This writer is by no means a fan of Christmas. Even less so of the build up thereto. However, the only thing which makes the Festive Season even slightly more palatable is the abundance of sporting action that punctuates the end of December and early January.
With a plethora of Soccer, Rugby, American Football and Basketball matches on television, as well as gourmet Horse Racing from both sides of the Irish Sea, it will no doubt shock some to learn that none of the above are the favoured viewing for the occupant of this seat.
No, that plinth is reserved for the beginning and duration of the William Hill World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace in London. No Christmas decoration or talk of such is permitted until the darts has started!
When beginning to construct a post on this site, the process is always the same. Headline, Category – in other words what the column is about – then tagging it up.
Tagging in this instance doesn’t mean the same as with cattle or sheep. With the livestock, it’s a case of identifying one animal from the next. Whereas, when talking about tagging in the context of a website, the tags act as signposts to direct potential readers to your content.
Over time, even the computer knows what tags you use the most often. For yours truly, that means that #HorseRacing, #RacingTips #GAA and #BoylanTalksSport are always on the quick list that’s adjacent to every post template.
Another which always seems to push its way into view is #ThankChristItsDartsmas, even though it only gets called into active service for two and a bit weeks per year. It being a play on words to expand on the fact that the arrows action is one of the very few factors which make the end of the year bearable.
In the maelstrom of sports stories currently ongoing, between the World Cup, the meltdowns of the coaching careers of Eddie Jones and Wayne Pivac in rugby – though they were heartbreakingly overshadowed by the untimely passing of Scottish legend Doddie Weir – and the early season hysteria in horse racing circles regarding the Nicky Henderson-trained Constitution Hill, it may have slipped under the radar with some that the draw was done last evening for the PDC World Championships at the Alexandra Palace in London.
Therein, Scotland’s Peter Wright will be attempting to retain his grip on the Sid Waddell Trophy and have his name inscribed on it for a third time in total. Were the ever colourful tungsten thrower to tuck a third title under his belt it would surely be a victory for triumph over adversity, given that both Peter and his wife (and hairdresser!) Jo have both had spells in hospital during the year.
‘Snakebite’, number two seed for the highlight of the darting year, behind Gerwyn Price, will begin his title defence against either Northern Ireland’s Mickey Mansell or Ben Robb. As was revealed on Monday evening’s draw which was conducted live on Sky Sports. The result in full of which was:
1) Gerwyn Price v Luke Woodhouse/Vladyslav Omelchenko
(32) Raymond van Barneveld v Ryan Meikle/Lisa Ashton
(16) Ryan Searle v Adam Gawlas/Richie Burnett
(17) Jose de Sousa v Simon Whitlock/Christian Perez
(8) James Wade v Jim Williams/Sebastian Bialecki
(25) Gabriel Clemens v William O’Connor/Beau Greaves
(9) Danny Noppert v Ritchie Edhouse/David Cameron
(24) Daryl Gurney v Alan Soutar/Mal Cuming
(4) Michael Smith v Jermaine Wattimena/Nathan Rafferty
(29) Martin Schindler v Martin Lukeman/Nobuhiro Yamamoto
(13) Joe Cullen v Ricky/Evans/Fallon Sherrock
(20) Damon Heta v Adrian Lewis/Daniel Larsson
(5) Luke Humphries v Keegan Brown/Florian Hempel
(28) Vincent van der Voort v Cameron Menzies/Diogo Portela
(12) Dave Chisnall v Andrew Gilding/Robert Owen
(21) Stephen Bunting v Geert Nentjes/Leonard Gates
(2) Peter Wright v Mickey Mansell/Ben Robb
(31) Kim Huybrechts v Keane Barry/Grant Sampson
(15) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Rowby-John Rodriguez/Lourence Ilagan
(18) Krzysztof Ratajski v Danny Jansen/Paolo Nebrida
(7) Jonny Clayton v Steve Beaton/Danny van Trijp
(26) Brendan Dolan v Jamie Hughes/Jimmy Hendriks
(10) Nathan Aspinall v Boris Krcmar/Toru Suzuki
(23) Callan Rydz v Josh Rock/Jose Justicia
(3) Michael van Gerwen v Niels Zonneveld/Lewy Williams
(30) Mensur Suljovic v Mike De Decker/Jeff Smith
(14) Dirk van Duijvenbode v Karel Sedlacek/Raymond Smith
(19) Ross Smith v John O’Shea/Darius Labanauskas
(6) Rob Cross v Scott Williams/Ryan Joyce
(27) Mervyn King v Matt Campbell/Danny Baggish
(11) Gary Anderson v Madars Razma/Prakash Jiwa
(22) Chris Dobey v Martijn Kleermaker/Xicheng Han
John McDonald will tell us “It’s time to meet the players” on December 15th.