Dartoids World

Column #HR441 THIS IS IT!

Thursday, December 14, 2023
Column HR441 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen and those that decline to state, the World Dart Championship begins its run at London’s Ally Pally (aka Alexander Palace) tomorrow!

The championship will run from December 15 to January 3, 2024, with a pause for the cause on December 24 until the 26th. When play resumes on the 27th the third round will start.

The first two rounds separate the wheat from the shaft.  This year’s addition will enhance players with a prize fund of £2.5 million in total for the sixth year in a row. The winner will take home £500,000 which in USD’s is $627,361 and a meaningless 2 cents.

Let that sink in… a half million pounds. That’s real money!

Consider that the recently concluded WDF Lakeside event paid in total £257,000.  The WDF winner, Belgium’s Andy Baetens, collected £50,000 for the 6-1 win.  After he proclaimed: “I’m the World Champion and I deserve it.”

In the next breath Baetens said, “The intention is to lose a few pounds.  I want to be in top fitness in January for the PDC Q School, where PDC tour tickets can be earned.  That’s my big dream right now.”

Michael Smith is the defending champion, but his chances of defending are “iffy” at best.  No champion has repeated since Gary Anderson in 2015 and 2016 and no one will ever rule as Phil Taylor did.

Taylor won eleven of the first thirteen. The two he didn’t win he finished second to Dennis Priestly and John Part.  After the loss to Part in 2003, Taylor ran three on the trot before loses to Raymond van Barneveld and Joh Part again.  In that run Taylor had one win with an average of 107.96 which has yet to be equaled. That average was on the old boards with wires thicker than a Jordie’s accent.

This year’s favorite to emerge as champion is Luke Humphries – based on his late season successful run.  Humphries’ appearances in the World Championships have seen him reach the quarter finals in 2019, 2020 and 2022.  This year, he’s been on a roll with a possible “Player of the Year” in the offing.  His wins have come in the Grand Prix, Grand Slam and Player’s Championship and he reached the semifinals in the World Matchplay and World Series.

He’s one player where the nickname, Cool Hand, is a great description – as he shows less emotion than a waxed figure in Madame Tussaud’s.  His throw is as smooth as Tennessee sipping whiskey.

But will he win?

Probably not, as he’s got a tough road to hoe.  He will get past his first two rounds but then the road gets tougher, especially if he gets to the quarters where he should meet Michael van Gerwen.

MvG is the second choice in the betting based upon Humphries’ late season play and MvG’s own sub-standard year.  By dismissing MvG one does so at their own peril.  Hence, this statement by the Old Dart Coach is highly dramatic to say the least and silly to say the most – if you’re looking to win a bet consider Peter Wright, MvG and a resurgent Gary Anderson, not Cool Hand.

What of the North Americans at this year championship?

There are five that qualified through their playing CDC events.  Three Yanks – Stowe Buntz, Jules van Dongen and Alex Spellman – will be joined by Canadians Matt Campbell and David Cameron.  Both Buntz and van Dongen are slight favorites in their opening round matches against Kevin Doets and Darren Penhall.  If both win, they will find themselves in “deep doo-doo”, especially Buntz who would face defending champ Michael Smith.  Spellman would face “Family Guy” Stephen Bunting.  van Dongen would face Joe Cullen.  For those USA darters to advance would be an achievement.

A David Cameron win over Jaimie Hughes would set up a meeting with the “out and down” Krzysztof Ratajski.  When the Polish Eagle flies he’s double tough but often he was a broken wing.  If that’s the case Cameron would probably see Johnny Clayton next.

Matt Campbell gets an opening challenge from the Philippines Lourence Ilagan.  Little known in North America, Ilagan (according to Wayne Mardle) has the best throw in darts.  His problem is the lack of consistent competition.  With that in mind Campbell is a slight underdog which may be the “Mardle Effect”.  A Campbell win propels him to a match with James Wade, who is beatable.  Wade has said, “I’m tired of hearing about Luke Humphries”.   

Fallon Sherrock enters the fray on the evening of the 17th against Dutch player Jermaine Wattimena.  The Dutchman has had a down year with no notable wins.  He gets in with his placing on the PDC pro tour.  Sherrock has a better than 50-50 chance of winning this match.

On the 19th, “Miracle” Mikuru Suzuki toes the oche against 29-year-old German, Ricardo Pietreczko.  Pietreczko has played some good darts this year which disappeared when the pressure mounted. This one could go either way.

After her winning play at the Lakeside event many felt that Beau Greaves would be more than competitive in this field. They may be spot on.  She had qualified but declined to grace the stage of the Ally Pally, instead playing at the Lakeside event and a sure £25,000 check.  When will she play at the Ally Pally? When the PDC puts together an offer that exceeds what the WDF is giving her now.  Make no mistake: “Follow the money”.

The Golden Era Dart Players announced that they have arranged a challenge match between Russ “The Ledged” Lopez and Mick “The Brit” Smith on January 19th at the Stacy Bromberg Senior Open in Las Vegas.  Each will put up $100 with the loser’s money going to Make-A-Wish.

Both Lopez and Smith made their mark in the Golden Age.  If and lady out there would like to challenge the winner of their match the tournament will add $100 dollars to Make-A-Wish.

The Queen and WDF player representative, Deta Hedman, has issued a strong posting supporting the banning of trans persons playing in Women’s events…

“I have thought this is wrong since Day One.  I have no problem with transgenders in life.  This has been mentioned at board meetings but everybody in all organizations is worried of legal challenges and they needed scientific proof a trans has an advantage (over) a biological women who the woke brigade call a CIS woman.”  

Well done, Queen.

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.