I was invited to the post-season B League Singles Shoot as an alternate again this time around and it didn't go as planned :P Last season I won this shoot in fine fashion, but this time around I fell into the Loser's Bracket late in the shoot and then was beat there. Had I won the one game I played in the Loser's Bracket I would have advanced to the finals next round and had a chance but as it happens I did not. More on that in a bit.
The highlights of the evening included a couple of nice outs, a couple of Ton-40's (one in warm up), and a really nice 85.9 PPR 01 game. But really, it was kind of a flat evening.
The format was the same as last time: two brackets, a winners bracket and a losers bracket. Winner's bracket matches are best of three, in this order: SIDO 401, Cricket, corker's choice of those two. The Losers Bracket was a single leg of corker's choice between those same two games.
My first match was against a great player and a nice guy named Doug. I won this match 2-1 and here is how it went. We started with 401 as per the rules in which my scores were 85, 28, 140, 100, 48 Out, in that order for a 14 dart game. I was quite happy with my opening performance and to boot, the out was a double-double. I was going to go S16, D16, but missed into the D16. I then hit the D8 on my next dart for the game:
Then we played Cricket and he utterly destroyed me. I threw a 1.8 and he threw a 4.2. It was a no contest win for him. In fact, after the match he remarked that it was his best game ever. Given how high caliber of a player he is I doubt that's true. I won the cork for the rubber match and was not about to play him in Cricket again so I chose 401 (with a cheeky "Good choice" from my opponent) and, while I won that game taking out D8, it was not a remarkable game. The out was also sloppy: I had 35 remaining, missed the S3 into the D3, hit the S13 pretty square, and then missed the D8 outside. I did hit the D8 with my first dart next round though. Regardless, I won the match leaving me in the Winners Bracket.
My next match was against Lyle, who is one of the nicest guys in the league, and a formidable opponent to say the least. I happened to win this match 2-0 but I don't think it was because I was throwing well, I think it was because Lyle didn't bring his A Game that he is known for. The first game, 401, was unremarkable for both of us with the exception of my out. I had 92 remaining and hit T20, missed the D16 outside blocking the double pretty thoroughly, and then managed to hit the D16 with a blockade runner shot. The Cricket game was a luck win for me as I had four completely dead rounds. Nonetheless, I remained in the Winner's bracket after this match.
My next match was against Joe, the eventual winner of the shoot. He beat me 2-0 but I could have, and should have, won both of these games. In the 401 neither of us were on fire and I missed 5 darts at the double ring to lose. I had 152 left and hit a ton, leaving 52. Then I hit S20 and missed outside the D16 twice. Next round I missed inside D16, then missed inside D8, then missed inside D4. I didn't get anymore chances. In the end of the cricket game we traded missing bulls for several rounds before I lost. This is when I knew something was wrong with my mental game. I was losing steam. I am normally solid on bulls and not too shabby on finishing and to lose both of these B League caliber games was a sign I was not as steely-minded as I should have been. This loss knocked me into the Losers Bracket.
My one game in the Losers Bracket was against Keith. A tough opponent. His confidence is rock solid which I find admirable. He won the cork (I choked on the cork badly) and he chose Cricket, which was a strategic choice on his part, and a good one. "I've been watching you," he told me by way of explaining he choice of Cricket. This was a nice nod of respect from him and I appreciated it. I liked him before, but I like him even better now. He won handily. At this point I was barely putting up a fight. I tried each round but as I retrieved my darts and walked back to behind the oche I remember thinking: "I don't care if I win. How is that possible?" But it was true. For the first time in a long time I was content to see my opponent win, and I was genuinely happy for him when he did.
That was all she wrote for me. I was out of the shoot and heading home before the winner even won. And good on him when he did. I was throwing my 19 gram Accudart Cricket's (ironically named, for me anyway) wearing Volute points, #6 Cosmo Carbon stems, and Shape Fit Flight Airs:
In the last analysis: I lost because I flagged. I ran out of steam and my steely-mindedness left me before the shoot was done. Granted I had a stroke nine days prior (a TIA, actually), and my arm was tireder than I expected, and my energy level was low but that is no excuse. When you show up at a shoot, you show up.