarize PDC darting life better.  April?  The first day of the tournament.  May?  Can arrive shocking with a suddenness.

You go skipping along with unicorns and rainbows when suddenly your backside is like the wheels on a skateboard.  The unicorns turn into a pack of unruly jackasses.  Rainbows fade into a hellish rainstorm catching you with no umbrella or the treasured Burberry trench coat.

Two players got their comeuppance at the Grand Prix (which the ODCs’ father pronounced with a word that rhymes “lick”).  Adrian Lewis and Madars Razma were going strong…

Lewis showed signs of his old form beating Jose’ de Souza 2-sets to nil, averaging 94.7 in the double start.  His comeuppance came against Chris Dobey 3-2.  Tied a 2 sets and 2-legs Lewis had one dart at the bull for the match.  Missed.  “Sometimes the bull wins.”  The ODC took some stick from a Maple Leaf as he was touting Lewis’ return to form.  “But he lost.”  One egg an omelet doesn’t make.

Madars Razma (the first name either comes from a state in India or the sport coat the ODC loved in college).  Razma’s first round 2-1 win over Ryan Searle was reported last week.  He took his next against Daryl Gurney 3-1 (3-1, 3-0, 1-3, 3-2).  Then came a Royal Fanny Whop from Gerwyn Price 3-0 (3-1, 3-0, 3-1).

The ODC second favorite darts writer compared a darts tournament to a circus – astonishing acts, excitement with many clowns to please all.  One clown in full dress was Peter Wright…

He made it to the semifinals after beating Dimitri Van den Bergh 3-2.  They were tied at 2 sets and 2 legs.  After 12 darts, Wright needed 57 with VdB at 152.  Wright butchered 57 leaving 20 after VdB got to 24.  After Wright missed the 57-check he retrieved his darts and put them to bed.  Shirley van den Berg wouldn’t miss with 3 at 24.  Wrong Bucko!  Wright took 3 for 20 moving him into a MvG semi.

Nathan Aspinall would face Gerwyn Price in the other semi after a not that close 3-2 win over Martin Lukeman winning legs 13-8.

Wright spoke, “My darts were rubbish.”  Prior to his meeting with MvG he said, “They won’t be rubbish today.”  He lied.

MvG had said, “He knows who’s the best”.

John Part called MvG “a showman.” Good call.  Set #1, leg #1 van Gerwen took out 167 (t19, t20, 50) with Wright at 276.

The clown got a pie in the face.

MvG would win 4-0 (3-0, 3-0, 3-1, 3-0).

Wright’s first double came in leg three of set 2.  Even changing darts three times didn’t help as Wright went 1 for 20 closing.  The Christians in the Roman Circus had a better chance against the lions.

Following the match MvG is quoted as saying, “I think his darts were absolute crap.”  Possibly an understatement.

Nathan Aspinall broke an even match, against Gerwyn Price, level at 2-sets, to move within one of the match.  Price then forced a 7th set when he took out 117 (t20, t17, d20) as Aspinall was at 16.  Price had 4 darts to win the 5th leg of the final set but failed, losing 3-2.  No final for favorite Price.

The final between Michael van Gerwen and Nathan Aspinall deserved center ring although it didn’t start out that way.  Here’s the box score courtesy of the PDC’s Dave Allen with useless comments from the ODC…

Set #1 (3-0 MvG): Van Gerwen takes out 116, punishes two missed doubles from Aspinall.

Set #2 (3-2 MvG): The pair trade 13-darters.  Aspinall leads 2-1.  The Dutchman levels with a 14-darter, takes out tops for win.

Set #3 (3-2 MvG): Aspinall misses d14 to break, van Gerwen takes T12.  Aspinall levels on tops.  van Gerwen’s 13-darter to level.  Aspinall d8 for 5th leg.  MvG d20 to win.

Set #4 (3-1 MvG): Aspinall win’s leg 1 with d20.  Misses 5 doubles allowing MvG a 2-1 lead.  van Gerwen used T74 and d10 for the win.

Now, for those that have dosed off, MvG is leading 4-0 in the race to 5 sets.  The not overflow crowd starts cheering and singing for Aspinall.  It is presumed that they have just filled up their pints wanting the match extended for more singing fluid.

Set #5 (1-3): Aspinall comes from behind (0-1) to level, then a 13-darter and finally d20 for first set.

Set #6 (3-1 Aspinall): Aspinall gets second set win with 89-out to lead 2-1.  d8 gives him the set.

Set #7 (3-1 Aspinall): Despite some great play, including a 12-darter, MvG had double trouble.  Most notable when MVG missed 7 opening doubles.  Aspinall takes set 3-1.

Set #8 (3-2 Aspinall): Aspinall fell behind 1-nil after two misses at d20.  van Gerwen didn’t miss d10 in both.  Aspinall found d20 to force decider.  Aspinall built a 235 to 461 lead.  MvG’s T80 still had him behind 281-110.  A T35 moved MvG closer at 146-110.  Aspinall mangled from 110 leaving 65.  MvG’s T34 put him at 12.

There’s an old bullfighting saying: “sometimes the bull wins.”  Aspinall had a plan.  Single bull, double tops.  One problem – he missed tops low and the d10.

MvG nailed d6 for the Grand Prix title, his 6th, and £120,000.  Nathan Aspinall’s #16 ranking is due to change – and he’s back.  Both players would average 91-plus in a double start tournament.  Outstanding.

Not to mention… the fans got their wish for more darts and beer.  The Tungsten God works in mysterious ways.

Russ Lopez recently lost his middle son to a heart attack.  Services for James will be held October 14th at Currie-Jefferson Funeral Home Memorial Garden at 2701 John Hawkins Parkway, Hoover, Alabama.

God Bless Russ and his family.

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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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