Sunday 1 October 2017

Players Championship 19/20, Grand Prix bets, random roundups

Will kick off with the random thoughts first - straight up it's Ratajski, your new World Master. This is quite the interesting one, the BDO allows for those PDC players that have only played the European and Challenge Tours to play it, so Ratajski entered and won the whole thing, coming in at the round of 144 (!) after a first round bye, coming through some close games but ripped everyone apart once the seeds came in, taking out Veenstra, Soutar, Durrant, Menzies and McGeeney in the final, not a bad list. I would imagine he'd play Lakeside now, he has an automatic berth into it, and didn't qualify for the PDC worlds through the Eastern Europe qualifier, which was won by relatively unknown Croat Alan Ljubic, and he's right on the borderline for the Pro Tour spots, with only ET12 to go while everyone else has two more Pro Tour events, so with the likes of Dobey and Quantock also qualifying for it, it'll be very tough for him to make it. Elsewhere in worlds news, Diogo Portela made it from the South American qualifier, which I can't imagine was a great standard, he's not made any real inroads on the Pro Tour so I can't see him making it out against most qualifiers he'd face.

The Ireland Pro Tour events are in the book, only two remaining now so the field for the Players Championship Finals is getting a lot closer to being set, there's quite a lot of big names that aren't in five figures like Dobey, van den Bergh, Gilding, Payne, Jamie Lewis, Caven, Rodriguez, Hopp, a big final weekend is needed. So from what's in the book:

Performance of the weekend - This has to be Mensur Suljovic, grabbing a second ranking title to go with the Champions League in what's been an amazing September, only losing to an on fire Rob Cross in Friday's semi final. He's got to be one to watch out for in Dublin this week. Elsewhere, Vincent van der Voort had two quarter finals, Ron Meulenkamp continued his good form from Riesa in reaching two board finals, and Steve Lennon got two cashes, one of them being a quarter final.

Best tournament performance - Rob Cross for sure, he absolutely nailed it, the PDC reporting three twelve darters in the final against Peter Wright, meanwhile earlier he beat van der Voort and Suljovic losing only one leg, and also had to get through James Wade, Justin Pipe, Raymond van Barneveld in the first round as well as Dave Pallett. Not the easiest run you'll ever see, and apart from against Wade he was never in trouble at all. Shouts to Madars Razma and Antonio Alcinas for their best runs to date, and Bunting hit a bit of form reaching the final yesterday.

Best single match performance - Not a great deal stands out from either of the Pro Tour events, most of the real great scores come from those players who already got mentioned. Nothing really stands out from the European qualifier either, so this is a tough one. I'll go Ryan Meikle for his 6-2 win over Dave Chisnall, Shepherd 6-1 over Cullen and Gilding over Adie by the same score coming close. Hendo whitewashing Richardson can't have been too bad either.

Worst weekend long performance - With everyone playing except Gary Anderson that's in the Grand Prix field you'd expect the real elite to grab at least one title, but they didn't, so I think it has to be Michael van Gerwen, losing to Suljovic in a quarter final and not even winning his board in the other, going out to Vincent van der Voort. Gurney lost a pair of 6-4's in the first round to Kirk Shepherd and Vincent Kamphuis, Cullen also went out first round both times, Benito van de Pas continues to struggle with just the one win, and that needed a deciding leg.

Worst single match performance - Adrian Lewis going out 6-1 to Andrew Gilding came out of absolutely nowhere. Really surprised that Lewis didn't win that one, let alone lose by that scoreline.

New adjusted FRH rankings (this includes Grand Prix mincashes, although that makes no difference to the order):

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

Rob Cross is now up to #22, James Wilson re-enters the top 30 following his semi final, Antonio Alcinas jumped a bunch of spots to near the top 100, while Madars Razma creeps in to the top 150.

In terms of potential movement following the Grand Prix, the top 3 are set. Taylor can drop if Suljovic reaches the semi final, Chisnall or Gurney reach the final, or if anyone down to Cullen binks it. Places 5-7 are separated by less than ten grand, while Smith down to Lewis has just 25 grand separating all of them, then there's about a 10 grand drop to Cullen before King's a further 25 grand back. Darren Webster and Rob Cross can get into the top 20 with a quarter final appearance if King goes out first round (Cross would technically be short right now, but King will almost certainly lose enough in comparison to Cross on the gradual prize money reduction system this week), while Reyes, Bunting, Beaton and Kyle Anderson could get in the top 20 with a semi final.

So, bets. I've yet to put the Riesa data into the system (or, for that matter, the World Masters, although I can only find the last 16 so far in the BDO's god-awful designed web page), so I'm just going to consider the form from there and that over the last two days. Looking in order of play, I'm firing the following:

0.5u Norris 8/13 v Pipe
0.5u Lewis 21/20 v Gurney
0.5u Reyes 11/10 v van de Pas
0.5u Whitlock 1/2 v Kist
1u Anderson 1/9 v North - Sunday evening edit - Anderson's withdrawn, so void

Very nearly also firing on White against Suljovic, but Suljovic's form and confidence is unquantifiable and puts enough doubt into things that I don't want to fire. I'm being very cagey here given the very short format and bad previous performance on these, in particular I think I could go a lot heavier on Anderson, but I'll play it fairly safe for now and wait to see what develops in longer races.

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