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The ill wind that blew across the stage last night did no-one any good-or did it?

Wind in The Willows

Posted: 02.01.12 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

The ill wind that blew across the stage last night did no-one any good-or did it?


The character of Badger in the classic children’s book Wind in the Willows is a reclusive soul, he lives deep in the woods and doesn’t take kindly to visitors. His reputation is that of being stern but fair. I was reminded of Badger when tournament director Tommy Cox strolled onto the stage last night to adjudicate on the “ill wind” that was blowing nobody any good! I visited Tommy Cox once in his control booth at a PDC event, he didn’t take kindly to my visit, he was also stern and... oh well two out of three isn’t bad!

Mind you the commentators appeared to believe that the breeze could do Wade some good and that he had in fact missed a trick. They were encouraging him to crack on with the game whilst Lewis was seemingly disorientated by the distraction of the gusts of wind that was putting him off his game. They must have been watching a different match to me! First of all Wade seemed party to the decision to postpone the match and secondly would Wade really have wanted to capitalise on Lewis`s frustration? I don’t think so and their “insights” appeared to lack any empathy with how a professional sportsman would want to achieve victory.

The ill wind also blew in the direction of the match referee or as I know him, “man who shouts out the score”!  They are not really match referees are they, let’s be honest! Once again at the crucial time in a darts match, when an important decision has to be made, when a figure is needed to take control of a situation the “man who shouts out the score” is hapless! However, is it their fault? I don’t actually think it is. Their brief is blurred and if there is any rule book or code of etiquette then it is clearly not fit for purpose.

Who else did this ill wind attack? A lot of “armchair” fans were outraged by the break in proceedings. Their entertainment was ruined by the trivial matter of a dart player complaining that the conditions were not fit for play. Perhaps reflecting on that today many of the protagonists of the “just get on with it” brigade will realise they were wrong. If Lewis had “just got on with it” we would have not witnessed the most epic of encounters which was the most fantastic game ever except for the one before it or maybe equal to that really really good one a few days ago too! Wherever you rank it, it was brilliant! It also means he is now playing for the title and £200,000 tonight, would anyone in their right mind just "get on with it" when all that is at stake?


Badger in the end came to the rescue. Tommy did indeed live up to the character traits mentioned earlier, he was stern but he was fair and most crucially decisive. The ill wind was reversed and we could focus on the good that the unwelcome intervention of the breeze had achieved. First and foremost it was great to see the players standing up to the PDC! The Governing Body of any sport is a powerful and dominating shadow looming over all who earn a living from “its” sport. It does not always pay to take on such a powerful figure; you may remember the England V FIFA battle?

However, if a Governing Body can demonstrate that it is “stern but fair” and deals with negative feedback in a constructive manner then that gives reason for all concerned with the sport of darts to have no fear in expressing their opinions. In fact without feedback no learning can ever take place, whether you are a grass roots player trying to master the sport of darts or the all encompassing governing body.

So Lewis moves forward to take on “The Hammer” later today, after all the shenanigans “Jackpot” has been through tonight should be a breeze!


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Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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