Author Archives: Howie Reed

Column # HR350 WORLD CUP SHOCKER!

Monday, June 20, 2022
Column HR350
WORLD CUP SHOCKER!

All teams but one have now been sent packing.  Men at Work sing “Down Under” as Australia’s Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock receive their gold medals as PDC 2022 World Cup champion.

But first…

WHATS IN A NAME?

Good question!

People that live in Frankfurt, Germany, are called frankfurters.  In the USA they’d be called hot dogs.  World Cup winners – in any sport, any country – are called champions.  All hail the Aussies!

The wining team is splitting £70,000 – chump change for today’s top professional dart players.  A suspicion is that at least one darter (Gary Anderson) couldn’t be bothered to drop his fishing pole for that piddling amount.  Scotland went out without a fight.  Thanks Gary.

The ODC’s choice was first on stage.  #3 Netherlands 2-1 over #6 Northern Ireland.  The betting public had them 4-1 favorites.  Betting folks are giving away money.  Daryl Gurney (NI) lost 2-4 to Danny Noppert (N).  Noppert broke in leg 5 after Gurney missed 3 from 16, then held in 15 darts for the win using a bull, 16 and d8 for the 4-2 victory.  A discombobulated Dirk van Duijvenbode (N) somehow beat “Roly Poly” Brendan Dolan (NI) 4-3 in a goofy match.  Down 1-3, van Duijvenbode missed 14 doubles despite arriving there first.  Twice he wanted T70.  The first time he tried and missed.  The second time he passed it up and lost.  Go figure.  After missing he finished T53 while Dolan was on 8, to level at 3.  Then, he pegged 94 for the win.

 #2 Wales 2-0 over #7 Germany.  You could write, should one like, that Wales put relish on the frankfurters.  During the “Hey baby” walk on, Gerwyn Price (W) wasn’t smiling.  Then, he too took Martin Schindler (G) to the woodshed in just 7 minutes – 4-0.   It was spectacular in 15, 10, 12 and 14 darts.  Finishes of 120 and the Big Fish, T70.  Price averaged 117.88.  No drama with Jonny Clayton’s (W) 4-2 win over Gabriel Clemens (G).

#5 Australia 2-1 over #5 Belgium.   The kangaroo’s changed their singles order putting in Damon Heta (A) to face Dimitri Van den Bergh (B).  Heta had never lost to him (3-0).  He has now.  Van den Bergh broke in the 6th leg for the 4-2 win.  Simon Whitlock (A) started strong, and Kim Huybrechts (B) wilted like a flower in spring “Tra La”.  With Huybrechts siting on 56 for the match Whitlock snatched victory from the hands of “De Feet” with a T70 out.  Whitlock would win 4-3 in 14 – taking 56 in 2.  Australia had not broken Belgium in 13 singles – but they broke in leg 1 of the doubles for a 4-0 win.  The “Wizard” was magic.  As Australia averaged 107.

#1 England 2-0 over #8 Scotland.  The champs went out winning just one singles leg.  Michael Smith (E) went 4-0 through “Rockin’” John Henderson (S) quicker than gas through trousers after a preacher’s “Let’s pray.”  Smith averaged 91.09 as Henderson never reached a finish.  James Wade (E) looked to lose the first leg, then Peter Wright (S) missed 8 at a double.  This set the tone as Wade finally took out 40 in a mercy killing of a dreadful match for bothWade 4-1.

The Semi-Finals:

#2 Wales 2-0 over #3 Netherlands to become the team into the finals.  Gerwyn Price (W) rook out UK Open winner Danny Noppert (N) 4-1.  It wasn’t high scoring – Price, with 88.75.  But a higher average wasn’t necessary – Noppert missed 7 to take the opening leg.  The Fat Lady sang.  Johnny Clayton (W) won 4-2 over Dirk van Duijvenbode (N).  Clayton, going first, held and then broke van Duijvenbode in the 6th leg for the win.  van Duijvenbode had no trouble holding in 11, 12 but lost in 18, 11, 16 and 16.   

#1 England lost 0-2 to #5 Australia.  On paper this should have been an easy win for England.  But matches aren’t played on paper.  Aussie international Wayne Weening, who son, Let’s Go Brandon, just scored a win in Australia, said “Simon Whitlock plays with passion.”  Boy, did he!  He sent England packing with a 4-0 Snyder of James Wade – this after Michael Smith was on his way to a 4-1 win over Damon Heta with 72 left.  He busted giving Heta a chance for 3-2 which he took.  Smith went into a funk as Heta used 14 for 3-3, then used 16 darts for the 4-3 win – and Australia’s place in the finals. 

Finals:  

#5 Australia 3-1 over #2 Wales.

Damon Heta (A) led off with a 4-0 win over Gerwyn Price (W) in less than 10 minutes.  Heta had some great approach shots.  T42 = 25, 109 = 32 and 74 = 32.  Simon Whitlock (A) stole the 5th leg break when he nailed the Shanghai (T20) to go up 3-2.  He took the decider as Clayton (W) allowed him 7 at tops. Whitlock missed 6.  Whitlock 4-2 over Johnny Clayton.

Australia was sailing along in the doubles 2-nil when Price changed course with three T18s and 162 followed by Clayton’s 127, leaving 16 which Price hit putting them back in the match.  At 3-3, Whitlock missed d18 for the World Cup (as he did in 2012).

Clayton took d8.  Wales 4-3.

The first reverse had Heta cruising 3-1 against Johnny Clayton.  While Hera couldn’t close 80 with 3, Clayton used 5 from 16 to edge back to 3-2 down.  Heta took control of what would be the final leg when T80, T30 left him on 71 which he took in 3 for the win, 4-2.

In 2012, Whitlock had darts to win the Cup.  He missed as Adrian Taylor hit double 4 for the Cup.  This World Cup Whitlock was magnificent – the entire week.

All Hail the Victors!

Stay thirsty my friends.

 

Column #HR349 A SATURDAY SONG FOR FRANFURT

Saturday, June 18, 2022
Column HR349
A SATURDAY SONG FOR FRANKFURT

This is the day that eight teams will be singing the Huey Lewis tune, “This is It” for all the others.  Or Dinah Washington’s “What a Difference a Day Makes.”  For fans of the TV series Yellowstone, it’s the day they roundup the baby boy and perform the ultimate equipment change.

It’s 1:00 PM in Frankfurt – and 4:00 AM in Las Vegas.  The Old Coach is singing the 10cc hit, “The Things We Do for Love.”

For the first time ever in World Cup History, all eight seeds advanced to the quarter final on Sunday.  Most did it with ease, but Wales, Australia and England were all extended to a double decider thereby winning 2-1.

The most spectator play by far was the Netherlands 2-0 romp over the Republic of Ireland.  Danny Noppert led off with a 4-1 beating of William O’Connor where he averaged 99.53 while allowing O’Connor only three attempts at a double.  It was one of those “you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet” when Dirk van Duijvenbode then pounded Steve Lennon 4-1 with an average of 110.64 – by far the highest of the week.

Teams that glided through 2-0 were Northern Ireland (over New Zealand), Germany (over Denmark) and Belgium over Poland.

Two teams tried to play some games with their lead off player.  In both cases it almost worked…

Latvia, against England, started their #2 Nauris Gleglu against Michael Smith.  He got drilled 4-0.  That left the #1 Latvian player Madars Razma to face James Wade.  As he sometimes does, “The Machine” stalled when up 3-2, losing the next two in 18 and 17 darts to force a doubles – which England led from the start, winning 4-2 to take the match 2-1.

Portugal also tried to steal a doubles win by putting Vítor Jerónimo, the worst player in the history of any Cup including an athletic cup, against John Henderson with predictable results.  John Henderson averaged 75.15 winning 4-0 with the hapless one never getting to an out.  He did get to within a 2-dart range once.  #1 Jose De Sousa was a 4-3 winner over Peter Wright where no serves were broken.  To the surprise of almost no one Scotland then hung a 4-0 ass kicking on Portugal in the doubles for the 2-1 win.

With apologies to Wayne and Rusty, Australia looked terrible in winning 2-1 over Sweden.  Whitlock got up 2-nil against Johan Engström, then got the “walk arounds.” Engström went up 3-2 but then couldn’t punch out 100 with 3 – waiting on 40 as Whitlock finally hit d6.  Whitlock won in 14.  Damon Heta, like Whitlock, got off to a 2-nil lead.  Larsson would draw level in 13 and 23 darts – the latter a gift when Heta missed 4 doubles.  They would get level at 3 when Larsson used 18 for the 4-3 win. The Aussie’s took the doubles 4-1 for the 2-1 victory.

The Old Dart Coach saw a post from Sweden’s sweetheart, Ms. Annette Richardson, featuring a shelf with many bottles of wine on it.  The post read, “Home wine delivery the – best invention since sliced bread.”  Ms. Annette was prepared.  With the results for Sweden, it probably turned into a “Whine and Cheese Party.”

Belgium over Poland 2-0.  Belgium was very impressive in their 2-0 win.  Dimitri Van den Bergh continued his level of play from last week when he took a Euro title.  Krzysztof Ratajski got by the USA on a broken wing but this time both were useless as he lost 4-1.  Kim Huybrechts struggled early against 18 year-old Sebastian Bialecki, then steadied the ship for a 4-2 win.

Semi and Final on Sunday:

The semifinals will again be played two singles and a double if needed for 2 points.  The final is four singles and a double if need for 3 points.

#3 Netherlands vs. #6 Northern Ireland.  The wooden shoe guys are by far the best pair entering Sunday.  If you wonder why they keep coming up with great players you might consider that the recent Dutch Open drew 2,000 entries in the Open Singles.  The ODC likes them a lot, not only to be in the finals but to win.

#2 Wales vs. #7 Germany.  Wales has not been consistent.  Gerwyn Price needed a couple of Ton+ checks to keep them alive.  Clayton is not playing well.  Upset alert.  Germany is playing well as Cements seems to be coming round.

#4 Belgium vs. #5 Australia.  Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts are playing well while the Aussie duo has yet to show what they can do.  Heta especially seems to be feeling the pressure.  Whitlock isn’t the “Wizard” for a full match.  Belgium to win 2-0.

#1 England vs. #8 Scotland.  The ODC is going with Michael Smith and James Wade as Wright is “spotty” and Henderson has let the pressure get to him.

Evening Session – semi-finals:

No one’ is going to beat the Netherlands.

England will squeeze by Belgium in a match they should lose.

Final:

Netherlands in a romp.

See ya tomorrow

Say thirsty my friends.

 

Column #HR348 ENGLAND and AUSSIES SHINE… SCOTLAND and BELGIUM – NOT SO MUCH

Friday, June 17, 2022
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ENGLAND and AUSSIES SHINE… SCOTLAND and BELGIUM – NOT SO MUCH

Today, darts fans got their first look at #1 seed England and an answer to the question, should one ask, “Can Michael Smith continue to be the best player on earth?”  That title (bestowed by Wayne Mardle) was spot on.  England delivered with a nifty 5-1 win over the Czech Republic – with a 98.86 average that led the day.

The reemergence of Simon Whitlock as “The Wizard” was a surprise – giving Australia a shot at the Cup.  Scotland was average, actually workmanlike, which is not nearly enough, and Belgium showed flashes.

Latvia 5-1 (91.78) over Hungary.  WOW!  Latvia’s Madars Razma lit up the stage with 2-T80s (one to leave 40), a T04 & 72 finish – then, set up the wining leg with T62 for 143 followed by Nauris Gleglu’s T25 to leave 18 which Razma took out on d4.  This was Latvia’s best team play so far with 91+ average.

Poland 5-4 (85.13) over USA (81.49).  It was there for the taking for the USA, but their combined finishing was the worst (9 for 41) since the ODC played himself.  The Polish Eagle, Krzysztof Ratajski, was flying on a broken wing.  Teenager Sebastian Białeckivs bailed Poland out when his only T80 left 40 which Ratajski took.  His double followed Danny Baggish just missing a T60 finish with a single 20.   

Sweden 5-2 (88.33) over South Africa.  Sweden notches its first World Cup win EVER as Johan Engström led them to victory.  Lots of smiles by Mr. Stefan Lord and Sweden’s Sweetheart Ms. Annette Richardson – as they tip a few in victory.  At 4-1 down, had South Africa hit just half of their missed doubles they would have been up 4-1.  But they didn’t.

Portugal 5-3 (80.39) over Italy.  Italy came from 1-4 down to make it close thanks to the player with the worst throw in darting history – Portugal’s Vítor Jerónimo.  His throw would make a bomb defuser nervous.  He did take three outs, but Jose de Souza did the scoring – 4-T80s.  Italy’s still never won a World Cup match.    

#5 Australia 5-2 (90.48).  Many (like the ODC) questioned the Aussie’s starting off with Simon Whitlock.  The Aussies had a chance for the first World Cup 9-darter when d18 hit the wire.  Bummer.  Whitlock was super, delivering the T17 finish for the first hold and a 3-1 lead.  Heta’s got to step it up as he had some uncharacteristic wayward darts at critical times.

#1 England 5-1 (98.86) over the Czech Republic.  The Brits played well as a pair, setting up d10 (4 times) and d20 once.  Wade actually missed d10 with 3 – first time in 30 years, according to Wayne Mardle.

#8 Scotland 5-1 (88.38) over Hong Kong.  The score is misleading as Hong Kong had darts to be 3-nil up instead of 2-1 down.  Then, they had darts in the decider for the leg, so this was an “if I’da” for Hong Kong.  Lee Lok Yin is an outstanding young player.  Jon Henderson played okay but Peter Wright was spotty.

#4 Belgium 5-2 (91.71) over Japan.  At 4-1, Belgium looked like the best team of the day.  Then they faltered.  Kim Huybrechts loves the World Cup stage having the highest singles average of 121.97 against Paul Lim.

Starting on Saturday the format will take a new direction.  Singles play rules in second round, quarter and semi-final play: two best of seven legs singles matches.  If the scores are tied at 1, a best of seven legs doubles will settle the match.  It takes two points to win.  Each team will nominate an “A” and “B” player as “A” plays “A”, etc.

Unlike the other World Cup of Darts (WDF) this one has money involved.  First round losers collected £4,000 each.  On Saturday, losers will collect £8,000 with the winners reaping at least £16,000.

Saturday AM

#7 Germany (Germany – Gabriel Clemens & Martin Schindler) vs. Denmark (Vladimir Andersen & Andreas Toft Jörgensen).  Germany was up and down in pairs.  Denmark’s Anderson played well.  Like this one to go to doubles with Germany winning 2-1.   

#6 Northern Ireland (Daryl Gurney & Brendan Dolan) vs. New Zealand (Ben Robb & Warren Parry).  Brendan Dolan played poorly in pairs while Gurney had his moments.  Ben “Big Rig” Robb, who throws exactly like Eric Bristow with pinkie out, could win his singles – the match is in veteran Parry’s arm.  Kiwi’s melt under pressure.  Northern Ireland to advance.   

#3 Netherlands (Danny Noppert and Dirk van Duijvenbode) vs. Republic of Ireland (Steve Lennon & William O’Conner).  Like the Netherlands to take this 2-0 – unless William O’Conner returns to former form.  Doubt he will.  

#2 Wales (Gerwyn Price & Jonny Clayton) vs. Austria (Mensur Suljovic & Rowby-John Rodriguez).  Wales set on returning the Cup.  Austria has two chances: “slim and none.”  2-nil win for Wales.

Saturday PM

#1 England vs. Latvia (which will have a problem wining a leg).  Latvia’s Madars Razma has a chance for a singles win.  Latvia – no chance.    

#8 Scotland (Peter Wright & Jon Henderson) playing average should beat Portugal (José de Sousa and Vítor Jerónimo).  Scotland 2-0 as Portugal’s Vítor Jerónimo incapable of winning anything.  José de Sousa could scratch out a win to make it look close. 

#5 Australia (Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock) vs Sweden (Daniel Larsson and Johan Engström).  Going with Australia 2-1 as Heta picks it up from pairs.

#4 Belgium (Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts) vs. Poland (Krzysztof Ratajski and Sebastian Białeckivs).  Depends on teenager Sebastian Białeckivs for Poland.  Ratajski’s broken wings will heal, and the Eagle will soar.  Belgium too much firepower – wins 2-1.

All seeds settled into top 16.  Let the fun begin.

See ya tomorrow.

Stay thirsty my friends.

 

Column #HR347 CHEESE-EATING WEASLES RULE DAY ONE at World Cup!

Thursday, June 16, 2022
Column HR347
CHEESE-EATING WEASLES RULE DAY ONE at World Cup!

A cheese-eating weasel is a punter that bets on every favorite in a sporting event.  The Old Dart Coach and his pal (The Legend, Russ Lopez) are charter members of the club.  On Day One of the World Cup the ODC picked 8 matches with 6 wins.  He used his heart to pick Singapore and Oh Canada.  Neither played well.

Defending champion Scotland on the combined earrings of Peter Wright and John Henderson earned the #8 seed. Gary Anderson, who should have been Wright’s teammate, “stepped aside” so Henderson had a chance to repeat.

“Stepped aside” is code for “I don’t want to play.”  Had Andersen played Scotland would have earned a #1 seed.  That would have set up a final between Scotland and England.  Now, the two will meet in the round of 8.  van Gerwen’s “Car Pool” tunnel surgery” moved Netherland to #3 seed.

It was no surprise that Wales had the highest wining average at 99.17 with a 45.5% check rate.  Gibraltar was a fun team to watch as they had a higher average then winner Northern Ireland, 81.19 to 80.27.  Gibraltar was a crowd favorite which irritated Daryl Gurney.  Afterwards he said, “I don’t give a f—”.  Easy to root against this jerk.   

MATCH OF THE DAY

It took a while but in the penultimate match of the evening Germany squeezed by Spain 5-4.  Level at 2, Germany pegged 146 (Clements) for 3-2.  Then, a 108 close made it 4-2.  Spain leveled at 4 in 18 darts.  It took a combined 8 match darts over two legs to get it done.  At 4 Germany’s Gabriel Clements pegged T40 to leave 24.  Spain’s Tony Martinez answered with a T74 to also leave 24.  Martin Schindler closed out with d12.

Denmark 5-2 (83.88) over Singapore: Vladimir Andersen had the only T80 and 4 doubles to lead Denmark, including a 112 to close. Singapore struggled with scoring.  P. Lim had one at 32 to level at 2.  PDC tour player Anderson was very good.

New Zealand 5-3 (79.42) over Switzerland.  Ben “Big Rig” Robb took out 40 for the winner.  Both teams started nervously but settled down.  Switzerland’s Stefan Bellmont came on late to keep it close but missed darts to extend.  

Republic of Ireland 5-2 (88.26) over “Oh Canada” The Guinness guys took the first 2 legs in 16 darts each as Canada couldn’t score.  Ireland’s William O’Conner made it 3-1 with an 83-out on the bull.  In the end, Canada just could hit a double. 

Austria 5-2 (82.71) over Finland.  Austria was sailing along 3-0 trying to replicate their runner last year.  Then Rowby-John Rodriguez stalled, and Finland’s Marko Kantele caught fire.  Have to feel sorry for Kantele as partner Paavilainen highlights were d3 and d2.  Kantele missed 1 for a T70 and 1 for 126.  Austria’s Rowby-John Rodriguez will have to play better, or they’ll get rolled by Wales on Saturday. 

#6 Northern Ireland 5-3 (80.27) over Gibraltar (81.19).  The guys from the Rock missed 3 to win the opening, falling behind 3-1. They battled back to level at 3 legs.  Then Northern Ireland’s Daryl “The Chin” Gurney caught fire with a T80 to open and a T35 on the bull to finish.  Again, the guys from NI have shirts that display their ample bellies.  

#2 Wales (99.17) over the Philippines 5-2.  Gerwyn Price with a pair of ton finishes led favorite Wales to the win.  At 2-2 Price erased T32.  The Welsh started with an 11-dart leg win that led to a 90+ average.  Next up Austria on Saturday. 

#3 Netherlands (87.38) over Brazil 5-0.  It was a workmanlike performance for Danny Noppert and Dirk van Duijvenbode as they held Brazil to four double attempts.

Friday, June 17 order of play:

Latvia vs. Hungary – is a battle to see who plays England next round.  

Poland vs. USA – the Polish Eagle, Krzysztof Ratajski, will lead Poland to the win.

Sweden vs. South Africa – this Swedish Pair (Daniel Larsson and Johan Engström) have not fared well.  Look for Dancin’ Devon Petersen to lead the Springboks to the win.  

Portugal should prevail over Italy.  José de Sousa has the ability to catch fire and lead. Good test.  

#5 Australia (9-1) faces a team from Lithuania where their leader Darius Labanauskas just got pummeled by Fallon Sherrock 6-1 with a 76 average.  The Aussie’s (Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock) should advance as the draw should help them to round of 8. 

That #1 England (9-2) will prevail over the Czech Republic is a given.  No drama.  Michael Smith warmed up with his 5th Players Championship averaging 105 and a checking percentage of 60+.

See ya tomorrow.

Stay thirsty my friends.

 

Column #HR 346 van Gerwen triumphs… and…World Cup for DUMMIES!

Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Column HR346
van Gerwen triumphs… and World Cup for DUMMIES!

The 11,000 fans that packed the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin for Premier League finals night settled into a party mood as the two semifinal matches both resulted in 11-4 blow outs.   Little did they know, or care, that the final would be an all-time “slam bam thank you ma’am” classic.  It was that and more as Michael van Gerwen and Joe Cullen faced off.  Cullen had just squeezed into the final four with d16 to nail the coffin lid on Peter Smith’s hopes.

The final saw more escapes than when Little Eva was tied to the train tracks.  Houdini would be proud.  The statistics for the two were almost exactly the same as they should be in an 11-10 shootout.

Cullen took the first leg in 11, then missed 3 at 32 for 2-0.  van Gerwen used 13 and 14 darts for a 3-1 lead.  13 & 17 gave van Gerwen a 5-3 lead.  Cullen stole a couple of legs with 141 and 114 checks but still trailed 6-5.  Cullen briefly took the lead 7-6 when a van Gerwen 13-darter brought the match even.  Cullen then responded with his own 13-darter to go ahead again, 8-7.  van Gerwen missed a pair at 32, nailing the 3rd to level.

Cullen then used 15 darts to move to 9 but could only watch helplessly as van Gerwen brought the match even again in 14.

van Gerwen followed with a 12-darter, including a 92 peg, to move within in one of the title.  But Cullen used a T34 to set up 36, which he took, to force the decider.

Going first after 12, Cullen wanted 68 as MvG sat on 28.  A missed d16 proved the fly in the Cullen ointment – as van Gerwen then nailed 28 in 1 for the title and £275,000.   

THE WORLD CUP 

Some get all tingly seeing the first robin of spring.  For the Old Dart Coach, it’s the PDC World Cup.  He predicts that this year will be (write this down!) the “most wide open, slam bang, doggone, like none other you have ever seen in all your ‘born puttogethers’ event in the history of darts.”

Think not?  If so, you must believe that darts and beer don’t go to together like Mom and apple pie.

Almost immediately after writing the above, the ODC heard a voice in his head.  Not an unusual occurrence…

The voice sounded exactly like Vinny Gambino in My Cousin Vinny when questioning Ms. Mona Lisa Vito he asked, “Are you sure?”  Unlike Ms. Vito, the ODC admits that his words above and some of his predictions below may be a bit exaggerated.  The truth is he has no idea what will happen or who will win.

The oddsmakers see it as a contest between Wales (2-1), England (9-2), Netherlands (9-2) and defending champion Scotland (11-1).

This Thursday, 16 of the 32 two-man man teams will toe the oche in the 2022 PDC World Cup of darts.  “Not all can win nor are expected to,” writes Captain Oblivious.  Maybe 5 teams have a chance to win as parity, experience and no dominate player or players open things up.  There’s always a chance that a non-seeded team will get a draw that puts them into the mix.

The opening round is doubles best of nine legs which could open the door for some surprises.  Defending champion Scotland only gets an #8 seed based on combined earnings.

#1 England (7/2): (Michael Smith and James Wade) will have to depend on the red hot Michael Smith with James Wade picking up the outs.

#2 Wales (11/4): (Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton).  Lots to like here.  This duo won it in 2020 and should repeat.  Clayton’s electric and when Price isn’t whining, he’s tops.

#3 Netherlands (9/2): (Danny Noppert and Dirk van Duijvenbode).  Seems a stretch at best.  Michael van Gerwen opted out for “Car Pool Tunnel Surgery” after his Premier League win.  In steps van Duijvenbode.  An opening win against Brazil brings “Oh Canada” (Jeff Smith and Matt Campbell).  That’s if Canada gets by Ireland – with William O’Connor and Steve Lennon a semifinal team in 2019.

#4 Belgium (10-1): (Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts).  van den Bergh comes off a win in the Nordic event where he beat Michael Smith (11-4) and Gary Anderson (11-5) for the title.  Huybrechts plays his best in the World Cup.  They’re in an easy group with only #5 Australia (Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock) standing in the way of a final four.  

#8 Scotland (11-1): (Peter Wright and John Henderson).  The defending champs get no respect.  They won from the #6 seed last year.  It falls on the large shoulders on John Henderson.  As he goes, so goes Scotland.

Canada (80-1): (Jeff Smith and Matt Campbell) will love the doubles first round – but not the usually sharp boys from Ireland.

USA (100-1): (Danny Baggish and Jules van Dongen) get no break as they face Poland and the Polish Eagle Krzysztof Ratajski in round one.  This looks like a “one and done.”

Thursday June 16 Order of Play:

Denmark vs. Singapore (Paul Lim and Harith Lim).  Like the “Not Brothers Lim’ to prevail move on to meet Germany. 

New Zealand vs. Switzerland.  Teams return to the world cup after a break.  Like the Kiwi’s.

Republic of Ireland vs. Canada.  Going out in the limb to sing “Oh Canada!” 

Austria (22-1) vs. Finland.  Mensur Suljović and Rowby-John Rodriguez took Austria to the final last year taking out Belgium, Northern Ireland and England.  Draw not as friendly this time as a win gets them get Wales. 

#6 Northern Ireland vs. Gibraltar.  The Irish always overachieves with Daryl Gurney and Brendan Dolan.  Easy peasy. 

#2 Wales vs. Philippines will indicate how far Wales will travel.  

#7 Germany vs. Spain.  With the home field advantage and kind draw Germany should advance to the round of 8 where they would face Wales.  Spain should prove no problem.  

#3 Netherlands (9-2) vs. Brazil.  Will be the first test for Danny Noppert and Dirk van Duijvenbode as they face the guys from Brazil.  The Samba Guys just can’t draw and again go out first round.

Let the games begin!

Daily results on Toeing the Oche!

Stay thirsty my friends and enjoy!

Column #HR345 “The WDF is the ADO’s boss!”

Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Column HR345
“The WDF is the ADO’s boss.”

Really?

Those words are found on the ADO website in an opus by Director of Operations Steve Brown.  It presents supposition that the reader is asked to accept as incontrovertible truths.  Goebbels school of propaganda on display.

“The Oregon Open will not only be run according to ADO rules, but to WDF rules also.  This seems to confuse a lot of people.  Many ask why we should be having to abide by rules of a different body?  The thing that many don’t get is that the WDF is the ADO’s boss!”  That statement – setting out the ADO as subservient to the WDF – should shock all American darters and cause the ADO founders to spin in their graves.

Steve Brown is a good guy, a hard worker and dedicated.   But if he believes this, he doesn’t understand his responsibility to American players.

The Portland Area Dart Association faced a problem with dwindling numbers for the Oregon Open.  The idea – a “solution” – arose (possibly planted by an uninformed someone) that WDF ranking points would increase attendance.

It was taken as the gospel as if written on a table from on high.

There is no evidence that WDF points increase attendance for tournaments in the USA.  Did attendance increase?  “No, not over all.  There were a few more big-time players.  That’s all.  Locals don’t come around much either.  The Oregon Open is probably about done for.” 

The Oregon Open has a special place in the ODC’s heart.  It was his first travel tournament – held at Portland’s Masonic Hall and the Paramount Heathman Hotel, the ODC had high expectations.

Freddy DuBois brought a bus load of darters and reserved one hotel room just for beer.

The ODC’s first blind draw matched him with unknown lady named Linda.  At the board she asked, “Are you Howie Reed?”  “Yes.”  “Oh, you have to bring your own darts?”

The next year, pure coincidence, the ODC again drew Linda.  “I bought my own darts,” she proudly announced.  After three of her practice darts, he asked, “Why?”

The next year, the ODC declined to enter the blind draw.  He still drew Linda.  The late tournament director Roger Crystal denied shenanigans with a smile.

Brown continues, “WDF stands for “World Darts Federation.”  The term “World” is an indicator of the fact that the WDF is actually the world’s official governing body for steel-tip darts.”  Talk about drinking the Grape Kool-Aid at Jonestown.  This is fiction, not fact.

There’s no “official governing body” for steel-tip either in the world or in the USA.  This “fact” is made of nothing more than the “cloth” from a sow’s posterior.

No sensible argument can be made that the WDF is more powerful than the PDC.  In the USA the CDC and USSDA are on the rise as they nip at the ADO’s heels.

Ask any dart player who’s the world champion?  The answer will be Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor or Peter Wright nary a mention of Neil Duff.

Brown’s logic is questionable, at best.  “The American Darts Organization is the official governing body for steel-tip darts in the US – as recognized by the WDF, of whom the ADO is a member.”  The WDF bestows upon itself the title “world official governing body” then anoints the ADO as the “official governing body in the USA.”  Sure.

Steve Brown’s responsibility is to help rebuild the ADO after lockdowns and lack of leadership have decimated the ranks.  He and the ADO owe no allegiance to the WDF, nor should they shill on their behalf.

Darts fans have memories that bring smiles.  For instance, the comeback of Ronnie Baxter against the ODC in New Orleans.  Baxter smiles.

Add another to the ODC’s list.  The final night of full Premier League play, we saw Joe Cullen vs. Peter Wright for 4th place. Head to head for £10,000, a place in the finals on June 13 in Berlin and £275,000 to the winner.  Wright had been secure in the top four throughout the season only to be regulated to 5th after losing to Cullen 6-1 in week 15.

The always resplendent John McDonald introduced Wright, rolling the “R” with the ease of a ladyboy rolling a drunk on Beach Road in Pattaya, Thailand.  The scenario was scripted by the Dart God, who takes pleasure in promising a pony but delivering, well, never mind…

Cullen threw first.  The players held thru 8 legs, level at 4.  Along the way, Wright would avert losses when Cullen missed a bull on a 126 (getting ½ bull) by whacking out 116, then held in 11 darts making it level again.

The ninth leg was the decider as Wright needed to hold all his throws, then break to win.  Cullen’s hold effort was strong with T20, T80, 96 – leaving 105 after 9.  Wright applied pressure with T40, T80, T45 – leaving 36 after 9.  But Cullen broke Wright’s effort to hold and his spirit with the 105-check (19, t18, d16 – done with the cool of an ex-mother-n law’s stare.

The 10th leg produced two of the best approach shots of the match.  Wright, throwing first, used 133 to leave 24 after Cullen tallied 134 to leave 49.  A 17 and d16 sends Cullen to the playoffs where he’ll face Jonny Clayton.  James Wade and Michael van Gerwen will meet in the other semi in Berlin.

This weekend, June 3-4, the PDC makes their annual visit to the Colonies for the US Darts Masters where eight PDC players will face 8 from Norte America…

On Saturday afternoon, the North Americans will vie for their championship.   Danny Baggish will try to repeat his victory over Jeff Smith of 2019.  Canada’s David Cameron is coming in with a head of steam after his 6-2 victory over Phil Taylor in the Senior Masters.  Cameron was 33-1 to win collecting £10,000 for the win,

North America Team

Jeff Smith, Matt Campbell, David Cameron, Danny Baggish, Jules van Dongen Leonard Gates, Doug Boehm and Danny Lauby Jr.

PDC Team

Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price, Michael van Gerwen, Fallon Sherrock, James Wade, Michael Smith, Gary Anderson and Jonny Clayton.

As the PDC is invading New York, England’s longest serving Queen will be celebrating her Platinum Jubilee marking her service to the people of the United Kingdom – 70 years on the throne.

Those of us that eat at Taco Bell know the experience.

Stay thirsty my friends.

 

Column #HR344 A new Axiom?

Wednesday, May 24, 2022
Column HR344
A new Axiom?

The Old Dart Coach loves axioms.  “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t teach it to fish.” “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but you can’t make him drink.”

New axiom, “You can’t beat your opponent until you beat yourself.”

Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith have beaten themselves out of Premier League title competition.  Price should study Pogo: “We have met the enemy and it is me.”  Poor playing?  Like in Joe Biden’s world, “It’s someone else’s fault.”  Next, Price will blame Putin.

“Playing three games a night doesn’t give you time to regroup.”  How would he know?  He lost first round 9 times, second round 4, withdrew once and won once.

Price’s chandelier’s missing some bulbs.  “I need Premier League to hurry up and finish.  I can get on just knuckling down.  Premier League takes it out of you.”

If £275,000 for a PL win isn’t enough to knuckle down for, what is?

Price’s current 6th place will yield £70,000.  Call Bobby George to cry about only £70,000 for 14 exhibitions.  George would work four exhibitions a day for a pound, a pint and a plate of Indian.  If he stopped for gas on the way home and there were 10 people, he’d do a 5th.

Price and “has been” Adrian “Big Baby” Lewis got onto a verbal kerfuffle at the Czech Open.  Separated by Referee Russ Bray, the PDC take was “much to do about nothing.”  PDC TV voice, Laura Turner: “Adrian does now how to get under players skin.”

USA translation: “He’s a jerk.”  Going with Price this time.

Then, there’s Michael Smith.  Playing like a world champion, he misses a few darts and then “Chuckle-headed Morris” arrives and is shocked that darts are not supplied.  Smith needs a sports psychiatrist.

“Calling Dr. Batten, calling Dr. Linda Batten.  STAT – report to Michael Smith’s practice room.”

What drama there was at the O2 in London – including who would finish top of the PL table, whether Joe Cullen, Gerwyn Price or Michael Smith could advance to the final four and whether Peter Wright would hang on to 4th.

Answers came quickly.

Following John McDonald’s best impression of Ed McMahon with a “Herrrrrrrrrre’s Jonny,” the Ferret Clayton attacked Price dressed as a Cobra, breaking into a 5-1 lead.   Price showed some life with a T27 for 2-5.  Price needed 15 darts to grab one back after Clayton missed the Red Bull on a 118-check, getting green.  Clayton closed in 17, wining 6-3.

Clayton’s win assured him top spot on the PL table as he tries to repeat as champion.  Three others finishing on top went on win: Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor and “where’s he now?” Glen Durrant.

Michael Smith, dichotomy personified, was a longshot to beat Michael van Gerwen who will finish second in the PL Table.

The good Smith came out smoking with a 3-1 lead.  Going for a 4-1 win, the bad Smith arrived.  Wanting T70, Smith fell 25 short with a green bull.  MvG was way back at 244 so Smith used 8 to check from 25.  MvG got 1 for 2-4.  Smith reached 5 in 21 as MvG couldn’t check from 12.  MvG narrowed to 5-4 (a T45 check) then 5-5 as Smith couldn’t score.  Smith wins in 20 darts using 4 from 32.  UGLY.

Peter Weight needed a win facing James Wade who was out last week with illness.  Wright’s darts have been ill for weeks.

Wright needed the win to hold 4th place.  Silly, but true, the PL rules dictate that someone must win a match.  Wade took leg one in 15 on a T01-check.  That was Wade’s highlight as Wright won 6-3.  Wade held third against a charging Joe Cullen who faced Gary Anderson.

Anderson has been MIA since his win in week one.  Against Cullen he threw a dart, hit a wire and it came back to almost hit his foot.  Back in the day, the ODC was playing with three ladies in the Canadian Open four person.  The opponents were Mr. John Lowe, Keith Dellar, Bob Anderson and Cliff Lazarenko.  

“Mr. Lazarenko to throw first.  One-hundred and eighty.

The ODC stepped to the Oche cool as a cucumber, brought his arm up and threw.  Alas, he forgot to let go of the dart – hitting himself in the foot.  “Owie’s never seen a one-eighty before,” said Mr. Lazarenko.  Mr. Reed replied, “Not lately, because I’ve been doing exhibitions with you for the last week.” 

Anderson again was MIA as Joe Cullen (6-1) went through him like “loud gas through ‘tighty whiteys’ soon after the preacher says, ‘Let us pray.’”

Michael Smith gave Jonny Clayton all he wanted.  Each held serve through 6 legs (3-3) in the first semi.  Clayton had a big check with T20.  Smith broke in 15 (T11), then Clayton answered in 15.  At 4-4 Clayton edged ahead in 14 after his T40 left 38.  At 5-4, when Smith had 3 darts at 40 to extend – he missed.  Clayton with 40 didn’t miss for the 6-4 win.

Peter Wright for the night wore glasses and used longer dart stems.  Wright got off the Snyder when Cullen missed tops from 114 making it 4-1.  Cullen would continue to pound Wright’s “pistachios” (6-1) in 14 and 15, finishing 93 and 64.  Wright ended the night with 22 points as Cullen closed in.

The final began with Jonny Clayton leading Joe Cullen 2-1.  Then the “thought plickened” as Cullen ran a string of 4 in 13, 15 (T10 check), 14 and 21 for a 4-2 lead.  Cullen took a gift as he used 9 from 36 for the 5-3 advantage when Clayton had one at tops. Clayton narrowed to 4-5 with a T44 in 12 and then one at 32 to extend, as Cullen erased 62.  “The format is really cut-throat, I was under a lot of pressure tonight and I responded well.” 

In the seeded final next week, the only drama involves Cullen and Wright.  A win by either would assure them of an appearance in the final.

A loss by James Wade plus the win by either Cullen or Wright would give them a shot at third place.  A semi win by either would ensure third place.

Why important?  In the finals, 3rd place plays second (thus escaping Jonny Clayton in round one).  They start even in the finals.

Jonny Clayton (38 points) vs. Gary Anderson (9 points).  Joe Cullen (22 points) vs. Peter Wright (22 points) – winner to playoffs.

Michael van Gerwen (31 points) vs. Michael Smith (18 points).  James Wade (25 points) vs. Gerwyn Price (18 points).

1st round win = 0 points

Semifinals = 2 points

Runner-up = 3 points

Winner = 5 points

Is it over?

Another new axiom: “It’s never over until the Weight Watcher’s reject he who identifies as a woman.” Croons.

Stay thirsty my friends.