Monday, 1 June 2020

Milton Keynes? Really?

That's the latest rumour that's been thrown about in terms of the Matchplay, seemingly in the venue where they're currently holding some worthless snooker event. Whatever they need to get it on I guess, if they're working on a no crowd scenario then maybe it mitigates it, maybe they need to push it back and the existing venue isn't available. Who knows. Hopefully by the end of the week we know a lot more as to what the hell is going on with the schedule.

First group of the German Superleague is done, Clemens obv won by a mile, if I was picking one of the other cardholders to get through I'd have gone with Bunse over Siepmann, a little bit of a turnup for the books I think, not yet thrown the stats into the master computer but I don't see a massive rush to do so. Münch and Unterbuchner also got through, if it's not Bunse then these are probably the players with the greatest pedigree, Stein was a bit unlucky to miss out on a playoff spot (three players from 3rd-5th were tied and split by, I assume, leg difference), Gotthardt also had a decent showing. Kniest seemed a fair bit out of his depth, but if he was one of the guys that got called up late then it's perhaps understandable.

One thing I think they should consider doing next year is to bar tour card holders from entering this, and have them simply get a bye through to the finals stages (if they want it - it'd be understandable if Hopp or Clemens gave it a miss as neither should need the help to get into the worlds), which should keep the initial league stages a lot more competitive. Probably need to change the finals format and increase the number of players to 12 - if they were to do that this season, you'd have the five guys that had a card plus seven that didn't, do something like two pools of six on a Saturday, have the winners go straight through to the semis and 2nd/3rd play off in a quarter finals. I think that'd work quite nicely. Another thing they could try for the league as a whole is to not keep the same lineup every week - if you've got 16 players, only have the top 12 keep their spot for a previous week, and the other four spots are filled out by a qualifier the previous evening. Or from a parallel 2. Liga that runs in an alternate week or something like that. There's lots of things that you could try.

Friday, 29 May 2020

News!

And no, I'm not talking about the BDO cancelling everything, we'd been able to work that one out from the start, it's more that the PDC has actually started to add some clarity to the schedule, by saying the following:

- Half the Euro Tour (basically anything in Germany or the Netherlands before September) is cancelled
- The Austrian Euro Tour event is also binned off as they've moved the World Cup to that weekend. Refund for me at least
- They still, oddly, have the World Series finals not having been cancelled, despite them taking place in Austria where they could have held that Euro Tour. A few people saying TV contracts might be reason and that "we must have this unranked event on our screens" which seems as good a reason as any I suppose

This asks more questions than it answers to be honest. By saying this, they're throwing a world of confusion to players who had qualified for ET2-4 which are now off the schedule, as well as what happens to the ranking money that they had accrued, whether that counts for anything, if so when does it count (do they move those qualification spots to the events that are now scheduled, presumably after the Matchplay?), are they just going to have the European Championship run off five events, and so on and so on.

Frankly this isn't really acceptable, at least the public facing side of it is. They might have answered all these questions to the PDPA, who knows, hopefully we get some clarity by the end of the week.

Meanwhile the Home Tour rolls on, they must be so thankful that Ando got his wifi working, it'd be a hard sell if they kept getting the likes of Klaasen and de Decker reach the later stages, fine players that they are not withstanding.

Also, am I the only one that really doesn't get what Modus are doing in terms of their streams? I mean yes, darts is darts, but at least with the Home Tour, we (now) know where it's going, the same with the Remote Darts League. If there is some rhyme and reason to it I'm yet to work it out, appears mostly to be just self contained events, which when you do as many of them as they are doing loses any sort of interest almost immediately.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Where do we go from here?

We're still in somewhat of a holding pattern in terms of what the PDC is doing regarding their schedule, which is fairly frustrating for everyone. Who knows what's been discussed in private between the PDC, PDPA and other parties, but let's piece together what we do know at the moment:

- The Home Tour's scheduled through until June 5th
- The PDC have stated they'll announce something in relation to that event by that date, so the logical thing to do from a publicity point of view would be for Uncle Barry to do some sort of good news promo prior to the final Home Tour group for the ratings
- Apart from the Matchplay there are no main tour events scheduled prior to Hungary in September, there's Premier League but that's it
- Priti Vacant has nuked the UK economy from orbit with idiotic quarantine measures that achieve very little and do nothing much
- The German Superleague doesn't finish until June 14th

As a result, what I'm anticipating them doing is the following:

- The Matchplay is announced to be pushed back to the last week in August, giving as much chance as possible for the event to take place with some fans in attendance, at the present timings I don't think that's in any way realistic given current overly defensive government policies
- The Pro Tour will return starting on July 11th at Wigan, where they already have their venue booked for the Challenge Tour. I don't think it's in any way realistic that the numbers in a Challenge Tour event can be "safely" managed (and I use those quotes on account of the only risk to >99% of Challenge Tour participants is that they pass it to others in vulnerable groups), even if they cut to just one event in a day, whereas somewhere that's capable of running a 32 board event with Challenge Tour numbers is more likely to be able to do a Pro Tour
- This will allow a month's window for players from overseas to get into the UK, go to prison for two weeks (assuming Vacant doesn't do a 180) and then be good to go prior to the Pro Tour starting
- In the event that players are unable to travel back to the UK due to restrictions put in place by their home countries (I'm thinking this is mostly just Australia but there may be others), they will be permitted some sort of dispensation for major events, whereby if their earning rate in the events is such that they would have been able to qualify for a major they get a play in game against the last Pro Tour qualifier or something like that (in the event of the worlds, they can simply offer a wildcard)
- The schedule is then condensed to power through as many of the Pro Tour events as possible in order to catch up to where we would have been prior to the coronaplague restrictions, as well as possibly one or two of the Euro Tour events, behind closed doors but keeping the same format (some work around for what would have been the host nation qualifiers would be needed, but as it seems like the ones cancelled have mostly been in Germany, they would probably either be able to arrange a stack of qualifiers there and/or give wildcards using Superleague standings)

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

German Superleague 2 - Electric Boogaloo

Thrown the stats into the master computer:


Few simple things we can draw from that - Clemens was badly, badly pulled down to the level of everyone else and/or simply couldn't be bothered to get out of second gear as he didn't need to. Münch either ran hotter than the sun in some legs, or took a bunch of legs off. Probably somewhere in the middle, but it's hard to infer where his actual standard of play is at. Gotthardt looks to have been a bit unlucky, that's a pretty decent losing average, it's the first I've seen of him (I certainly don't recall the name from any Euro Tour qualifiers, looking at dartsdatabase he seems to have been absent last year) but having played the Dev Tour as recently as 2015, he could develop nicely. Disappointing showing from Bunse, and Stein seems fairly lucky to have grabbed three wins.

Next weekend we've got Kurz, Eidams, Horvat, Langendorf, Bilderl, Koch, Köhnlein and Klose - it's only really Daniel that's a new name but the remainder of the last four are players that I've not seen a great deal of, so I'll probably pick and choose to see what they can do. It's certainly an interesting mix with between young and old with plenty of players with big stage experience.

Remote Darts League is under way, watching a bit of it now primarily for Hogan and Herewini, as we kind of feared last night Osborne got smacked about a bit, and seems out of her depth, I worry this is going to continue like that for the rest of her games (and the other ladies player that I don't really know), but we'll see.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

German Superleague

Evening,

Watched a bit of this on and off today in between the Bundesliga, mainly just to see what the sort of set up they have going on is, as clearly this is going to be used as some sort of trial for social distancing measures when they get back to the Pro Tour proper. It was an interesting enough setup, keeping each of the player's tables fairly separate, and having the hero we deserve effectively being a lollipop lady to keep the other player away from the oche until it's safe to do so. Seems a tad bit of overkill and they could simply mark out the standard exclusion zone they have at normal TV events but make it a bit bigger, but it is what it is, and if it's allowing us to get some darts on, I'll allow it.

As for the actual darts itself, as mentioned I didn't watch a massive amount of it (will probably watch more tomorrow), but Kai Gotthardt looked alright in places, nicking the win off Christian Bunse (who seemed a fair bit off the pace), god knows how Jens Kniest qualified, and it's not a bad start from Sascha Stein who picked up three wins. Looks like it's a double round robin with everyone playing everyone over the course of a weekend.

I think I'll add this to the tracking database. It seems like a high enough standard, it's effectively an affiliated tour so as we track the DPA, SDC etc it makes sense, and if it's going to shove a bunch of German players into the database it'll help a load when it comes to projecting Euro Tours, if and when they get under way.

The thing to note with this is that they are scheduling this through at least mid June, so with tour card players involved, I guess there's no way they're looking at scheduling any Pro Tours until after then?

Friday, 15 May 2020

Home Tour - more stuff

I now see that they've released the last four groups, and Ando's manage to upgrade his potato up to some sort of slightly better vegetable and is able to play. At this point, words fail me, and I feel incredibly sorry for anyone who had outright punts on Chizzy, Aspinall, or anyone half decent who had won an early group and looked value given that they knew there was no Anderson, van Gerwen, Price or Wright at that time. Then again, if you are putting any more than token money for comedy value on a friendly event, then I'm not really sure what to say.

The Remote Darts League 2 - Electric Boogaloo has been announced, and it's got a few interesting names - seeing Tricole should be interesting enough, I kind of guessed that Veenstra might be someone that got picked up, and getting some good antipodean and north American representation is a decent enough addition. The ladies' selections are pretty underwhelming though - obviously they're not going to have got any of the big three, but while Turner and Winstanley aren't bad players by any stretch of the imagination, the other two I've never heard of. Seems a bit like selecting ladies' players for the sake of it, if they'd have stuck with the first two then I think it'd be fine, but selecting two players I've never heard of, one of whom doesn't even have a dartsdatabase record, is a little bit overkill. I'm also not really sure what they're doing with the format, I've heard some sort of weird partial group system but I guess all will become clear in due course.

Also, we've got the German Superleague tomorrow. Apparently streamed - is this live? I'd guess so seeing how the Bundesliga's starting tomorrow as well, may need to catch a bit of that, it's more hope that we're getting a bit closer to normality, and that we might see other live action sooner rather than later and some part of the season might be saved.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Home Tour 26-28

Could probably rename this part of the event Michael Smith 2 - Electric Boogaloo, as the PDC's method of making things up as they go along seems to consist of having a bunch of retreads who failed the first time get a second pop at it. Pretty uninspiring, so while I've not watched anywhere near as much as I thought I would have done initially, I'll likely not be bothering with things for the remainder until they get up to the playoffs, whatever form they will take.

In good news however is the concept that elite sport behind closed doors is seemingly going to be allowed to take place from next month. This, of course, is dependent on more coronaplague developments, but should at least allow for the Pro Tour to resume at some point in the near future, and is also going to have the issues of completely pointless quarantining of inbound flights (if it's as prevalent as certain media would like you to believe here, having the odd person come in with it isn't going to make too much difference) and/or some overseas players maybe having issues leaving the country at their end. Still, at least it's a start and we can look towards some form of normality and getting some events played in the somewhat near future. Hopefully.