Regardless of what sporting activity one choses to focus on, the reality is that the form of participants therein can and does fluctuate from time to time. The thing is, with a team sport, if one player has an off day, there will be others to pick up the slack, in an individual pursuit, your prospects live and die by your own actions.
With Darts, it’s often said that averages – the estimated aggregate of every three darts thrown – are only a guide to how a player, and by extension a match, is going. To some extent, it’s the same with bookmakers, the odds they compile on a given event are merely opinions on how they think events will go. Albeit with more tools at their disposal to arrive at such conclusions than most.
They don’t always get it right though. That was proven in the past few days with Dimitri Van den Bergh usurping Jonny Clayton. The former roofer was entitled to start favourite for Sunday night’s last eight encounter as he was the standout individual performer of the previous year.
Now, more recently, it wasn’t the case that The Ferret had drastically regressed or anything like it. Even allowing for his form not being what it was, few if anybody could have predicted just how it transpired.
You might look at a 5-3 score line and think it was a close contest, but in reality, you were left wondering how exactly Clayton managed to win three sets given his profligacy. Which amounted to 44 missed darts at double.
However, with hindsight, perhaps producing the excellence required to bypass Clayton took more out of Van den Bergh than maybe he even realised himself.
Before that became obvious, though, this writer’s fancy for outright glory, Michael Smith eventually called a halt to the eye catching run of Gabriel Clemens of Germany.
Like Van den Bergh’s conquest of Clayton, The German Giant probably produced a career best in notching three sets against Smith. Of course it must be said that Clemens had already made history by being the first German to get through to the semi final of a World Darts Championship.
Despite a very valiant effort which included 10 maximums, the underdog was essentially blinded by a Smith dust cloud as the Bully Boy laid siege to the treble 20 segment. Almost pinning a score of them in his own right as he powered past the brave, battling behemoth from Bavaria on a 6-2 result.
So to Act II. Such has been the majesty of Michael Van Gerwen for more than a decade now that when he plays to a level that mere mortals would consider wordly, he is considered to be off form.
That certainly hasn’t been the case this season as the Green Machine has been throwing at tumultuous levels not seen from him since the early to mid 2010s.
Yet, as is often the case in these situations, you can be sure he’d give them all back just to be reunited with Sid’s trophy on Tuesday night. That said, if you thought he had hit peak of his powers already, against Dimitri Van den Bergh, he could earnestly say he produced darts from another galaxy.
For it was not a case that the affable Belgian played badly, though strange, one had to concur with Wayne Mardle’s observation in commentary that The Dream Maker was quite simply just on the same stage as MVG did his own thing.
Having – like Clemens – made history by becoming the first player from his country to get this far at a World Championship, it was a brutal and undeserved thrashing.
It wasn’t so much that Dancing Dimitri did a whole lot wrong, more that he never got a chance to do anything. Of the 55 possible legs in the match, the world number 15 took three.
If there was one disappointing thing about the victor on the night, it was his brash, ignorant reply when asked how Smith could beat him in the Final.
MVG may very well be etched onto what must be the biggest trophy in sport anywhere. But it could be very late tonight before the engraver gets to work. God help the treble 20 slot!