Thursday, 21 September 2023

Hungary round 1

The key thing is in terms of the Grand Prix race is that there's three spots still open, Dobey and Rydz have 14/15 but aren't here, Pietreczko and van Veen have 16/17 and are, van Veen is 1500 behind so needs to beat his seed (Aspinall, so not the greatest but certainly not the worst) to have a chance, in reality it's going to be more as Ricardo's got a great draw, while Gian has one of the trickier ones. Luke Woodhouse can force his way in but is needing a quarter final, a path of home nation qualifier, Cross and then Wright/Razma/Waites not being a horrible setup in fairness, although I don't know how the countback looks as that will likely only pull him level with Pietreczko in the first place. Will blast through round one quickly.

Murnan/Wattimena - Feels like it should be a moderately trivial win for Jermaine, not really pushed on after flashes in 2022, but Joe's been a bit anonymous as well, I'm getting low to mid 70% range for Wattimena and the typical pricing is 2/5, so no interest here.

Andersen/Ostlund - Real hard to work out what to make from this one. The market has it really close. I'm not overly sure why, Anton is making a bit of a substantial step up in this one, and while he's looked alright in brief moments, it's no more than that against someone who is a card holder who will surely have more experience in these sorts of spots and be able to hold his nerve, despite not really being overly convincing at the top 128 level. 0.25u Andersen evs

Bialecki/Vida - Vida peaked in the last round of the home nation quali but only just scraped over an 80 average against a slightly better known Borbely, which really shouldn't cut it against someone of Bialecki's quality, at the same time I don't want to take my shot on a non card holder at 1/6 or 1/7.

Razma/Waites - Razma's been a bit quiet this year and may be holding a bit of a false ranking position, Waites has also been quiet, so maybe an opportunity for both. Hard to split this one, I'd give Madars the smallest of edges, the market typically agrees with that assessment.

Boulton/Mitchell - Associate member bitchfight! Both of these came through it, held way back in May, Scott actually put up some alright numbers in it but it's way too long ago to be seriously relevant, Andy's played more at a higher level so feels like he should be favoured, albeit we've got enough numbers on Mitchell to make us think it shouldn't be by a great deal. Scott coming in at evens with Boulton just odds on comes as no surprise.

Williams/Veenstra - The Challenge Tour sensation has kind of cooled off quite a bit this year, which is a surprise, while Flyers has looked not a single bit out of place at this level after finally getting his card, the result being Veenstra being a lock for the worlds while Scott has work to do and could really use this win. The numbers actually have this one moderately close and oddly favour Williams. That surprised me, so I went to bet, but the market agreed. Weird.

de Decker/Gilding - Two players who we will be seeing in the pot for the Grand Prix draw, cutting to the chase this should be competitive but Andrew has a bit of an edge, call it 55/45, some markets can't split them, others just give the edge to Goldfinger, either way we're leaving it.

van Veen/Dolan - Actual pressure game for Gian, Brendan doesn't have a great deal to play for but doesn't give games away, looks 65/35 to me, which makes me think the market is overvaluing GvV slightly (understandable), but not enough to even start to consider a punt on Dolan in this one.

Jagicza/Woodhouse - The qualifier didn't look too bad in the qualifier - last three rounds slamming in averages of 92, 88 and 88 without a great deal of help from opponents, so maybe not a complete cakewalk for Luke here, while I think the win may be a bit out of reach, 7/1 seems really quite harsh and I wouldn't blink if you had a bit of a nibble on an alternative handicap market, getting a couple of legs at least doesn't seem out of the question for Gabor in this one.

Owen/Smith - This ought to be pretty comfortable for Smudger, Robert's looked ok in places but shouldn't be able to put an enormous amount of pressure on the European champion, who I'm rating in the low 70's in terms of win probabilities. The market is overvaluing Ross a tad, 7/2 on Stack Attack is a bit disrespectful and also not amazing value at the same time.

Rodriguez/Kovacs - Patrik's had a couple of appearances in our database and hasn't completely stunk the place out, despite not being able to make much headway in terms of winning legs, so against Rowby, whose form has cratered since getting to the final of one of these and qualifying for majors not too long ago, it comes as no real surprise that we can't get better than 2/1 on Kovacs here. Seems like a trap game for the casual who'll just punt RJR thinking he's still playing well. Don't make that mistake.

O'Connor/Wade - Ought to be good this. James is playing with a bit more freedom than he has in quite some time, while Willie isn't putting in bad darts either. Wade is the better player, split the difference between 55% and 60% for me, so maybe the market is taking a tinier bit more of a favourable edge on the Machine, but we're not looking at WOC at only 6/4.

Gurney/de Sousa - Two major champions in round one, that's the Euro Tour in 2023 for you. Daryl seems like he's in fine form, Jose maybe not so much, but the projections are still only giving Gurney the small edge at around 55/45. No real value in the markets, if anything they may be pushing Daryl a bit too much but we can't look at the Portuguese number one seriously.

Rafferty/Bunting - Stephen will want to go one better than last time out, while Nathan is still really looking for a first big breakout performance on a senior stage. Bunting looks way too strong here and the lines putting him shorter than 1/3 look perfectly reasonable to me.

Pietreczko/Major - Ricardo needs this win to ask the question of van Veen, and he should frankly have more than enough here against what looks like the middle of the three qualifiers from Hungary here. Some of the odds on predictions may be pushing it slightly, but not by much.

Clemens/Barry - Seems like it's every Euro Tour where Gabriel has a tricky first round tie, and here's no exception. I can't really pick a winner - the market favours Clemens, which is fine, but not by a great deal, so with Keane only at 11/10 I can't recommend a play.

Back tomorrow evening or Saturday morning for round two.

Monday, 11 September 2023

Weekend round up

Really pleased to see Ratajski return to form, he never exactly dropped massively, but has certainly upturned and got the win over Bunting, which would have given me an instant hit on my next five winners on the Euro Tour, but it wasn't to be, oh well, let's give you the new FRH rankings:

1 Michael Smith
2 Michael van Gerwen
3 Nathan Aspinall
4 Luke Humphries
5 Gerwyn Price (UP 2)
6 Jonny Clayton
7 Peter Wright (DOWN 2)
8 Rob Cross
9 Dirk van Duijvenbode
10 Danny Noppert (UP 1)
11 Joe Cullen (UP 1)
12 Dave Chisnall (UP 2)
13 Dimitri van den Bergh (DOWN 3)
14 Damon Heta (DOWN 1)
15 Andrew Gilding (UP 1)
16 Ross Smith (DOWN 1)
17 Ryan Searle
18 Josh Rock (UP 2)
19 Chris Dobey (DOWN 1)
20 Gabriel Clemens (DOWN 1)

Ratajski's win is not enough to propel him back into the top 20, but it enough to pump him back up to number 22, while Bunting's final pushes him up to 24. Rock continues to improve gradually, while surprise semi finalist Wesley Plaisier is just a couple of places outside the top 100, Brian Raman now safely into the top 90 after making the final session.

We've also had a bunch of qualifiers from regional tours get sorted for the worlds, let's give a quick blast through them:

Stowe Buntz - Seems like a fun player, getting a few CDC titles, maybe a touch inconsistent but probably understandable given he's come out of nowhere a little bit, standard is not bad at all.

Dave Cameron - Fairly similar player in terms of quality to Stowe, been around for a while and we know what we're going to get, been making some inroads on the seniors tour as we all know.

Tomoya Goto - In through the Asian Tour, but just seems a fair bit pedestrian compared to the CDC players mentioned already, very little in terms of explosive quality and a fair bit of a drop off when not winning legs.

Paolo Nebrida - Kind of similar, does have the advantage of returning from last year but hasn't really kicked on hugely from 2022 where it feels like he looked a bit more impressive than he has been in this season.

Reynaldo Rivera - The newer player, at least in terms of recognition, in this season's Asian Tour, Reynaldo looks quality. Scoring up towards 90 over a 120 leg sample size is no joke, he appears comfortably the best player in the region and will be someone that players want to avoid.

Alex Spellman - The hype has been building on Alex for some time now, he's certainly got enough about him that we can talk about him in the same way we have talked about the likes of Baggish and Lauby over the last 4-5 years, the only thing I can see as a potential issue is that a lot of what he has done in terms of quality has been in finishing a good proportion of legs real quickly, which may work to his disadvantage in that he may not be able to sustain his quality over a five set or better match.

Check back later in this week for Hungary, but in terms of the Euro Tour, for next year it's good to see Germany being trimmed back to just 6 events, but Switzerland in terms of a new venue is an interesting choice to say the least. Will give them the benefit of the doubt, they've not done too many things wrong in terms of locations, but that looks like a weird expansion location on paper.

Sunday, 10 September 2023


Small gain made with Ratajski coming through against Chisnall, Menzies' run unfortunately ends at the last 16 stage, but profit is profit, we're going to have a new winner for the season (which looked somewhat likely given the number of players that have given this one a miss), who will it be?

Ratajski/Noppert looks incredibly tight. I can't separate them at all. The market is shading things incredibly slightly in favour of Noppert, but with Ratajski not being any longer than 5/4, that isn't really what we're wanting in terms of edge.

van Duijvenbode/Rock arguably throws the two best players in the tournament together, neither of which has won at this level yet, although both have been beaten finalists on the Euro Tour already this year. Again I find it extremely hard to separate them, maybe Rock is better by a tiny amount, but it's really nothing, and the markets aren't giving anything more than a tiny amount of odds against either way (on Dirk).

Gilding/Bunting looks to be priced about right as well, with Stephen typically around 8/11, I'm seeing him with just under 60% winning chances, which with Gilding looking very ordinary in this event might represent if not a great bet, at least one that won't be -EV. We're ignoring from a tipping standpoint though.

Finally we have two wildcards in Raman/Plaisier, here the oddsmakers are favouring Wesley, opening up the sample a bit to get more size on Plaisier this looks about right, and the line feels about right, with most bookies lining up at around 4/7 on Wesley, some a tick shorter, some a tick longer, none of them appearing too far off the mark.

So we have no bets, and as usual with the field at towards an elite level, when we think they've got the lines for the quarters about right, then we can usually infer that there's not going to be any value on the semis or the final. I suppose one thing to note is that a win for Raman would throw him up into the provisional worlds spots, and he's not going to get too many better spots to win 2.5k in one game - and potentially more. This'll be a fun session, see you all on the other side.

ET11 R3

Nice pickup yesterday with Menzies knocking out Wright, seems like a lot of people were on this one as during a quick check of my accumulator at half time yesterday, I was offered a decent 25% return on a cash out as he was backed in at least on 365 from 2/1 all the way to 6/5, which is serious movement in a two horse race. Still, we got on at the good price and let's move on to the last 16:

Chisnall/Ratajski - Dave had little problem dispatching Luke Woodhouse in decent style, Krzysztof faced a little bit more resistance against Ricky Evans but was also playing well so this should be a good one. Appears very tight on paper as well - I can barely split them, Dave's a touch more consistent, I think there's just enough here to have a small nibble, 0.1u Ratajski 6/4 on 365.

Menzies/Noppert - Cameron beat Peter as mentioned above, a tad inconsistent but a win is a win, while Danny needed all 11 legs to beat Dylan Slevin, not looking great in the winning legs but keeping the pressure on in the others. I'm seeing a very small edge for Noppert, however in the larger data we're seeing the reverse in that he is much more inconsistent and Menzies is actually outscoring Danny by a clear point overall in my sample. Looks like the same as above with a consistent price everywhere, 0.1u Menzies 6/4.

van Duijvenbode/de Sousa - Dirk was made to work in a local clash with Roy van de Griendt, not getting the needed break until leg 9 with all the others being on throw, while de Sousa also won by the odd break in an occasional scrappy encounter with Mike de Decker. Dirk seems a solid favourite here, around 60-65% there or there abouts, so a price of 8/15 across the board with the vig involved there's no interest for betting either way here.

Rock/Searle - Josh brought his B-game against Jules van Dongen, looking maybe the best player yesterday with a comfortable 6-2 win, while Ryan was maybe a touch off his best but still too good for Kevin Doets. Rock is favoured, but it's only in the high 50% bracket so not an enormous skill differential, Josh is no shorter than 4/7 which is a non-starter, and Searle being typically 11/8 looks correct, but with no edge.

Hempel/Gilding - Florian continues what might be a touch more than a mini-resurgence at this stage, eliminating a tough opponent in Damon Heta fairly comfortably, albeit it does look like Heta missed quite a few doubles which doesn't help, while Andrew also only dropped the two legs in his game with Razma, but did not look good and didn't win a single leg in fifteen darts, so will need to improve quickly here. Gilding is projected a bit more than two times in three, but I think with their respective form guides and in particular Andrew being poor yesterday, that an otherwise tempting 8/11 on Gilding isn't quite enough for me to take the punt.

Bunting/Schindler - Stephen needed to find a break in the decider and dodge some match darts against Joe Cullen but did, while Martin also needed a decider but shut out Daryl Gurney with a five visit kill there in another tight game. No reason to think this one will be any different, inconsistency makes it hard to quantify either way, maybe Martin is ever so slightly better but with the markets saying it's a flip or, if anything, putting Bunting at evens with Martin just odds on, we're not interested here.

Humphries/Plaisier - Luke was given a pretty decent test by Ricardo Pietreczko, needing a break in the last leg and getting one, while Wesley was surprisingly comfortable against Ross Smith, who got a four visit hold to start but then not getting more than one leg for the rest of the match. Still really hard to say exactly where Plaisier is at, the market if anything thinks he's a bit worse than I think he likely is with prices of longer than 3/1 available, but against someone of Luke's calibre I tend to think that if it is an underestimate of his chances, it's not by a great deal.

Raman/Aspinall - Final game, Brian had a real good finish to the match with Cross, taking out 112 with Rob waiting on D18 for the match then firing in a twelve darter to break in the decider, while Nathan was in a spot of bother down 3-0 against Gian van Veen, before firing off the remaining six legs, aided by Gian missing a few doubles. Aspinall is going to be far too strong here, the typically available 4/1 on Raman looking perfect.

So just the two, you can maybe add Gilding if you think yesterday's game was a blip, but for now I'm off to catch up on the Asian Tour and anything else that's been going on this weekend.

Friday, 8 September 2023

It's fast, it's furious, it's the ready money round

Gilding/Razma - no, Madars maybe slightly undervalued
de Sousa/de Decker - no
Ratajski/Evans - no
Rock/van Dongen - no, if you think Jules is playing much better than he's ever done before I don't completely hate a flyer
Searle/Doets - no
Noppert/Slevin - no, if anything Danny's edge may be understated
Cross/Raman - no, thought that the one market I'm scanning might be undervaluing Brian, but it's not
Cullen/Bunting - no, maybe it's underrating Stephen slightly but not by much
van Duijvenbode/van de Griendt - hard to say just how much Dirk is favoured here but lol at touching this one
Wright/Menzies - 0.25u Menzies 2/1, Cameron is arguably the better player right now, take 365's line
Heta/Hempel - Markets might be overvaluing Florian on paper, but slightly better of late plus crowd makes me fine with it
Humphries/Pietreczko - I mean Ricardo shouldn't be 4/1, but he shouldn't be shorter than 3/1, no thanks
Chisnall/Woodhouse - Luke is ever so slightly closer than the 2/1 that is available, but it is ever so slight so no bet, don't touch Dave
Aspinall/van Veen - Feels like a true flip, 11/8 on Gian is getting close to a play, 6/4 would be a go
Schindler/Gurney - Bookies can't split them, neither can I
Smith/Plaisier - Limited data on Wesley, what I have says he's overvalued in the market, but I think that's misleading, he did look alright today

Just one play, but it looks like a really obvious form based shot.

Thursday, 7 September 2023

Long time no post - ET11 is here

It's been a month with not a great deal happening, but some things have happened that make some things fairly clear - Gian van Veen and Luke Littler are both immense talents, Andy Baetens remains one of the strongest non-card holders, and Gerwyn Price is still the best player in the world. I'll pick up on some other minor things as they pertain to players in the opening round, but let's get straight into picks for round one of the German Darts Open.

Doets/Goffin - Kevin caused a bit of a stir by being the latest random player to make a run to a Pro Tour final, just missing out to Luke Humphries on Monday and not letting the average slip below 90 at all, I say random which might have unfair connotations, he's been noted here in the past, just not for a bit of time. Callum is also improving a bit, to the point where the price you can get (2/1) might be slightly long, but not by an enormous amount considering the confidence Kevin must have right now.

Razma/Burton - Madars is continuing to flash here and there, but with mediocre overall scoring which indicates he is in somewhat of a false position in the order of merit (what exactly did he do to get that high in the first place?), and Stephen isn't actually too far behind him in terms of quality, although he's not done fantastically in terms of results with just a couple of board wins to his credit. Appears moderately close on paper, Madars having the edge but only just above 60%, the bookies actually have this closer still so I don't exactly hate it if you wanted to take the 10/11 pick that's available on Ladbrokes. Might be one where stage experience comes in.

Plaisier/Killington - Wesley got himself one of the Challenge Tour wins since the last post, restoring thoughts that he's one of the better non-card holders which we all thought he was before a disappointing Q-School, so appears to be playing well, while George has had a pretty rough time in terms of results, although is not playing too badly. My projections are misleading due to inconsistency from Killington and sample size from Plaisier, but I think this is one which the bookies might have right - if anything, the evens or slightly odds against available on George looks like it would be the smarter money, although I'm tipping neither.

van de Griendt/Tessmann - Oh boy, what a game to try and call. van de Griendt is down in the 40-something rankings on the Challenge Tour, getting through the associate qualifier (back in May so not even recent form) not beating anyone better than Jeroen Mioch and only scraping a 90 average once, while Tessmann if anything is worse, coming through the domestic quali on the same day, with just the single average above 85 and only coming into one "known" player in Lukas Wenig in the final round. Real difficult to say - Roy I think should be better, but how much is pure guesswork and prices just longer than 1/2 feel about right.

Scutt/van Dongen - Connor is continuing to play alright, scoring in the low 89 per turn bracket which is respectable enough, with one really decent Pro Tour run a bit ago, so he should fancy his chances, but Jules is playing probably his best stuff since joining the tour right now, getting a tour board win just this last week (being one of only a couple of players to be able to beat Price in the last five Pro Tours), and the numbers over a larger slate aren't too far behind. I'd put Jules at just above 40% in that bracket, maybe a bit higher given some alright results this week, so the 4/6 across the board on Scutt isn't of interest, and Jules isn't long enough to punt either.

Slevin/de Graaf - Dylan has dropped a bit under the radar after an early announcement onto the Pro Tour, so much so that he may well still have a bit of work to do to make the worlds here, and he's got the Nordic qualifier in former BDO darling Jeffrey de Graaf (yes, really), beating pretty much entirely domestic Finnish "talent" outside of an early run in with Dennis Nilsson, not having to do a great deal in terms of averages to qualify. There's enough from the Nordic tour to make a decent shot at calling this, and it appears fairly tight, but maybe Slevin playing at a higher level more often will be the difference, I do have him projecting slightly higher (although de Graaf is scoring very well in losing turns), if I needed to punt I'd probably say that the 7/4 on Jeffrey is a bit harsh and might be tiny value, but we don't need to punt.

Kovacs/de Decker - Patrik isn't an unfamiliar name, having shown up on the Euro Tour a few times before, most recently in Prague losing to Martin Lukeman with an OK average, but got here through the Eastern Europe qualifier where arguably his hardest opponent came in the first round in Sebastian Steyer, while Mike is continuing to push up towards a top 32 position, and will be looking to make no mistakes in this one. Hard to see him doing so, although Patrik seems to have enough about him to not want us to invest in the Belgian at shorter than 1/3.

Labanauskas/Menzies - Real case of varying form here, Darius has looked quite poor for some time now, and has barely won a game all year, while Cameron continues to play some fantastic darts which saw him hit a couple of board wins recently to push him back up into the worlds qualification spots as of right now, and he'd desperately want to add another £1,250 to his count here. He should do comfortably, 1/3 on Menzies is almost worth a play given I'd put a fair odds price as 1/5.

Bunting/Mansell - Stephen continues to play quietly well, with another semi final to his name fairly recently only losing out to Gerwyn Price, and the numbers continue to look solid - Mickey meanwhile has had a couple of quarter finals this year and is himself also putting some decent markers down, and actually projects moderately close, showing comfortably over 40% chances according to the master computer. I'm reluctant to bet against Bunting, and I think I can use the consistency factor to talk me out of an otherwise tempting looking 2/1, when Stephen isn't winning his standard barely drops, which is more of a factor for Mickey, certainly wouldn't be betting on the Bullet but can stop myself.

Soutar/Evans - Market for this one is oddly suspended on Betfair, so don't know if there's some sort of late withdrawal I don't know about yet? Will keep an eye out, but for now we'll just assume this is as it is. Alan's perhaps not quite where he was a year to eighteen months ago, while Ricky's shown signs of improvement and the occasional flash of quality, and actually projects as about a 55/45 favourite with a consistency bonus to boot. Markets seem to be unable to split them, I'd need a bit more confidence in Ricky in order to take 10/11 unfortunately, but we're definitely not going Soots here.

Raman/Kurz - Nico is the second home nation qualifier, again not coming through too many names of note, only breaking the 80 average in a close tie with Ole Holtkamp, otherwise looking distinctly ordinary and way, way off his best, as such Brian, who's looking very much one and done in terms of tour card status barring some late miracles, ought not to have too much trouble even with relatively mediocre stats. Brian's generally floating in between 1/2 and 4/6, if the qualifier was recently I think I'd probably go with it, but it was back in May so Nico could easily have recovered form, and peak Nico beats current Raman.

Gurney/Lennon - This ought to be a fun tie, Daryl has continued steady improvement and is probably looking as good as he has done at least since he was a Premier League player, scoring surpassing the likes of Damon Heta, Ryan Searle, Dimitri van den Bergh etc, he's looking a legitimate threat to win things again and had a semi final just this week. Steve is continuing to score north of 90 himself as he looks to solidify a provisional worlds spot, and ought to keep this more than respectable. Daryl should be favoured here though, and I'm seeing closer to 65% than 60%, the market sees this as even more one sided, but I'm not about to jump on Lennon at 7/4.

Hempel/Wade - Florian could definitely do with a win here to try to push up towards the worlds spots following a first board win of the season recently, being stopped by a resurgent Callan Rydz, but he's going to have trouble against Wade, who looks to be trending in the right direction after some time where he's not been making headlines, maybe not outperforming his world ranking but certainly halting a slide. James should take this 70% of the time, prices pretty much match this.

Klose/Pietreczko - It was nearly Daniel that became the next German to win a Pro Tour, with a narrow final loss to Price having beaten two world champions along the way, showing something of the game which was noticed at Q-School, while Ricardo badly needs a result being the last man into the Grand Prix field as of now, a win would add the full 2.5k to his ranking and push him real close to those just above him, while having Hungary as back up. Appears very tight, Ricardo is outscoring him, but winning legs are close, and Pietreczko only projects a couple of percent higher. Market slightly favouring him seems fine to me.

Woodhouse/Clemens - The second German in through the Order of Merit invites is here in Clemens, another good deep run in the Pro Tour recently keeping the scoreboard ticking over, while Luke is currently on the outside looking in in terms of Grand Prix qualification, but continues to put up impressive statistics more often than not, as well as of course having that run to a first Pro Tour final fairly recently. Another one that's going to be rather tight, I actually project Luke to be slightly better, but we're only talking 55/45 and given it's a pressure situation and he's effectively the away team, I can talk myself out of 6/5 - but only just.

Whitlock/van Veen - Simon is still capable of good darts, he has after all got to a Pro Tour final this year, but he's got a pretty nasty record in terms of first round floor defeats so it seems like duff games are becoming more frequent as the undefeated Father Time is maybe catching up a bit, and a duff game is what he can't have against Gian, maybe the hottest name in darts right now with another recent Pro Tour final and what appears to be a very good chance of making the Grand Prix, currently less than a grand outside with two shots to get across the line. Appears another 70/30 in favour of the Development Tour champion (please say that he is drawn for the session of the Slam I have tickets for), you can get slightly better than 1/2 in places, but we need a lot better than that to start punting.

So no bets, but a lot of close calls if you want to be a bit riskier than I'm being, which shouldn't be very hard. Back Friday evening with picks, although as I need to be up incredibly early for football on the Saturday, it may well be a rapid fire update. Possibly even do the first eight games soon after the afternoon session and the rest later.

Monday, 24 July 2023

Post Matchplay thoughts

So Aspinall's probably gone a long way to retaining a Premier League spot for next season, with an absurd 13-1 run from what was a fairly close game at the second break. How much of it was Nathan though? The third session wasn't bad, the first four legs saw a break and hold in four visits, and the same in five, but after that? If Clayton had have thrown a fifteen darter in ANY of the legs that Aspinall had the throw in, he breaks - every single one took six visits. Perhaps an example of how something that looks good wasn't quite as good in the aftermath? Jonny would have still had work to do, but Fifteen Dart Bot takes it from that 9-5 point and leads 14-10, rather than being out of the game. Jesus.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael Smith
2 Michael van Gerwen
3 Nathan Aspinall (UP 4)
4 Luke Humphries (UP 1)
5 Peter Wright (DOWN 2)
6 Jonny Clayton (UP 3)
7 Gerwyn Price (DOWN 3)
8 Rob Cross (DOWN 2)
9 Dirk van Duijvenbode (DOWN 1)
10 Dimitri van den Bergh
11 Danny Noppert
12 Joe Cullen (UP 2)
13 Damon Heta
14 Dave Chisnall (DOWN 2)
15 Ross Smith
16 Andrew Gilding
17 Ryan Searle
18 Chris Dobey (NEW)
19 Gabriel Clemens (DOWN 1)
20 Josh Rock (DOWN 1)

Schindler drops out for quarter finalist Dobey, while it's remarkable that someone who has been throwing the best stuff of anyone for the last twelve months, as well as this season as a whole, isn't even in the top six. Simple fact is he doesn't have any massive scores that are counting for much in this ranking - his worlds has long since dropped off, and in terms of major finals he has less than six months left of the third Slam win and the Grand Prix final counting. Sure, last year's Matchplay will still count for a while, but in terms of how this list is calculated, it's already only counting 60% of what it did at the outset.

We've now got the summer break, at least at the highest level. There's a couple of Players Championships in the bank holiday weekend, but before that, all there is is World Series stuff, the next Challenge Tour weekend and the final Development Tour weekend. That's it. There's a few WDF events over August, but there's no guarantee we'll get data from them (or, for that matter, whether they'll run, given how many WDF events continue to fall off the calendar).

But for now, here's something I said I'd do a couple of posts back, namely the next players to win something. Let's go:

Next five players to win a PDC major title

1) Luke Humphries

Don't think we're going to be too far off this to be honest. The numbers in 2023 are at a top three level. The titles at Euro Tour level continue to flow, and he's continuing to push on to the business end of majors more often than not. He's also further boosted by the fact he's been bumped slightly in the rankings, so he now aligns against Wright instead of Price provisionally at the Grand Prix, which is an enormous boost.

2) Dave Chisnall

Very easy to suggest he becomes another Terry Jenkins and never wins one, but playing at a top ten level statistically, picking up Euro Tours which are every bit a big stage event as a lot of majors are, it probably only needs a good draw or someone doing him favours for him to push deep, and then who knows. A solid back end to the Euro Tour season would see him seeded extremely high for the European Championship, that could be the opportunity he needs.

3) Chris Dobey

No, the Masters does not count as a major, but it's an important stepping stone. Seems as if Dobey is getting more and more comfortable on the TV, with a record in ranking majors over the last twelve months of three quarter finals and one semi. Plus he didn't exactly do badly in the Premier League, at least in terms of averages if not results.

4) Dirk van Duijvenbode

Feels like he's getting extremely close to getting over the line in a big one - the Euro Tour would be a logical next step, given he hasn't actually won one of them yet, but I think his level of play is enough that it's not out of the question that he does a Ross Smith and jumps straight up to major title level. That he's outside the top 8 won't help seedings in the Grand Prix, but his numbers are only fractionally outside a top 10 level this year (Dobey is tenth, Dirk is 0.01 a visit behind), and he's getting the winning feeling with three Pro Tours, nobody's won more legs this season in my database than van Duijvenbode has.

5) Joe Cullen

Seems like there's plenty of ways I could have gone with this last one - Heta was close, and a couple of players I'll list in the Euro Tour list were also close, but Cullen's done pretty much everything he can without winning a ranking major - one dart off the Premier League, he has a non-ranking TV title, the numbers are extremely steady and he seems to make the most of what he's got in terms of generating results.

Next five players to win a Euro Tour title

1) Josh Rock

Could very easily have pushed Rock up to the next tier, but I'll keep him here as the most obvious player (outside of Dirk?) to push through at this level. Scoring remains at an elite standard lying just outside of the top five, he has got through to a final already this season and was only just outplayed by Clayton there, it seems only when, rather than if, Rock gets his hand on a bigger title than just a Players Championship, and the amount he's accumulated is going to keep him seeded nicely for a fair bit.

2) Ryan Searle

Seems unreal that Ryan not only hasn't won one of these, he's not even made a final yet - indeed, it was only this year where he actually made his first semi final. But we all saw what Ryan can do with his demolition of Barney at Blackpool, the numbers are all right there in terms of good enough to be able to win one, he has Pro Tour titles and a major final in his locker, this is the next natural step.

3) Gian van Veen

Might appear a bit forward given he's still looking for a first title full stop, but he is playing that well. He might be a touch limited in opportunities given he's still working his Pro Tour rankings up and will need to qualify for the foreseeable future, but nobody can question his potential, nor his scoring - only Price, Anderson, Humphries and Clayton are outscoring Gian this year. That's title winning sort of potential - quite possibly sooner rather than later. He's already got to two final sessions, he already has a tour final in the bank, and is looking very good to get a bunch of TV experience if he can hold off Littler and claim the Development Tour title this season.

4) Martin Schindler

Another player who's not actually won a title, it seems easy enough to upgrade Martin to this level. He's not been far off pushing through to the sort of spots where he can win at both the Pro Tour and Euro Tour level, has been a regular in TV majors for a decent chunk now, is seeded for these, and has the obvious advantage that he will have a favourable crowd for, barring a radical redesign of the Euro Tour, the foreseeable future.

5) Stephen Bunting

Seems like Stephen has been around forever, given it's nearly a decade since he switched to the PDC. But oddly he's not been able to accumulate more than a couple of Pro Tour titles. He's just keeping himself to himself, and continuing to play a very high standard of darts much below the radar - he's scoring an identical amount per turn as Dimitri this season for example. Probably the only thing that's holding him back from doing more is a relative lack of explosive scoring power (everyone above him in the scoring charts is winning over 10% of their legs in twelve or better, with Bunting actually below 8%), but if he can get some consistent finishing into his game he has the capability to force opponents to beat him, rather than giving much away.

Next ten players to win a Pro Tour title

1) Gabriel Clemens

Feels like he's been at the top of, or near the top of, this list since forever. Feels as if the game is coming together for Clemens, he's playing well enough to put himself into positions where he has a chance to win them, and is accumulating enough to comfortably made all the majors for some time, with which comes Pro Tour seedings and the chance to avoid big guns early, there's only Schindler that's ranked higher than Gabriel in the Pro Tour rankings right now.

2) Richard Veenstra

Flyers has been around darts for an age now, but only recently made the full PDC switch, and is already making an impression at the next level up - scoring is at a very respectable 91 this season, he's solidly within the top half of the worlds Pro Tour qualifying spots, and he has that pedigree from the BDO/WDF system of being able to navigate big fields - something that caused me to pick Jim Williams in this list last time I did it right after he won the Challenge Tour, and he converted to a title.

3) Mike de Decker

Mike's been steadily improving for several years, previously being somewhat up and down but now closing up his game to the point where he's pushed on to a Pro Tour final already this year, and is consistent enough that he made the Matchplay and is looking good for the Grand Prix. Numbers are sound, he's not too dissimilar to what de Sousa is doing right now, and he's not too far removed from having won a major.

4) Cameron Menzies

This is more a "look just at numbers" pick rather than a look at anything he's actually done in terms of results. His numbers this year are in and around the level of Dimitri, Gurney, Clemens etc, and a real good consistency score points to him perhaps having been unlucky in terms of draws. I seem to recall similar in 2022, while he could do with a decent second half to secure a card going forward (he's currently outside the worlds spots, and is only just provisionally retaining his card), he would surely be a big favourite to regain if it came to it.

5) Luke Littler

He's not going to win one this year for obvious reasons, but next year he's looking almost a certainty to get a tour card through the Dev Tour (assuming he wants it, and there's no indication he doesn't), where he's been looking extremely strong - winning four already, outscoring Barney this season over a solid 200+ leg sample, and showing the stamina to be able to win three games in the UK Open in one day then come back in the evening and average over a ton over 18 legs. He's only 100/1 to win the worlds this year for crying out loud.

6) Steve Lennon

This is a tricky one, given Lennon missed the worlds last year and is in no way guaranteed to make the worlds this year, although he's provisionally in as of right now, so it could be the case that, like Menzies, he needs to regain tour card status. But while he's lacked results, his scoring level has been consistently good for a very long time now, heck it's more than five years now since he reached a European Tour final. Think he's a player where he just needs a bit of a run to gain confidence, the game is there, just needs some winning in the system. There's certainly been worse players to reach finals and even win in recent memory.

7) Keane Barry

We stick in Ireland for this next one, and it's a player who's been under the radar over the last two to three years as other players have made more of a splash coming through the youth and development systems and surpassing Keane, which might lessen a bit of the expectation there was when he initially broke through into the PDC, and was added back again with the UK Open semi final last season. Nothing wrong with how he's been playing, not too dissimilar to Lennon in his profile, still got to have the sense that he can improve his level of play somewhat easily and hit a hot run to go deep in an event.

8) Ricardo Pietreczko

Someone who's really impressed and developed extremely rapidly over the last twelve months, Ricardo's gone from someone who we saw occasionally on the Euro Tour, to someone who many thought might just be another Steffen Siepmann and just be one and done before back to Q-School, he's now a player who's hit the final session of a Euro Tour and going consistently deep enough on the floor that he was one spot off making the Matchplay, and is currently in a Grand Prix spot, albeit only on countback and he's going to need a decent month or two to close out the big TV debut. Statistically he's basically the same player as Jermaine Wattimena right now, someone who's been very close to winning events himself, and is clearly improving to the point where a breakthrough at this level doesn't seem unreasonable.

9) Luke Woodhouse

Luke's been in and around the PDC system consistently for half a decade now, never putting up bad numbers, always being someone who's capable of shoving in a big average but just not quite having enough to get over the line. This might be changing soon though, as Woodhouse of course recently made the breakthrough to the final level, looking like he had run out of steam against his stable mate Heta, but that might have cleared somewhat of a mental block potentially, maybe he will actually push through soon. He'd certainly have the double benefit of that clearly putting him over the line for a Grand Prix debut, him being one of a number of players fighting for the last spot (currently a bit of a gap from 15th to 16th), that could be all the incentive he needs to get the job done.

10) Mario Vandenbogaerde

Little bit of a left field one here, but there's a bit of a lack of obvious names to fill out the field, so I'll go with the Belgian, who checks a number of boxes that makes me think it would not be the strangest thing. Mario had a very solid BDO base, so can win through a big field like Veenstra further up. Scoring is above 90 for the year, not overly dissimilar to his compatriot Kim Huybrechts, who of course has won one this year. Is in the mix to make the Grand Prix, so given a moderate lack of Euro Tour success is clearly making some progress on the Pro Tour. Lots of things to like about his floor game, it would be a bit of a surprise if he was to win one, but it wouldn't be absurdly crazy.

Expect a bit of downtime for the next few weeks given the advertised lack of darts in the near future.