Thursday, 11 October 2018

European Darts Trophy preview

All good things must come to an end, and that's what's happening to this year's European Tour in Göttingen, with the final event going to finalise the Dortmund field, and eliminate one of the three events left before the worlds cutoff (and, as an extension, the race to save tour cards). 19 of the active FRH top 22 are here (Anderson we obviously knew about, but Suljovic and Lewis withdrew) so it's a tough field for anyone to come through if they're needing a cash, let's look into tomorrow's running order - numbers in brackets indicate current FRH rankings with mincashes for this weekend included, but before I start, should I credit my overall betting record with an extra quarter of a unit because I was on the wrong side of the rigged Ulang/Simm worlds game from a couple of years back? Maybe?

Luke Humphries (82) v Keegan Brown (37) - Interesting game to start between two young players, one in Humphries who has an outside chance of making Dortmund, while Brown's had a bit of a mare to date in Europe and isn't really in the picture, he'll just be looking to improve his Pro Tour ranking that's seen him just the wrong side of a recent cutoff for Dublin. Should be quite close at around 55/45 for Brown, Luke's got the greater motivation but will probably need to beat Gurney in round two to avoid a countback clusterfuck.

Matt Edgar (88) v Jeffrey de Graaf (65) - Neither's really close to Dortmund, and with the winner facing European specialist Joe Cullen in round two, this could be close to an effective final, although both players have the A-game to trouble the Rockstar. de Graaf has a comparable edge as what Brown has in the first game, should be two close games to start off - assuming in this one we don't have one show up and one not, which is always a risk.

Mickey Mansell (61) v George Killington (147) - Tough ask for George here against a Pro Tour winner from this year, Killington not having done a great deal on the senior circuit, but he's won one Development Tour event as well as a final and two semis to put himself right up those rankings. Neither really has any chance of Dortmund, but Bunting in the second round isn't out of the question, especially for Mansell who rates to be approaching a 2-1 favourite here.

Mark Wilson (135) v John Henderson (21) - Wilson's here for a third attempt at the European Tour this season, but he's only won three legs in two games and a matchup against the big Scot isn't really the draw he would have been looking for. Henderson's surprisingly not that close to making Dortmund, a couple of exits when seeded and getting no ranking money as a result being potentially very costly - he's likely going to need at least a semi final, if not a final, and Ian White is a formidable second round opponent. That's a matchup that should happen, John's got a 75/25 chance according to projections.

Brendan Dolan (51) v HNQ6 - This is the Clemens section, and there's really nobody in this section that should trouble him (not that it's stopped him being troubled before), Blum's gone already leaving no notable names - Dolan's got an outside chance of making the European Championship if he can reach the final session, a hit or miss Jonny Clayton in round two is winnable, and the other seed in the section is Whitlock, so who knows? That said, if Clemens does get through Dolan's a 60/40 dog to make Saturday.

Marko Kantele (108) v HNQ5 - Kantele just missed out on making the worlds as mentioned previously, but he's going to have to put that behind him and concentrate on this game, which will see him up against a probable opponent of Marijanovic, with only Tautfest being a name I recognise in the draw. If it was Marijanovic, Robert would be strongly (greater than 70%) favoured to get through to face Michael Smith, but data on Kantele is limited. Could look at the SDC stats I guess?

Ryan Joyce (67) v Jermaine Wattimena (28) - This should be a good one - Jermaine had a very tidy weekend in Dublin both on the floor and stage, and has got to be feeling confident as he tries to edge up the top 32 in the world. Joyce has had some great floor form, but hasn't yet managed to crack a seed as yet, although he's been close on a couple of occasions. He could make Dortmund if he's able to do that and push into the Sunday evening session, and he's slightly better than 50/50 to get over the first hurdle, but Chizzy in round two is one where anything could happen, and likely needing to beat Ian White makes things look unlikely.

Krzysztof Ratajski (50) v Steve West (20) - Game of the round for me, forget your Huybrechts/Beaton face off. Ratajski got jobbed over for the Grand Slam spot, what can you do, and after last year it's surprising that he's got work to do to make Dortmund, not having everything his own way in the qualifiers like last year being a problem. West would likely be more of a problem on the Friday than Hopp would be on the Saturday, with Ratajski needing to reach Sunday as a minimum. West's safe, but despite West's very good play he's not even 45% to win this one. The Polish Eagle could still get what he needs, it's a tough first game but it's on.

Richard North (41) v HNQ4 - North will need a similar run to Ratajski to qualify for Dortmund, with them both having the same money, but his first round game is substantially easier - Horvat was the biggest name in this section of the qualifier but he's gone, leaving maybe Bunse or Berndt, who'd meet in the section semi - one of Simeon Heinz, Jens Kniest or Lukas Sekinger will make the final. Winner of the main game plays Whitlock.

Ricky Evans (46) v Andrew Gilding (70) - Two players hitting form - Evans is obviously safe for Dortmund after his final, but Gilding is showing sparks, perhaps a bit too late to save his card, but peak Gilding is a phenomenal force, and Darren Webster in round two isn't the worst potential draw. Even looking season long as I do, I can't separate them, so there could be a bit of a chance for Goldfinger to make Saturday and us to potentially profit as I'd imagine Evans will be installed as favourite.

Luke Woodhouse (98) v HNQ1 - This is probably going to be Schindler, unless Herz, Junghans, Hurtz or Sprudzs (too many z's) can take him down. Schindler would be better than a 2-1 favourite against Woodhouse if it is him, he is currently just on the inside of the Dortmund cutoff and just qualifying ought to make him safe. Woodhouse has made two of these before this year, with just the one win over Ryan Meikle, and assuming Martin gets through the quali I can't see Luke making it a second win, especially on German soil.

Simon Stevenson (71) v Vincent van der Voort (39) - VVDV's another player who's just on the cusp of qualification, one of the group on £10k needing to get two wins to move into a tie for the last spots, assuming nobody improves. Stevenson isn't an easy out, while he's had trouble qualifying for these he did win a board in Dublin so isn't playing too badly, and has enough chance in this one that while the Dutchman's the favourite, it's not even 55%. Which he wouldn't be against van Gerwen in round two.

Jelle Klaasen (26) v HNQ2 - Jelle's one of the players who have just enough cash to qualify for Dortmund, currently in on countback, so winning this game would be enormous for him. Wright would be the second round opponent so he may not add more than that, but one win should be all he needs. The home nation qualifier has Langendorf in this section, Münch is also there but Maik's a round further already, if it was Maik who advanced then Jelle would be a bit better than 60/40 to get the win he needs.

Kim Huybrechts (23) v Steve Beaton (22) - A lot of the time one or both of these are seeded, so to see them facing off in round one is unusual. Neither's mathematically safe, but it'd need a weird situation for Beaton to not make it, while Huybrechts, after multiple first game losses as a seed, is part of the group on just £10k looking in - despite having reached a semi final this year. A European Championship without Kim seems wrong, but with Beaton being a tiny projected favourite, it's going to happen way more than half the time. The winner faces Price which isn't going to be an easy win for either player on current form.

Jeffrey de Zwaan (30) v HNQ3 - Jeffrey, despite all his stage form, has a shocking record of qualification for these, and actually playing well in them in the rare occasions he has qualified hasn't happened either - he'd need to reach the final to stand any chance of making the finals weekend, while he certainly has the quality, and a not bad opening game against one of Eidams, Siepmann, Roith or Rosenauer, he'd have to beat the World Champion on the Saturday and then go from there. Not an easy task, but one he'd be up for.

Danny Noppert (46) v Antonio Alcinas (52) - An all European faceoff to close us out, with the rapidly getting used to the PDC Noppert coming up against the Spaniard who's having a second run after a few years on the edges of the scene. Noppie's already safely in and Alcinas seems too far back needing to reach a semi final, so this doesn't have a great deal riding on it, but I'm projecting a coinflip, maybe even Alcinas being a tiny favourite, and with Wade in round two not being the hardest draw you can get, maybe one of these can get something going here?

Not seen any big exits in the qualifier (which is running right now) since I started writing, other than that Münch has gone from the Langendorf section that'd face Klaasen, so all the HNQ reports still seem current. Bets later once lines are up and the qualifiers are done.

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