The UK Open 2020 - "And Now For Something Completely Different"

Namely to another famous person born in Weston who had nothing at all to with darts - John Cleese, one of the founders of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Well - in darts language there exist the "Not Old" phrase for a score of 37 points with Single 20, single 5 and Single 12 which can be found in a Monty Python sketch. And the last stage show of Monty Python appeared 2014 in the O2 Arena in London.

But John Cleese didn't make himself a name as outstanding darts player but as actor, comedian, screen writer and producer. Cleese was born in Weston-super-Mare in 1939 and his sports - at least at school were cricket and boxing. As one can read he is a big fan of the Wolverhampton Wanderers. Beside he liked the science classes.

He studied law in Cambridge and there joined the Cambridge Footlights - an amateur theatre group - despite he couldn't dance or sing. His only talent was as he says himself to make people laugh. There he got to know Graham Chapman with who he later would right the texts of Monty Python. He wrote texts for the Footlights bus stood on stage as well. A real success was the Footlight revue "Cambridge Circus" which toured even New Zealand and was played at the Broadway as well. In America Cleese met Terry Gilham who later became another Monty Python.

Back in England Cleese started to write for BBC Radio. From 1965 Cleese wrote together with Chapman the "Frost Report" in which several others of the later Monty Python was involved as well. From 1969 - 1974 Monty Python's Flying Circus was shown on BBC. Cleese only stayed for three series as he had growing problems with Chapman's alcoholism and though the scripts were less good than as the start. But all stayed friends and together produced the three well known Monty Python's films "Monty Phyton and the Holy Grail, Monty Phyton's Live of Brian and Monty Python's Meaning of Live. From 1970 Cleese was a few years vice chancellor of the University of St: Andrews - he has always been interested in knowledge transfer. So it is not really astonishing that beside all his other activities he produced some witty-ironical instruction videos for managers.

His probably biggest success was the film "A Fish called Wanda" for which he wrote the screen and produced it as well. And as so often he played in it a slightly inhibited Englishman. Might be some have seen him in the Harry Potter films as the Nearly Headless Nick or as R in two James Bond films.
Today Cleese lives with his fourth wife on Nevis in the Caribbean - he was not really happy about the developments in his home country. For him the British today a corrupt, without any culture and even have lost their humour, their serenity and their tolerance.

But back to the darts and to the UK Open. To be sure the lyrics of the Monty Phyton song "Always look at the bright side of live" from the Live of Brian is a good advice of all those players who lost matches during the three days of the UK Open. And might be for us all in this worldwide Corona Virus crisis...

I couldn't almost believe it that we had already reached the last day of the tournament and only seven matches were left to play which took all place on the main stage. By now was almost sure Michael van Gerwen would win the event - so in some ways finals day was a kind of routine day. And after all the performances over the first two days I couldn't imagine there would be another finalist than Gerwyn Price - shouldn't Rob Cross not suddenly find top form and defeat van Gerwen in the quarterfinals. It wouldn't have been is first win over the Dutchman.

The quarterfinals didn't produce another upset - Dimitri van den Bergh and Rob Cross had no chance at all against Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price. The other two quarterfinals were much more thrilling and both rather close. Jelle Klaasen made it very hard work for Daryl Gurney and even was in the lead before Gurney finally won 10:9. The averages were much lower than the averages of van Gerwen, Price and Dimitri van den Bergh.

The last quarterfinal had been the one hardest to predict and it was the least high-class one. Nevertheless it was thrilling, especially because Jamie Hughes somehow lost his range on the doubles. Better - he started slow, had a really strong phase in the middle of the match and faded again. HE missed eight Matchdarts and Clayton won the match. Hughes really should work hard at his doubles.

Both for Gurney and for Clayton to reach the semi-finals certainly was an achievement, but you could see in both matches very soon they had no chance to reach the final. Price was in his all Welsh semi-finals as predominant as was van Gerwen against Gurney. And so we had in the end the final I had expected. What I hadn't expected was that Price would put in such an outstanding performance. HE didn't lose the final because van Gerwen played so strong, he only lost it because he couldn't hit his doubles and passed over too many chances. I probably would have been very annoyed with me; chafed at myself. perhaps Price felt the same, the interview with him sounded like it though he didn't really show.

And so the tournament was already over and the PDC staff was busy dismantling the press room around me. The screens disappeared, all what the PDC owned disappeared into boxes including the cables and the power boards. I hurried to finish my updates and walked back to my accommodation. It was still early, dry and mild, so I had time to look over to Weston-super-Mare .

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