Thursday, November 14, 2019

Tyrion, FTW

Last night we visited the Incredibulls at the Old Peculiar, and they did not fall short of their name.  They brought their A Game and won the match 16-5.  Two of those wins were very satisfying wins for me, but I must say, I felt like I was mostly throwing rubbish during the night.  The Incredibulls are a swell team full of nice people and I like them immensely.

Here is how the night went: I played two singles games and won one, I played four doubles games and won one, and we lost the team game.

My first singles game was a 401 against Tre.  It was an unremarkable, B-Leaguey kinda game, and I whittled my score down to zero with low numbers until I took out 39 for the win.  The one thing I am happy about with this game is that I hit the double 16 with my second dart at it.

My single Cricket match was against Tom, who is a swell darter.  We were both throwing well, but I could not overcome his dominant performance.  He opened with three 20's and I responded with three 19's.  Then he tripled in the 19's and score 40 points on me.  I chased him the rest of the game. I had one dead round and one 5 mark round but the rest was only average play.  In the end I hit the bulls when I needed to (with a single and a double in two rounds), but then so dis he.  He won 212 to 160, but had he not also been hot on bulls that would have been a nice win for me for sure. 

My first doubles match was a 501 with Julia and we lost.  This was not a bad effort at all. I had back to back tons within it, and then when left 80 by my partner I went 20, 20, and then missed the double 20 inside to leave 20, but my partner never had a shot at it as they took out their own 20 to win in the next turn. My other doubles 501 was with Chris, also a loss.  The game consisted of middling scores, and I had one shot at a 72 out but could only reduce it to 20 before the other team won.

My first doubles Cricket was with Cory and it was a highly satisfying win. It was a point war between their 20's and our 18's.  I never had a dead round in the match and I also only had one round in which I hit fewer than 2 marks.  Several triples and 4 mark rounds and in the end I did not miss the bulls.  My last dart was a double bull for the win and the final score was 428 to 340.

My last doubles Cricket was with Dani, and it was a loss. I hit mostly one and two marks and only had one dead round.  However, again, I was on target with the bulls, but it was not enough to win. They wrapped it up quickly and won 18 to 0.  The team game was rubbish.  I hit 21, 41, 21, 41 and then had a shot at the 34 for the win but missed outside with the first two darts and then wired it on the inside with the last, cutting it in half for my teammates. I never had another throw during that game.  Frustratingly, after the match I hit a spate of tons and ton-40's.  WTF?

The darts I used were the 22 gram One80 Revenges, which I have been favoring lately.  I am thinking about switching it up for next week.  Several times during the night I found myself wishing I'd brought more than one set of darts because sometimes your throw gets hinky and you want a couple of correction rounds.  Next week I'll bring more.  Maybe the Dark Thunder's and the Superalloy GT's. We'll see :)  Also, as you can see, the Revenges are sporting the new titanium spinners that Cosmo Darts sent me gratis recently.  They spin nicely and they are attractive to boot.

Also last night one of the opponents brought their dog, Tyrion, and he hung out on a nearby bench during the match.  A sweet, docile little fella.  He provided a much needed dog fix throughout the night as I lost my sweet girl over seven months ago.  Frequently between games (or even throws) I would sit on the bench next to him and pet him.  I wish I'd gotten a better pic!

Anyway.  My performance was lackluster last night (if I am being generous) but Tyrion and the good company of mine and the other team made it a good night.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

5 Count in Bulls

This is the closest I have come to a Deadeye in a long time.  This was actually my very first throw of the night during a team practice get together, and it came in the first throw of a Cricket match in which I decided, completely on a lark, to employ the Kristian Strategy.

I hit one or two other four counts in the bulls during the night, and at least once with two darts being in the inner bull.  Worth noting:  my opponent won the Cricket game by one point.  He was as on fire as I was.  It was one of the best Cricket games either of us had ever thrown.

This 5 Count came off my 22 gram One80 Revenges, configured with tweenie nylon Fit Flight stems and standard Fit Flight flights.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Embracing Cricket Chaos

I went to the Sunday Shoot at Kate's this week, which is a doubles blind luck event and got partnered with a guy that had a very unusual Cricket strategy.  I noticed during our first match.  I do not remember the exact circumstances of the game, but if I recall correctly, both I, and the other team, were following standard Cricket strategy where we start with the 20's and worry about not being behind in points.  However, when it was his turn he stepped up to the oche and completely disregarding the scoreboard proceeded to throw his three darts at the bull.  I thought it odd, and I assumed he was a novice player (not entirely true), and then suddenly felt like a rookie myself for not having bothered to discuss strategy with my partner before the shoot.

As it turns out I was in a funny mood.  My darts have not been flying well in the last couple of weeks anyway and I'd already committed myself to having fun, and not worrying too much about whether I win or not.  So I asked him: "Whatcha doin' with the bulls there?"  He proceeded to outline his strategy.  He doesn't panic if he gets too far behind in points because he knows that most people simply cannot hit the bull when they want to, and for the most part, at least in B League, this is certainly true. And it was mostly true on Sunday as well.  I chalked more than one utter painful Cricket match in which neither team could close their bulls round after round after round.  So I told him, "Okay.  Sound like a great plan." And we proceeded to employ exactly that strategy for the entire shoot.  It didn't always work, but mostly it did.  On two occasions our opponents decided to also hit the bulls early and when they did, we lost. 

The most noteworthy of those occasions is when we were in our playoff game for first place.  Corker's Choice was the theme of the day so when we lost the cork for the play off leg our opponents chose Cricket.  They opened the game with four 20's and I responded with three bulls. Once they caught wise to our strategy they quickly closed the bulls and we were unable to catch up to them in points (the lid being on our honey pot and all) and we lost the playoff leg.  But we won 2nd place and we were quite happy with it.

So there you have it.  I don't think I would ever employ this strategy on my own, especially not against a good player, but if I ever play with him again I most certainly will.  At first, momentarily, I resisted this strategy as a completely bad idea but once I embraced it, I embraced it fully and had fun with it.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

League Match Against 'Hot Durts'

League was pretty decent last night!  I dropped a couple legs but on the whole I was well pleased with the results. We visited Hot Durts in Redmond last night and the match was a loss at 13-8, but given how many good players they have I feel as a team we did okay.

I dropped one of my two singles legs, and one of my three doubles legs, and of course we did not win the team game which we started the evening with.  However, I opened the team game with a clean ton and followed that up with a 70 in my next turn, so that was a nice way to start the evening.  I had one shot at a 58 out which I flubbed.  I missed low into the 4 leaving 54, then next dart I aimed at the 14, but missed low (again) into the 11 leaving 43.  At this point I mathed wrong, unforgivably, and aimed at the 9, hitting it square to leave 34.  Had I been mathing better I would have aimed for the 11.  After that the other team took out their out before I had another shot at it.

My first singles leg was a 401 against Graham, who downright schooled me. He hit nearly 320 in tonnage early in the game leaving it 39 to 262 in his favor.  I hit a ton to nearly catch up, and ended up giving myself a shot at the out before the end. With 98 remaining I hit a 36 with my first dart leaving 62, then I hit a 12 with my second dart leaving 50, and missed the inner bull by mere millimeters leaving 25.  It was a nice effort but it fell short.  Next round I cracked the 25 with a 9 but missed two darts at the 16.  Next round I missed 3 darts at the 16.  Then he took out an 11 for the win.  My finishing suffered.  That could have been a nice come from behind victory.

My next singles leg was Cricket against Dave.  I hit one 5M round in the game, had two completely dead rounds, and in the end hit a bull, double bull to win the game with an 84 point lead.  It was a much needed win as it boosted my morale after that initial loss.

Doubles 501 were both wins.  My first leg was with Cory.  It was not a spectacular game but in the end, Cory left me a 140.  I hit a 100 to leave him 40.  My next turn up we still had 40 remaining and I hit it square with my first dart and it felt like a good solid, confident throw. Like a pro would do. That was the only instance in the evening of quality finishing on my part.  My next 501 leg was with Chris. I hit only low numbers in this game and my finishing also suffered.  My partner left me 85 and I hit 25 to leave 60.  Then he left me 40 and I hit 20, leaving 20 and then missed two darts at the double 10. On my next turn up we still had 20 and I missed inside twice leaving 5!  Miserable. On my next turn up we still had 5 remaining. I cracked it with a 1, and missed two darts at the double 2. Next round up I finally manage to hit that Double 2, but it took me all three darts to do it.  It was a win but my finishing suffered very badly.

Doubles Cricket was good on the whole, but I did lose one of them.  The first leg was with Julia and we both stepped up (eventually). I opened the game with a dead round.  She followed with a single bull.  So here we were two rounds in with no numbers hit and I thought for sure it was going to be a blow out loss for us. But then we both started hitting our numbers.  I had several 3M rounds and one 7M round (which only counted as 6M), and then near the end I had another dead round and then followed that up with two single bulls to win the game.  Felt good.

My last Cricket doubles leg was with Dani.  We lost this one but not for lack of trying.  My third to last round was a 3 bull round, followed by a dead round, and then another bull-double-bull round but it was not enough to catch up and then they won after that.  Six bulls in three rounds is nothing to sneeze at though.  So I ended on a strongish note.  If I'd not had that dead round in between them I think we would have won!

Any way, it was a good outing.  Other than miserable finishing on my part I felt good about the evening.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Hot & Cold in Monday Singles

On Monday I attended a session of the Advanced Singles League.  There were eight of us present and the format was a Round Robin with 2 games of SIDO 501 for each round.  There was no "best of" component, we just all played 2 games against each other.  As such, I played 14 games total, and won half.  After an initial win to start off the evening, I lost 5 straight, and then won 6 straight, and then lost my last two.  Here is the match by match:

My first opponent was Cornfed (I keep meaning to ask him how he chose that nickname). The first game was strong.  I hot two tons and took out 20 for the win in short order.  The second game was lackluster and he out shot me but not by much.  I had one shot at an 80 out but blew it.

My second opponent was Brian. He was throwing some really nice looking Colonial reverse tapered darts.  I should have won both of these but my finishing suffered tremendously and his was spot on. In the first game I opened with a 140 and followed that with a 92.  My darts cooled down a bit after that and I ended up spending four rounds missing outs.  He won.  The second game was lackluster other than a single 118.  I had one shot at a 56 out but didn't hit it. He took out a 79 to win.

My third opponent was Jeff.  In these two games, which he won, I hit a serious slump. I hit only low scores and had over 200 points remaining in each game when he won. Very poor performance on my part.  While I gave myself a shot at the out in both of my games against Brian and Cornfed, I did not in these two.  They were almost demoralizing, but I kept my spirits up somehow.

My fourth opponent was Michael.  This was the start of my 6 game winning streak. These two games were both wins for me, but it took me 34 and 32 darts, respectively.  I hot a single ton between the two games and took out a 6, and then a 40 for the wins.

My fifth opponent was Tom.  These two were my best games of the night.  In the first game I went 85, 100, 81, 100, 71, and then spent 15 darts on finishing to eventually take out a 12. I felt strong.  In the second game I hit three tons and missed taking out 120 by one or two millimeters. Then I spent two rounds finishing and took out a 4 for the win.

My sixth opponent was Ronny. I had no tonnage but hit maybe three triples between the two games. I won them both, taking out 32 and 16 for the wins. 

My seventh (and last) opponent was Karim.  I did worse in these games than I did against Jeff.  I hit a single triple in each game and was otherwise a complete no-show.  I didn't put up any sort of respectable fight, and had 289 and 254 points left respectively.  Terrible way to end the evening.  Karim on the other hand was impressively dominant.  He threw an 18 darter and a 17 darter against me.  However, I have beaten him a couple times before so while I recognize that he is a high caliber player, I maintain some expectation that I will win when I play him.  All I have to do is hit my targets.

While my win-loss was 50% exactly, I feel like I had a decent evening.  I was throwing the 24 gram One80 Revenges exclusively.  I brought the Thunders with me but never broken them out.  In total, I hit 1058 points in tonnage.  Not bad!

Monday, October 28, 2019

A Fine Sunday Revenge

Yesterday I attended a drop in luck at my hosting pub and only three other darters showed up for it, so we had a singles round robin in which each match consisted of three legs.  It was not a best-of, but rather just a straight up three leg match of SIDO 501, Cricket, and "Corker's Choice".  Happily, and quite surprisedly, I did not drop a single leg, despite running up against Captain Tre, who is a fine darter and a formidable opponent.

There was only one tablet present so half the matches were conducted on good old fashion chalk boards (these of which have seen better days).  As such, I do not have turn by turn records of 6 of my 9 legs.  But I know I hit some good numbers and had some really fine visits during the evening, including back to back tons in one 501, a couple of 140's, one (or more) 120+'s, and one Cricket match that included a 7-Mark round and many more triples.

I wish I'd photoed those chalk boards post game.

I brought two sets of darts with me: my 26 gram Designa Thunderbolts, and my 24 gram One80 Revenge's, which are a part of their "Revolution" line:

I threw the Revenges for the first two matches, and the Thunderbolts for the last match against Tre.  I love both sets and they were flying quite well for me from the very get-go.  The Revenges have a very funny boing when they hit the board because their points are so thin.  Sort of like when an arrow hits a target in cartoons.  Even in warm up I was very hot on doubles and that carried through to the match as I had little problem finishing.  Here is a Double's Trick I hit during warm, up, as well as a Hat Trick:

My matches against Ryan and Ronny were pretty straight forward wins as I was throwing quite well, but my three legs against Tre were hard scrabble as he was throwing well too.  In the first 501 he opened with a 100 and then a 140, and maintained a 200 point lead on me through to near then end, but I eventually hit back to back tons to catch up and then took out 20 for the win.  Worth noting: I took out 20 at least three times during that shoot.  Seemed to be my number.  And then in our Cricket, I really do not see how I overcame his superlative shooting.  He was on fire, hit numerous triples, and made me fight hard for the win.  Hard hard.  I wish I had the DartsConnect turn-by-turn for that game.  In that leg I hit a 7-mark, and several other good rounds too, but in the end I think I won due to being hot on bulls.  The last leg of the match was 501, and while I do not remember what the rounds were like, I do know I won it.

At the end of the day I won first (having won all legs) which carried a $20 pot, and was enough to cover not just the $7 entry fee, but lunch as well!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Utterly Painful Evening

“I am a man more darted against than darting.”
- King Lear

A recent outing to the Monday night singles league resulted in a full roller coaster of emotions for me, as a darter, but in the end I went home mostly content.  As a dart player, historically speaking, I am used to winning most of the games I play. Not all, but most. Even if I am up against a quality player I walk into the match with a full expectation of winning. I am not sure where this confidence comes from.  Probably from 16 years of competitive play. I am no longer intimidated by swagger, a quality visit from my opponent, or even by a player who routinely beats me. In baseball they talk about “post season experience” as a way to describe a teams ability not just to rise to a higher level of play, but also their ability to not buckle in the face of a formidable opponent. I think I may have a little bit of this in darts even though I really have only ever been a league player. I am certainly not the best dart player in my league, not by a long shot, but at the very least I am not intimidated by anyone in it, and it has been years (probably more than a decade) since I have walked into a match expecting to lose.

My last visit to Monday Single League shook my confidence a little as a darter. It started out quite poor, very poor in fact, then reached a high crescendo in the space of two or three games, and then crashed down to the lowest I have felt in recent memory. I lost games I had no business losing, mostly because my finishing suffered tremendously. I spent literally dozens of darts missing doubles, including the Double 1, in several games. The silver lining is twofold:  first and foremost I never once lost my composure or showed any outwardly visible signs of dejection or distress. I remained as cool as a forest after a spring rain, which I think is a pillar of professionalism.  Secondly, and more importantly, one of the players I lost a best-of-three match too, and who is almost always at the shoots and almost always does poorly, was absolutely elated at his win. I have not seen him that happy ever. His smile was ear to ear and he was even shaking people hands (unusual for him). His elation was infectious, and I went home a happy, but defeated darter.

Here is how the evening went. The format was a Best-of-3 SIDO 501 Round Robin tournament. My first opponent was certainly the best player in not just our little league, but probably in the entire PNW. Despite this, I expected to win. I know I am capable of it, as I have beaten him before (tho rarely). However, in this case I most certainly did not.  We played two games and in both legs I had 262 remaining when he took out his double for the win.  Despite the identical results, my second leg was poorer than my first!  In the first leg I hit a solitary lonesome triple for a score of 68. In the second leg my highest round was 41, and I hit that score four times. A miserable way to start a shoot.

My second opponent was Cornfed. He seems a good guy and I think he might be the same species of dart geek as I.  He has a large collection of darts paraphernalia dangling from his belt (I might take a picture of it sometime), he has a "I've got this" confident swagger, and he throws a rare and expensive Target branded dart (which I also want to get a picture of).  My first leg against him started poorly: 25, 45, 26.  But then I hit a 125 and then followed that up with three rounds of 60.  The closest I came to an out shot was my last round.  I was sitting on 160, which would have been a spectacular out for me (but I have done it (once)) but I hit a 60 to leave 100, and he took out 53 in his next visit. Game over.  The next leg was worse.  My highest round was 85 and the rest were lower, and my one shot at the out was a 68. I started with a Triple 20, missed inside on the Double 4, then missed inside again on the Double 2, leaving bones.  He took out 40 in his next visit.  Game over.  At this point in the evening I have not won a single leg.

It is also worth noting that at this point I either never got to an out or I only had one shot at a multiple-dart out, so it is difficult to say that my "finishing suffered".  It will tho!

My third opponent was Karim.  This was scored the old fashioned way: on a chalkboard, so there is no DartConnect recap I can rely on to jog my memory.  All I really recall is that I lost in 2 games and scored a Ton-80 in the mix.  I was elated at the Maximum, of course, and it took the stink off an otherwise painful evening.

My fourth opponent was Tom, and I do not recall how this match went either.  My impression is that I did not win it.

My fifth opponent was Mike.  This was my only successful best-of-three match of the evening and I took it 2-1.  The first leg wasn't so bad. I opened with 83, and snuck in another Ton mid-game. In the end I had 70 remaining, hit a 52 to leave 18, and then hit the 18 with my first dart on the next visit. A nice win.  The second leg was quite middling until I had 152 left.  I hit a ton to leave 52, but then proceeded to spend 21 darts whittling it down to 2, and never managed to take it out.  Here was another instance of my finishing suffering greatly.  The third leg was another one I would describe, maybe generously, as fair-to-middling until I had 170 remaining.  I was hopeful, but then only scored an 80 to leave 90, and then spent 18 darts whittling it down to 12.  I did take it out though so while it was a win, I think it is fair to say that my finished still suffered.  This has been the theme of the evening, I think.

My sixth and last opponent of the evening was Ronny.  Normally I do well against him but not tonight.  The match was a 1-2 loss, and here is how it went.  I opened the first leg with a clean ton, but then settled into the middle range of scoring until I had 90 left.  Then, I a single 20 to leave 70, a triple 20 to leave 10, and then missed the double 5 outside.  Next visit I missed the double 5 outside with all three darts.  Next round I missed inside to leave 5, cracked that with a 1, and then missed the double 2 on the outside. On the next visit I finally hit the double 2 with my third dart.  In all that totals to 12 missed shots at the double ring so while it was a win, my finishing again suffered.  The second leg I also opened with a clean ton, then middled my way down to 155. I hit an 80 to leave 75, then, somehow flubbed my way into 40 to leave 35 (I do not believe any of those darts were aimed at the double ring).  Next visit, I hit a 3, and then missed the double 16 twice, once inside leaving 16. Next visit I missed inside three times leaving 2. Then I missed the double 1 for two more full rounds before I lost the leg. 11 darts that were aimed at, and missed, the double ring.  My finishing suffered.

My last leg against Ronny was more of the same.  I opened (very coincidentally) with another clean ton, and managed a 125 a few rounds later.  Then I middled again, and eventually spent 23 darts missing the double ring to an eventual loss.

So what is my take-away from all of this?  Finishing cannot suffer