Tuesday 21 November 2017

One-sided maulings are hard to stomach

Weird Wide World of Sport

Dave Devereux

Scott Waites celebrates after winning the BDO World Championships at the Lakeside Country Club
Scott Waites celebrates after winning the BDO World Championships at the Lakeside Country Club

I settled down to watch the BDO final from the Lakeside on Sunday evening, hoping for a few hours of entertainment to round off the weekend nicely, but unfortunately carpenter Scott Waites didn't take long to put the final nail in the coffin of unseeded Canadian Jeff Smith, quickly gagging 'The Silencer' 7-1 in anti-climactic fashion.

It was a familiar scoreline for Waites who was winning the crown for a second time, as the Huddersfield man dismantled Tony O'Shea 7-1 in 2013, taking just 74 minutes to send 'Silverback' packing on that occasion.

The standard of the BDO is generally ridiculed by all and sundry, with many seeing it as little more than a glorified pub league, but in fairness, although there is a good deal of dross in the early rounds, the quality in the latter stages of the tournament is not quite as woeful as some would have you believe.

The high averages and the pretty much annual nine-darters of the PDC equivalent may not be there, but the tension and drama remains - whether it be 180s, spectacular out shots or missed doubles, and one-sided finals are actually a rarity in the BDO, with plenty of 7-6 and 7-5 nail-biters in recent years.

Unfortunately, Sunday's showpiece had little of that excitement or drama but Smith can take some solace from the fact that he's far from alone in being a damp squib rather than a shining star on the big stage.

For example, that 7-1 scoreline will bring back nightmares for Brazilian football fans after the unmerciful hiding that the Germans dished out to them in the 2014 World Cup semi-final.

It may not have been the final but the South Americans were supposed to turn it on in front of their home fans, and it had turned into a humiliation by the half hour mark, with the Germans leading 5-0, before the game petered out to its inevitable conclusion.

There's nothing more depressing for a sports fan than that sort of defeat.

You get all psyched up for the big match and your posterior hasn't even turned the cold plastic seat luke warm and you already know your race is run and your goose is well and truly cooked.

Heavy beatings are bad enough at the best of times but when it comes in a final it's particularly galling and it's like someone twisting a rusty knife in your back.

Kilkenny hammering Waterford by 3-30 to 1-13 in the All-Ireland hurling final in 2008 and manager Davy Fitzgerald's sour puss afterwards is one that springs to mind and was a bitter pill to swallow for long-suffering fans of the Déise.

In Gaelic football, outside of Ulster, provincial final hammerings are commonplace, with the Dubs and Mayo lording it in their provinces, and Kerry and Cork sharing titles out like playing cards, but when you get to the business end of the All-Ireland championship it would be more of a rarity.

That's why Kerry running rings around poor Mayo in the 2006 decider, winning by 4-15 to 3-5, stands out as a mauling that's memorable for the wrong reasons.

Although Kerry's 3-13 to 1-9 win over neighbours Cork the following year was almost as emphatic, the one against Mayo sticks out like a sore thumb in the embarrassment stakes.

Late night final frame shoot-outs at the World Snooker Championship certainly get the pulses racing, but the Crucible Theatre has also seen its fair share of slaughters, with Steve Davis beating John Parrott 18-3 in 1989 and Stephen Hendry hammering the luckless Jimmy White 18-5 in 1993, with poor White suffering one of his many heartbreaks at the hands of the Scot again the following year, this time losing 18-17.

Returning to darts, there's been many one-sided finals in the PDC equivalent with Phil Taylor in particular dishing out some serious pastings. 'The Power' beat Dennis Priestley 6-0 in 1998, John Part 7-0 in 2001, Peter Manley by the same scoreline a year later, and he whitewashed the hapless Manley again in 2006.

Aston Villa's 4-0 capitulation against Arsenal in last year's FA Cup final was another mortifying no-show, and as a supporter of Swindon Town I suffered the same indignation while watching them getting a 4-0 trimming from Preston North End in the League One play-off final last May.

When you lose a pulsating, close contest it's undoubtedly hard to take, but not turning up at all is undeniably far more difficult to stomach.

Wexford People

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