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The Road from Mandalay

Автор Сид Уодделл (Sid Waddell) 20 Июля 2007 05:26

The Road from Mandalay
I cannot tell all you darters and dartesses out there just how good it is to be back in rainy foggy Pudsey after a month in New Mexico, Texas, California and Vegas…

My dodgy bronchial tubes have just settled down after being subjected to 120 degrees of desert heat on the beach of the Mandalay Bay hotel and 65 degrees of air-con in my luxury suite while kipping. Mind you, in 3400 miles of Yankee driveabout my wife Irene and I did see some sights. We saw Buddy Holly’s boy scout uniform in Lubbock, West Texas; saw the hunting grounds of the Apache near Albuquerque and dodged octogenarian hippy rollerbladers – and the posing Beckhams - in the Beach Cities of LA.

Then it was down to business at the Desert Classic and a polished vintage performance by Barney who is now making the game look easy-peasy. The great man picked up on his hammering of Lloyd and Taylor at Bolton and sailed the Vegas final 13-6 against Terry Jenkins.

The key thing about Barney is his assimilation of strengths. He got a Zen Master who sorted out his mental slumps, then he copied Taylor’s stacking methods. He now has that ‘inevitability aura’ that used to be the unique mantle of Taylor. And he says he’s hot now because he thrives on day-to-day tournament play. It is like watching Zidane at his peak deciding to show mere mortals a master class in velvet control.


I am licking my lips like I would at best Blackpool fish and chips as I look down the list of great matches for the Matchplay that starts on Sunday.

I kid you not, it is the best draw we have ever had for a Sky competition. Kevin Painter may have lost 6-1 to Barney in Vegas but he was as aggressive as ever and will have a belter against Adrian Gray. Next up on Sunday night is Mardle against Dudbridge and on this I will guarantee to give my top verbal welly. Dudders did for Taylor in a tight one in the Desert Classic and Wayne, though losing to Barney in the US, is flowing – and no sign of the dreaded hook to the Five Bed!

But the match I am looking forward to most comes on Monday night at about eight. The Dutch Juvenile Destroyer takes on One Dart Manley. The Michael van Gerwen story is straight out of a dime novel. Age 12, he walks into a pub, has a Coke and a fling and…the lad is a natural. He wins the Norway Open at age 16 and soon is a terror to all. Then he packs in his job as a brickie, and takes the World Masters. Now he’s taking big scalps on the PDC circuit.

Mike’s only 18 and will be taking on blokes pushing 60 all season. It strikes me our sport is unique in presenting such generation clashes. I am now taking lessons in Dutch from a Pudsey matelot who regularly did trips from Hull to Rotterdam.


On the book front things are bubbling up. BELLIES AND BULLSEYES will be in the shops in the last week in August – wait till you read the bit about Bobby George trying to communicate with my Geordie dad – and I am down to appear at a host of bookshops from Basingstoke to Newcastle to do signings.

My Geordie dictionary TAALK OF THE TOON is coming along well – key sentence: ‘Divvent drop yer dottle on the proggy mat’ …translations welcome…And it should be out around January. Also I have just done more OTT commentary for the PDC DVD – World Championship Darts 2008 - which will be on sale before Christmas.

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