Sunday, 18 July 2010

World Matchplay - Day One

Doo doo doo di doo doo di doo doo doo - oi, oi, oi!

Boy, was I keen to hear that chant again :o)

The Tropicana World Series being irritatingly untelevised - why, I kept wondering, would an orange juice company want to sponsor a darts match? Don't they usually do things like cycling and running? Then I figured it out... - I was starting to get twitchy with the lack of darts.

The last couple of weeks have also been incredibly hectic; I was just about to leave for Outer Mongolia to live in a tent with a camel when, finally, along comes some top class darts to remind that if I do, I should at least take a laptop with me to watch darts on.

That said, in all fairness, Wayne Jones v. Colin Osborne would have had me throwing my bowl of rice at the camel and storming out of the tent. Well ok, it wasn't that bad, but it wasn't a game that will go down in history alongside the Battle of Actium and D-Day, let's put it that way. Wayne Jones flung himself gasping across the finish line at 10-8, having missed multiple doubles for the match. That match may not have been a classic, but it's good to see Wayne Jones winning on TV for the first time in a while.

Before that, we were treated to veteran Dennis Priestly, who celebrated his 60th Birthday on Friday, against Dutch machine gunner Vincent van der Voort.

A fixture between Dennis, who plays with the sheer undaulterated speed of a slightly lazy glacier, and Vincent, who practically has all 3 darts in the air at once, was always going to be interesting, and this one didn't disappoint. Unfortunately for Dennis the Menace, in the 14th leg Vincent took out his slipper and gave him six of the best; the Flying Dutchman slammed in a 157 check out to go 8-5 in front and never really looked back, taking the match 10-6.

Next up was the match that always looked like the highlight of the evening, and certainly didn't disappoint: Raymond van Barneveld v. Dennis Ovens.

Ovens took the second leg, making the score 1-1; Barney seems to have taken this personally, and reacted like the man in a club who breaks a pint glass over your head for catching his eye on the way to the gents. 9 victorious legs - and a 9 dart finish so perfect and seemingly effortless that you half expected Barney to tear his shirt off and reveal a blue lycra suit and red cape underneath - later it was all over at 10-1.

Barney was in great form, and it was brilliant to see. I'm still not sure if Dennis Ovens actually did that much wrong, or whether he just wasn't given the chance. A match like that from Barney must be a statement of intent...

Once Sid Waddell had been sedated and the commentary box put back together, the final fixture - Ronnie Baxter v. Jamie Caven - got under way. This was an out-and-out, toe-to-toe scrap at first, with the first four legs going against the throw and hardly a cigarette paper between the two players. Baxter finally held his throw to go 3-2 up, but it wasn't until 4-4 that Baxter found little bit extra, and won 3 legs on the trot to go 7-4 up. Caven kept battling, but it was only a matter of time before Baxter took the match, 10-7.

A great evening of darts; congratulations to Barney for that great 9 darter. Looking forward to more great darts tonight :o)

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