It’s almost four months since da passed away. Of course there are thoughts and reminders of him every single day but it will come as no surprise to anybody that there are certain things – often the most simple matters – which wallop harder than getting tackled by Sean O’Brien from a sitting position!
Anything involving GAA, horse racing or farming will, obviously, always hit hardest. Truth by told I haven’t been able to look at a cattle mart since his death. Yet there is nothing I want to do more on planet earth than get back into farming and cattle in a proper way. This coming Saturday will be another ditch to be jumped with the return of jump racing to Fairyhouse for the winter and spring.
Or today’s blindsided kick in the guts for example, arriving home from RehabCare, the mother being down the village which meant yours truly arriving home to an empty house for the first time since June 10th. Now that was akin to being the tuna in a sandwich between Seanie and CJ Stander!
What had honestly been forgotten about, mind you, was the darts. There wouldn’t be many people developing new interests at 83 years of age but that is exactly what himself did. One evening over that particular Christmas, he came down to my kitchen/office while I was engrossed in the action from the Ally Pally to see what all the fuss was about.
As was his way, within about 20 minutes he’d have become a bit of an expert on things and formed his view as to who he liked and who he didn’t. In terms of darts, Dave Chisnall was his particular favourite. That said, he was well aware of the inconsistencies in Chizzy’s game. I’ll spare you the way he’d articulate it!
He would have loved Chizzy’s fantastic comeback victory over Ross Smith on Monday night. The aforementioned, one of a number of burgeoning players of the verge of breaking through to the absolute bigtime, built up a comfortable looking lead before there was a shift in the paradigm of affairs.
Basically, both players did ‘A Chizzy’. The man himself in yhe positive sense, the vanqiished in the less glamorous way. Smith looked, nay, was well in control but when the yellow-clad arrowsmith hit the high notes, his bearded opponent couldn’t rise another response from himself.
The evening’s action got underway when Ryan Searle (above) came through an absolute belter of a match against Luke Humphries. The aforementioned is of very similar character to Chisnall. In other words, he can do some brilliant things on the oche but can leave an observer perplexed just as easily.
And so it was on Monday evening ‘Cool Hand’ took out finishes of 158 and 142 but was still unable to shake off Searle who gave a brilliant contest the highlight it deserved when clocking up the second 170 of the week.
You know, one of the major factors in what makes darts most appealing is the fact that basically anybody can have a go at it. Yes, even people in wheelchairs. Though not this individual – somebody would surely end up mamed.
However, isn’t it great to see the likes of Simon Whitlock and Justin Pipe and Ian White and Mervyn King all still stepping up to the oche. Albeit with varying degrees of success, relatively speaking. King looks like the sort of bloke you’d love to have a few jars with but would be less likely to approach in a dark alley.
What’s really admirablle about Merv, to me at least, is that he keeps on keeping on despute being ravaged by a back injury. What he has done to get himself not only back playing but competing with gusto at yhe very highest level I don’t know, but fair play to him.
And early in their encounter on Tuesday night Gerwyn Price knew just how well his wily opponent could still work the board when he, with great aplomb, took the first set.
Price is absolutely not everybody’s cup of tea, but, that he is currently in pole position in the tungsten world is indisputable. A fact underlined by the seeming ease with which the former rugby hooker went up through the gears to ease to a 3-1 win. All the while giving the impression that he had in no way extended himself.
To a certain extent, the same could be said about Stephen Bunting in his encounter with the equally obstinate and very talented James Wade. Bunting is one of my favourite players, mostly due tp the speed with which he flings his arows. Well, that and his striking resemblance to Peter Griffim! Here, ‘The Bullet’ got away to a rapid start, until ‘The Machine’ did what he always does – dug in and refused to lie down.
Unfortunately for Wade, the other, less efficient side of his game came back to bite him in the backside yet again. As he coughed up chances to get himself even further back into contention. Given the manner in which big names have been exiting stage (piece on Wednesday’s matches to follow later – you couldn’t rule anybody out. The entertainment for the rest of us will be seeing hoow it unfolds.