Column #HR387 Maple Leaf Miracle!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Column HR387
Maple Leaf Miracle!

When the Old Dart Coach was a toddler, his mom took him to see Bambi.  He cried in sadness.  (Lighten up – he was only 4).

On Monday it was a different kind of tears, these of pure joy.

If you love darts and have been around it for 40+ years, there are seminal moments…  Paul Lim’s 9-darter, the 1985 USA team beating England 9-nil in the World Cup, Mr. John Lowe’s 6-4 win over Eric Bristow in 1987 and the first USA win of the Pacific Cup on the ODC’s birthday.

Canadian David Cameron was loaded with “want to” for the ages.  Cameron was in a first round match against England’s Ritchie Edhouse.  Cameron fell behind 1 set to nil winning nary a leg missing 2 doubles…

Then it got serious as Cameron went down 2-sets to nil where he missed 5 pegs.  What could have been the final set had the markings of a “donut score” win for Edhouse as he captured the first two legs but missed a check allowing Cameron to delay the match in 13 darts.

Edhouse missed tops for the match as Camron checked 97 to level at 2 legs each.  The deciding leg was a “Nervous Nellie”…  Cameron, at 40, missed 6 darts to finish.  Edhouse refused the gift missing 4 from 40 for the match.  With 20 remaining (The Devil’s Double) Cameron missed two then nailed the third for the set win (3-2).

Set 4 was all Cameron as he completely dominated the “discombobulated” Edhouse who never saw a double finish.

In the final set Cameron jumped to a 2-nil lead.  Edhouse couldn’t check from 60 with 3 in leg 1 allowing Cameron a 102 finish in 15.  Edhouse got a leg back in 17 but then Cameron used a 16-dart leg to win.

Set and match.  A comeback for the ages.

“Don’t dally… it’s the Ally Pally” – say some males, who interrupt their siting in pubs with pints and darts to take significant other shopping.  Yes, tell a lady to hurry.  That always works.

The PDC Word Championship is the center of the darting universe.  For others the World Cup of Futbol is what matters most.  In the spirit of the season, the Old Darts Coach offers condolences to his old dart partner from France, Richard (pronounced Re Chard).  He’s now a wine tasking judge in France (probably more tasting that judging, right now).

Here are some facts to amaze your friends.  Royalty never lived in the Ally Pally as it was always a place for entertainment.  But now the Palace is filled with darting royalty.  At press time the highest average was achieved by Ryan Joyce at 103.4.  The problem?  He lost.

For darters the Ally Pally is filled with dreams of what could be, what was and what might still be.  One of those that wanted to return to the past was Adrian “Big Baby” Lewis.  He opened with a 3-nil won over Daniel Larsson, saying “I’ve been practicing well.”  Next out he was dusted by Damon Heta 3-0.

There were few upsets at the break.  Some blossomed only to wilt as the New Year nears.

The women were center stage…

Beau Greaves faced William O’Conner who usually has the demeanor of a “Drug Store Indian”.  No, “Drug Store Indigenous Person” doesn’t work.   More demonstrative, O’Conner shook it off when Greaves would follow a missed double with a big out.  She does it better than any male, female or undecided.  But O’Conner collected a “donut win” 3-0 (3-2, 3-2, 3-0).

Lisa Ashton was down 2-nil (3-1, 3-2) to Ryan Meikle.  Ashton took the third set 3-2 when she stole a leg after Meikle missed a 117-check.  Ashton capped a 4th set win with a 74-check.  The decider?  All Meikle for the 3-2 win.

Meikle ran into Raymond van Barneveld the next round, losing 3-1.  Barney averaged 95.15, pegging at 50%.  A return to the past?

The Queen of the Palace, Fallon Sherrock, took the opening set (3-1) against “Rapid” Rick Evans.  Sherrock frittered away the second set (2-3) when she failed to peg with 4 from 81 in leg 3.  Evans made it 2-1 in sets after Sherrock wasted 7 darts from 40.  Up 2-nil in the 4th set, Sherrock had 3 darts to win it 3-2 but alas the Queen of the Palace found that the slipper didn’t fit this time.

Danny Baggish was one of two Yanks (Leonard Gates is the other) to survive while Canada’s Jeff Smith would exit 3-1 (3-0, 3-2, 1-3, 3-2) to Mike de Decker and Mike Campbell ran into the aforementioned red hot Baggish fighting to keep his tour card.  Baggish hung a “donut score” (3-0) that was actually closer than 3-0.  Baggish will next face Mervyn King.

Leonard Gates fell behind Dutchman Geert Nentjes 1-0 when he missed d16 for the leg and set.  The 2nd set was all Gates as he never trailed winning 3-1.

Maybe the best set he’s ever played was a 3-0 win in the 3rd which included checks of T28 and a ton.  Nentjes wilted like a “three piece dress suit from the Dollar Store in the rain.”

In what proved to the deciding set Gates checked 66 and T11 to move to within a leg of victory at 2-0.  Gates missed d18 for 2-1.  Using his own out, chart he then tossed T34 to leave 10 followed by 6 misses.  He took leg, set and match in 17 darts.

Gates’ shirt proclaimed “SoulGer”.  Isn’t that F’in adorable?  Next up: “Family Guy” Stephen Bunting.

Never end the year without a shot at a moron.  Mom said, Keep your mouth shut.  Let everyone think you’re stupid – don’t open your mouth proving it.”  The ODC didn’t listen.

There’s a moron who believes that like the Phoenix the BDO will rise from the ashes…

“I watched the PDC – I’ve been quite impressed.  Not by the “darts” of course, as we all know they are playing on boards with comically big double and treble segments, and they’re allowed to throw from about 4 feet from the aforementioned unregulated ‘dart board’”.

This place’s him smack in the middle Whack-a-doodle-Land.

Idiots come in all genders.  A post from a female proves it…

Granted, Leonard Gates is not the most popular player among other darters.  He doesn’t care.  He electrified the English crowd with his darts and on stage personality.  The darting crowd took to him as the tennis crowd did to Serena Williams.

Here’s the post:

“He ought to be deported”.

Ignorance knows no bounds.  Gates was born and raised in the Texas.  Texas, as of now, is still part of the USA (much to the consternation to many of its citizens).

You can’t fix stupid.

Stay thirsty my friends – and MERRY CHRISTMAS.

See ya next year…

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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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