Monday 1 May 2017

Players Championship 9/10, Euro qualifiers

Seems like somewhat of a standard weekend with the world numbers 1 and 2 picking up the titles, but there's a fair bit underneath to have a look at underneath, so let's go:

Performance of the weekend - There's an awful lot of contenders for this. I'll mention Ratajski before I start as he's qualified for another three of the European Tour events, adding three grand guaranteed to the five he already has in the book means he doesn't need to do too much to qualify for the European Championship - it only took £8,500 to make it last year, although there are a couple of extra events this time around, slightly offset by seeds not getting ranking points if they bust in round 2. One win or another qualification should do it. Over here, Robbie Green made a semi final and backed it up with a last 16 run, but busted the two Euro qualifiers. Jonny Clayton made a quarter and the last 16, and was able to qualify for both of the Euro events, which is a bit better if you ask me. Nicholson picked up 1500 quid and qualified for one event, Hudson picked up a grand in each Pro Tour event, which was bettered by Jon Worsley, getting a last 32 and a quarter final. Simon Preston had a last 16 run and cashed the other event, Paul Rowley also managed to cash both events (including a win over Peter Wright) and see off Robert Thornton to qualify for Sindelfingen. Matt Clark did the qualifying double and got 1500 quid including a win over Whitlock, so deserves some credit as well. With nobody up top putting together two really deep runs I'm looking deeper, and I'll go for Jonny Clayton. 6-0 in both of the Euro qualifier finals and picking up nearly four grand before running into Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson is a great return and sees him solidify his spot in my live adjusted top 50, gaining a couple of spots in the process with the potential to get more over the next two weekend, Josh Payne being very much in his sights to hit the top 45.

Best tournament performance - Thornton from nowhere to reach a final is an obvious choice, as he's played so bad over the last 18 months, but his level of opposition wasn't the greatest, as it's all kind of dangerous players, but ones he should beat - Steve Lennon and Ryan Searle leading the new card holder charge, Bowles can occasionally be a threat, Gilding is equally out of form, and de Decker isn't anything special. If the highest ranked player you beat is Robbie Green, then I'll look to alternatives. Green's semi final run wasn't too hot, he beat Suljovic in round 2 but aside from that, at least on current form, the best he beat was Darren Johnson. Mike de Decker probably had the best Saturday run, dropping no legs before round 3 where he beat Gurney and then won 6-2 over Edhouse. Let's look at Sunday - Steve West might be close, Jamie Lewis isn't the easiest round 1 opponent, Henderson isn't the easiest round 2 opponent, then you had Michael/Green/Norris before he ran into Anderson. I think it has to go to one of the tournament winners - Anderson beat both of the other two in the top 3 and dropped just five legs in the other five matches, while van Gerwen beat Lewis and Anderson, dropping seven legs in the other five games. I'll go for Anderson here.

Best single match performance - Darren Johnson 6-1 over Chisnall is a contender, Worsley managed to turn over Whitlock, Rowley over Wright is also a good shout. I think the Rowley win over Wright just takes it, with none of the top 3 losing to anyone outside of it other than this game, I think that's good enough.

Worst weekend long performance - Looking down the rankings, Barney took the weekend off (that I'm going to play everything didn't last too long), Taylor did as well, in the top 10 Wade had a shocker, beating Rob Hewson before losing 6-1 to John Bowles, then losing a first round deciding leg match against Ted Evetts. Huybrechts just outside also fared poorly, but at least his first round loss was to Rob Cross. The second round loss was to Ryan Searle though. Whitlock was poor, having a pair of opening round losses to Matt Clark and Jon Worsley, Bunting lost opening round games to Tabern and Payne, but at least qualified for the one Euro event he needed to, Webster also busted twice in round 1 to Murnan and Rowley, and busted one of the Euro qualifiers to Aden Kirk. Caven continues to bring the comedy, being swept by Clayton, losing to Andrew Gilding, and being denied in both Euro qualifiers by Matt Clark and Matthew Dennant, but this is expected of him now. Got to go to Whitlock, purely because he is in form and those losses are so unexpected.

Worst single tournament performance - Peter Wright when he went out in the last 64 is the only answer here.

This week I'm probably going to put up some thoughts on the 121 out, and maybe look at the Matchplay race a little, as it's getting quite tight for a lot of players.

Current adjusted top 20:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Gary Anderson
3 Peter Wright
4 Dave Chisnall (UP 1)
5 James Wade (DOWN 1)
6 Raymond van Barneveld
7 Adrian Lewis
8 Mensur Suljovic
9 Jelle Klaasen
10 Phil Taylor
11 Kim Huybrechts
12 Benito van de Pas
13 Simon Whitlock
14 Ian White
15 Gerwyn Price
16 Alan Norris
17 Daryl Gurney
18 Michael Smith
19 Robert Thornton
20 Joe Cullen

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