Column #HR399 WOULD YOU BELIEVE?
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
WOULD YOU BELIEVE?
On September 18, 1965, the TV show “Get Smart” aired for the first time staring Don Adams as Agent 86. Each Saturday night folks would gather around their black and white TVs as Agent 86 (aka Maxwell Smart) would say “Would you believe?”. A tall tale was on its way.
Last Thursday night in Nottingham, where Robin Hood did the horizontal mambo with Maid Mariam, the PDC Premier League had a “Would you believe?” night. As the late Sid Waddell would say, “Darts is a funny old game”.
To quote the Old Dart Coach, “Would you Believe?” in a seeded event that the #1 and #2 players would meet before the final?
Believe it, Bucko.
The ODC predicted that the top four in the PL standings would advance. Would you believe he was half right? Bet El Rancho, Compadre.
The ODC was spot on about Peter Weight taking a shellacking off the arm of Michael van Gerwen 6-1. What was unexpected? Wright not doing his dance (if one would call it that) across the stage. A shock!
Wright’s non-dance followed the opening match “non dance” by “Dancin’” Dimitri Van den Bergh. After Van den Bergh completed his walk-on to the stage, the music stopped with John McDonald announcing opponent Nathan Aspinall.
On TV Raymond van Barneveld said, “It’s the first time I’ve noticed that. Wonder what they will do at Peter Wright’s dance?” It was cancelled, Barney.
Despite the lack of terpsichorean endeavor Van den Bergh upset higher ranked Aspinall 6-4. The first leg of the match went to Van den Bergh in 23 darts as he missed 9 doubles along the way. Coyote Ugly.
Back to Wright-van Gerwen. Not only was Wright sans dance but he was using torpedo shaped darts possibly of shotput weight. They looked like the Old Dart Coach’s signature darts made by the late Bill Nicoll Sr. Wright was constantly below the triple 20 – just not able to get it up. Later he commented, “I’m an old man now.” That may explain everything about the problem.
If MvG vs. Wright was the draw of the century, then #2 (Michael Smith) vs. #7 (Chris Dobey) was second. Dolby was vaulted into the PL after his 2023 Masters 11-7 win over Rob Cross. This caused many to question his inclusion in the PL, especially Joe Cullen who’s pumping up his ego by undergoing a hair transplant. “The Rock Star” can’t be follically challenged. Dobey’s PL night one win was over MvG 6-5.
Since? Nada – winning only one game. The ODC proclaimed, “#2 Michael Smith prevails over Chris Dobey”.
Well, “Good Golly, Ms. Molly” Dobey jumped out to a 5-0 start where Smith missed only 1 finish. Dobey’s big check was 92 in 2. At this point Dobey might well have been thinking “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” this is easy-peasy. He was going for the first 6-0 Bagel PL win since March 4, 2022, when MvG skunked Peter Wright…
Up jumped Smith taking four on the trot as Dobey had 2-match darts in one leg. A 5-4 Smith had 1 dart to extend missing d20, allowing Dobey to Houdini 84 (with 3) using 14 darts for the match.
Gerwyn Price broke a level 4-4 match beating Jonny Clayton 6-4.
Price and Dimitri Van den Bergh, in the first semi, engaged in a “wing-ding doozy” of a match to decide a trip to the final. It was brilliant except for a “plumbers butt crack ugly” leg that went 22 darts with 15 missed doubles.
One leg was a 15-darter with the rest 14 or under. Up 5-4 Price had to watch as Van den Bergh missed the bull from 124 to level. Price took the invite to finish things with a 156-check in 12 darts. Both players averaged over 100 – just a one-hundredth of a point difference.
Michael van Gerwen had to be in Hog Heaven meeting Chris Dobey in the semis. MvG was a big favorite to reach his fourth final on the trot.
Dobey broke in leg 1 as MvG sat on 40 vaporizing 114 in 15 darts. That lead became 3-0 when MVG missed one at tops as Dobey used 11 to make 94 vanish. Dobey extended to 5-0 after some dodgy thinking from van Gerwen. With 90 remaining MvG opted for bull-tops instead of going for T18. Dobey took advantage of MvG’s 2 misses.
At 5-0 Dobey put MvG out of his misery with a 103-check (t20, 11, d16) in 15. As usual post-match, MvG was less than collegial saying he lost “because of (his) mistakes”.
This brought an immediate reaction from a fellow player. “Not scoring or hitting the doubles is not a mistake. There are only 2 mistakes – miscounting and, in your case underestimating your opponent. I would suggest you look up the meaning of the word ‘humility’ – it might help when you lose again.”
In the final Dobey’s magic extended when he started 2-nil with checks of 86 and 112. Price climbed to 3-2 up with a 138-check in 12. Price would get to 5-3 and then 5-4 taking the decider 6-4 as Dobey ran out of magic.
This week’s Premier League stop has the same draw so the ODC will stick with last week’s picks…
Would you believe that Old Timers take the stage this weekend in Blackpool? That’s right – it’s the Senior Challenge of Champions.
#1 Robert Thornton will best Richie Howson as he did in the 2023 final.
#4 David Cameron, an in-form Canadian will defeat Kevin Painter.
#3 Martin Adams destroys Trina Gulliver.
#2 Phil Taylor beats Golden Ticket Player.
Cutting to the chase, take Robert Thornton to continue his dominance of the “Old Geezers and One Geezette”.
Would you believe that Falllon Sherrock threw a 9-darter in the PDC Development tour? You better as she did going 180, 180, 141. By the way, that’s a 167 average for the leg. Bet you didn’t know that.
Would you believe that she was the first women ever with a 9-darter? Nope. Mandy Solomons hit first recorded one in 1995 London greater super league.
From Nicky Turner, a pal from the Morning Star days, “Would you believe that before the invention of the Crowbar…crows drank at home?”
Do you believe that this is the best darts column ever?
Readers are cruel.
Stray thirsty my friends.
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