Saturday, 29 September 2018

Grand Prix Eve - Players Championship 19/20 sanity checks

Because with Max Hopp and Danny Noppert winning events, we need to do so. Let's take a peek at each how each set of players did in these two Players Championship events, and whether there's anything that flags up huge concerns, or points out that someone is playing better than average and we should know about it. I think this is useful for two reasons - one, everyone's over in Ireland so the concept of how players are adapting to the area and whole general setup is important, and two, the tournament starts tomorrow, so you can't get much more up to date information than that. Let's go:

van Gerwen/Lennon - Let's not start worrying about van Gerwen. He tops the points per turn, overall, for the weekend. He completely crushed the opposition right up until he had one bad game against Razma, the match against Kyle Anderson being a particular highpoint with four twelve dart legs, but even against Razma he got two twelve darters - it was just he gave Razma chances and Razma took them. Against Schindler, he got three twelve darters - Schindler just played better. I'm not concerned. What might be of concern is Lennon's level of play - a solid weekend, his game against O'Connor was brutal with four twelve darters himself, the following round he was also excellent against John Norman, and it only took Adrian Lewis to stop him.

Webster/Bunting - Neither really stood out this weekend, Webster was a bit better in at least he made a board final whereas Bunting only won one game, but that's more or less how we were reading things anyway. Webster was pretty good against Kirk, and only the champion knocked him out on Saturday, if anything it's bonus points to Darren.

Chisnall/Hopp - Well, Hopp won Saturday, but his points per turn for the weekend is only 89 - that's not much, but it's more than Chizzy managed by a couple of points. Chisnall didn't have any bad losses, but Hopp gaining the confidence he surely must do has got to be a bit of a flag.

Evans/van Barneveld - This is one I wanted to see. Barney went out round one today to Searle and round two yesterday to Hendriks, his only win coming 6-5 to Prakash Jiwa in an unconvincing display. His average was solidly lower than Ricky, who got a solid five wins over the weekend.

Gurney/Henderson - Daryl managed to get 11th on points per turn over the weekend despite just winning one game - losing by the odd one in eleven to Jeffrey de Graaf, who wasn't bad on either day, while today he had a good win over Pete Hudson (nine darter Salford hype!) before running into Brendan Dolan in a high quality match. Hendo made more bank, but only won one more leg than he lost over the weekend and averaged quite a bit lower than Daryl, mostly just beating who he should and then running into Lewis and Mansell, which happens.

Meulenkamp/Cullen - Ron did a bit better than Joe did - getting one more win and scoring a bit better on points per turn over the two events. Joe's Friday was easily forgotten, while Saturday had a couple of alright wins over van den Bergh and Edgar, before getting whitewashed by Cross. Meulenkamp took out de Zwaan on Friday and was perhaps unlucky not to go further than he did, whereas today he was pretty ordinary in getting up to Ian White, and he didn't win a leg there. Usual hot or cold stuff.

Anderson/Clayton - Gary withdrew from today, but got as far as MvG yesterday, losing by the odd leg in 11 and generally playing a lot better than the close games he was in suggests. Clayton only managed one win and was quite a lot off Anderson's pace, which has to be a worry.

de Zwaan/Huybrechts - Of players that won 20 legs over the two days, de Zwaan had the third highest average behind van Gerwen and Anderson. He's playing pretty darned well, he just ran into an in form Meulenkamp and Suljovic. Huybrechts has been playing like arse for ages, but was able to get decently deep on the Saturday, only losing 6-5 to Cross in the quarters and having a top sixteen points per turn, just a point and a half behind de Zwaan. Friday was a weak performance against Menzies, but maybe there's signs of life?

Wright/West - West won both boards he was on, whereas Wright wasn't great - going down to Robert Owen today and Jamie Hughes the day before, his overall scoring was down below 90 per turn, which is not great at all, West being up at 92, only being stopped by a rejuvenated Andrew Gilding trying desperately to save his card, and Keegan Brown who made today's semi final. Given Steve's previous exploits in Dublin, sounding the drudge siren may be warranted.

Wattimena/King - King won one game, but wasn't too bad in defeat, an overall points per turn up at 92 as he lost to Gilding and Edgar. Jermaine won both his boards and was looking very good - points per turn up at 93, with a very tidy set of rates at fast killing and good consistency, taking the eventual winner in Hopp and Kim Huybrechts to stop him. Probably a better set of trends for Wattimena given a better sample.

Whitlock/Wilson - Simon had the second highest points per turn of all weekend, but just didn't get the results to show for it - 98 points per turn and then 96 when losing, it's not as if he choked a load of legs away, he just hit a Wattimena-shaped freight train and then a resurgent Robert Thornton. Wilson made a semi on the Friday, but surprisingly lost to Mark Webster today.

Smith/Lewis - Smith was scoring well, but didn't get results - Friday he just got done by Benito van de Pas god mode from nowhere, Saturday he'd hit Kim Huybrechts doing similar. Lewis was able to win both boards but his scoring was incredibly average - not even 88 points per turn, compared to Smith about eight points higher. Could be a case of results propagating fake news.

Suljovic/Wade - Mensur getting completely rolled by Dekker on Friday was a surprise, today was much more solid getting as far as Ian White before getting beaten almost as heavily, his numbers look respectable enough. Wade didn't have the warm up he'd have liked, winning one match and scoring south of ninety per turn, Nicholson and Murschell not exactly being the A-list of potential opponents.

Payne/White - Payne won one match today, beating Clemens but losing to Wayne Jones and Darren Johnson, you'd have liked to have thought he could be doing a bit better against that sort of opposition given he's won a title this year, then again his points per turn was below 90 so what can you do. White finalled on the Saturday as part of a weekend that saw his points per turn up at 93, but a Friday loss to Stevenson is still odd.

Cross/Beaton - Rob accumulated a lot of legs over the weekend with a last sixteen and a semi final, but the numbers weren't fantastic - he was basically Andrew Gilding this weekend, having the same number of legs won, one more leg lost and their average scores were both around 91. Beaton was a couple of points down from that, Barnard's not a bad loss this weekend and Ronny Huybrechts looked to be getting it together a bit, but that he's still down from a Cross not playing his best doesn't give me a lot of hope.

Noppert/Price - Danny got a win! And his overall points per turn was still three points worse than Price's for the weekend! Losing to Razma on Saturday given Madars' form doesn't seem horrendous, but it'll be interesting to see who ran better between him and Hopp for their titles. Price didn't really make bank but he also lost to Razma on the Saturday before having a loss to de Graaf on the Saturday.

Bets tomorrow.

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