Saturday 16 June 2018

Players Championship 13 - World Champion wins tournament shocker

Weird how that the clear second best player in the world, who is putting up clearly the second best averages in the world, has actually won an event. Seems some people don't quite get the huge amount of variance there is in a short race format, heck it may possibly be the only reason I make money on betting darts at all, but for those who are of the "Cross luckboxed one tournament and is a fish on a heater" mentality, he's won one.

It was overall a very weird day - Wright went out first round. Smith went out first round. Dootson and Darbyshire won games. Crazy stuff. White made what was a weird final, going from 4-0 to 4-4 to 6-4, but his appearance in that stage is not unexpected, given how much I've been raving about his game in recent months. Jermaine Wattimena reached the semi final, and by all accounts should have reached the final, getting down to 47 after nine darts against White while leading 5-4 on throw, but being unable to pin the winning double. Shame, as while the longer term stats indicated that he was basically killing a lot in six visits and taking what was given rather than imposing himself on the game, here he had the best adjusted average of anyone on the day (Wright excepted but he only played one game) - 98 flat with seven twelve or better dart legs on the day is a pretty decent standard. The score's now lifted him into the top 32 on the FRH rankings.

Elsewhere, Dirk van Duijvenbode made the quarters, riding his luck a bit in winning three last leg deciders, but hopefully this gives him the confidence to kick on. After Wattimena, the best adjusted average of people to get out of the first round was Martin Schindler - playing some great stuff including a demolition job on Mensur Suljovic, before running into Ian White at the last 16 stage. Bunting also showed some more recent signs that he's getting back to his best in his semi final run, running into a Cross-shaped wall at that stage, but there's enough of an indication that he's getting things back together and isn't one you may want to face in the Matchplay. Interesting return to the quarters for Peter Jacques as well, averaging more or less the same as van Duijvenbode but getting there when it mattered. Lennon, Cullen and Clemens also put in better numbers than their finishing positions suggested.

Tomorrow's a new day, and it's a big one before possibly the most important ten days of the year so far - that period with two European Tour events on back to back weekends with two Players Championship events sandwiched in between is critical, as they're the last events before the Matchplay. We had the UK qualifier for ET9 (the last one before the cutoff, we already knew the ET8 lineup) on Friday, Norris didn't make it so, having not made Copenhagen either, is just reliant on tomorrow and the two midweek PC events to get home, as he's not even close on Pro Tour rankings. Beating Pipe and then losing to Meulenkamp today isn't inspiring. Looking at Burton's table, he should still be safe as he's reliant on both Webster and Huybrechts to do more than him going forward (although he has less than a grand of wiggle room there), and would need Adrian Lewis to close an effective ten grand gap. Then again, it's not like Lewis hasn't won ten grand in one event recently.

On the cutoff for the Pro Tour places, Keegan Brown did himself a world of good by getting to Hamburg, while Lennon and, more critically, North, did themselves no favours. They did lose in the last round 6-4 and 6-5 but should be beating Martin Atkins and Paul Rowley. Dobey added a second shot having already made Copenhagen, but other than him it's mostly Euros that are just outside. Payne and Jame Lewis missed out and are probably too far behind at this stage.

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