Cammy claws but Vincent victorious at the Palace

The final game of the night is always an interesting one. A few members of the crowd will likely be in, ‘ahem’ high spirits, and the atmosphere will likely be influenced by the matches that they’ve seen prior to that point. Well, having seen a brilliant match involving Gary Anderson, a dramatic affair between Luke Humphries and Florian Hempel, and an upset between James Wade and Jim Williams. So, the prospect of the unpredictable Cameron Menzies getting up on that stage meant they were ready for a great game to end the night. But would they get it?

Vincent had the darts, starting with a treble in the red and a treble to the left, whilst Cammy started with a treble in the red and a treble to the right. Cammie was settling in and finding a scoring rhythm of sorts, but couldn’t put any pressure on Vincent, who’d missed one dart at tops from 74, before he returned to finish on Tops and take an early lead on throw. (0) 0-1 (0).

Cammy was starting to score with power in this leg, as he racked up his first Max to kick off the leg with the darts. He even got 4/9 of the way to the magic number, but that pesky fifth dart veered wide. He reached 94 in a handful of darts, and set up Tops, but Vincent himself was playing relentless darts, and the Dutch Destroyer went 10-D16 in two to prevent Cammy getting a look at the aforementioned Tops. (0) 0-2 (0).

As was the story of the set, VvdV was always a treble ahead. Cammy was doing very little wrong, but was up against an opponent who’d clearly read my preview saying he hadn’t reached his best in a while – and wanted to respond. So sorry, Cammy, for any potential part I played in this. With Cammy on 122, van der Voort nailed Tops to confirm the set, having averaged 104 and 75% on his doubles in the opening three, with Cammy not even getting a dart at the outer ring. (0) 0-3 (0).

Set 1 – Cameron Menzies 0-1 Vincent van der Voort

After not getting a dart at double in the whole first set, Cammy got a few here and managed to take one. A 180 from the Dutch Destroyer to leave 101 also put plenty of pressure on the Muirkirk Maestro, but, after a 129 attempt that saw the T19 converted and the attempt at two D18s missed, he eventually managed to find D9 after a bit more difficulty at D18. But it was a leg on the board and something to hold on to. (0) 1-0 (1).

The big scoring was bringing out a bit of that irrepressible personality that the Bearded Beauty possesses, as he got to a finish before Vincent on the Dutchman’s throw. He missed two darts at Tops, getting them by hitting the T15 on 85, with Vincent only getting one at Tops from 82, but taking the opportunity. (0) 1-1 (1).

Another Maximum start from Cammy in the leg set him up well, and 134 off of a 257 left him checking where he was with Referee Kirk Bevins. Despite again setting himself up well, van der Voort had a surprise lurking up his sleeve, in the form of a 121 on D14 to crush Cammy on throw and suddenly get himself to throw for the set. (0) 1-2 (1).

Back to Back 140s from Cammy kept him competitive and well in the leg, but a late and perhaps unintended final dart may have ended up costing Cammy the leg. With last dart in hand, he needed S20 to leave Tops, but instead nailed Tops to leave himself D10. And despite giving himself a couple of quality markers, he couldn’t land one of his arrows in the bed. Vincent had D13 left, and hit it with the last dart in hand to secure a set that started so promising for Cammy. (0) 1-3 (1).

Set 2 – Cameron Menzies 0-2 Vincent van der Voort

This was it for Cammy. Make or break time. List off Sets like there’s no tomorrow, or face a return to Ayrshire earlier than many had hoped. As was the story a wee bit too often over the course of the match, he was always a treble behind his opponent, as both were playing consistently, with Vincent just that bit more consistent over the course of proceedings. Tops was once again the calling point for Vincent, and he nailed it to hold to start the set. (0) 0-1 (2).

One thing that can never be said about Cammy is that he lacks fighting spirit – whatever the situation, he’ll keep giving it his best arrows. This wasn’t more prevalent than in this leg, when a 140 left him 72, which he killed in two (T16-D12) to issue a stern reminder that he was still here – and had no plans to go away. (0) 1-1 (2).

Cammy again peppered the Treble bed in the manner he’s accustomed to, which left him able to set up Tops off of the 139, with Vincent lurking in the background on 170. Whilst Vincent couldn’t take the biggest checkout of all, Cammy could very much take the 40 to break and go within a hold of the set and halving the deficit. (0) 2-1 (2).

Cammy started the leg with 40, but upped it upon returning for the next visit to 140. Cammy had darts for the set, with a heart-breaking moment when a dart at D5 went resoundingly under, and perhaps acted as a metaphor for the match as a whole for the Muirkirk maestro. VvdV was never far behind, and having missed Tops for the 125 a few seconds prior, he returned to convert it and throw for the match. (0) 2-2 (2).

VvdV’s consistent ability to find a treble per visit was holding him very fine stead, with Cammy’s darts beginning to stray that wee bit more, which unfortunately happens from time to time with his throw. The Dutch Destroyer set up Tops off of 125, and took it with minimum fuss to send Vincent through. (0) 2-3 (2).

Result: Cameron Menzies 0-3 Vincent van der Voort

Stats:
Average – 88.31
180s – 2
Highest Checkout – 72
Checkout Percentage – 20%

The Verdict:
It just wasn’t meant to be tonight. Cammy admitted himself that his B-Game needs to become stronger if he wants to make the transition from quality to World Class on a consistsent basis, and that was evident here. Some outstanding darts on show, as he looked fluent and magic when he was in his element, but looked a bit janky at times when he was almost being suffocated by how well Vincent was playing in certain patches. That said, it’s been a great year on the Tour, and to end your maiden year with a win at Ally Pally is no mean feat. Now, I’ll never say that I’m speaking on behalf of Dunvegan, but I’m sure they’ll agree with me when I say how proud of Cammy we all are for his progress this year. And, as I said on Twitter when these reports were promised for publication on Friday (written in the wee hours of this morning this was), 2023 is the year of the Cammy. Maybe even the year of the nickname and better walk on music? As long as Cammy’s here, it’ll be one hell of a ride.

Ryan Segal @theryansegal