Saturday, 26 May 2018

Schalke Shootout and other random thoughts

I watched a bit of this last night. I don't normally watch unranked events, but there was nothing better on after getting back from the pub, so why not. It's an interesting set up, it seemed to go on so, so late (I forget exactly when it finished, but the semi finals didn't start until 11pm local at the earliest), I'm not sure that was the greatest idea but at least it was in a bit of the country that's really close to lots of major cities (for those that don't know, Schalke's ground is in Gelsenkirchen, very close to Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Köln being a bit further away but still doable) with decent transport links - although I don't know how many trams back to GE-Hbf there'd be at that time of night and it's a fair old trek.

Obviously the big story, other than the Germans not winning anything and only the one guy that I didn't really know taking his opponent to a final leg and getting a match dart, was that Dimitri van den Bergh announced himself on the world stage. Beating van Gerwen and then Anderson, even if he did run out of steam in the final against Suljovic, is likely to correct lines featuring him to something more accurate. This happening in an unranked exhibition is annoying, as I'm not going to bet on it - if these results had happened on, say, the European Tour, then I'd likely have been on Dimitri in every match. Oh well. Good to see Mensur throwing well, should set him up nicely as we approach the Matchplay.

Elsewhere, in a sign that the PDC has not learned slightly from the clusterfuck of last year, there is still no indication that they've worked out how many players they're going to have in it. As we're more than half way through the Players Championship series and one short of half way through the European Tour (so, in total, we've played 22/41 floor events), you would think they'd have got a move on. At least they should say we're having 96 players, consisting of 32 seeds, 32 from the Pro Tour rankings and 32 invites from international tours/qualifiers/PDPA qualifier etc. Then at least people will have some sort of idea as to what they need to do, even if they really don't have a clue how a lot of the invites will work.

I really hope they don't go for any more than that. There was something that I saw that indicated that they were looking at 128 which would be hilariously bloated. 96 would be a nice number as it'd give the seeds a first round bye, but what do you go with outside of that? You could go with:

- Top 20 in the Pro Tour rankings not already qualified
- Top 4 non-UK/Ireland players in the Pro Tour rankings not already qualified
- Top 4 in the Challenge Tour not already qualified
- Top 4 in the Development Tour not already qualified
- 28 international invites (ideally primarily from their affiliated tours, with qualifiers where a tour doesn't exist)
- 4 from a last gasp PDPA qualifier

This would likely suit everyone - really pushes the minor tours, bumps the general Pro Tour places, and bump up the international nature of the tournament.

Finally, it's a week before the BDO's first major of the year, and apparently as of yesterday they've sold a grand total of nearly 200 tickets. Across all sessions. Preston's fairly local to me, so I could easily get up there if I wanted to, but over twenty quid for six games? In the last sixteen? Two of which are women's matches? In comparison, the next European Tour in Hamburg costs either 16 or 24 euros. For eight games. With an ever so slightly higher quality of play. The place has got to be pretty much close to dead as a professional tour. Barry could probably kill it overnight by, if he does expand the PDC worlds as we reckon he will, just directly invite the top 8 in the BDO rankings. In terms of the qualifiers for the World Trophy, it's a shame that Pallett lost in the last round. He'd probably have won the whole thing. Was quite a lot of Challenge Tour players there, Worsley qualified, Kellett made the last eight, two of the other qualifiers played the Development Tour, Padgett made the last 16... shame that more couldn't punch through but with just four spots it's pretty difficult. Oh well.

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