Column #HR386 Okay, where were we?

Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Column HR386
Okay, where are we now?

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Most of the facts below are true.  The opinions are 100% fact.)

Oh YES – what a “festival” it was at the WDF’s Festival of Darts held at the De Bonte Wever in Assen, Netherlands.

The De Bonte Wever is a city-owned sports arena primarily used for speed skating (which the Dutch do very well) and ice hockey (which they don’t).  Some of the crowd shots inside may have left the impression that the venue was a tad chilly…

But for the North Americanos it started off hot and it was Snoopy dance time as all men and most of the women survived group play venturing into KO rounds.  But then the music stopped as the evil Lucy interrupted the party.

The first KO was a disaster.  How bad?  It was Lucy taking the football away from Charlie Brown as he got ready to kick.  The first KO round could have been the book written by Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None.

Except a few survived…

Seven USA men departed and another two forfeited.  Leonard Gates solved his counting problem by being absent as was Elliot Milk.  Kevin Luke and Jim Widmayer departed top 32 leaving Danny Lauby on his lonesome.  The men of Canada lost two at 128 (first round) then two more at 64, one a forfeit by John Norman Jr. which ended the hopes of our neighbor to the north.

The women’s field was devoid of North American’s after the round of 32 when the USA’s Cali West joined Latressa Skrzyniak and Brenda Moreau of Canada on the sidelines.

Just for the record, the Old Dart Coach predicted Beau Greaves of England would be in the finals.  (He also predicted that Christmas will be December 25.)

He was also going to predict that the winner of Mikuru Suzuki vs. Almudena Fajardo would be in the final.  He could have been right on that one as Almudena Fajardo played Beau Greaves for the title.

There are not enough superlatives currently in use to describe Ms. Greaves.  She reached the semifinals winning 20 legs to nil.  Japan’s Mayumi Ouchi would end the streak taking the first leg in the semis.  In the race to 5 each player would hold serve to 4-all.  Aided by a pair of T40s Greaves would close in 16 darts to advance 5-4 to the final which she would then win 6-0 over Almudena Fajardo to become the Masters Champion.

Ouchi would get a little revenge when she beat Greaves in the opening round of the World Open 4-1 averaging 94.66.  Did she think 何故なの昨日? (Where were those darts yesterday?)

It was Danny Lauby Jr’s birthday when he took the stage in his semifinal match with the Netherland’s Wesley Plaisier.  The rapid tossing Lauby was set for a birthday he’d remember forever when he was up 5-2 in the race to 6.

However, at 5-3 down Plaisier became demonstrative and slowed the pace of play to a crawl.  When he broke Lauby at 5-4 Plaisier walked to the table, took a drink of water, then gazed at the crowd.  He took his sweet time to discombobulate Lauby who failed to check with 3 for 72.  Then Lauby couldn’t check for 40 with 7 losing in 22 darts.  Plaisier would need 6 darts from 32 to win 6-5.

Plaisier would then become the 2022 World Masters Champion with an easy 7-2 win over Northern Ireland’s Barry Copeland.  Plaisier would average 96.27 to Copelands 95.93.

Luke Littler of England is a player to be reckoned with not only in the boy’s ranks but Open competition as well.  USA’s Peter Stewart Jr. put up one heck of a fight in the Boy’s Masters finals.  With Littler up 3-2 he stuck the dagger in with a 13-darter giving him breathing room for the 6-4 win.  Littler breaks in 1, 3 and 8 made the difference.

Paige Pauling had a couple of 4-3 wins on her way to the final against Finland’s Iida Lanko who was 12 legs to 1 when reaching the final.  Lanko would break serve to lead 1-0.  Pauling broke back in a smooth 30 darts as Lanko couldn’t close with 8 from 32.  That led to Pauling running three for a 4-1 lead.  Lanko held for 4-2 as Pauling did also for the 5-2 win.  Pauling would also win the Girls World Open.

The last function of the Festival was the qualifying for the WDF World Championships.  Here’s the problem: there is no date for the event nor is the prize fund listed.  The WDF has said that the event will not be held in the first three months of the year.  One of the explanations was that “our TV partners and sponsors” must be considered.

Or found?

If you had watched the WDF Dart festival on YouTube, which the ODC did, you should have been struck with how well the events were run.  That was true of the finals that ran like a Swiss clock or someone on the dole when work is mentioned.  High marks indeed.

Unfortunately, that may have been lost on YouTube viewers as the two announcers should be sent directly to the “Dumb Announcing Hall of Fame”.

Pick a derogatory.  Use it.  That was them.

One announcer spoke with a Scottish brogue so thick you needed a Ginsu knife to cut it.  His partner in this atrocity of sports announcing added laughs on cue including antidotes of the past that would have been lost by most.  Those faults might be excused…

The one fault that can’t be is that they never let the action on the oche interfere with their constant blather.  The blatant disregard appeared in finals of the women’s and boys and girls events.

Disgraceful.

The Big One, the PDC World Championship, kicks off Thursday Dec. 17 at the Ally Pally where TV time will be a plenty day and night…

Friday evening’s play between William O’Conner and Beau Greaves should prove interesting as Greaves has said, “I’m not afraid of anyone”.  Saturday evening, Lisa Ashton plays Ryan Meikle.   Ricky Evans vs. Fallon Sherrock concludes the female entries on Tuesday the 20th.  Also on Saturday, Danny Baggish plays to protect his Tour Card.  It’ll be a battle.

A little Peanut’s advice.  Like Linus, find your own blanket.  Cuddle up with a loved one, a bottle of Holiday Cheer and have a…

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The following two tabs change content below.
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

Latest posts by Howie Reed (see all)