Brief thoughts on the 2014 World Matchplay

Thought number 1: fucking hell can I not go to bed yet am I really staying up until 1 am to watch Mervyn King’s testicular tumour of a face huff and puff his way to a second-round defeat oh wait I am.

coral advert carly baker

  • The tournament’s high point so far is clearly them finally sorting out the creepy static hands on that model from the Coral advert. She used to look like something from a Reeves and Mortimer skit, or the old gag about sitting on them so it feels like someone else is doing it come to life. All they need to do now is change Enzo Calzaghe’s face, skull and bodyframe at the same time so he doesn’t look like what happens when you use a cottonbud to clean your keyboard.


  • Hereby follows the most anyone will ever write about Ian White in one sitting. How can a man look like an aging queen and painfully heterosexual at exactly the same time? From one angle he looks like the sort of dude who turns up in documentaries to talk about the devastating impact AIDS had on the Chicago house scene, then he turns to the right and looks he goes on the pull at the WMC. He is cursed forever to be painfully dull, but not dull enough that he can do a “strictly business” gimmick. He has the charisma of a branch of Wickes.


  • Eric Bristow, a man who makes you want Rod Harrington back in. Eric Bristow, with your face like someone drew a picture of Roy Hodgson on a creosoted fence. The PDC keep Bristow around as a stab at a Joe DiMaggio or a WG Grace figure: an elder statesman who everyone is meant to agree is a “legend” but whose achievements are far enough in the past that nobody can get threatened by. Instead it’s more like seeing Ric Flair stumbling onto Raw every fourth months to forget his lines then slap The Miz.

eric bristow betting website

  • On the other hand, Bristow’s betting website is a work of art. Strongly resembling your Year 6 IT homework, it promises a “1,000/1 bet” for all joiners. Not a 1,000/1 bet that’ll win, just a 1,000/1 bet. My guess is it’s “Lithuania to win the 2018 World Cup”. It has celebrity backing from big names like Peter Reid, and is run by a firm known as SMIS Ltd, who operate out of the Channel Islands and can be found being castigated for giving people shit tips repeatedly throughout the internet. You always assume that any male over the age of 40 who appears on “I’m A Celebrity” must have gambling problems, and in this case you’d be right.


  • There is a perfect ugliness to Justin Pipe’s game. He is the alpha and omega of darts, a person whose style is so anathematic to the Sky ideal of darts (fast throws, big scoring) that it becomes impossible not to enjoy him. A poison that the game so clearly needs, and the day he makes enough on the money list to ensure automatic qualifying for the Premier League is the day you’ll see Barry Hearn do the Homer Simpson heart attack dance. The Tony Pulis of the oche.

Andrew Gilding darts

  • Unfortunate lookalikes: World Matchplay punchbag Andrew Gilding and Thomas Hamilton, the spree killer at Dunblane Primary School. How was his darting ability? I hear he was deadly on the eights.

phil taylor baseball cap

  • Phil Taylor’s baseball cap was apparently stolen from a 14-year-old asking you to buy cigarettes for him outside a Glaswegian Bargain Booze.


  • On the other hand, can we take a minute to admire the hat game of Stephen Bunting??

stephen bunting fishing

  • The ongoing tragedy that is Paul Nicholson, making “King Lear” look like the episode of “2.4 Children” where they do the Blues Brothers dance. He lost to Wes “Wez” Newton, a man who at time of writing had the third-lowest three-dart average of any competitor at this Matchplay. A lower average than the dude who got beat 10-0. And Nicho beat himself which makes it even worse. Not because he threw away a 5-0 lead, not because he keeps on doing that ridiculous oral-fixation finger suck whenever he wins a leg, but because he wanted the glamour of going out on the bull. Shat it, meant he only had two darts at a double and then somehow Newton pulled some decent darts out of his arse to win. A more cynical man would suggest Nicholson’s attention waned when he realised he’d be facing his old mucker Phil Taylor in the following round, but far be it from me to say that.


  • That was a 3/10 fall from the walk-on girl that isn’t Sammi. More like an extended knee lunge than a faceplant. If she’d have gone over in those heels and we’d heard a crack, maybe it’d be something worthy of Vineing.


  • So now we’re expected to see Phil Taylor’s December loss to Michael Smith as the modern day equivalent of Buster Douglas vs Mike Tyson. Which is ridiculous: that was a clash between a man who long struggled with his weight to the point morbid obesity nearly killed him twice versus a convicted rapist. No similarities at all. It’s amazing how inured you can become to a nine-darter, the holy grail of this damn sport, when it’s achieved by Taylor. The post-match interview, replete with “I hope Ronnie O’Sullivan saw that” and his disingenuous pretence that he didn’t know it was his tenth televised nine-darter, somehow made things even worse. Still, he’ll be dead/Yewtree’d soon enough.


  • Something like 13 of the last 16 World Matchplay finals have been all-English affairs. Partly due to the Taylor dominance of the tournament, but it’s still an unpleasant statistic. In a dream world we would have had one in this year’s edition, where a Bunting who’d just crept past Taylor and Lewis would finally be unseated by James Wade in the final. As it stands… Taylor/Wade. We’ll get our hopes up for Wade’s redemption. And then Taylor will piss on them. Because that’s what he does. That’s what he always does.

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