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Column #HR426 WDF World Cup… as the sun rises

Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Column HR426 
WDF World Cup… as the sun rises

As the sun rises at 7:18 a.m. in the seaport town of Esbjerg, Denmark, dart players (men, women, boys and girls plus one “feel like a girl”) from 49 nations will be preparing for the “Greatest Event in Darts”.  Make no mistake it’s THE meeting of the darts world.  The town of Esbjerg will open their arms in welcome as visitors open their wallets.

The Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley.”  Burns was talking to a mouse which a “Scotchman” may do after a wee too many sips of Scotland’s finest.

For this edition of darts excellence, the Old Dart Coach had planned an in-depth analysis of the WDF World Cup XXII starting today or tomorrow (depending on your time zone).  Those plans went sideways as most, if not all the non-North American male players, elicited the sound of an owl from the ODC.  The “mercenaries” (PDC) have wreaked havoc with men’s darts and the World Cup taking the best of the men.  The lady’s field is loaded with the USA women in the hunt against an England team that is stacked.  Not a physical comment.

The ODC’s love affair, which was not always returned, with the World Cup began in 1979 at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas.  He, along with a cadre of Northern Californians, arrived ready to party.  They got their wish when Nicky Virachkul won the singles defeating Ceri Rhys Morgan from Wales 4-3.  The highlight was the ODC and Ron Beach procuring cases of beer then transporting said product to a “parched dry dart hall.”  They shared their good fortune with others for a price.

Wales won the first World Cup then had to wait through 7 England wins before they captured another.  In all of 22 World Cups England’s men have won 14, Wales – 3, Netherlands – 3 and Australia – 1.  The Aussie win came in 2017 in Kobe, Japan.  England’s early dominance featured the familiar names of Bristow and Lowe.  They won 5 singles and 5 doubles.

In the good old days, the draw was made with the home country assured to be in at least one final.  In 1985 in Brisbane the late Terry O’Dea was quoted as saying, “We’ll be in the final of the four person”.  The USA lady’s manager (name withheld as he did a lousy job) said, “They should as they play ‘bye’ and ‘failed to show’.”

History showed the USA as huge underdogs to the English in the semifinals.  The night before John Kramer explained to Eric Bristow, in the hotel lobby, that the USA would provide a proper “ass kicking” along with the suggestion that he “relieve himself up a rope”.

Kramer no lie.  As each leg was won in the semis Kramer stuck his head in the English practice room announcing the score.  The final:  9-0 for the Colonies.  Love JK.

With little success on the men’s side, the ladies of the USA have four wins with individual singles gold for Sandy Reitan, Eva Grigsby, Kathy Maloney and Stacy Bromberg.  Bromberg was denied the chance to repeat as a result of the “horse feathers” decision of the WDF, which it is most capable of doing.  USA’s WDF representative, Buddy Bartoletta, and ADO vice president, didn’t stand up for Stacy.

Traitor.  Now he’s vice president of the WDF.  Still a traitor.

The Netherlands (men) and England’s (women) are expected to repeat as overall winners.  New Zealand’s Darren Herewini is back to defend his singles title.  The gold Canadian pair of David Cameron and Jeff Smith will not return as they have moved onto “greener pastures.”  Ladies’ singles and doubles champion Mikuru Suzuki (with Mayumi Ouchi) is a no show, but not Ouchi.

The men of the Netherlands have the depth to repeat with two players (Jelle Klaasen and Wesley Plaisier) ranked in the WDF top ten.  The women’s field is dominated by the English with Claire Brookin, Beau Greaves, Deta Hedman and Lorraine Winstanley.  The smart money has Greaves winning the singles and doubles (with partner Deta Headman) and England the 4-person.  That has only happened once with Lisa Ashton (singles), Ashton and Claire Brookin (doubles) and then adding Fallon Sherrock and Deta Hedman in the 4-person.

North America’s best chance for a Gold is found in the USA ladies’ team of Marlise Kiel, Carolyn Mars, Paula Murphy and Cali West.  All are not in their first rodeo and have a shot at proving USA women’s darts has returned to the Golden Era of Sandy Reitan, Kathy Karpovich, Kathy Maloney and Eva Grisby.

The singles draw finds only Paula Murphy and Marlise Keil in the second round.  Not so lucky is Cali West who gets a preliminary round draw of the red-hot playing Rhian O’Sullivan of Wales.  A win there advances West to face #1 Japanese player Mayumi Ouchi.  Caroline Mars should get through the first two rounds.

The women’s pairs should see West-Keil in the third round.  The M&Ms (Mars and Murphy) got no help when they drew the tough Japanese pair of Shimizu and Yamamoto.  A pair of wins would place them up against Dutch #1 De Graaf and Zijjstra.  The good news out of the draw is that the English pairs would meet in the 3rd round with one sent to the sidelines.

The North American men face a difficult situation.  In most cases they are facing opponents they know little about.  Here the draw may decide the outcome.

The “mercenaries” (PDC) were in place last week for the Hungarian Darts Trophy.  The event paid Dave Chisnall £25,000, which extends his Euro tour earnings to £120,000+ for the year.

For runner up Luke Humphries, it was once again “close but no cigar” or “always the bridesmaid, never the bride.”  At 4-5 down Humphries used 15, 12 and a 9-darter to forge ahead 7-5, a leg shy of victory.  Chisnall, as he has want to do on the Euro Tour, used 13 and 16 darts to level at 7.  After 15 darts Chisnall wanted 24.  Humphries used 14 darts to leave 24, missing with his one remaining, leaving 12.  It took Chisnall 2 for the d12 win.

As the sun rises tomorrow, the Old Dart Coach will be “Johnny on the Spot” reporting on the WDF World Cup.  Toeing the Oche will cover the tournament with (maybe) daily updates as the event deserves.

Good luck to Brandon Weening who is making his first World Cup appearance.  His pappa (Wayne) is bursting his buttons with his son’s success.

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.