Column #HR397 SIDE BAR SALOON

Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Column HR397
SIDE BAR SALOON

The Three Dot Lounge is remodeling so it’s off to The Side Bar Saloon for the Old Dart Coach – a place where pints, darts and gossip flow like “porkies” from a politician.  Upon entering, there were the “usual suspects” discussing who were likely to win the 2023 Cazoo UK Open.  The names of PDC current royalty rolled from their tongues like water off a duck’s back – the names of van Gerwen, Price, Smith, Clayton and Van den Bergh’s names were prominent.

The names of Czech Adam Gawlas, Andrew Gilding or the “Prince of Wales” Ritchie Burnett would nary be heard.  If they were the barkeep would suggest switching to coffee.  

UK Open:  With 159 matches spread over three days, fans at Butin’s were involved in a veritable orgy of darts – with costumes to match, putting Halloween night to shame.  Norte Americano’s took the gas pipe early.  Dany Lauby lost 6-1.  Jules van Dongen lost 6-4.  Canadian Matt Campbell won 6-4 and then eliminated countryman Jeff Smith 6-1.  Campbell lost to a vintage Adrian Lewis 10-4.

The Quarter Finals: Familiar names abounded – Michael van Gerwen, Nathan Aspinall, Rob Cross, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Martin Schindler.  The last three were more surprising than a Korean phone book devoid of Kim’s – meet Andrew Gilding, Adam Gawlas and Richie Burnett.

The “Prince of Wales”, Richie Burnett, is a pure delight – such joy he brings to the game.  He beat Peter Wright 10-8 to reach the quarters.

“You’re in for some more money!”

Oh, she’ll just get it.  I’ve made two fortunes and spent three.”

Andrew Gilding and Adam Gawlas never faced a deciding leg.  The Quarters?  “Humdrum” – Michael van Gerwen 10-6 over Nathan Aspinall and Dimitri Van den Bergh advanced 10-2 over Richie Burnett.

Andrew Gilding and Martin Schindler were level at 5 when Gilding took 6 of the next 7 for the “W”.  Adam Gawlas thwarted a Rob Cross comeback (from 1-6) to take an ugly “choke” 11th leg and the win.

Unlike other PDC Majors, once down to four players there was a televised draw.  The results assured that at least one “Who” would play in the finals.  Andrew Gilding triumphed over Adam Gawlas and van Gerwen defeated Dimitri Van den Bergh, each 11-6.  Gilding’s lead of 5-2 was erased with a tie at 5 as Gilding couldn’t manufacture a double.  Regaining form, Gilding then found a 13-darter and ended with same for the win.

The Final: Andrew Gilding vs. Michael van Gerwen.  This was Gilding’s first TV final and resulted in his first ever PDC title.  The two met in the semis of the 2015 UK Open and van Gerwen got the 10-8 win despite being outscored 108.37 to 105.56.

van Gerwen jumped out 2-0 with a T35 check.  Gilding’s torpedo shaped golden darts bombed four in a row with two 14-darters and two in 15 for a 4-2 lead.  MvG answered taking four to lead 6-4 – which grew to 8-5.

Taking 4 of the next 5 Gilding drew even at 9 in the race to 11.  van Gerwen got to the edge at 10 with a T70-check in 12.  Gliding again leveled after a missed bull (from 139) using three to erase 25.

With the darts, Gilding wanted 76 when his first dart hit T1.  He gathered himself and cleaned it up to leave 40.  MvG wanted 102 but missed d16 for the match.  Gilding nailed d20 with his first to change his life.

Gilding’s the humblest champion explaining, I can’t believe it.

He had lost all six of his previous meetings against van Gerwen.  Gliding is also honest.  I didn’t expect to win that game.  I played steady all weekend, but I didn’t feel like I played particularly brilliant darts.  I have been practicing more, working hard and it’s paying off. 

Premier League: The ODC’s predictions for week #5 looked good as he picked MvG’s win over Gerwyn Price 6-3.  He liked “Dancing” Dimitri Van den Bergh to continue the downward slide of Chris Dobey – at 4-3, Van den Bergh opened a can of “WA” with a pair of 12-darters with finishes of T40 (t20, d20, d20) and 121 (t20, t11, d14).  Yes, Jonny Clayton was back as he took advantage of a couple of missed  doubles – one a d18 and then a tops match dart for the 6-5 win.  Nathan Aspinall set Michael Smith packing 6-3 – Smith, level at 3, missed 7 darts for the leg from 24.

The semis had Michael van Gerwen over Nathan Aspinall 6-4.  Aspinall was level 4 when a pair at d20 deviated, opening the door for MvG.  He strolled in for the win.

A resurgent Jonny Clayton got a 6-2 win over Dimitri Van den Bergh.  Van den Bergh was simply outplayed as he shot 3 for 8 to finish, with 5 of those costing him two meaningless legs.

The final had MvG ahead 4-1 when “The Ferret” climbed back in 13 and then took advantage of 4 MvG missed doubles to win a sloppy 18-darter and 4-3.  MvG used 12 (106, t20, 6, d20 and 14) for his second PL win.

The ODC Predicts (Week 6 Liverpool): 

Gerwyn Price will prevail over a still struggling Peter Wright.  Wright needs a win here and a good result next week against MvG or he gets MvG in week 8.

Michael van Gerwen will win a squeaker over “almost there” Jonny Clayton.

Nathan Aspinall plays Chris Dobey deeper to the bottom.  A Dobey win will sink Wright further in the cellar.

Dimitri Van den Bergh takes advantage of Michael Smith’s ability to go wobbly.

Going with MvG to win another.

As the Gov’nor made last call into the Side Bar Saloon in strolled all-time great Dave Justice…

Before dress codes Justice played at an elite level in coat and tie.  He mentioned last week’s ODC Forest for the Trees column:  I remember the late, great Tommy O’Regan saying in his best ‘Oirish accent – you should be hitting the nointeens not the trees.

Stay thirsty my friends.

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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.