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Column #HR457 THE BEST EVER?

Thursday, June 6, 2024
Column HR457

Please don’t insult what little intelligence the Old Dart Coach has left after copious amounts of “aiming fluid” and “group tighter”. Granted, the bar isn’t high…

In the run up to the PDC’s World Series visit, the North American team was said to be the “best ever”.  Instead, they were on the wrong end of a gigantic ass kicking.

To be polite (a mark of the ODC), they were “toast” for seven of the eight matches. North America was saved from a “Snyder” by the reigning North American Champion, Jeff Smith.  Smith committed a mercy killing with single dart at d10 in his 6-1 win over Michael Smith.  Smith’s performance was the worst since the ODC donned a pink tutu to audition for Peter Pan in his 8th grade class production.

The other decent performance by the North Americans came from Alex Spellman in his 6-5 loss to Peter Wright.  In the decider Wright cranked out a 14-dart leg using two darts from 100 for the win.

The rest of the North Americans were horrible. Take away Jeff Smith’s win of 6 legs and it was 42 to 12 in legs for the POHMs.  The two Lukes hung goose eggs on Canadians David Cameron and Matt Campbell.

The PDC was “over the moon” with a total attendance of 7,500 for the two days of darts, in three sessions, at the Hulu Theatre under Madison Square Garden. According to the PDC, “2,000 strong fans” (as opposed to weak ones) watched Matt Campbell struggle with doubles but still find enough to defeat the defending North American Champion Jeff Smith 6-4.

Both Campbell and Smith missed a bundle of doubles early. Campbell missed 9 and Smith 6 although Smith led 4-3. Campbell hit his stride rolling out 3 in a row for the win.

Fellow Canadian David Cameron, coming off a blitzing by Luke “the Younger”, fell behind Alex Spellman 5-3. The 5th leg for Spellman came on a T11(t7, t18, d18) finish. Spellman then gifted Cameron with 4 missed doubles from 50 allowing a 20-dart win to narrow things to 4-5.

Cameron built a big lead which allowed him to mess up 32 (d7 and 9) then close 1 and d4 for a tie game at 5. Spellman missed 3 from 32 and Cameron then erased 81 (t19, d12) for the 6-5 win.

A newcomer was the undertaker from Arizona, Adam Sevada. Savada lost 6-1 to US Dart Masters Champion Rob Cross. Sevada led 2-nil and was sitting on 52 when Lauby ripped off a T17 (t20, 17, d20) finish to get a leg on the board. Sevada built his lead to 4-1 as Lauby missed a double in both legs.

At 5-2 Lauby got a leg back with a chance to gain a 4th leg but missed the Big Bull. Sevada closed it out to win 6-3.

Stowe Buntz and Jules van Dongen held serve until Buntz broke for 3-1 which followed van Dongen choking from 24.  Narrowed to 3-2, van Dongen had a shot at 4-3 but missed 3 from 12.  In 21 darts Buntz made it 5-2. van Dongen then used a nifty 24 darts to gain a useless 3rd leg. Buntz got the win 6-3.

The semifinals were Canada vs. USA.  First up was Matt Campbell against David Cameron. The pair split the first 6 legs and then Campbell broke with 14 darts and a 96-finish (t20, d18) for 4-3 and then held for 5-3. Cameron held to narrow the gap to 5-4. Campbell then broke once again for the 6-4 win.

Stowe Buntz filled the other finals slot with an easy 6-2 over Adam Sevada. Sevada took the opening leg with the darts but then got run over as Buntz took 5 on the trot.  Those 5 included 2 at 15, 2 at 17 and one of 27. The 27 dart leg saw 14 missed doubles. Sevada got one back but lost 6-2.

The final was all Matt Campbell – playing his best of the weekend Buntz.  They were tied at 1 when Campbell went on a nice run of 3 using 15, 15 and 16 darts which included a T20 finish (t20, 20, d20). Buntz got one back only to see Campbell answer in 14 darts. Narrowed to 5-4 in Campbell’s column the Orange Ninja cooked up a 12-darter (T, T, T80) before ending it with a T21 finish of 20, t17 and a Big Bull.

One of the perks to winning the north American Championship is entrance into the World Dart Championship and the Grand Slam of Darts. Not the case for Matt Campbell…

Under PDC Rule 3.9, Campbell (third year of Tour Card) is not eligible to qualify for the World Darts Championship or Grand Slam of Darts, despite winning the North American Championship.  As a result, the qualifying place will be awarded to a further Championship Darts Corporation representative, with details to be confirmed in due course. Bummer for Campbell.

There’s no scientific evidence, although it does seem so, that some venues are more likely to produce high averages, smooth closings and T80s. The Hulu Theatre seemed to cause good dart players to miss doubles – it was some kind of curse.

On his way to winning his 4th World Series of Darts title, and £20,000, Rob Cross did so on a “bumper night of action”.  Cross has been playing well and finally got the “W”.

Against Michael van GerwenCross fell behind nil-2 when he missed 6 at a finish. Cross then captured 4 in a row while MvG grabbed one. Each corralled 14-darters when Cross used 13 for the 6-4 win.

Next up was Luke Humphries. Early on, one would have thought that Cross was a chef cooking Humphries’ goose as he led 5-nil, just two legs from a win. Then, low and behold, Humphries reeled off 5 to level. Cross awakened in 11 and 12 darts for the 7-5 win.

Against Gerwyn Price, Cross lost the average battle but won the war. This from the PDC website: “The Welshman was the early aggressor in Saturday’s showpiece, but he was left to rue spurning three darts at double for a commanding 5-2 buffer.” As he should.

At 5-3 Price missed 4 doubles presenting Cross the chance for 4-5 which he took. The pair traded legs getting to 7-all.  In the decider Price with 3 from 100 went 1, 19, t20 which allowed Cross to close for the win.

What could have been…

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.