Saturday 7 July 2018

Matchplay initial stats and thoughts

Some initial early level stats for you. The draw was made on Thursday, so just the 24 hours after it was initially reported to be done, I'd assume the PDC are still within SLA's on that one. The stats should speak for themselves, as ever I'm calculating the averages per turn, not three times per dart, the total line is summing everything for those players in the Matchplay, it's not a PDC-wide or full database stat. The quality leg ratio is something that I've done before - it basically assigns you a point if you finish a leg within fifteen darts, three points if you finish a leg in twelve darts, and then takes a point away if you don't finish within eighteen darts, and it's the number of points a player is getting every 100 legs won. Finish every leg in bang on 15, score 100 on this.

So what of the draw? First thing is that top half looks unbelievably stacked. You've got Lewis as a 16 seed, the top three ranked players from the Pro Tour, Smith as the 9 seed, Anderson and Barney in one eighth of it... whoever comes through this half is going to have earned it.

Looking game by game, van Gerwen/de Zwaan is immediately interesting on account de Zwaan having knocked van Gerwen out of the previous major over a length of match that is the same as what the Matchplay is. I've just shoved their names into the master computer and it's reckoning that de Zwaan would win a best of eleven 24% of the time, obviously that will go down over a longer match, but a possible path of de Zwaan, Lewis, Smith and Anderson just to reach the final really doesn't make me want to pile in at odds on for van Gerwen to win the title (at the best odds, I wouldn't touch the 4/6 offered in some places with a barge pole). Lewis/Wilson could be an interesting one if Wilson can bring his best game, they've played once this year (in the Pro Tour where Lewis lost to Mansell in the final) with Lewis extending the head to head to 3-0, but if Lewis keeps playing the way he has been doing of late he should be fine. Remember it was this event last year where he had his only real good run of the season.

Chisnall/Brown I think is one of the games where it's most likely the seed goes out, although Keegan would need to overcome a comical 0-11 head to head record against Dave, but some of these have been close - the last two being deciding legs (earlier this year on the Pro Tour, but then back to 2016), a 11-13 turnover in the second round of this event in 2015 and that 14-16 loss in the Slam in 2014. Smith/Clayton's another interesting one, Smith should be the stronger player and Clayton can think himself unlucky that he didn't get an easier draw as I think he'd be very much live against a lot of the weaker seeds, they've not played this year, the last meeting coming the week after Clayton won his first title, but Smith's won every match to date.

Gurney/West is a tricky one potentially, West won the last match in Gibraltar 6-1 but Gurney easily won the only TV meeting in Dublin 16, West having the old beat Phil then go out next round ├╝berbok go against him. Price/Cullen if I recall rightly was the closest match at the bookies (let's check, I do, it's a flip and only two or three more are as close as 1/2 for the favourite), they've split their series this year but both went to deciders, Price nicking the semi in Austria where he lost to Clayton in the final. If it stays close will the injury become a factor?

Anderson/Bunting has the potential to be good if we get good Bunting show up, Ando's had a bit of time off so it's always hard to call how he'll play, but despite them seemingly playing every week in the first two years after Bunting moved over, including Anderson winning 13-8 at Blackpool, they've not met since 2015. Barney/Anderson is an even tougher one, with Raymond playing even less than Gary does to the point where he's now dropped out of the FRH top 20, he's won the last four head to head including at the last worlds and Grand Prix but is only 6-5 all time.

Wright/Klaasen is first up in the bottom half and this seems like the worst possible draw for Jelle, he really, really needed to find someone who'll take legs off so that he has a chance when he inevitably throws duds himself, that Wright's on an 11 game winning streak against the Cobra is ominous. Huybrechts/Henderson could be good, both liking a 180 and both capable of widely varying outcomes, they've never played on TV but Hendo has a 9-3 head to head lead, including six from the last seven.

Whitlock/North could be one to miss, Simon's not been doing that great statistically all year, while North was the last man in. North won their first two meetings last year but then went out pretty easily in round two in Dublin. Wade/Wattimena could go any way really, if Jermaine shows up then he could grab a lead, if we get the Jermaine doing a bunch of legs needing six visits to win, then Wade could just do Wade things and get 8-2 up at the second break or something like that. Wade's got a 2-1 lead but it's their first meeting that isn't on the floor.

Suljovic/Beaton was looking like it could have been a bit one sided, but Steve's got a little bit of form back of late. Then again, Mensur did get another Euro Tour win recently. Their head to head record is a bit shocking - while most of it is back nearly a decade ago from the days when they had Pro Tour events on the continent, Beaton leads 8-0! The winner will play one from White/Hopp, this looks like a good spot for White to make a run and push for a Premier League place in this match between players with ranking titles to their name this season, that said, before last weekend White had never beaten Hopp, losing their first five meetings, and how Hopp will react in his first major after finally winning a title remains to be seen.

The remaining section has Cross/King, with King getting his first title in years recently, giving him the same number this season as Cross, but Rob's quietly been putting together good numbers without getting quite the results to show for it, so I'd have thought that Cross should outlast the guy he beat to win his first main tour title. Then again, King's won the two matches they've played at the highest level they've met (the European Tour), including the one in Denmark just two weeks ago. Last match is Webster/Lennon, Steve's managed to battle to the level where he can get in these things, so he's not under immediate pressure to win stuff to maintain a ranking, whereas Webster's just got into the seedings and could do with a run if possible. The market has this pretty close, and if they've met before, it's only the once and dartsdatabase can't find a thing.

Over the next week I'll start doing some proper previews, rework the master computer to calculate Matchplay-length matches, use those projections to get some bink the whole thing percentages, all the usual stuff. We've only got some meaningless World Series stuff which we can safely ignore (the important bit of Jeff Smith qualifying for the worlds aside), and I've got the day after the semi final off which I can put to good use for that. Be back soon.

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