We saw the best and worst of darts at the PDC world championship this time around. And, with this blog title nodding respect to Sid Waddell, we had classic commentary from the great man too. It will be a sad day when he retires. Please don’t, Sid. Not ever.
Chris Mason’s pathetic, unprofessional and totally unwarranted outburst after his defeat to Phil Taylor. Yes he got a right hammering but that happens in every sport and the true professional shakes hands, says ‘well done’ and goes back to the practice board to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Instead, Mason chose to blame Taylor for his own failings on the night, basically accused Taylor of taking the piss by constantly making his third dart count after two poor darts (and how ridiculous is that… the ability to stow a fine third dart after two poor darts is what separates champions from also rans, Mr Mason) and most laughably of all, consdered the best way to end the match was to take care of business in the car park. Good grief. Darts does not need players like Mason on this showing. Taylor’s threat to walk away was over-the-top dramatics but I agreed with his sentiment. No one deserves to be abused or threatened while at work. Unless they are reality TV contestants, then it’s probably OK.
Phil Taylor has a reputation for arrogance. I must confess I have never really seen it. Sure, he’s supremely confident but you know, he’s 13 times world champion. I reckon we owe him that.
My advice to Chris Mason is: go and work harder. If you think you must humiliate Taylor in some way (and this makes you weak to begin with since desire for petty revenge is a despicable emotion) then do it on the oche. In the car park? Give me strength.
The final. Pure and simple. Phil Taylor vs Raymond Van Barneveld. An astonishing match that I almost turned off at 3-0 to Taylor because it looked like it was going to be an embarrassment for Van Barneveld. It ended up as the best match of darts I have ever seen. I know darts has many detractors and the section above unfortunately adds fuel to their fire, but this final was tension and magnificent theatre right from the moment Barney began his fight back at 3-1.
For those not quite in the know, it’s the first to seven sets. To win a set you have to reach three legs. To win a leg you have to score 501 points and end on a double (that awfully narrow ring around the outside of the board). Never mind the rest of the match, the final set was extraordinary. These two players, neither consistently at their best, both managed to pull out supreme shots under the greatest of pressure. The final set went all the way to a sudden death leg. Barneveld won. But what I loved was the technical skill on display as the match reached three hours and more. Both men able to use the barrel of the preceding dart to direct the next just where they wanted it. Both men taking cover shots that kept up the pressure on their opponent. Both men burying doubles when to miss would be to lose.I could go on and on. Really stunning stuff.
And at the end, great respect from both combatants after a true epic. Oh, and Taylor, having lost his crown in what could be considered the cruellest of circumstances, turned round and said it was the greatest final he had ever played in. Perhaps you would like to take note of that reaction, Mr Mason.