Christmas Pudding...and Darts
I am almost sure most readers will not see any connection between those two topics. But one really can find one when you are desperate to do so.I'll prove it!!!
At this time of the year everywhere in the UK "Christmas Pudding" is offered, something you will not find everywhere around the world so might be in some of the former UK colonies. The British speciality belongs to every British Christmas dinner and is known since the Medieval. Sometimes you can hear the name "Plum Pudding" for it as well although there are no plums in it at all. The not really easy to digest dessert is a mixture of dried fruit, eggs and suet and flavoured with several seasonal spices. As well added is alcohol which helps to the long keep ability of the pudding which can mature till to a year. To sweeten it dark treacle or molasses are used which are responsible for the dark colour. The ingredients - especially the spices - were in the early years of the Christmas Pudding luxury goods - who was able to eat Christmas Pudding was part of the upper-class. The Pudding is either cooked or damped for hours and will be served decorated with a holly branch. You can flame it, eat it with butter or ice cream or just powder it with sugar.
Some Medieval myths grow around the pudding - for example that you have to use 13 ingredients which represent Christ and the twelve apostles or that all family members have to stir the pudding from East to West. The Christmas Pudding has several "ancestors" which were not eaten at Christmas. The close connection to Christmas only developed in the 19. Century and during the colonial era he developed into a sign for the entity of the British Empire especially when the "official recipe" used ingredients from several of the colonies like for example currants from Australia, raisins from South Africa or apples from Canada (and??? do you start to see the connection???). Sometimes lucky symbols are mixed in the puddings as well.
But it was not only Christmas Pudding which the British exported in their former colonies or were they imported the ingredients from but it was exactly the same with the sport of darts. And so on the sixth evening of the World Championship with Simon Whitlock a player from a former colony stood on stage. One from South Africa and one from Canada we had already seen there. But I let's begin with the first match and Whitlock's later opponent.
In the Preliminary Match of the evening with debutant Dragumir Horvat the first German speaking player stood on stage. Horvat had qualified as the winner of the Bulls Super League Germany and his opponent was Russian Boris Koltsov the winner of the Russian qualifier who already had some experience on this stage. All in all it was one of the weaker Preliminary Round matches and the averages never were above 77. Horvat was at the start the more nervous player and he lost the first set. Then he slowly settled and he won in the end with 3:2 and that with a doubles hitting rate of 22 percent. Should he really hope for a chance against Whitlock he would have to improve a lot.
Next Brendan Dolan and Kevin Kist walked on stage. Dolan appeared in a blue and white Christmas shirt but had stayed with sparkling green flights. Not only the shirt but the match was a surprise as well as Dolan who had somehow wiggled through the Grand Slam played a really good match. As he told afterwards he by now had realised that the sport of darts was his life and he was supported in all what that means by his wife, his step children and all the family. Dolan won with 3:1 and as the other two first round matches it was a comparatively easy and clear win.
The in the UK very popular Raymond van Barneveld was next on the agenda and his opponent was Robbie Green. The match was not as boring as the 3:0 result might look as Robbie Green played quite a solid match as well though he didn't get many chances and was not able to use all of those. But the match was over fast and I noticed that van Barneveld was the only winner so far who didn't throw any flights into the crowd, really -not a single one. Instead he showed his winner's pose. I am sure the crowd would have preferred the flights.
The last match of the evening was over as fast and won as clear - the match between Simon Whitlock and Dragumir Horvat. Horvat scored better but his doubles hit rate didn't improve but even gut worth and in the end reached 14 percent. On top of that Horvat had a problem with Whitlock's rhythm - it was too slow for him. And so Horvat all the time changed between throwing fast and throwing slow what to be sure didn't help his match. But much better players then Horvat wouldn't have a chance against Whitlock on the day as he played a 98.70 average and his doubles hit rate was 60 percent.
The evening session was over fast and we all could return earlier to our rooms. But I hadn't been able to do much at my site and so for me in the end it was again a very long evening.