Saturday 15 December 2018

Day 3 evening report - beer beer beer

Er, yeah, we really didn't need to see that before the MvG game, but hey, ply football-style crowds with beer for hours and hours within feet of the players, this is fine, nothing bad will ever happen, right?

Not a huge deal to write home about. Ross did more or less what we thought he'd do and printing money on Alcinas went as expected to further claw back some of the Mansell losses with the best punt of the round first up tomorrow. Was in an interesting discussion on Twitter with a poker player whose blog I read from back in the day, him basically saying the extended format is a money grab and some of the players are out of their depth - while both parts are to some extent true, one thing you've got to remember is that last year, every single Pro Tour qualifier and several of the international qualifiers got a bye to what's round 2 - so last year you wouldn't have seen a Noppert, de Zwaan, Ratajski etc at this stage. While they've increased the size of the field, with two thirds of the increase going to Pro Tour qualifiers and 24 of the first round players coming from those who otherwise would have skipped the preliminaries, I think the opening round is stronger than ever, it's just a case of bad timing with Mansell shitting the bed against what's going to be one of the worse players here earlier, and during the game of someone who wouldn't be here but for Irwin messing up badly.

Searle surprisingly beat Burton, not so much in the result itself as it was arguable either way, more in the size of the victory, I'd have thought Burton would have kept it a bit more competitive than it was, but it just seems to be doubles, nothing more nothing less - Burton missed, Searle didn't. Stephen probably should have won the first set and if he does that the whole game might have ended up differently.

Keegan played well. Karel brought it a lot better than I thought he would have done, a 92 average is very respectable and he was keeping up with Brown on the scoring decently and certainly not missing doubles, was just timing - first set Keegan pulled an 11 darter to break in a deciding leg where Sedlacek had hit a 180 and left 82 after nine, just botching the finish, then he hit a twelve to complete a comeback from 2-0 down in the second set. Will certainly be interesting to see how Karel does in the coming year, I guess that the relatively poor performance he had the one time we saw him in the PDC this year might be an outlier, he did after all claim a decent sized WDF event last month, with there being a Euro Tour event in Prague next June I'm not sure too many people will be wanting to face him.

Then we had the van Gerwen game. Credit to MvG for putting the incident behind him fairly well, his figures were certainly formidable against Tabern, who was playing some nice darts himself and was well worth winning the set that he did take. The game against Hopp now looks a little bit more interesting at least.

Tomorrow we've got the Clemens game first up which Gabriel should win, then we follow with O'Connor/Meeuwisse where I'm thinking Yordi should keep it competitive, Dolan/Liu could be comical either way, and then we've got Chizzy/Payne as the second round game - Chisnall is strongly odds on with Payne at 3/1, Josh just did what he needed to without being that impressive, I had this as Payne being maybe 5/2 rather than 3/1 in terms of a fair line before, but Dave's jumped a percentage point and a half after that showing from Payne, smaller sample sizes favour Chisnall more and more, so I'm happy to let that one slide.

In the evening we've got Humphries/Hunt, should be a well paced game between two of the newer players on the circuit, Edgar/Labanauskas has the potential to be high quality, Ross Smith and Lim has narratives all over, then we've got Peter Wright making his start against Alcinas, who I'm thinking probably played down to the level of the opposition a touch, he wasn't good today but he didn't need to be. Wright is very strongly odds on at 1/8, 13/2 Antonio - season long I'm thinking this should be a 3/1 line, since the Matchplay something like 5/2, since the Grand Prix I don't think there's that much to separate them at all. These two met at Minehead and it was just missed doubles that made the difference. What the heck, 0.1u Alcinas 13/2, we've seen the quality in the past and it's not as if Wright is lacking in dodgy results this year against players of comparable quality to Alcinas, or worse, and it's not as if the last result on this stage wasn't a huge upset.

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