Thursday 22 March 2018

Leverkusen preview

Draw done, qualifiers done, although finding the results of the qualifiers was made much harder due to the PDC, in their infinite wisdom, creating a second version of their PDC Europe Facebook page for the English audience. And forcibly redirecting any attempts to view the existing page to the new one. Then only posting the results on the old one. Thanks Barry. Still, at least we have Twitter to find out who's got there and that Benito's string of bad form continues, and that Schindler somehow didn't qualify. Let's have a look at each of the first round matches and why you should watch them, and also a rough prediction where we have data (taking post worlds onwards) - I can't see any odds yet so I won't suggest anything until round 2.

Mark Wilson/Cameron Menzies - both on debut, both having switched, Wilson getting the tour card but Menzies didn't, but Cameron's more well known and has been doing a bit more on the circuit, this being the first of three European Tour events he's made already having hit a nine in one of the qualifiers, and making a Challenge Tour final to push into the Pro Tour proper. FRH prediction - Menzies 69/31

Jonny Clayton/Jermaine Wattimena - interesting domestic/European duel, Clayton having a great end to 2017 but in somewhat of a sluggish start to the year, while Jermaine's fresh of the back of a win over MvG and a decent outing at the UK Open. FRH prediction - Clayton 60/40

Jan Dekker/Tytus Kanik - first chance we get to see the Pole who's keeping Ratajski out for a bit which is no mean feat, he's not done a huge deal on the tour after winning a card yet but I'd imagine it's a big shift for him. Dekker's had a bit of an upturn of recent and we know when Dekker fires he can be dangerous. FRH prediction - Dekker 52/48

Marko Kantele/Vincent van der Voort - the second of our regional qualifiers who only get one spot, Kantele made the worlds but didn't do too well and failed to get any traction in the UK Open qualifiers, van der Voort meanwhile had a good worlds and has done a bit better but not really done anything notable so far this season. FRH prediction - van der Voort 70/30

Ron Meulenkamp/Dimitri van den Bergh - this should be explosive, Dimitri's had a great start statistically but not had the results to show for it, while Meulenkamp had a good UK Open qualification run and tournament proper until he choked, and has had a good Pro Tour run to go with it, this could easily be one where both average 95 or it's complete garbage. FRH prediction - van den Bergh 78/22

Michael Rasztovits/Justin Pipe - hmm, after the second UK Open qualifier Pipe's been pedestrian, Rasztovits made it there and put up an OK show against Cadby but seems to have been making up the numbers for a while, this isn't too inspiring. FRH prediction - Pipe 61/39

Adrian Lewis/Ritchie Edhouse - Lewis is needing to do work on the tour and this is a good chance to do so, at least until he runs into Cross in the second round. Edhouse won his board two weeks ago on the Pro Tour but has done little since so this may be a bit dull. FRH prediction - Lewis 67/33

Martin Atkins/Richard North - the other Martin Atkins is making his debut here against North, who's really looking to put something together in front of a crowd, as he continues to put good runs together but fails where it matters. Maybe a potential match against a faltering Gerwyn Price will see him kick on? FRH prediction - North 87/13

Luke Woodhouse/Ryan Meikle - Woodhouse is starting to put things together a bit more frequently, and this is an interesting game against Meikle, who is incredibly hot and cold. FRH prediction - Woodhouse 53/47

Maik Langendorf/John Henderson - Hendo's been real solid, cashing everything since the worlds, while Maik only really has one good UK Open qualification run to his name, and couldn't make the event proper. Maybe on warmer closer soil he can have a better showing? FRH prediction - Henderson 80/20

Jeffrey de Zwaan/Danny Noppert - Noppert's just moved over and has been solid if not spectacular to date, pumping in several board wins. de Zwaan has made two tour finals already this year and eliminated the world number 1 from a major tournament so is clearly in some form, but has had some very early busts as well, so who knows? Cullen seems hugely vulnerable to either. FRH prediction - de Zwaan 56/44

Wayne Jones/Chris Dobey - Dobey's remembering how he was playing 18 months ago with a run to the final on tour recently and also getting the numbers to match, Jones is rolling back the years a bit with some isolated good arrows but not punching through to the business end of a tournament yet, but the draw looks good if he can get something going this weekend. FRH prediction - Dobey 69/31

Jamie Hughes/Max Hopp - Hopp's managed to get through the qualifiers, which is more than what he's been able to do most of last season, and comes up against Jamie Hughes, who had a good bunch of UK Open qualifiers and was the beneficiary of a controversial bye to make the last 32, and he'll look to get some money on the board until he can get into Pro Tour events, while Hopp will have the crowd on his side as he, being realistic, looks to retain a tour card this year. FRH prediction - Hughes 74/26

Gabriel Clemens/Thomas Junghans - Clemens has been blisteringly hot and now has a great chance of pocketing some big cash to head up the rankings. Junghans managed to get past Schindler and Marijanovic to get here, but Clemens should probably have too much. No data on Thomas so can't predict a thing.

Luke Humphries/Darren Johnson - Luke's done real well in European qualification, not missing a single one to date, but hasn't converted his Development Tour win into cash on the main tour particularly well to date. Darren's a veteran who was a bit unlucky to not qualify for the worlds last year, and has been more down than up to date this year. FRH prediction - Humphries 62/38

James Wade/Steve Beaton - these two need no introduction, Wade's actually been playing pretty damn well so far this season, getting deep twice on tour. Beaton's been fairly consistent in getting money on the board but hasn't been able to punch through past the board final/win the board final then go out level, so James should be favourite here. FRH prediction - Wade 59/41

Good luck to you all if you punt based off this, hopefully see you tomorrow evening for actual bets in round 2 where there's time in the morning to work.

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