Things you love to see

This is not my favourite time of year. But, like everything in life, that’s a bit of a contradiction. Some of the favourite sporting events of the entire year take place around now. An avalanche of horse racing and the World Darts Championship.

The former of the two disciplines mentioned above will be dealt with in considerable detail in the days ahead. Matters in the latter event, though, are rattling along at pace. Again, mind you, that’s a double edged sword because, of course, that means the end is getting ever closer too. We’ll jump that fence when we get to it.

As has often been said in this space, a bit of Irish interest makes everything better. No matter what the subject matter might be. Such sentiments are magnified greatly when it happens to be an underdog story.

Enter Brendan Dolan. The Fermanagh man uses the moniker ‘The History Maker’ on account of being the first Irish player to hit a 9-Dart finish. Unfortunately for the Beleek native, his career has been as turbulent as a news bulletin about the Royal Family.

Brendan Dolan

Today was a good day though. Dolan was on song and knocked out a fine tune to mute the interest of Holland’s Jimmy Hendricks in this year’s race for the Sid Waddell Trophy.

Elsewhere this afternoon, two of this viewer’s outside fancies, Ross Smith and Rob Cross progressed at the expense of Darius Labanauskas and Scott Williams respectively. However, in both cases it would foolhardy in the exreme to read too much into the mere result.

Cross certainly couldn’t afford to be as slow out of the starting stalls as was the case here and also, Smith’s seeming reliance on being able to outdo his opponents on 180s might not be the best policy to employ.

In the afternoon’s final stanza, Chris Dobey produced a polished performance to whitewash Martijn Kleremaker. It was another case of a misleading final score, though, as the big Dutchman created plenty of chances for himself but just lacked the composure to execute them. That will come with experience and should be very exciting to watch unfold.

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