Author Archives: Howie Reed

Column #HR315 SHERROCK/ASHTON RULE WOMEN’S SERIES

Friday, October 1, 2021
Column HR315
SHERROCK/ASHTON RULE WOMEN’S SERIES

The Old Dart Coach has made no secret that he prefers ladies to gents.  He’s oft quoted, “If I had realized I liked the ladies so much I’d have been a better person.”  Mr. Phelps of Mission Impossible wouldn’t have undertaken a shot at that reclamation project.

The PDC arranged for 8 lady’s events that could lead to qualifying for both the World Matchplay and the PDC World Championship.  The first six events in Germany were cancelled due to lack of interest.  The PDC seems to be more in love with Germany, holding many events there, than Neville “Peace in our Time” Chamberlain was just prior to World War II breaking out.

Those six events were moved to Milton Keynes on September 25-26, 2021.  Yes, he has a sister named Piano.

As that date has passed forever the results can now be reported.  Lisa Ashton and Fallon Sherrod dominated the weekend as one of the ladies appeared in every final, meeting each other in three.  For those keeping count, Lisa Ashton defeated Fallon Sherrock twice by scores of 5-4 and 5-2.  Fallon would emerge triumphant in one match against Ashton, 5-2.

Fallon took two other finals beating Corrine Hammond (5-2) and Deta “The Queen” Headman 5-3.  Fallon’s three wins combined with semifinal appearances made her the leading money winner, banking £4,300, as runner-up Lisa Ashton collected £3,950.  The money won would qualify Sherrock into the “How’s Your” 2021 Cazoo Grand Slam of Darts.

It will take a Herculean effort by those trailing Sherrock and Ashton to win enough in the next events, to be held in Barnsley, to qualify for the PDC World Championships.  With no limit on how many events a lady may enter Mr. Phelps will pass on that task also.  With each day calling for up to 10 hours of play physical and mental fatigue must be considered.

The top two ladies in the PDC Women’s Series Order of Merit will qualify to compete in the 2021/22 William Hill World Darts Championship.  Those with a chance, albeit slim to almost none, are Deta Hedman (£2,000), Anastasia Dobromyslova (£1,500), Rhian O’Sullivan (£1,350) and Mikuru Suzuki (£1,100).

Certainly, many women were disappointed with their results over the weekend.  As an outsider the Old Dart Coach was most surprised by the lack of results for “Miracle” Mikuru Suzuki.  Of the six events Suzuki’s best result was a semifinal where she was beaten 5-2 handily by Fallon Sherrock.  An excuse for Suzuki might well be that of playing in the solitude of a fan-less venue.

Third place Deta “The Queen” Headman averaged 90+ for the weekend which was close but no cigar.

A big surprise was the absence of young Beau Greaves who was sensational in 2019 – which included wining the BDO Women’s Gold Cup, the British Pentathlon Women National Single semis to Anastasia Dobromyslova.  Greaves would play in 4 more finals going 1-3 thanks to “Guess who”?  Yep, Fallon Sherrock would take the Isle of Man Masters (4-3), Isle of Man Open Women (4-2) and the Isle of Man Classic (4-2).  Greaves got some measure of satisfaction when she won the Scottish Open off Sherrock (5-2).  The ODC’s secret reporter in the UK says she is, “suffering from touch of dartitis, I’ve heard.”

On Sunday, October 3, the ODC’s favorite event, the 2021 £450,000 BoyleSports World Grand Prix, kicks off at the Morningside Arena in Leicester for a 7-day run.  With the prize fund and a nifty £110,000 to the winner this is a major.

The ODC likes it best as it’s a double start event.  Oh, how he loves to hear the terribly put-upon professional darters as they describe the horrors of the double start.  He can be heard to say to his monitor, “Sierra Tango Foxtrot Uniform.   Welcome to the North American Open Dart Tournament Circa 2021.  Man up and grow a pair and quit whining.  NO offense meant.

The defending champion, Gerwyn Price, gets no mother-in-law draw in the first round as he must face world #9 Michael Smith.  The sunshine for Price here is that “Bully Boy” lately has been able to bully no one.  If he gets by Smith, he almost gets a pass until the quarter finals when he probably would face Mensur Suljovic.  He recently spanked Mensur Suljovic 8-0 in the just concluded Gibraltar Darts Trophy.

On his way to the Gibraltar win and £25,000, Price took the measure of Michael van Gerwen (6-5), Nathan Aspinall (7-3) and the whitewash of Mensur Suljovic (8-0).  Price also is coming off a World Cup where he had a quality wins over Simon Whitlock 4-1 and Michal van Gerwen (6-5).  The van Gerwen win was repeated at the Gibraltar event by the same 6-4 score.

Another that gets a difficult draw is #2 seed Peter Wright who gets world #11 Rob Cross.  Looking at the bottom half of the draw Smith should have a pass to the quarters where he is likely to face either Jose de Sousa or Johnny Clayton.  Both are in “good form as they have want to say.

Despite Mensur Suljovic’s shellacking by Price in Gibraltar the ODC is picking him as the longshot at odds of more than 40-1.  On his way to Price he opened a can of “WA” beating Krzysztof Ratajski (6-2) in the quarters and Simon Whitlock (7-5) in the semis.  Whitlock had just beaten Brendan Dolan who appeared to have rebounded after his “choke job” in the World Cup.  Dolan, a finalist in 2011, had the first 9-darter of the Matchplay.

While there is a large cadre out there that is of the opinion the ODC knows it all – that is not true.  He knows from the ladies that “no means no.”  He learned that straight away?  Not really – it took a while.  He did learn that the sponsor of the Matchplay, BoyleSports, is a bookmaking company.  The ODC as learned that bookmakers have been the leaders in inventing different ways for the punters to wager.  At the Matchplay he found they had inserted a “Full House” bet.

Being a little slow he thought this was a sold-out audience.  Naw, naw.  For an individual a “Full House” is achieved when a player wins the game, has the most T80s and the highest finish.  For each of those BoyleSports will donate £500 towards a Parkinson’s charity.  Here, here.

Stay thirsty my friends.

 

Column #HR314 FALLON SURE ROCKS!

Thursday, September 23, 2021
Column HR314
FALLON SURE ROCKS!

 

The Old Dart Coach’s late mother, Irene Maud Reed, was want to say, “My God the Bridge!” when emotions flared, or the train went off the tracks.  Why she favored this saying has never been clarified.  She was born in London (England) and raised in Idaho.  (Idaho is the state that cancelled its Black beauty contest – as no one entered.  Apparently, no lady wanted to claim the title of “Ms. I da Ho.”)

Today, the word that best describes the ODC’s mother’s exclamation would be “kerfuffle.”

Presently, a kerfuffle is shaking the darting world to its very core.  It pits mother against son, wife against husband and steel against machine.  The furor is palpitating.  There hasn’t been this much division since the length of the oche was changed.

The PDC presented one of its TV events meant to reward “selected” players with “some coin of the realm” and give the locals a chance to play against the pros.  The Viaplay Nordic Darts Masters was the “Oh, by the way” event that followed the World Cup.  The people of Copenhagen played host on Friday.

Fallon Sherrock enjoyed a winning return to PDC action on day one of the Viaplay Nordic Darts Masters, the only international World Series event prior to Jack’s World Series of Darts in Amsterdam on October 29-31.  We now know where Jack is.

Eight pros faced 8 amateurs.  The wildcard pro invite went to Ms. Sherrock.  She took the measure of Denmark’s Niels Heinsøe 6-1 in round 1.  Her large winning margin was assisted by Heinsøe’s 11 missed doubles (11 from 12) with an average of 75.56, the lowest average of any match played in the event.  Just saying…

In the next round, Ms. Sherrock was to meet World Champion Gerwyn Price, but he withdrew, allegedly due to a “sore elbow.” (The ODC suffered similar injuries during his long and illustrious career.  Many occurred after doing numerous 12 oz. curls at various watering holes.)

In the semis Ms. Sherrock faced Dimitri Van den Bergh who somehow beat Gary Anderson 10-8 to advance – both had 88+ averages.  This is the same “Dancing” Dimitri Van den Bergh who faded in recent World Cup play.

The ODC had the telly on but turned it off when Van den Bergh went up 8-2.  The ODC was “God Smacked” when he later read that Ms. Sherrock Fallon won 11-10.  She accomplished this with checks of 106 and 101 to force a 21st leg.  Sherrock opened a can of “WA” with a T80 finishing with 100.  Van den Bergh out averaged Sherrock with a magnificent 89.88 to 88.39.  In doubles he hit only 10 of 38.

Fallon Sherrock vs. Michael van Gerwen set up a marque final.  van Gerwen started fast, opening a 2-0 lead.  Sherrock took the next 6 of 8 building a nice 6-3 advantage, using only 13 or 14 darts.  That lead was narrowed to 6-5.  It was expanded to 7-5 when van Gerwen drew level in 13 & 24, after which he then rolled – winning 11-7.  This was van Gerwen’s first win in almost a year.

As one might imagine, the match lit a Facebook and newspaper FIRE, described here as a “kerfuffle.”

The tabloid press published, “When asked back in 2017 whether there will ever be a woman player who could compete with the top men players, van Gerwen simply replied: ‘No.’  He was made to regret a 2017 tweet.”  MvG did shed tears – but it was for a win that had been elusive this year.

“To win this means a lot to me and I’m very proud.  I’ve been through a really tough period, there was so much pressure on my shoulders.  I’ve had to wait a long time to win a trophy.  I can only give credit to Fallon for how she played.  She played a phenomenal tournament and I think she played one of the best games of her life in the final, and I had to find another gear.”

Predictable “blah, blah, blah” from a Dutch gentleman saying the expected, much the same as race drivers mention their sponsors after a win.)

Now the rest…

“I’m all for equality but a lot of people praising Fallon to the hilt are sexist – if a man got to the final of a PDC event with an 88 average he would be slated.”  That drew, “I have to disagree, on the basis that if anyone slates a FINALIST, due to their average, then they are just simply a bit of a numpty!”

Another asked the following, “What did she win to qualify for this event?  A tour card?  She got an invite.”  Then, “Why not Lisa Ashton… who is actually a tour card holder?  Good for Fallon, but ya know.”

Some words of reason were posted…

“If people want equality, she is not a man or woman she is a darts player.”

“It’s two great players playing against each other and the winner, yes, it might happen to be a woman, but it’s not seen as ‘a woman,’ it’s seen as a really good player.”

Here, here.

This is much to do about nothing!

Ms. Sherrock got to the finals.  Period.  Full stop.  There are those who have downgraded MvG’s performance saying, “Well, he beat a girl.”

Stop it!

You can only beat those put in front of you which means averages are for the player that finishes second.  No one ever gave up a win because they played bad.

Tom and Bill went out bear hunting.  Tom was asked, “If there’s a bear chasing you can outrun him?”  Tom’s response, “Don’t have to – just have to outrun Bill.”

Michael van Gerwen told Live Darts, “Fallon, I think, is good for darts.  Of course, she still has got a lot to learn, but as long as she keeps listening to me, she will be great.”  (Just a little Dutch humor which some will take as a slight at Ms. Fallon.  Shame on you.)

Sherrock is quoted as saying, “There are many other women.  You’ve got Lorraine [Winstanley], Ana (Anastasia Dobromyslova), Beau Greaves – all of them people.  Even Mikuru [Suzuki].  We can all beat the men.”  (Yes, and an ant can have sex with an elephant – not often but maybe a one off.)

The ladies will have the chance to show their stuff when the 6-event, 2-day 2021 PDC Women’s Series plays September 25-26 in Milton Keys, whose brother is still missing – he’s called Lost Keys.

Seventy women have entered and two will win a trip to the William Hill World Championships.  The usual European suspects are listed: Lisa Ashton, Anastasia Dobromyslova, Trina Gulliver, Corrine Hammond, “The Queen” Deta Hedman, Vicky Pruim, Fallon Sherrock, Mikuru Suzuki and Lorraine Winstanley.  Missing are any North American players of note and there is no WDF #5 – the young Brit phenom Beau Greaves.

The WOK PDC will play this event like Eric Clapton does the guitar.

Stay thirsty my friends.

 

Column #HR313 Scotland shocks Austria!  Austria shocks everyone!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Column HR313
Scotland shocks Austria!  Austria shocks everyone!

 

As the dawn breaks over the City of Entertainment the Old Dart Coach hopes that today’s (well, actually, Sunday’s) Cazoo World Dart Cup will enthuse the crowd.  To this point they have been as quiet as crowds at the Old Embassy where a church mouse’s fart sounded like the canon in the 1812 Overture by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

The ODC promised a buffet of glorious, delectable items for your consumptions.  Through Day Three it’s been more like what’s left for the last customer in the Golden Corral.  Sunday?  Tomahawk Steak, caviar and the finest of the brewery’s art.

By the end of Day 3 what once was the choice 32 teams had been narrowed down to four.  The big darting fish, the seeded teams, devoured the small (save Austria).  It’s the nature of things.  For 24-teams it’ll be “wait until next year.”  Four have a chance at glory.

“This is it,” as Huey Lewis sang.   

Austria over #5 Northern Ireland – 2-1 

The first match out had more drama than even any Russian play could guarantee.  Austria, with Mensur Suljovic & Rowby-John Rodrigues, would take on #5 Northern Ireland.  Following the match, the announcing lady asked, “If you miss this match where were you?”  The Old Dart Coach answered, “in bed” as finals day kicked off at 4 a.m. Vegas time.  The singles split taking the match to the doubles.  Down 2-1, Austria came back to level at 2 and then 3 when Mensur Suljovic doubled.  In the decider Brendan Dolan missed 3 match darts.  Mensur Suljovic needed but 1 to erase 32 for the match then falling to his knees.

Singles One: Mensur Suljovic 3-4 over Brendan Dolan

Singles Two: Rowby-John Rodriguez 4-2 over Daryl Gurney

Doubles: Austria 4-3

#1England destroys #8 Germany – 2-0 

The crowd finally displayed a heartbeat rooting for the home guys.  In the first meeting between two ranked teams, England finally showed up.  Played brilliantly.  The England win sent Germany home which was probably a short bus ride.  Gabriel Clemens took the first leg off James Wade only to lose the next 4 on the trot, with a Wade 130- bull finish.  Dave Chisnall didn’t yield a leg, whitewashing Max Hopp 4-0.

Singles One: James Wade 4-1 Gabriel Clemens

Singles Two: Dave Chisnall 4-0 Max Hopp

#2 Wales vs. #7Australia – 2-0 

There are times when despite the best efforts of the Dart God doesn’t listen.  Simon Whitlock got blasted by Gerwyn Price 4-1 with a 123 finish.  The Dart God had given Simon more than a few signals of hope, which Simon ignored.  She, the Dart God, can be evil.  She stuck with the Aussies as Damon Heta faced Jonny Clayton.  She toyed with both as they entered the 7th leg tied a 3.  Heta got to a three-dart out when Clayton took out 144 – thank you.  A ferret (Jonny Clayton) can kill small animals, seems kangaroos too.

Singles One: Gerwyn Price 4-1 over Simon Whitlock

Singles Two: Jonny Clayton 4-3 over Damon Heta  

 #6 Scotland eliminated #3 Netherlands – 2-1

The shocker here was that Peter Wright sent John Henderson to play Michael van Gerwen in the opener.  The ODC agreed with Wayne Mardle that this strategy was stupid.  Wright is the best player in the world right now.  He’ll play Dirk van Duijvenbode.  It appears that the idea was to hope for a singles spilt leading to the doubles.  Old saying: “Don’t over think things.”  Henderson had some memorable wins against MvG.  Not this time.  He was thrashed 4-1 with his only leg a Shanghai out (T20).  Wright was helped when, after taking the first leg, van Duijvenbode saw a dead center bull fall to the floor.  Peter Wright won the leg.  van Duijvenbode lost it.  Next trip to the oche, he tossed a T20 then went back to the bull.  The dart fell out again.  van Duijvenbode had a chance to put the Dutch guys up 2-nil but missed three.  That earned him a “Get your head out of your ass” from van Gerwen.  He never did as Michael van Gerwen played doubles on his own.  He lost 4-3.  John Henderson took out 64, waving bye-bye to Netherlands.  It’s only the third time Netherlands hasn’t reached the semifinals.  For Scotland it was the 4th time in 11 Cups.

Singles One: Michael van Gerwen 4-1 over John Henderson

Singles Two: Dirk van Duijvenbode 1-4 to Peter Wright

Doubles: Netherlands 3-4 to Scotland  

The semis

Austria ousts #1 England – 2-0

This was the first time that the pair of Mensur Suljovic and Rowby-John Rodriguez had gotten past the quarter finals in five previous partnerships.  There was nothing that could spoil their run.  Nothing could upstage Mensur Suljovic’s performance in his match against James Wade (with the possible exception of “constant mindless yakking” of the Sky Sports’ addition to the announcing team – Adam Smith, previously called a Jackass in this space).  Mensur Suljovic averaged 109.66 in the 4-1 romp.  Over the five legs Suljovic had 3-T80s and T-40s.

Rowby-John Rodriguez plays with a wry smile, as he should.  It’s said that Dave Chisnall (by Wayne Mardle), plays up to his opponent.  Not this time.  Rowby-John lost the first leg, then rolled to 4 in a row for the win.  Rodriguez’s 102+ average was built on outs of 109 and 128.

Singles One:  Mensur Suljovic 4-1 James Wade

Singles Two:  Rowby-John Rodriguez 4-1 Dave Chisnall

#6 Scotland skinned #2 Wales – 2-1

By many, Peter Wright is currently thought of as the best player on the planet.  While that’s debatable his strategy of putting John Henderson first proved brilliant.  Henderson was a late addition to the team when Gary Anderson declined to travel.  The big fellow faced off against World Champion Dave Chisnall in Scotland’s try to reach the finals for the second time in three years.  Henderson did his part in smart fashion 4-1.  A funny thing happened to Scotland on the way to the finals – Peter Wright up 2-1 against Jonny Clayton suddenly lost the “throwing darts thing” as his darts suddenly began to everywhere but where they should.  Down 3-2, Wright had a chance to level with 94 and failed.  Clayton didn’t, winning 4-2.

The day started with a match going to finals just prophetic that it would end before the finals with doubles the decider.  It came down to one leg for the advancement.  Scotland took the first two thanks to “Hondo” John Henderson.  He collected 137 leaving 4 in leg 1 and a T80 in the second.  Then for no discernable reason Scotland got moved off the “boil” as Wales took three in a row which included an 11-dart leg for the third.  Scotland gathered their forces allowing Henderson to take out 36 as Wales waited on 40.

Singles One: Gerwyn Price 2-4 John Henderson

Singles Two: Jonny Clayton 4-2 Peter Wright

Doubles: Wales 3-4 to Scotland.  

The final

To quote Frank Sinatra, “and now the end is near” as Tears sings “Everybody Rules Wants to Rule the World.”

The Final was played two best-of-seven leg 501 Singles matches, followed by a best-of-seven leg 501 Doubles match and then Reverse Singles matches, if needed.  First team to 3 to be declared the winner.

#6 Scotland squeezes by Austria – 3-1! 

The two stars of their teams, Mensur Suljovic and John Henderson, met in the first singles.  The pair traded legs with the darts to level at 1 – Henderson drawing level with an 11-darter).  Suljovic got the 2-1 lead when he took 160 out.  The Gentle Giant then rolled to a 4-1 win.  The second singles was about the same with a different result.  Peter Wright and Rowby-John Rodriguez were level at 1, when Wright took control.  Along the way Wright had 8-T40s and a T80.

Austria strolled to a 3-nil lead in the doubles when they faced a total collapse with Rowby-John Rodriguez wielding the wrecking ball.  He quiet simply ran out of gas with no filling station in the area.  Wright & Henderson didn’t do anything spectacular except finish which is what always counts.   Austria missed 5 match darts.  With Scotland up 2-1 it was up to the Reverse Singles with Peter Wright against a bespectacled Mensur Suljovic.

Tension hung in the hall like the fog that comes over San Francisco every summer afternoon.  Both players were as nervous as a service girl in church.  Peter Wright held a 2-nil lead when Suljovic showed some life to gain a leg.  That was a wake-up call for Wright as he made 156 (60-60-2 x 18) go away, moving just one leg from the win and the World Cup Crown.

As the late Sid Waddell used to say of darts, “It’s a funny old game.

Next leg up, Snake Bite missed 5-match darts.  This allowed Suljovic to steal a leg, forcing a 6th.   Wright didn’t muck about – taking the leg and the World Cup.

Singles One: Mensur Suljovic 4-1 over John Henderson

Singles Two: Rowby-John Rodriguez 1-4 to Peter Wright

Doubles: Austria 3-4

Singles Three: Mensur Suljovic 2-4 to Peter Wright

The dawn has come and gone.  It’s a new day as the Old Dart Coach relives the past 4 days.  He reflects on the memories of a PDC non-ranking event that wasn’t about money (although the winning Scots will happily spilt £70,000 with Austria sharing £40,000).  Throughout this was about competing for your country.  Not once did a player use an opportunity to be anything but supportive and proud to represent their county.  All 64 players showed respect for their country and the event.

How proud darters players everywhere should be of those who represented them.  This was sport in the purest fashion which in today’s culture is as an 8-dart 501.

Stay thirsty my friends.

Column #HR312 Belgium KO’d by Austria, Yanks Bye-bye, 7 Seeds Advance

Saturday, September 11, 2021
Column HR312
Belgium KO’d by Austria, Yanks Bye-bye, 7 Seeds Advance

This is the first time since 2016 that all seeds advanced to the round of 16.  For those seeded teams that didn’t look good the experts’ said, “They’ll play better in singles.”  Most did play better except for Belgium.  How were the players at doubles?  Never seen so many D10s, D6s and d1s.  Horrid.

First Session

#5 Northern Ireland over Portugal2-0.

Northern Ireland took 8 straight legs.  Gurney was smoke’en with a pair of T80’s, T71 and 3-T40’s. de Sousa averaged only 85.  Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan defeated Jose Marques 4-0 never breaking a sweat.  Marques had one shot at a double.  Daryl Gurney was seen sipping a pint in the practice room.  It worked.  As he defeated Jose de Sousa 4-0 averaging 97.  Considering 5 match darts, the average is misleading.

#1 England beat South Africa 2-0.

England’s James Wade (99 average) beat Carl Gabriel 4-1.  Wade played great but had to as Gabriel was in every leg.  At 3-1 it could well have been 3-2 but, alas, Gabriel messed up 68.  England’s Dave Chisnall defeated Devon Petersen 4-2.  This was a “if I’da” for Devon Peterson and South Africa.  As in the doubles, Peterson had more fallouts than a bridegroom on his wedding night.  Down 2-1 Peterson had a bull bounce out for the leg.   

#7 Australia beat the USA 2-nil.

Australia’s Simon Whitlock over Dan Lauby 4-3.  Down 3-nil, Lauby won three on the trot to level at 3.  His roll included a “Big Fish” out (T70) against the darts only to get rolled in the decider.  Whitlock had an 11-darter and 4-T80’s.  Great match.   Australia’s Damon Heta over Chuck Puleo 4-2.  Heta in change all the way after losing the first leg but could have been 3-all.  (ODC NOTE: The TV announcer is a jackass.  He called Damon Heta “The Heat.” The only “Heat” is Dennis “The Heat” Ovens.  Also, Annette: the ODC was wrong – Puleo was on the team as Baggish couldn’t travel.)   

Austria beat #4 Belgium 2-0.

Austria’s Mensur Suljovic spanked Kim Huybrechts 4-1 to become the first non-seeded player to win a singles.  Huybrechts averaged 108+ with 3-T80’s. Suljovic was just shy of 108.  So much for averages.  Austria’s Rowby-John Rodriguez beat Dimitri Van den Burg 4-2.  Van den Burg played terrible (missing 11 doubles).  This and Rowby John less so.  They traded breaks level at 1 with Rowby John winning two and moving to 3-1.    

Second Session

#6 Scotland beat Poland 2-0.

Scotland’s Peter Wright took the measure of Krzysztof Kciuk 4-3 when he achieved the first brake of throw in the game.  Kciuk had one at tops for the match.  Scotland’s John Henderson overcame Krzysztof Ratajski 4-2.  Big John won the first leg in 23 darts, then the second in less.  Henderson missed 15 darts at doubles – so, he’s no longer 0-4 against Ratajski.  Neither player was comfortable with doubles.  “Welcome to the C league finals.”  

#8 Germany vs. Japan: 2-1.

Gabriel Clemens eked a “W” despite missing 25 doubles against Matsuda Jun 4-2.  Jun didn’t show up for the first two legs (66 average), then came back to level with a 187 check.  In the 5th leg he had a dart but Clemens’ pair of T80s allowed him to steal the leg.  In the decider Jun had a dart to extend.  He didn’t.  Yoshihisa Baba laid a hiding on Max Hopp 4-0.  In leg l, Baba won the race to double 1.  Following that, he used 118 and 125-check to move up one away and converted.  Quoting Wayne Mardle on Max Hopp’s game, “A stinker.” Doubles: Germany took the doubles 4-2.  Max Hopp smelled better in the pairs.  Not Chanel# 5 but also not Saturday night at Tim’s Bar Beer in Pattaya.  He got his grove back when he tossed a 168 to set up a double. 

#3 Netherlands vs. Singapore – 2-0.

Michael van Gerwen over Paul Lim 4-0.  MVG started with a T80 and never slowed down.  Dirk van Duijvenbode squeezed out a 4-3 win over Harith Lim. van Duijvenbode won only because someone had to.  Jackass announcer alert.  With the match level at 3 and Lim with darts the jackass said, “Can Lom hold to even?”   

#2 Wales vs. Lithuania.

Gerwyn Price was workman like beating Mindaugas Barauskas 4-2.  Darius Labanauskas beat Jonny Clayton 4-2.  Doubles: Wales escapes 4-3 as Lithuania’s Darius Labanauskas was brilliant in a losing cause.

Semi-finals & final

First Session action starts at 8 a.m. EDT (5 a.m. PDT)

Before the Cazoo World Cup started the Old Dart Coach promised a buffet of glorious, delectable items for your consumption.  To this point it’s been the more like what’s left for the last customer in the Golden Corral.  Today, it’s Tomahawk Steak, caviar and the finest of the brewery’s art.

By the end of Day 3, what once was a buffet of 32 teams has been narrowed down to but four choices.  The big darting fish have devoured the small.  It is the nature of things.  For 24-teams it’ll be “wait until next year” while for the surviving four the cup is within reach.

#5 Northern Ireland vs. Austria. 

This Northern Ireland pair return to the quarters since they were semifinalist in 2016 – breaking 4 first or second round exits.  Northern Ireland makes its first visit to the quarters.  Mensur Suljovic & Rowby-John Rodrigues make their fourth visit (2016, 2017, 2019) to the quarters.  Upset alert – if Rowby- John settles down. . 

#1 England vs. #8 Germany.  

For England it’s business as usual as they’ve been here with one exception in 2019 when Michael Smith and Rob Cross represented.  Those two are gone.  The German crowd was strangely silent in their battle and struggle against Japan.  The Germans aren’t scoring and not doubling which means a loss yet again, just as was the case against England in 2015.  England rolls.

#2 Wales vs. #7Australia.  

The Aussie pair returns to the quarters.  They are playing with passion for the late Kyle Anderson.  England’s flat.  As the ODC said, “Wales is there to be beat.  Take #7 Australia.  

#6 Scotland vs. #3 Netherlands. 

The Scotland duo have erased the memories of their second place exit from the World Cup last year. MvG looked good but Dirk van Duijvenbode not so much.  The winner of this one will depend on how Henderson and Dirk van Duijvenbode play.  MvG will perform.

Only a fool would predict the final outcome (but, alas, one must).  The format: 2-sinlgles, one double and reverse singles with the first to 4 the winner.

Austria over #5 Northern Ireland.

#1 England over #8 Germany.

#7 Australia over #2 Wales

#3 Netherlands over #6 Scotland

Semis 

Austria over England

Netherlands over Australia

Final

Netherlands wins! 

Stay thirsty my friends.

 

Column #HR311 Japan lights up the stage.  Seeds don’t, but advance.

Friday, September 10, 2021
Column HR311
Japan lights up the stage.  Seeds don’t, but advance.

Another GREAT day with the World Cup – and beer!

One of the stupider statements came from announcer Stuart Pike.  “Darts is becoming popular in Japan.”  Machine darts is BIG in Japan, steel darts not so much.  The Japanese duo were both machine players. 

Japan – 5, Russia – 1 

WOW.  Yoshihisa Baba hit a double to take the first leg, then 3 more along the way including the final one.  The Japanese pair danced to victory.  Tour card holder, Russia’s Boris Koltsov, was okay but okay wasn’t good enough.  His partner had a face that would brighten a room by leaving.   

South Africa – 5, Spain – 4

Forget Houdini – South Africa escaped when the Spanish pair of Noguera & Jose Justicia missed 10 darts to go up 3-0.  “Dancing” Devon wasn’t dancing until then, as Spain had a boot in his backside.  Peterson’s partner, Carl Gabriel, hit the winning double.  Spain’s Noguera had one match dart.  He stepped away from the line, took a drink of water, talked to his partner and missed.  Hello “Choke City!”

Portugal – 5, Republic of Ireland – 4 

Jose de Sousa, the Special One, wasn’t too special to start, neither was his partner Jose Marques.  Down 3-1, Portugal used 14 and 15 darts to draw level at 3.  The Republic of Ireland wilted after a good start and never recovered.  A disappointing trip for RI William O’Conner.

Austria – 5, Philippines – 1 

Mensur Suljovic, in new-look glasses, powered Austria to the win, coming from 1-nil down with 4 winning doubles.  Austria started slow as did the Philippines.  Austria got better.  The Philippine didn’t.  Rowby-John helped with scoring.

#5 Northern Ireland – 5, Hong Kong – 4 

With the match level at 3, Hong Kong broke Northern Ireland’s serve for the first time.  With the darts at 4-5, Hong Kong missed a bundle of match darts to give Northern Ireland a chance.  They took it then held for the 5-4 win.

#8 Germany – 5, Canada – 3 

Both teams had slow starts as they traded legs to level at 3.  Then Germany’s Gabriel Clemens caught fire.  He left his partner Max Hopp 48, which Hopp took out “off the board” – 8, 2 x 16.  At 4-4, Hopp took out double tops.

#1 England – 5, Brazil – 2 

England proved that their #1 seed was a mirage.  They would have to improve to be ordinary.  Up 4-3 Dave Chisnall tossed T40 to leave 40 which Wade took out in Wade fashion 20 and 2 x 10.

#4 Belgium – 5, Greece – 2  

The Chocolate & Diamond guys didn’t sparkle – regardless they advanced.  Austria is next.  

Saturday Preview

The format goes from best of 5 doubles to singes, best of 7.  If there’s a tie it’ll be one doubles match, best of 7.

First Session action starts at 8 a.m. EDT (5 a.m. PDT).

Aussie darting star and champion eater Wayne Weening posted, in anticipation of the matchup tomorrow between Australia and the USA: “I’m going to record it, then run it backwards for a tie.” He likes happy endings.   

#2 Wales vs. Lithuania.  Wales is the pick.  Gerwyn Price & Jonny Clayton are both in top form. 

#3Netherlands vs. Singapore.  The boys from the Lions State know that they escaped with a 5-4 win over Gibraltar.  Harith wrote afterwards: “The amount of Hokkien we spoke up there to pump & motivate each other was unbelievable!  We didn’t wanna lose, it was for SINGAPORE!  The people were chanting ‘Singa Singapore, Singapore, Singa Singapore & there’s only 1, Paul Lim!  If it was so easy, anyone could have done it, don’t need the 2 of us!  Thank you for the belief & all the support, it was awesome!”   The crowd would help if the Lims could score and hit a double.  Netherlands is the best so far.  They’ll win. 

#6 Scotland vs. Poland.  Upset alert.  Poland with Krzysztof Ratajski is the wise guy’s pick.  ODC is wise calling for the upset. 

USA vs. Australia: USA makes the second round every other year.  If Danny Lauby plays like he did in round one, they’ll be there again.  USA to advance   

Second Session: 2 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. PDT)  

#1England vs. South Africa:  The Dancin’ Spring Boks have a chance for the upset with England looking ordinary against Brazil. 

#5 Northern Ireland vs. Portugal:  Take the guys in green, who came to the oche dressed like bums.  Both need to call weight watcher or get pregnancy advice.  They advance. 

#4 Belgium vs. Austria: Could be a wing-dinger.  Belgium will be tested but will advance.

#8 Germany vs. Japan: This one depends on which team holds their bottle.  Japan will prevail if they don’t regress from round 1.  Max Hopp must improve for a German win.  Taking Germany.

Stay thirsty my friends.

 

Column #HR310 Netherlands, Poland & the USA: SOCKO!  Singapore gets a Mulligan.

Thursday, September 9, 2021
Column HR310
Netherlands, Poland & USA: SOCKO!  Singapore gets a Mulligan.

Day One of the Cazoo World Cup began when the resplendent John McDonald called the meeting to order on a day that had been a sunny 80 degrees in Jena, Germany.  Prior to the opening dart, the Old Dart Coach received the following communication from international darting great David Justice: “If the ODC is being paid for his singing he should be charged with obtaining pecuniary gain by deception.”  The ODC is overjoyed.  He’s never had a lot of “pecuniary gain.”

The first round is all played best of 5 double only.

#3 Netherlands – 5– vs. Denmark – 1.  After falling behind 1-nil, the Dutch took advantage of a missed dart by Denmark to go up 2-0, exploding for 5-1 en route.  Michael van Gerwen & Dirk van Duijvenbode could not have played better.  They drew Singapore on Saturday and should be big favorites.  

Poland vsCzech Republic – 2.  WOW.  Krzysztof Ratajski was magnificent, taking all 5 outs and averaging well over 100.  The Czech was returned for insufficient funds!  Poland vs. #6 Scotland on Saturday.  Scots beware! 

USA  5 vs. Sweden – 1.  USA’s Danny Lauby put on a T80 show which led to him hit a double against the darts for a 3-1 lead.  He added two more T80s to start legs with Chuck Puleo hitting the final double for a 5-1.  Even with the solid Aussie win, USA has a shot on Saturday. 

Singapore 5 vs. Gibraltar – 4.  Commentator Wayne Mardle said, “Two things you can count on – the sun rises, and Paul Lim plays darts.”  After a miserable first leg where they squandered 9 darts at doubles it looked like the sun was setting on the “Not Brothers Lim.”  They were horrible as Gibraltar’s Justin Hewitt was a rock.  Down 2-4, Harith pulled them level (108), then Paul finished the deal with a 116.  Age (113) defeated youth (38).  Netherlands Saturday.  Big improvement needed.

#6 Scotland 5 vs. China – 0.  Bad news for the Chinese duo that could manage only 2 scores of 100+.  The good news was they never missed a double!  Scotland’s win sets up a juicy match on Saturday against Poland and Krzysztof Ratajski. 

#2 Wales 5 vs. Finland – 2.  Wales was okay but not spectacular.  Finland, down 4-0, got a 95-check (25-60-bull) to escape the Snyder.  Both Gerwyn Price & Jonny Clayton can be happy with the win. 

#7 Australia 5 vs .Italy – 0.  The lads from Down Under had a comfortable win, beating an all-rookie duo from Italy.  Simon Whitlock & Damon Heta were playing in the memory of the late Kyle Anderson who paired with Whitlock three times in World Cups.   They will get a red-hot USA duo on Saturday. 

Lithuania 5 vs. Hungary – 3.  Lithuania moves on when after 8 match darts Darius Labanauskas hit 2 x 4 for the win.  His partner Mindaugas Barauskas went level and stole back a break with a T35-check (25-60-bull) to even the match at 2.  The 5th leg turned things in Lithuania’s favor when Hungary failed to check.

Friday has some tasty matches with #1 England vs. Brazil – where the Tea & Crumpet duo will do the Samba.   #4 Belgium is a big favorite over Greece and #5Northern should handle Hong Kong while #8 Germany vs. Canada will have the crowd cheering and maybe even stop singing Winter Wonderland.

The scrumptious buffet of delectable matches will have the table set with Russia vs. Japan, Spain vs. South Africa (with “Dancin’” Devon Petersen, the Republic of Ireland vs. Portugal and Austria vs. the Philippines.

The match of the day will be when Austria, led by Mensur Suljovic in his11th World Cup, takes on Portugal and the sensational Jose de Sousa.  Must Watch TV!

Stay thirsty my friends.

 

 

Column #HR309 2021 World Cup of Darts PREDICTIONS!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Column HR308
2021 World Cup of Darts PREDICTIONS!

The Old Dart Coach was singing at the top of his voice with all his baby heart (in the key of ugly):

How is your mother,  

How is your brother,  

How is your sister Sue 

How is your Granny   

How is your Fanny 

How is your old Cazoo?   

The vocal celebration was in advance of the 2021 Cazoo World Cup of Darts in Germany’s Sparkassen Arena from Sept 9 to 12.  Thirty-two teams will compete for £350,000 with the winners splitting £70,000.  In a quirk of seeding the defending champion, Wales, is seeded #2 with the same team of Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton.

The #1 seed goes to England with two-timer Dave Chisnall and James Wade who returns after a 10 year “pause.”  Had Scotland’s Gary Anderson not taken a pass, as he had want to do, being replaced by John Henderson, Scotland would have been the #1 seed.

For the first time, America (Danny Lauby & Chuck Puleo) won’t get a “gas chamber or hanging one-and-done card.”  They open with a dead even match against Sweden’s Daniel Larsson & Johan Engström.  The questions is which team is “match ready” as the Kung Flu has curtailed tournament play everywhere.  The preceding was not brought to you by Captain Oblivious.

Should America get by Sweden they’ll in all probability face #7 Australia (Simon Whitlock & Damon Heta) who are beatable but not in their opening match against Italy.  Canada, with World Cup veterans Jeff Smith & Matt Campbell, get a bumpy road first round with #8 Germany (Max Hopp and rookie Gabriel Clemens), last year’s semifinalists.  Playing at home, the Beer and Brats Boys will be favored and hard to beat.  Canada (Smith & Campbell) was a quarter finalists last year, losing to Belgium.  Get by Germany and they should coast into the quarters although a win isn’t predicted here.

No World Cup preview would be complete without a look at Singapore which is always a crowd favorite.  They’re popular because of the “We’re Not Brothers Lim” – Paul and Harith.  Paul, the older, is a well-deserved living legend having gained darting success ever since the foul line was named after the Oche Brother Brewery, the first recorded darts sponsorship.  Drawn in the bottom half of the draw they should start by beating a veteran Gibraltar team led by John Michael who is usually a star, even in losing.  A win and next up they’ll see #3 Netherlands (Michael van Gerwen & Dirk van Duijvenbode) who should go through Denmark like corn thru a seagull.    

First Round: There could be some surprises, as there usually are.  A first round barnburner has Portugal vs. the Republic of Ireland.  The Port Wine Guys have the sensational José de Sousa paired with José Marquês.  Ireland returns the duo of William O’Conner and Stephen Lennon.  When O’Conner, seldom seen in the PDC, shows up he always plays well.  This is a duel between Irelands O’Conner & José de Sousa.  It’s definitely a “pick’em.” Going with Portugal.  The rest of the first round should be form full.  

Second Round: While they are there for the taking, #1 England, after dancing to a win over Brazil, should also vanquish South Africa who are dependent on “Dancing” Devon Petersen.  He should be enough to get a win for South Africa over all rookie Spain in round 1.  England has only failed to reach the quarter finals once and they won’t fail this time.

#4 Belgium (Dimitri Van den Bergh & Kim Huybrechts) will reach the round of 16 regardless of whom they play – as they have every year sans 2010.  The Chocolate & Diamond duo have been an overachiever, exceeding their seeds with 5 semis, 3 quarters and 1 runner-up.  Kim Huybrechts has been brilliant and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be again.  #2 Wales will have no trouble advancing.

(16-8): #1 England will face a daunting task if they face either Canada or Germany.  If it’s Japan or Russia, they’ll walk into the semifinals.  #2 Wales will move a step closer to defending their title with an easy win over either Hungary or Lithuania.  #3 Netherlands might have some trouble if they meet Singapore but will prevail.  #4 Belgium advances.

Quarters (8 to 4): #1 England’s in trouble here.  Germany should be the opponent and will give the home county a reason to celebrate.  #2 Wales will move a step closer to defending their title with an easy win over whomever they meet.  It’ll probably be Australia.  This round will test #3 Netherlands meeting #6 Scotland (Peter Wright & John Henderson).  Discounting their win in 2019, Scotland has had a bumpy road.  In 2020, the team of Henderson & Thornton reached the finals.  Some would presume that common sense would dictate Snake Bite replacing Thornton would be a plus.  The guys where men wear Kits and Sheep are nervous and may not be better.  This is a must see.  Taking Netherland in a squeaker.  If #4 Belgium faces Portugal, they will be sorely tested.

Semis: #4 Belgium has yet to reach a final.  Could this be the year?  Only if they meet #1 England.  We’re sticking with the German pair of Gabriel Clemens & Max Hopp to upset England.  They improve on last year’s semifinal appearance to reach their first final.

Last year, the team of Gerwyn Price & Jonny Clayton got Wales to their first final which they won 3-nil over England.  The question before play began was: “who is Jonny Clayton?”  The answer was that he is one determined-gutsy dart player.  These two guys play great as a team, prevailing over Netherlands as van Gerwen isn’t enough to defeat them. 

The Final: In 1634, Giambattista Basile published the English version of Charles Perrault’s Cinderella.  In the story the clock strikes 12:00 as Cinderella’s coach turns into pumpkin.  For Germany the Cazoo World Cup bell rings in the final as their hopes for a trophy turn into large pints of commissary lager.  Wales joins England (2012-13 & 2015-16) and Netherland (2017-18) as a back-to-back winner.

A statement from Dartoid’s World: The publisher has received numerous communiqués from the ODC neighbors in the barrio about his singing.  Among the complaints are that the sounds cause dogs to wail, car alarms to shriek and statues to crumple.  The ODC has been warned his actions are a violation of his employment contract.

Stay thirsty my friends.