Dartoids World


Thursday, February 16, 2023
Column HR394

Like fine wine, two older darters popped the proverbial champagne cork (no twist off cap) to celebrate victories.  The Old Dart Coach had a Miller Genuine.

Designated senior defending World Senior’s Champion and #1 seed Robert Thornton defended his title with a convincing 5-2 win over Richie Howson.

Howson was one of only three qualifiers.  One lost first round.  The other (Dennis Harbour) got a sweetheart draw whitewashing Trina Gulliver 3-0 to reach the second round where he lost.

Howson achieved an interesting 3-2 (1-3, 3-2, 3-0, 0-3, 3-0) win over #7 David Cameron.  Cameron had the higher average (88.41 to  84.22) but, alas, his fate was sealed when he missed 6 doubles in the final set.

Howson won 3-1 over Terry Jenkins setting up a meeting with a rejuvenated Phil Taylor.  Taylor would take the first set 3-nil, then run out of gas.  Howson garnered the next three sets losing only 2-legs.  Later, Taylor was interviewed on stage as the crowd sang “There’s only one Phil Taylor”. The interviewer asked, What do you think about that? to which Taylor replied with a smile, That’s the same thing I hear when I go shopping.

Howson’s next challenge was the red hot (3-0) Leonard Gates who lost only one set. He had two wins against seeded players including #3 Martin Adams.

Howson took the first set 3-2 as Gates squandered checks.  Gates used a 116-check to level.  Howson regained the lead (3-2) although Gates had a chance missing d12.  Down 2 legs, Gates used a 146-check for a set, then followed that by missing at least 8 darts from 25 for another set, giving the win to Howson.

Robert Thornton’s march to the final was a stroll.  In his 4 wins he collected 12 sets, losing only 1.  All combined Thornton averaged over 90 with a high of  98.72.

Against Howson, Thornton would actually lose the average battle (90.96 to 90.57).  Thornton leaped to a 3-nil set lead before Howson woke up while down 0-1 in the 4th to win three on the trot to gain a set.   Howson found a 120-check and legs of 13, 15, and one more 15 to narrow to 2-4.  Thornton then closed the show breaking a set level at 2 with a 73-check in 3.

All Hail repeat Champion Robert Thornton.

Canadian John Part advanced after his first round win over Netherlands’ Co Stompe 3-2.  Level at 2 sets each (in the race to 3), Part lost the first leg of the decider getting  even with an ugly 23 dart win.  He ended it all with 18 vintage John Part darts – getting  two legs for the W.  Leg 3 had 98, 140, 65-out.  Leg 4 saw 100, 121, 49-check.  Against Darryl Fitton JP was simply out played, losing 3-2.  In one of those “if ida” moments  JP had two darts to level the 4th set at 2.

Larry Butler led 2-nil (3-1, 3-1) when Darren Johnson pulled even with sets of 3-0 and 3-2.  The latter fell when Butler couldn’t check with 7 from 50.  The 5th set was extended as the win had to come by 2 clear legs.  Butler was ahead 3-2 which normally would have been set, game and match.  Johnson took the next 3 legs for the win (4-2) as Butler nary saw a double.

Ambassador John Lowe commented: Guys are leaving the PDC tour, only 50 of age… still competitive. The averages (are) a lot higher than last year.  180 is called out a lot.  (The Seniors Tour) is 10 years late, thanks to the PDC who didn’t want it to happen.  It is an extension of a player’s career.  

Staying in the UK… Gerwyn Price notched his first Premier League win of the year taking down Nathan Aspinall 6-3 in a return to his homeland of Wales.  Both Peter Wright and  Jonny Clayton have to yet score a win.  The PL stops off in Glasgow this Thursday – maybe converted Scotsman Wright can get a “W”.

The Carters (dad and son), Jason Brandon, Sandy Hass and Paula Murphy soared at the Shoot the Moon Tournament.  For others the tournament was a “Cluster F” of epic proportions – maybe producing a book on how not to run a tournament.  Papa Roger Carter won the USSDA ’01 challenge series over Jason Brandon.  Roger, like a good wine (he won the North American Open in 1996, then finished runner up to John Kramer in 1999), just gets better.  Son Harrison beat the great Jim Widmayer only to lose the 501 semi to Chainsaw Joe Chaney.

Chainsaw’s main squeeze Sandy Haas took the 301 singles  then finished runner up to Paula Murphy in the 501 event.  Paula Murphy, the best lady player in the USA, took both doubles (with Dani Warmack) beating Clayanna Brandon and Sandy Haas both times.  Murphy took both singles – the cricket over Clayanna Brandon.  Danny Baggish and Murphy won the mixed doubles that ended at 4:30 AM. Back the next day at 11:00 AM Murphy collected two titles.

Carter, Murphy and Haas were all “fine wine”.

But the tournament was run like “rot gut swilled out of a paper bag”.  Friday was okay but when Saturday dawned the “fit hit the shan”.  Tournament boss Beth Newby didn’t show up till 10:00 AM for a 10:30 AM WDF men’s singles.  The sign up line wrapped around the room and down the hall.  The event started more than an hour late.  They didn’t do board calls.  The event ended at 6:30. Three other events were delayed . 

No board calls?  They assumed everyone was online watching dart connect to see when they were up. 

Finally, the oche for the final boards was too long.  They measured it in front of me (Carter) and Baggish.  One was 1/4 inch too far.  They didn’t bother with the other, just said that’s how it is, and they cannot fix it.  

A seven-hour singles is ridiculous.  It’s time to consider North American tournaments jettisoning WDF points.  In Europe the WDF format works fine.  It was not constructed for tournaments with multiple events of ’01 and Cricket.

Take Shoot the Moon (please) which had other problems.  The WDF singles involved 190 legs that were unnecessary with a format of best of 3 or 5.  At five minutes per leg that’s 950 extra minutes of play.

There’s also the financial situation – the cost of WDF sanctioning.   At Shoot the Moon the sanctioning fee was $250 plus about $718 in surcharges.  Did that $950+ draw enough darters to offset the cost? Could that money be passed on to the players or used to actually hire someone that knows how to run a tournament? Are WDF points a draw in North America or a nuance?

Like fine wine the ODC’s advice is savored. 

Alert to North American parents: don’t buy your children birthday helium balloons. Walking with them in public could cause them being shot down.

Stay thirsty my friends.


  • Howie Reed

    Astute, often controversial, and always humorous, the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed (a former rodeo cowboy and advertising executive), is heralded as the Dean of Darts Chroniclers - the most prolific and widely followed writer ever about our sport. He goes back decades with the legends and knows where the skeletons are buried (just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers!). Here are four well-known facts about the Old Dart Coach: 1) he is a Republican, 2) he loves the ladies, 3) he can drink most anybody under the table, and 4) he throws darts as bad as Dartoid.