Sunday 9 July 2017

Players Championship 15/16 report, Matchplay field confirmed

With most of the world's top 10 not attending for various reasons, the field was opened up for plenty of people to take advantage and make runs in what was the final qualification event before the World Matchplay, let's have a look at what happened:

Performance of the weekend - I'll give this to Darren Webster over a lot of very close contenders - opening up on Friday with qualification for the European event in the Netherlands and then winning his first ranking title since the dawn of time in fine style, with a 6-1 victory over Daryl Gurney. Gurney also comes close having made that final and then a semi final just now, fully taking advantage of the opportunity that others around him in my adjusted rankings completely failed to do, looking lower down the order Ryan Searle won one board final, made another and qualified for Europe as he continues an impressive opening season in the PDC.

Best tournament performance - Again, a huge number of contenders from across the spectrum, but Zoran Lerchbacher reaching the final of today's event takes it for me. Cullen winning it to claim a second title was solid but not as unexpected as the Austrian's run, including taking four matches in a deciding leg. Webster's win on Saturday was covered above, Justin Pipe got a critical semi final to make Blackpool, Keegan Brown and Nathan Aspinall can be happy with their quarter final runs today, while plenty of players well outside the top 50 managed to win board finals and pick up critical money in the race for majors.

Best single match performance - Michael Barnard had a few contenders, 6-0 wins over Matthew Dennant and James Richardson and a win over Jelle Klaasen, Maik Langendorf held his nerve to beat Michael Smith and win a board final yesterday, Darren Johnson whitewashed Pete Hudson in a clash of two players showing form this season, but I'll give this to Richard North for his 6-1 win over Simon Whitlock today as he moves within five grand of making Dublin and closes down on a World Championship appearance.

Worst weekend long performance - Michael Smith, Jelle Klaasen and Simon Whitlock all played both events this weekend and won three matches combined. I'll give this to Klaasen, who knows if he's come back from injury too soon, but two first round defeats to Richie Burnett and Michael Barnard is a poor showing.

Worst single match performance - There's probably more bad single match showings, especially from the above, Smith losing to Portela being a great example, but in terms of importance Chris Dobey losing 6-1 to Mike de Decker in a match he had to win to stay alive in the Matchplay race claims this one. A shame as he looked like he was picking up form, would still needed to have beaten Joe Cullen, but we'll never know.

Matchplay field is now confirmed. Will bold the seeds and italicise the players that didn't qualify when posting my adjusted rankings below, which I'll take down as far as needed to incorporate everybody. I'm not sure when the draw is, but expect in depth previews and analysis once it's done.

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Peter Wright
3 Gary Anderson
4 Dave Chisnall
5 Mensur Suljovic
6 James Wade
7 Raymond van Barneveld
8 Michael Smith
9 Daryl Gurney (UP 1)
10 Jelle Klaasen (DOWN 1)
11 Ian White (UP 2)
12 Simon Whitlock (DOWN 1)
13 Kim Huybrechts (UP 1)
14 Adrian Lewis (DOWN 2)
15 Benito van de Pas
16 Alan Norris
17 Gerwyn Price
18 Phil Taylor
19 Joe Cullen
20 Mervyn King
21 Robert Thornton
22 Cristo Reyes
23 Stephen Bunting
24 Darren Webster
25 Steve Beaton
26 Mark Webster
27 Kyle Anderson
28 Brendan Dolan
29 Terry Jenkins
30 James Wilson
31 Chris Dobey
32 Justin Pipe
33 Vincent van der Voort
34 Rob Cross
35 Steve West
36 Christian Kist
37 Robbie Green
38 John Henderson
39 Jonny Clayton
40 Jermaine Wattimena

Notes - Ian White's now the highest rank player from Stoke, Caven's finally out of the top 40 as a result of Wattimena making his board final today, Lerchbacher is up into the top 60 following his final today, Gurney's less than a grand away from a top 8 place. This does not currently include the guaranteed first round money from the Matchplay.

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