Sunday, 15 October 2017

Premier League lineup

Few too many shandies yesterday so no opportunity to post any round 3 analysis from the Euro Tour, I didn't see any outstanding value, but I hope people were on yesterday's 4/4 special.

It's getting close to the end of the season, and there's a few discussions on various media regarding what the Premier League lineup should be. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this here, but I think that they should get rid of the Masters (there's very little money in it, it's unranked and you're not seeing anyone you won't be seeing extremely frequently all year, so why bother?) and use that weekend as a Premier League play-in. I'd have it provide two spots from eight invites, with a double elimination setup to allow everyone plenty of TV time - have Saturday afternoon be the winners round 1 (four games), Saturday evening be the winners round 2 and losers round 1 (four games), Sunday afternoon have the losers round 2 and 3 (three games), and then Sunday evening have the winners final and then losers round 4 and the final (three games). This setup would naturally allow a slightly longer match at the business end on Sunday (something like race to 10 on Saturday, race to 12 on Sunday). So what would my lineup be?

van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and Wright are locks to be in the top 4 and get an automatic spot. Suljovic and Gurney have to be in there as well based on what they've done, and one is probable to be the final top 4 spot regardless. Barney seems certain based on popularity (especially given no Phil) and seems to still be doing enough to warrant a place on merit. Chisnall is probably the best English player at the moment and has a win on tour, which takes us up to seven, and I'd probably give my eighth automatic spot to Whitlock, based on three ranking titles this year and making a major final. If someone does something amazing in the remaining majors then he'd be the last man out. This then leaves two spots, which as mentioned above I'd have as a play in - I'd invite the following:

Michael Smith - Euro Tour win, only active player in the FRH top 10 not to be in automatically, still young, high scoring and exciting
James Wade - Would be weird not to at least give him a chance of making it, has done little this year so if he beats this field he'd deserve to be in
Adrian Lewis - Similar to Wade, except he's the better natural talent, has a win on tour this year. Both Lewis and Wade did enough to not get immediately dumped out of this year's Premier League, so should get a shot at staying in
Rob Cross - Incredible opening season, find it hard to give him an automatic place given relative lack of success in TV tournaments, but I doubt you'd find anyone that'd not give him the chance to play in (as an aside, with his win earlier today over Keegan Brown, he is now into the FRH top 20)
Gerwyn Price - Polarising figure, field could use a heel to use some wrestling lingo, can back it up with the game on occasions as seen when he reached the UK Open final
Kyle Anderson - Won a TV event, albeit unranked, has a Pro Tour win, deceptively underranked on most rankings lists due to his absence late last year giving him zeroes where he could easily have picked up 30 grand or more
Joe Cullen - Two Pro Tour titles, seems to be continuing to grow as a player, well inside the top 20 so surely not too ridiculous to offer the chance in a format that includes sixteen players
Corey Cadby - Big wildcard entry, but current world youth champion, nobody is questioning his talent and potential, good World Series performances, this naturally assumes he switches to the PDC full time, sorts visas etc.

Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts I don't think have done enough all season to warrant entry, for various reasons their previous campaigns were disappointing through no fault of their own, but some cycling of players seems necessary. From other names in the FRH top 20, Phil's retiring, Benito's done nothing all year, if he was going to get in it should have been last season, Alan Norris has had way too many events go horribly wrong for my liking, and Ian White's been quiet this season and, despite his quality, isn't the sort of name I think people would flock in to see.

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