I went straight from a lecture on the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas to watching darts last night, which meant that I was still filled with a sense of awe at the beauty and mystery of God and the Universe when Wayne Mardle said "There's something about Phil Taylor that just switches Simon Whitlock on". After that, it wasn't the same somehow.
Wayne Mardle's prize for disturbing image of the evening aside, hearing a lecture on mind-bendingly complicated metaphysics was perfect preparation, for I doubt if all the greatest philosophers and scientists of the world, locked in a room for all eternity, could explain Sid Waddell's statement that Phil Taylor "...could land a Boeing 707 on a kayak."
Anyhoo, it's fantastic to have Sid back commentating, and a cracking night of darts it was too. The first draw, of this night of draws, was provided by Wade and Painter. Painter really needed both points, and looked like he was going to get them as Wade's form seemed to ebb mid-match, but Wadey pulled his socks up and fought back with some great darts, and the Artist could not hang on to his lead. This really enjoyable, competitive match was slightly marred by a little touchiness during the post match interview, when Painter attacked Wade for not joining in the interview. Painter seemed to think that, since they'd drawn, this was a breach of darting etiquette and evidence of wide disrespect towards him, not just from Wade but generally. Do you readers agree with him? Answers by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can share your thoughts on Twitter: @paintertoysoutofpram.
Next up was Taylor v. Whitlock, which is generally a pairing to savour - albeit not in the way Mardle was suggesting. The first few legs did not disappoint, as Taylor and Whitlock slugged it out leg-for-leg like heavy weights, and another draw seemed to be on the cards when they went in for the break at 3-3. After the break, however, it was like Taylor had leaped into a phone booth back stage and come back out in spandex, as Whitlock never took another leg, and the Power completed a decisive 8-3 victory.
Barney v. Hamilton was more what I think you would call "one for the purists", as the two battled each other to a 7-7 standstill in a match which, whilst entertaining, was a bit more...stodgy, shall we say, than the others.
Adrian Lewis against a somewhat resurgent Gary Anderson, who had to win to keep his Premier League hopes alive, promised potential fireworks. In the end it was more of a provincial bonfire night than London on New Year's eve, but a cracking match nonetheless, with Adrian Lewis throwing 7 perfect darts to get the adrenalin pumping, and managing a 170 checkout. No nine darter, but a great display of both player's potential. Anderson is playing for pride from here on in, but hopefully that and the removal of pressure to reach the play offs will bring out the exceptional best in him, after a lacklustre Premier League campaign.
There's something about the precise rhythym of Adrian Lewis' throwing which is particularly pleasing to watch - almost hypnotic actually; has anyone else noticed that? Vincent van der Voort is just too fast; most other players are a bit too slow, and if you find yourself falling asleep when watching Dennis Priestly, it's because you actually have time for a nap between his throws. Adie Lewis just seems to hit that perfectly pleasing rhythym, though - perhaps a scientist in the audience can explain :o)
Apologies for the 7 week hiatus in posts - I'm snowed under with work at the moment, but I will keep trying to post whenever I can.
Two weeks to go until the Premier League comes to Newcastle, and then my girlfriend and I will be in the crowd - I can't wait :o)