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Column #HR459 PDC World Cup XIV Notebook

Tuesday, July 2, 2024
Column HR459
PDC World Cup XVI Notebook

Well… a very “deep” subject. Before any event labeled “World’ anything, Roman numerals are a must.

Before PDC World Cup XIV even got underway it got more interesting. Wales’ mainstay Gerwyn Price withdrew due to illness and was replaced by Jimmy Williams.  FYI… Williams is ranked #44 while Price was #4. That’s like replacing a Kobe steak with a Big Mac. Wales is seeded #2 so whichever team draws into the Welsh on Friday has an easy road to the top 4.

Day 1: The Old Dart Coach hates it when he’s right but not as much when he’s wrong.  The USA lost to Portugal 4-2. They did miss a pair of doubles which had no consequence. Singapore went 4-2 after leading 2-1 on T51 and T10 checks to Belgium.  Australia escaped with a 4-3 win over Japan after the guys from the Rising Sun missed 3 match darts.

Day 2A: Things went from bad to worse as the USA bowed out of the World Cup losing to world dart power Italy 4-2. USA took the first leg with a T14 finish. They then leveled the match at 2 on an 82-out. That was it for the Yanks as they never saw another double.  The Lims from Singapore got pounded by the Philippines 4-1. Canada won a nail-biter after losing the first two legs via the missed double route. Their scoring power took over to level at 2 – they then trailed 3-2. The next two legs were all Canada which won 4-3 in 13 darts.

Day 2B: The star of the day was the Chi Comms who were spectacular in eliminating Republic of Ireland. They were led by An-Sheng Lu who averaged 107 including a T32-check. Canada went home after losing to Croatia to 4-2.

Day3A: The re-draw brough good news for Wales and should ensure a top 4 invite. England will have no trouble in the Round of 8 except maybe against home favorites Germany. Scotland is in trouble because of the team of Anderson and Wright. Australia is sitting in the catbird seat as both Heta and Whitlock have been here before and the Netherlands should be weakened.

Day 4A: The afternoon affair set the table for what was upset Saturday. The “Swedish Sweetheart” Ms. Annette was over the moon as Sweden advanced to the quarters with an 8-6 over Czechia. Austria sent the Chi Comms home 8-4. Scotland (Gary Anderson and Peter Wright) rolled over Poland, which surprised some – like the ODC. The highlight of this session (sorry Annette) was Italy upsetting Australia 8-7. The Aussies fell behind 3-0, missing 6 doubles. They fought back to level at 6 with a T37-close. Then 6 more missed doubles would give Italy a 7-6 lead which would become level. Italy took advantage of the Aussies missing 6 match darts for the win.

Day 4B:  The evening was Jonny Appleseed night as seeds fell.  Brenden Dolan and Josh Rock silenced the German crowd (somewhat) with a nail-biting 8-7 over Germany. Josh Rock scored sensationally. England had no trouble with an easy 8-3 over France. The ODC had warned that both the #2 seed Wales and #3 Netherlands could be ripe for upset. They were.  The Welsch had a chance but missed 4 to level at 7, instead falling to Croatia 8-6. The defending champions are gone.  Belgium always plays well in the World Cup. They were chocolate sweet as they demolished the Netherlands 8-2. Kym Huybrechts and Dimitri Van den Bergh slowed the action of the match to a snail’s pace, being deliberate on the oche. Belgium grabbed the lead at 2-1 when Huybrechts put the dagger in and twisted it. In a pair of 12-dart legs Huybrechts would finish T29 (19, t20, 50) and T21 (20, t17, 50). The fat lady was singing.

Day5A: The Lord bequeathed Sunday as a day of rest but not the PDC World Cup which presented a rip-roaring display of a breath-takingly daring decider leg darts which led to exhilaration and sadness. Austria (Mensur Suljović and Rowby-John Rodriguez) took down Croatia 8-7 to reach the semifinals. After Suljović missed one at 40 Rowby-John took 20 after Croatia missed at 40.

Belgium took out the Cinderella team of the Team of the 2024 Cup, Italy, 8-7 as England sent Northern Ireland home 8-4. The surprise of the afternoon was Scotland dispatching Sweden 8-7. Trailing 6-7, Gary Anderson took T17 to level – then Scotland took the decider.

Day5B: The semis were pretty much devoid of drama – but a surprise as Austria reached the finals for a second time (the first in 2021). The Austria duo silenced Belgium’s Kym Huybrechts’ celebrations. With Belgium leading 3-2 Mensur Suljović and Rowby-John Rodriguez won 6 on the trot for the 8-3 win. England rolled 8-4 over Scotland.

The final was all England with Luke Humphries landing doubles as Michael Smith couldn’t. How good was Luke? He had finishes of T51, T21, T30 and T12 – all 12-darters. All hail the champions!

Final Thinks: The Old Dart Coach was spot on when he picked England to win the Cup. Being the “Chalk Eating Weasel,” he took the favorites. For England it was their first World Cup since the pair of Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis won four of the first 6 Cups, the last in 2016. There was much discussion as to whether this was the best England Team ever. In time it may be but as of now neither player is Phil Taylor. Luke Humphries may be someday, but he’ll have to handle Luke Littler to achieve that statis. Hopefully, Michael Smith will not become a “Where is he now” Adrian Taylor.

Clearly both USA and Canada have slipped to some degree. They just couldn’t compete – or the selection process is flawed. You pay your money and make your choice. Italy’s progress was refreshing and added a new dimension, at least for this year. Both Austria’s Mensur Suljović and Rowby-John Rodrigue resurrected their careers.  This was probably the last World Cup for Paul Lim and maybe even Singapore.

The emergence of better players from Asia and Europe, to some degree, validates the PDC development series in those areas. Players are emerging from those areas that aren’t on view in PDC regular series events.

All in all, it was one hell of a show.

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.

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