Thursday, 28 June 2018

Hamburg round one preview

All the qualifiers are in the book - some surprising omissions with Clemens not getting one of the six (!) home nation berths after Wright and Jim Brown withdrew, while there's a few high profile absentees from the European side such as van den Bergh, van de Pas, Dekker, Kist and de Zwaan, but it's a pretty high quality set of qualifiers all round so I don't think there's anything too controversial, there's only so many spots available. Let's look at what's going on in running order, numbers in brackets indicate current FRH rankings:

Robert Owen (55)/Boris Koltsov (200) - Owen, UK Open aside, has been pretty quiet this season, not reaching a single quarter final. Koltsov's been mixing the PDC and the BDO, getting close in three previous qualifiers before getting through this one, and I'm sure I've seen him listed in one of those asinine "who has the best average in a five leg sample this season" list. He won the Finnish Open last month but who knows what the quality will be like. It looks like it's his debut so it'll be interesting to see how he does. FRH master computer prediction: Owen 74/26

Jason Lowe (117)/Keegan Brown (38) - Lowe's a player I'm interested in seeing, it's the first one he's qualified for this season, but he's made two main tour semi finals this year and his Challenge Tour form looks good, his overall points per turn is up at a very respectable 91 this season in my database which is a point higher than Keegan's. Brown's had a quarter in Europe this year, and while his Matchplay status looks to be secure, he'll certainly want to put some more cash in the bank for later majors, currently sitting around the cutoff for a few. FRH master computer prediction: Brown 52/48

Darren Johnson (79)/Paul Rowley (121) - Johnson would have made the worlds last year under the current format, he's been around for years and is no mug, although 2018's been pretty sparse for him, not making many board finals at all on the floor. Rowley is having a second punt in Europe this year after easily being beaten by Steve West last time, and if anything his record is worse than Johnson's this season, this may not be the greatest game to watch. FRH master computer prediction: Johnson 56/44

Willie O'Connor (56)/Martin Atkins (Wigan, 187) - O'Connor's not actually had a bad record of winning through to these, although he's gone 0-3 to date and aside from one quarter final run has a fairly average Pro Tour record this season. Atkins has a win and a final on the Challenge Tour which is allowing him to play a lot more events than he might have thought, but is finding the step up to full PDC level a bit tough and was whitewashed on his previous Euro appearance. FRH master computer prediction: O'Connor 74/26

Maik Langendorf (130)/Michael Barnard (76) - Langendorf's made his third event of the season, losing in the opening game both previous times, but showed with a last 16 run in a UK Open qualifier that he's decent on his day. Barnard's having a remarkable season, both on the Challenge and main tours, with a huge amount of cashes showing consistent form, and I can't see a first round exit here either. FRH master computer prediction: Barnard 61/39

Vincent van der Voort (36)/Justin Pipe (31) - Best match up so far between two veteran players just hanging around on the fringes of the world's top 32, who'll be looking to keep that status. van der Voort has an outside chance of the Matchplay but needs a Sunday evening session as a minimum, although he doesn't have a bad section of the draw to do that... Pipe has been anonymous all year following his Players Championship Finals semi at the end of last season and will surely just be hoping that the clash of styles works in his favour. FRH master computer prediction: van der Voort 59/41

Martin Schindler (53)/Mario Robbe (154) - Schindler has been putting some good numbers on the board but has yet to make the real deep run to take the next step, at least at the senior level, that his play warrants. Maybe this is the weekend? Could get easier second round draws than Cullen but you're going to have to beat good players to make a run at some point. Robbe hasn't done anything of note at all since winning his tour card, and is on a pretty bad string of first round exits, something which seems like it should continue here. FRH master computer prediction: Schindler 74/26

Robert Marijanovic (119)/Jermaine Wattimena (30) - As mentioned in a previous post, Marijanovic had a pretty good weekend last time out, and is certainly trending in the right direction, but he's got arguably the toughest first round draw (Klaasen's ranked higher in the FRH rankings, but I know who I'd rather face tomorrow) in Wattimena, who is knocking on the door of making a big breakthrough and is preparing for a Matchplay debut next month. FRH master computer prediction: Wattimena 58/42

Jamie Bain (111)/Chris Dobey (37) - The evening session kicks off with Bain, who put together some great performances last year but hasn't really done a thing this year, against Dobey, who if he can get really deep here still has an outside chance of the Matchplay, much like last year he's just the wrong side of so many major cutoff lines. He's certainly trending the right way and has a final under his belt on the floor already this year. FRH master computer prediction: Dobey 91/9

Robert Thornton (34)/Rene Eidams (135) - Thornton's struggling to remain relevant on the world stage - he's not close to the Matchplay, isn't anywhere near the seeds for Pro Tour events and is in real danger of dropping out of the top 32. A good run at some point is needed and he might have a chance against Eidams, who didn't really get close in Q-School, although he did make the UK Open and got through the first round the previous time he qualified. FRH master computer prediction: Thornton 65/35

Mike de Decker (95)/Darius Labanauskas (131) - de Decker couldn't retain or regain his tour card so has been rebuilding on the Challenge and Development tours with nothing spectacular to show for it, although this'll be his third European event of the season. Labanauskas made the last day last weekend and will look to build on this as he has a realistic chance of making the European Championship, while he also continues to have successes on the BDO circuit. Should be a good game this. FRH master computer prediction: Labanauskas 62/38

Jelle Klaasen (25)/Dragutin Horvat (120) - Klaasen's back amongst the qualifiers, and it looks like getting here has got him just over the line for the Matchplay as things stand, although every little bit could potentially help for that. Horvat is in his fourth event for the season and has gone out in the first round twice with a solitary last leg win over Alcinas to his name. He didn't try any UK Open qualifiers so data's a bit limited, but Jelle should have enough here. FRH master computer prediction: Klaasen 76/24

Mark Wilson (145)/Ryan Joyce (74) - Wilson's a new tour card holder but has yet to do anything of note on the tour so far, he did make one board final earlier this month, and qualified for one previous event where he was easily defeated by Cameron Menzies, but that's about it. Joyce should be a familiar name as he continues to push up the rankings with excellent floor form, it's not out of the question that he can make the Grand Prix at this rate. FRH master computer prediction: Joyce 69/31

Cristo Reyes (33)/Andy Boulton (91) - Reyes looked like he was getting back to his best against Darren Webster with a brilliant start, of course he then lost the match, he's getting incredibly frustrating to read. Boulton made the final day in Gibraltar and isn't playing too badly when we've got tracked games, but I'd have thought he'd have done a bit more on the Challenge Tour than he has, still, this could be close. FRH master computer prediction: Reyes 54/46

Dirk van Duijvenbode (81)/Max Hopp (40) - Should be quick, should be exciting, if Dirk shows, which he hasn't done too often apart from a real good weekend earlier this month and in the UK Open, could be fairly even. Hopp we know all about, he's made the breakthrough in getting the win, but needs to back it up - if not in wins, at least in consistent runs to latter stages of these events. FRH master computer prediction: van Duijvenbode 59/41

Luke Humphries (89)/Ronny Huybrechts (52) - Luke's been decent in the qualifiers for here, but the regular week in week out grind of the tour is still something he's getting used to, but if he keeps doing OK here he could be in the running to qualify for the main event at the end of the year. Ronny's been really poor this year - go look at his dartsdatabase record, that's an incredible run of first round defeats and I can only see a further slide down the rankings from here. FRH master computer prediction: Humphries 69/31

Will hopefully get some bets up when there's a bit more bookmaker coverage in the morning, but it'll probably be a very quick "these are the bets done" type of post. Keep an eye out.

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