Tuesday 26 September 2017

Riesa's a ****hole, I want to go home - round up and trip report

Got back from Germany yesterday afternoon, straight back to work today so I'm only just done with pulling the stats off the PDC website, yet to plug them into the master computer so I doubt I get any Grand Prix bets up before Friday at the earliest. Peter Wright binked as 26 of the 32 players for Hasselt are now confirmed, but what awards for the weekend?

Best player performance: A few contenders. I'm not giving it to Wright, he was let off on quite a few legs (heck, his first leg won for the weekend took twenty five darts) - Ronny Huybrechts could easily have had leg two and opened up a 3-0 lead, and he then allowed Wright to get the key break in six visits, Klaasen let Wright do that three times, after that he wasn't bad at all. I'm also not giving it to Huybrechts, his best game was his first and he didn't produce a single twelve darter all weekend. It comes down to either Dennis Nilsson or the two semi-finalists. Nilsson took what was given to him and pinned some important legs when needed, Meulenkamp had a pretty straightforward run, not needing much to see off either McGowan or Smith, Payne wasn't that great a performance but the game against Nilsson was quality, particularly towards the latter end. I think it has to go to Cullen, threatening the nine darter, having the single best performance of the weekend against Richie Corner (matching Ratajski's three legs won in twelve darts and three in fifteen darts), following it up with very consistent arrows against Norris and Whitlock, it was only Kim Huybrechts that could stop him, where Cullen really couldn't get going for three legs.

Best single match performance: No multiple award for Cullen. Corner was OK in round 1, Price looked decent in the second, as did Klaasen, Chisnall, Suljovic especially and Norris, on the final day Nilsson looked good against Chisnall, Price again looked good against Suljovic. Will give it to Mensur for his crushing win over Willie O'Connor, every leg in under fifteen darts, with two in twelve.

Worst player performance: Could go for Benito, but I think Cristo Reyes - letting Huybrechts cruise into a 3-0 lead, only getting the legs he did because he was allowed to, none of his four legs were under fifteen darts. 

Worst single match performance: Andy Hamilton I think has to take this one, losing 6-0 to Brendan Dolan in a match where Dolan needed more than fifteen darts in all but one leg, averaging only 70. On Twitter he did post that his mind might not be in the right place and I hope he can get himself back on track, albeit looking like it'd be without a tour card for next season.

New adjusted FRH rankings (these do not include any Grand Prix money, although that would make no difference to the standings):

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

Outside these rankings, Ronny Huybrechts moves into the top 40, Ron Meulenkamp reaches the top 50, Peter Jacques is inside the top 70 while Dennis Nilsson debuts at number 156.

So, trip report. Riesa is a dump. An enormous dump. Now, somewhere that is twinned with Rotherham should automatically set off nuclear level drudge sirens in relation to that it might be a bit of a crap town, but for the love of god. On leaving the station you walk through some questionable looking tower blocks, through a town centre that seemingly has nothing there, in terms of actual activity I think I saw one supermarket (naturally shut, it was Sunday in Germany after all) and that's about it. I can only assume the PDC hold it here because it's cheap? It is somewhat well located (not far by any form of transport from three decent-sized cities) and does have a venue well capable of holding a Euro Tour event, but that's about it.

Of the darts itself, it wasn't a bad session. Wright/Huybrechts was a bit cagey, Ronny getting a couple of unfortunate bounceouts at key moments which might have extended the game. Klaasen/Jacques was decent until Jacques got 4-3 up with a break, then his game kind of fell apart as the finish line approached. Chisnall/Nilsson looked like being one way traffic but Nilsson hit back well, holding his game together and getting over the line when Chisnall managed one dart in a big treble out of 21. Meulenkamp/Payne seemed to be the designated piss/beer break match and I don't recall much of it (at this stage I was as focussed on updates on us smashing the Pigs in the Steel City derby on my mobile, paying five euros for the privilege of WiFi as, despite my phone telling me data roaming was on, it was silly enough to give me that option despite somehow having turned off mobile data completely the day before, which I didn't notice until back in the UK, oops), Suljovic/Price was probably the highlight in terms of quality, obviously the crowd were supporting Mensur, but fair play to Price for coming back after being broken in the critical ninth leg and getting the last two. Huybrechts/White was another decent game that went the distance, just the pair of back to back breaks in legs four and five, everything else being held in good order, Cullen then put together a good blitz at the end of his game with Norris to rattle off four straight legs to close out the match after the first five went with throw. Whitlock/King closed out the session, a bit of a damp squib which was one sided.

Didn't look too much at merchandise, although what they had at Munich last time was horribly overpriced (60 euros for an Eclipse Pro lol), beer was 4.50 with a two euro deposit on the cup (rolled Whitlock, Wright, someone else I can't remember which might have been Smith followed by Suljovic twice), was sat on a table next to a bunch of Union Berlin fans who oddly also follow Nottingham Forest, who despite my German not being the greatest (although they said it was OK) and their English being almost as bad provided for decent banter, sure they loved their result yesterday.

Would definitely go back to the Euro Tour again, although I doubt it'd be next year - nothing really works that well in terms of scheduling, Leverkusen would work fine except it's during an international break, and most of the rest of the German events are either in the middle of nowhere or outside of the football season which I'd look to tie the weekend in with.

Look back later this week for Grand Prix tips, let's tentatively say Saturday once the Pro Tour is in the books (Jenkins again not playing, although rumoured to be trying the last two) and we can see any super late form.

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