Thursday 28 February 2019

UK Open bets

Right, what I will do is post up bets for round 1, and any round 2-3 matches that have already been determined. Anything else I add for rounds 2-3 I'll pop up in a separate post that I'll update live in running as I'm watching and feeding the data into the master computer. Then when we're down to the last 64, I'll pop up a new post again for that round after the draw's been made.

First round games:

McGeeney/Pallett - nothing here. I'm seeing close to even, slightly in Mark's favour, so 5/4 Pallett doesn't appeal.
Newton/Menzies - no bet. Menzies I'd have thought would be appealing given Newton's poor showing at the worlds, but they weren't too far off on the averages at Q-School and 8/13 is a bit too short for Cameron here.
Lynn/Rasztovits - 0.25u Lynn 11/8, obviously he has course and distance, but over limited data he outperformed Michael last year, and they were close on the averages in their respective Q-Schools, so taking the odds against punt looks good.
Hughes/Rydz - 0.1u Rydz 5/1, this is based purely on potential, Rydz has been playing very well these last couple of events and while Hughes is a formidable opponent, 5/1's a big number best of 11.
Nilsson/Razma - no bet, the 12 month sample favours Razma enough to think about 4/6, and he did win a card while Nilsson didn't, but Nilsson played respectably enough to make me think the line's close to correct.
van Duivenbode/Evetts - no bet, Evetts is about 70/30 based on what little I know of Mike, so a 2/5 line isn't inspiring.
Taylor/Labanauskas - 0.25u Taylor 6/4, I'm seeing this as evens on the 12 month sample I have and Scott's showed moments of form in 2019, so 6/4, why not. He's very high up on the Challenge Tour average table at least.
Whitehead/Burgoine - no bet, nothing of note to see how Burgoine's playing, so while you can't feel confident in someone who didn't even try Q-School, it's 4/11 on Conan which is a bit too short over a quick match against anyone who's managed to come through a qualifier.
Fox/Jenkins - 0.25u Fox 5/2, this is purely speculative based off who Fox came through to get here and Jenkins not impressing in any figures I've seen for quite some time now. If he can beat Hogan he can beat Jenkins.
Murnan/Frost - 0.25u Murnan 8/13, Frost really wasn't close to getting his card back and hasn't put up decent stats in a long time.
Portela/Bates - 0.25u Portela 3/4, this'd look like a bet even at the typical 4/6 line but Betfair's got this closer than that, Diogo's significantly better than Barrie is at this point in time.
Huckvale/Barilli - no bet, might lean towards Barilli based on a greater body of work throughout his career but the figures in the Challenge Tour seem close.
Nentjes/Evans - 0.25u Nentjes 8/11, Evans has performed solidly enough in 2019 with a mid 80's average, but Geert is playing at a higher level and ought to bring this home the three times in five that we need here.
Harris/Davey - no bet, 1/3's too short for Cody.
Shepherd/Worsley - no bet, always nice to get a tour card v tour card match here where we have stats, and they lean Kirk in the high 50% range, so 8/11, no thanks.
de Sousa/Raman - 0.25u de Sousa 3/5, I don't know much about Raman but Jose's extremely competent and winning this two times out of three ought to be a formality.
Derry/Budgen - no bet, Budgen's 6/4 and is putting up a low 80's average in Q-School/Challenge Tour games, which with Derry not being overly impressive so far this year makes this a line to avoid.
van der Meer/Dootson - 0.25u van der Meer 10/11, model hates Dootson, and with good reason, even trimming down to just 2019 where he's played a bit better Vincent should still be a much, much stronger favourite than this.
Clark/Zonneveld - 0.25u Clark 8/13, Niels is being outplayed quite heavily by the veteran so far in his PDC career, experience and general better play makes this bet look good.
Cole/Barnard - 0.25u Cole 13/10, this is purely based on Barnard's awful form, that he was apparently on Twitter a bit ago (per the always excellent Weekly Dartscast) seeking a sports psychologist makes you wonder, Jarred's done enough this year to go with it.
Cullen/Robinson - no bet. Stats I have favour Cullen a little bit, the market's about 60/40.
Bunse/Michael - 0.25u Bunse 11/8, my figures favour Bunse by more than 60%, there's not huge sample but Michael has not been finishing the legs he's won quickly whatsoever.
Atkins/Bain - no bet, the stats I have put this as fairly close, but Atkins has dropped off a bit by the looks of things so leaving it alone.
Kantele/Lacey - I've got nowt on Lacey, so it's just gauging Marko against a typical Rileys qualifier, I think he should win but nowhere near enough to consider poking at a 70/30 market.
Browning/Harris - Harris is a strong favourite, I don't know much about either but just looking at their dartsdatabase records I think it's probably justifiable given Lee's played more often at a higher level.
Thoburn/Dennant - while Matt's scored brilliantly on the Challenge Tour weekend, I can't really bet on him at 1/5 against anyone in this field.
Gray/McFarlane - 0.1u McFarlane 7/2, this looks like an OK punt given that McFarlane is solidly in the mid 80's on DartConnect stats and Adrian hasn't been inspiring so far.
Day/Kuivenhoven - line looks OK with Kuivenhoven being around 65/35, my info on Day is limited but I've got to think he's a bit better than what he's shown.
Wilkinson/Meeuwisse - finding it very hard to split these two. Neither can the bookmakers.
Temple/Preston - model gives Temple a small edge. The market is similar, so I'll avoid.
Collins/Rodriguez - this should be safe for Rowby, but he's a bit on the short side and with an unknown quantity, I don't really want to put anything on this.

Second/third round games:

Murschell/Smith (R2) - oddly a no bet, I was expecting Ross to project better than nearly 70/30, so 4/7 isn't a tempter.
Humphries/van der Voort (R3) - 0.25u van der Voort 5/4, Vincent's quietly opened up well this year and projects as a huge favourite on 2019 stats, and a favourite on the 12 month sample by about as much as the market thinks he's an underdog.
Alcinas/Aspinall (R3) - half tempted to go with Toni on year long stats, but Nathan's improved of late to the point where I'm half tempted to go the other way.
Jones/Kamphuis (R2) - no bet here, market favours Jones but not by much, I'm getting him as a little bit better but the edge is insufficient.
Mansell/Noppert (R3) - not touching Mansell with a bargepole and not touching Noppie at near 1/3.
Richardson/Lennon (R3) - 0.25u Lennon 8/11, extremely surprised the market is this close. It's a bit closer on recent form but long haul Steve ought to be 1/2 or there abouts.
Wilson/Dudbridge (R2) - line appears around 60/40 in favour of Flash which is similar to what I'm seeing.
Clemens/Lerchbacher (R3) - no bet, Gabriel should win but Zoran has just enough about him that just the right side of 1/2 offers no value on Clemens.
Edgar/Eastwood (R2) - this ought to be a bet on Eastwood, but I can't look past Edgar on this one to raise his game.
North/Huybrechts (R3) - not much in this one at all, line is 60/40 Richard, I have it a bit closer and Ronny might not be the worst stab given Richard's mediocre start to the year.
Marijanovic/van Baelen (R2) - line looks fine in this one. I've got Robert having a small edge, 6/4 is nearly enough to stab at Davy, keep an eye out, any drift should be jumped on.
Baker/Harrington (R2) - Scott's a big favourite, results indicate that it ought to be right, but the figures I've got are giving Ryan a fighting chance. I'm more inclined to believe the eye test on this one though.
Hudson/Goldie (R2) - bookies can't split them, but I'm seeing Goldie as having a 60/40 edge or there abouts, so 0.25u Goldie 10/11 for value.
Beveridge/Woodhouse (R2) - would have been looking at Luke for value on form, but he's too short against someone with Challenge Tour competence.

I've just noticed that on my writeup post, I completely missed off the Durrant section. Needless to say I think Durrant will win, but Carlin's had a good enough start himself to get a bye to round two as well, so if they come through their respective opponents (Carlin gets Bunse or Michael, Durrant gets Day or Kuivenhoven), Gavin's definitely in with a shot.

Wednesday 27 February 2019

UK Open rounds 1-3 preview

Here it is, the annual big preview post, covering 127 players playing down to 32, for the right to play 31 of the best players in the world and Benito van de Pas.

All the points per turn and FRH rankings were taken earlier in the week, and the FRH ranking doesn't include any mincashing for this event. Don't rely on any of the points per turn scores for betting purposes, I'll be posting up the bets tomorrow, and some of them are based off very limited data, if there's any data at all, an awful lot of the Rileys qualifiers and Challenge Tour players have limited data, and some of the newer tour card holders aren't much better. If someone's score is the same for all of them, it's likely that they're a new card holder with no data prior to the worlds, hence there's not going to be a difference in data sets. It'll be done on a set of four sections at a time.

First up is a straight round 3 faceoff between Luke Humphries and Vincent van der Voort - Luke's been questioning his form on Twitter a bit, and being in the contenders spot tomorrow against the hottest player in darts right now might not help that. He's yet to get more than one win in a Pro Tour event, so van der Voort, who's started out decently statistically if not getting the greatest of results, might be a tough ask.

Another game straight into round 3 is Toni Alcinas against Nathan Aspinall. The Spaniard's won his board once this year but has been limited in results apart from that, which ought to spell trouble - the Asp's averaging a lot better and has reached two quarter finals already this year as he looks to build on his world championship exploits.

Next is the first of our Rileys qualifiers in Kevin Thoburn, who won through at Nottingham and is on debut, he's played a bit of the BDO circuit, mainly on the continent three years ago, but I don't know too much beyond that, he'll play Matt Dennant, who sneaked in on the Challenge Tour, he did alright at Q-School but never really threatened and didn't do brilliantly on the opening Challenge Tour weekend this year, but he is a previous tour card holder and has recently beaten Dolan and Baker to make an early Euro Tour event, so seems to be playing alright. The winner faces Justicia, who qualified last year with a quarter final in his first event with a tour card, but has struggled since then. Ricky Evans plays the winner of that, and should be too strong given he's hit some form in reaching a Pro Tour final just last weekend.

Finally we have former worlds finalist Kirk Shepherd facing new card holder Jon Worsley, both have a similar amount of prize money on the tour this year and have comparable scoring, so this could be tight. Bradley Brooks is the potential second round opponent, the youngster having made a Pro Tour quarter final a couple of weeks ago in a good run where he beat Adie and nearly beat Durrant. Dimitri van den Bergh is the final obstacle to make day two, the Belgian getting some cash on the floor finally with a run to the final in the event Durrant won, but busted both events last weekend and didn't play great, but it will be on the main stage so that should boost him.

Not often you get two Pro Tour winners in an early round here, but Mansell/Noppert is that, Danny clearly having the better form this year with back to back semis last weekend, while Mickey has an even record as he looks to bounce back from a horrible world championship performance.

James Richardson against one of the contenders Steve Lennon is our next game, neither has had a particularly good start to the year, but Lennon has at least won a board and didn't look completely outclassed in the Premier League event.

We then have a second round game between Scott Baker, who's had a blistering start to his PDC career to secure a bye to this stage, making a semi final in his first event and throwing a good number of very fast legs, against Ryan Harrington, who after finally getting a card at the start of 2018 after 846 attempts, has really struggled and only has the one win this year. Baker ought to come through but has one of the worst draws he could get in Ratajski, the twice Pro Tour winner performing very well statistically this year, scoring a lot better than his wins and losses record would suggest. Should be one to watch on board two.

Finally we have a four way battle to face Devon Petersen - Diogo Portela and Barrie Bates face off, the Brazilian having had just enough of a good start on the Challenge Tour to sneak into a couple of Pro Tour events, one where he won his board, while Bates was the last man into the Pro Tour at Q-School, the former finalist being mostly one win and done or straight out so far. The other first round game is a cracker - Jamie Hughes has lit things up on the averages, he just hasn't got good draws really, but we all saw him obliterate Q-School on day one. Callan Rydz is his opponent, he's been very close to getting onto the tour the last two years and hits a lot of maximums, the qualifier from Wolverhampton just needing to improve his finishing. Whoever gets through that faces South Africa's number one, who after shocking a lot of people at the worlds has been back to hit and miss on the floor, reaching two board finals but having four first round defeats as well, and could be in trouble whoever he faces.

An all-Deutscher Sprachraum first, with Gabriel Clemens facing Zoran Lerchbacher. Clemens was quietly one of the most solid players on the floor and had an alright showing at the worlds, and has started off with a Pro Tour final this season. Zoran had a nightmare 2018, but has picked things up a bit this season with a couple of board finals, winning one of them, making what might have been a bit of a one sided affair possibly closer.

Darren Beveridge was the lucky player to get the first round bye due to Cadby not being here, he got here through the Challenge Tour and was close to getting a card, but couldn't quite get over the line. His opponent is Luke Woodhouse, probably unknown to a lot of players but he's had some very nice performances, just not getting the money on the board having run into van Gerwen, de Zwaan and Ian White twice, but he's taken out Durrant, White and McGeeney on the floor so far and ought to take this one. Chris Dobey plays the victor and looked very good against Suljovic in the Premier League and is looking better on the floor this year with a semi final and two other board wins to date, he should be too strong but you never know.

The next section sees Ian McFarlane, the qualifier from Coventry Rileys, start up against Adrian Gray, who's been around forever (reaching the last 16 here back in 2003) but is now back on tour. Gray's not played great so far with just the one board final and then five opening losses, so Ian, a previous qualifier three years ago, may be live. The winner plays Simon Stevenson, who should be a step up in class although the Ally Pally qualifier hasn't had a fantastic start to the floor season either, and then next up is Mark Webster - the former Lakeside champion is in a battle to save his tour card you'd think after a bad 2018 where he missed the worlds, Webby's yet to have more than one win in an event this season.

First game is Richard North against Ronny Huybrechts. North is looking to push up towards the top 32 in the world but has started 2019 awfully with just one win so far this year on the Pro Tour, while his scoring doesn't look to have dropped a huge amount, he's not faced anyone you would say is unbeatable. The Belgian veteran didn't have a great 2018, but is averaging a little bit better this season, while he's not managed to get more than one win in the Pro Tour in a given event, it's at least an improvement from form that saw him miss the worlds.

Next we see Chris Lacey, a qualifier from the Sheffield event who made it last year but couldn't compete due to the snowpocalypse, face Marko Kantele, a new tour card holder who's not got off the ground yet in 2019 with just the one win over Pete Hudson for the Finn this far. Certainly vulnerable. Next up would be Robert Owen, the semi finalist from last year who's looking to put enough on the board this season to retain his card, one board final this year isn't the greatest set of performances. Ryan Joyce follows, the world championship quarter finalist looking solid again at the start of the year, same as in 2018, with four board finals to date, one of them won. He's shown he can turn floor form into stage performances, now he has to do it again.

Another four way battle from round 1 next - Wes Newton's on a second year off the tour, he crept into Lakeside by the back door but didn't play great and the former finalist hasn't got an easy tie against Cameron Menzies, who was extremely close to getting on the tour but just missed out on countback. He didn't have a great opening weekend on the Challenge Tour however, so maybe Wes has a chance. Martin Atkins (the Wigan variety) did great on the Challenge Tour in 2018 to get into a few Pro Tour events, but really was nowhere near in Q-School and only picked up a hundred quid on the opening Challenge Tour weekend, so his form will be in question. Jamie Bain's his opponent, the Scot picking his tour card back up but has five first round crash outs to start the season, so neither player seems in form. Menzies is probably the pick of these and Josh Payne is the eventual opponent, Josh not yet being able to pick up a board win in 2019 but hasn't dropped in form and has won more games than he's lost, so should be strong enough.

Lastly we have a seven way mess. Jason Cullen's an Irish player in from the Challenge Tour who got an early win there but didn't do much with the opportunities it gave and after missing out in Q-School, didn't play the opening Challenge Tour weekend so his form's a bit unknown. Reece Robinson was hyped about seven or eight years ago after having a good run here but dropped more or less off the radar completely before winning a card outright on day 3. Not a great start with just two wins but should beat Cullen you'd think. Jose de Sousa is looking alright having managed to get a tour card following the worlds where he appeared solid, and he should have enough to beat Brian Raman, a fairly young Belgian who won through the Liverpool Rileys qualifier, oddly enough. Dirk van Duijvenbode has a bye to round two and has got some good scoring power so far this season, if not the results, it's always about finishing and consistency for him - he'll play either Matt Clark or Niels Zonneveld, two players newly on the tour but at the other end of their careers, Niels being a bit slow to adapt to the senior tour with just one win so far (although he did miss a weekend), while Clark is scoring very well but has just been unlucky with draws I'd say, White, DvdB, RvB and Ratajski twice giving him a few early exits.

It's Mark v Mark first as Wilson plays Dudbridge, Wilson is in the second year of a card, didn't do much year one and is 0-6 so far this season, so Flash, with a much improved points per turn rating in 2019 and a board win already, ought to be too strong. The winner plays Willie O'Connor, who has had some surprising results but his game doesn't actually look that bad.

Next section sees two Rileys qualifiers - Andy Jenkins we know all about, while Shaun Fox qualified from Norwich and is a complete unknown, all we do know is he beat Paul Hogan in the final to get here, which can't be bad. Mario Robbe awaits in round two, the Dutchman's likely to lose his card after this year but isn't scoring horribly, had some good scalps in the Euro Tour qualifier (Barney, de Zwaan) so should be a good test. Speaking of de Zwaan, here he is, and while he's not started off 2019 in quite as good form as in 2018, should have enough to handle whoever he faces.

Robbie Collins plays Rowby John Rodriguez first up, Collins won through the London qualifier, and while he wasn't bad at Q-School, walked away from the first Challenge Tour weekend without even his bus fare home, so Rowby, who picked up a board win last event, ought to advance. He'd then play Andy Boulton who's playing some deceptively good darts, nearly 92 points per turn this season is not to be sniffed at and he ought to give Rowby a very close inspection. The final hurdle is Christian Kist, who's struggled with all sorts of problems for quite some time now, while the former Lakeside winner at his peak is a formidable opponent, we've not seen it for some time and you have to go back to May to see the last time he made a board final.

The final section has a lot of mid-level players. Wayne Jones made the worlds but blew it, and he faces the incredibly large Vincent Kamphuis in round two. Jones has had five of six first round defeats to date this year, but is scoring better than Kamphuis, who's earned twice as much. Could be a case of if Wayne has the confidence to take it. The other side sees a first round game between Scott Taylor, a former Pro Tour finalist who's made a Challenge Tour final this year and did the double on qualifying for Europe last weekend, so isn't playing badly, and he'll need to play well against Darius Labanauskas, the Lithuanian who's finally on the PDC circuit and has had an alright start, with a couple of board finals and a win on the Nordic/Baltic tour to date. The winner of that plays Kevin Burness, notable for winning the Tom Kirby and then whitewashing Nicholson at the worlds, but is 0-6 this year and didn't have a great 2018 on tour either, so will have a tough fight whoever he plays.

Second round action to start with Matt Edgar against Gary Eastwood, Edgar has a Pro Tour quarter final in the bank this year and should have the game to dispatch Eastwood, who's in the second year of a tour card but frankly has looked out of his depth and the two wins he's had so far this year was indicative of his form all last year. The winner plays Ryan Searle, who's completely turned his game around in the last six months and has begun 2019 like he finished 2018, with two quarter finals to date.

Two Rileys qualifiers up next, Lloyd Browning and Lee Harris winning at Worcester and Wolverhampton respectively. Browning seems an average domestic player, having a few occasional appearances in events in his native Wales and some qualification attempts for BDO majors, while Harris tried Q-School in 2018 then a weekend of Challenge Tour and UK Open qualifiers but didn't really get anywhere with them. Wouldn't fancy either against Harry Ward, the youngster who made the quarters of the world youth then won his tour card on day one and immediately made a quarter final. Jan Dekker would face him, Dekker being on a bit of a losing streak after an opening Pro Tour weekend which can only really be described as saving par, could be a decent chance for Ward to make the last 64 for a second straight year.

Terry Temple is 0-6 this season and did next to nothing all last year, hence why he's in round one despite having a whole year of tour card money that ought to have got him to round two. This ought to be a chance for Simon Preston, here from the Challenge Tour where he got a win last year, but he only won fifty quid the opening weekend and had a weak Q-School, so this might be one to miss. Arron Monk should be too good for either, only having the two opening round defeats so far this season and scoring fairly solidly. Former champion Robert Thornton awaits, he's not had a bad start to the season but nothing like the form we know he can produce, and nothing like the form that'd see him climb back towards the top 32, Arron ought to be slight favourite.

Then we have a mess. Killington has the bye, but is on a big losing streak. He'll face either Ted Evetts, who reclaimed his card and has been looking fairly competent, or Mike van Duivenbode, another player off the Dutch production line who's yet to get a Pro Tour win. An international feel next with Dennis Nilsson, the Swede with a win on the Challenge Tour last year to get here and a semi at the same level this year, against Madars Razma, the Latvian number one who didn't pick up form quite quick enough last year to save his card, missed the worlds by a whisker, but reclaimed the card straight away and is maintaining good form. Then it's an English matchup - Dave Pallett's a semi finalist from last year who won his board last time out, against Mark McGeeney, the former BDO number 1 and Lakeside finalist who's making a non-Grand Slam PDC TV debut on the main stage. Q-School was made to look easy by the Gladiator but outside of one board win it's been a slow start on the floor.

Four way battle from round 1 to start. Geert Nentjes is a young Dutchman who made it through the PDC qualifiers last year but didn't quite cash, he's started with one board final already and a nine darter to boot. Should be a win against David Evans, who cashed last year after good qualification and is here through the Challenge Tour, but failed to win a card and has had a slow start on the secondary circuit. Jarred Cole's an exciting prospect who like Evans is here through the Challenge Tour, but couldn't quite force his way onto the tour after good days 1-3 and will look to build experience on the secondary and youth tiers. Michael Barnard won the Challenge Tour but has looked awful so far this season with six straight defeats. Whoever comes through that will play Justin Pipe, who had a bad 2018 to miss the worlds for the first time in a long time, the fight to save his card starts here and he's only managed the one win this season.

Joe Murnan plays Mark Frost in round 1, Murnan reclaiming his card after losing it in 2018, the former Pro Tour winner has had a mediocre start to the season and the numbers reflect it. Frost, one of the last men in here from the Challenge Tour, was last seen on our screens looking tired and emotional against Gary Anderson in the worlds and Murnan should have enough. Ryan Meikle is next up, the 22 year old made the last 32 in 2018 and is a bit of a step up for either first round opponent. Alan Tabern's the round three player, and should have the quality to defeat any of these, already having four grand in the bank from the Pro Tour and statistically looking a lot stronger than the rest.

The next section sees Pete Hudson against John Goldie in round two - Hudson's been around for a while and lost in round two of each of the last two Pro Tour events after four straight losses, while Goldie has made one board final and that's it. Goldie was playing very well this time last year to qualify but couldn't beat the weather, since then, not so much. It's then one from four for who the winner will face - Lynn's the big name having previously made the quarters, Rasztovits is here from the Challenge Tour, the Austrian not being that far off winning a card, Conan Whitehead did win a card, the Lakeside quarter finalist having cashed here six years ago as a pub qualifier, while Burgoine is a pub qualifier for the fourth time but has yet to make the money, being denied by Robert Owen last year.

The last section's a bit simpler - Adam Huckvale is in from the Challenge Tour but hasn't shown the quality to show he can compete on the Pro Tour level in the shots he had, he'll play Mark Barilli, who won through in Greenock and showed a bit of form to reach the Scottish Open semis a couple of weeks ago. Tony Newell is the next challenge, he's held a tour card for six years now but has six defeats to start the season so could easily be beatable, while Brendan Dolan should be pretty happy with this draw, the former major finalist is starting to move back up the rankings and should see this as a chance to get in the hat with the big boys.

All overseas to start. Marijanovic against van Baelen ought to be alright, nobody has spectacular numbers but it's fairly closely matched, although van Baelen has upped his game in 2019 it seems. The winner faces Martin Schindler, who we have to hope can reach the venue in easier circumstances this year, the young German talent is playing maybe a bit below his best so far in 2019 so might possibly be vulnerable.

Next is a four pack to face Keegan Brown - Nathan Derry regained his card back on the last day after a two year absence, and while he's done OK in terms of results, isn't scoring too brilliantly. Lee Budgen is here from the Challenge Tour, still young enough for the world youth, but isn't doing anything at the senior levels to make us think he should trouble Derry. Eddie Dootson made the last sixteen four years ago, but after winning a card on the other half of the draw to Cadby on day one last year, has had a horrific 2018, but is playing a little bit better so far this season and has made a couple of board finals. This leaves Vincent van der Meer, playing havoc with my autocomplete on my spreadsheets, he nicked a card late but has yet to win more than one game so far. Keegan should have more than enough, his numbers are far superior and he likely has the experience edge on all of these despite his relatively young age.

The penultimate section sees Tytus Kanik, a Pole who won a card from more or less nowhere in 2018, face off against Carl Wilkinson or Yordi Meeuwisse. Wilkinson's a new card holder and has had a steady start to his PDC career, he was one game off the money here last year, and statistically he matches up closely against Meeuwisse, who reclaimed his card and similarly has had a good start, and having made the worlds might have the major event advantage. Kanik has the bye but it's hard to separate any of these. The other half might be easier to call - Ross Smith is playing very good darts right now, just being a bit unlucky with draws, and ought to be too classy for Canadian Dawson Murschell, who has had a nightmare start to 2019 with no wins whatsoever, most of them being heavy defeats.

Our final round 4 player will come from one of these four - John Davey and Cody Harris are both here from the Challenge Tour rankings, Harris being somewhat of a surprising name to not get a tour card, but the New Zealander's quality isn't in question and I can't see the Welshman threatening him, he got a Challenge Tour win early in 2018 but lost more or less every game at the Pro Tour level. Adam Hunt is next in round two, he got to the worlds and will be looking to build on that cash this season, it ought to be a fairly tight matchup if he does face Harris. Ron Meulenkamp follows in round three, the Dutchman slowly becoming more hit than miss, and when he is on form he can be unplayable, he's won a board this year so while it won't be one sided, he ought to have the edge against any potential opponent.

And that's your lot. Bets to follow tomorrow.

Monday 25 February 2019

Just how good is Gerwyn Price playing right now?

This well:

That's the current top 20 in points per turn in my database for the six Players Championship events that have taken place so far this year. Price is number 1, as such I've gone for a cheeky bit of each way value for the UK Open on him - 25/1 is pretty good considering he basically just has to avoid van Gerwen, and even then, it's arguable he's playing just as well - he's finishing in twelve darts just as often as van Gerwen is, and he's finishing in fifteen darts a heck of a lot quicker.

The UK Open draw (through round 3) is out, I'm going to start analysing it later today and probably tomorrow and getting some stats out, Ando's in so everyone we expected to be there is there. Haven't really had much of a chance to look at it in any detail, that's for later.

As an aside, maybe looking at those figures van Duijvenbode's finally getting over that busted 180? He's had a couple of close defeats where he's not lost by much at all.

Sunday 24 February 2019

What's the Welsh for double?

Price has done it again. I think there's a fair argument to say he's a top 3 active player in the world right now, assuming you consider Anderson inactive. I'll post again once I've punched the numbers into the master computer (got PC5 in before the complete snoozefest that was today's football, but yet to process PC6), but if offered even money, who would you bet on playing against Gerwyn? van Gerwen for sure, I'd probably go Cross as well, but beyond that it's a short list.

Ricky Evans made the final, which coupled with his previous results is making him look really good for Blackpool, while Noppert made a second straight semi, along with Nathan Aspinall. Hendo got a double quarter final, while Ritchie Edhouse won his board and hit a nine along the way.

It became a bad weekend for Darren Webster, Stephen Bunting and Steve West, none of them cashing, while Barney ran into Jermaine Wattimena in the opening round and crashed out. Quite a few early casualties such as Wright, Wade and Suljovic.

Updated FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Gary Anderson
4 Michael Smith
5 Daryl Gurney
6 Gerwyn Price (UP 1)
7 Peter Wright (DOWN 1)
8 James Wade
9 Mensur Suljovic
10 Simon Whitlock
11 Dave Chisnall
12 Ian White
13 Jonny Clayton
14 Darren Webster
15 Adrian Lewis
16 Joe Cullen
17 Nathan Aspinall
18 Stephen Bunting
19 Phil Taylor
20 Steve West

PC5 quick review and PC6 early thoughts

With van Gerwen out, it was wide open for someone new to pick up a title, and Gerwyn Price added to his catalogue with an 8-4 win over Gabriel Clemens. Very impressive final from the Welshman, winning his legs in 11, 12x3, 13, 14x2 and 15 darts, and not really a surprise, he was playing excellent stuff last weekend and has looked strong in the Premier League to date. Clemens maybe had a bit of luck of the draw, only averaging near the ton twice, generally being in the low 90's otherwise (apart from a nailfest round two against Alan Norris), but take what you're given I guess.

Chizzy continued a decent start to the year reaching the semi, with Danny Noppert also getting there, one of two players to hit a nine and lose (Scott Baker being the other against Chisnall, another board final for Scott). The last sixteen was mostly familiar names, the standout Ryan Searle in a quarter final being the only player that might have been a slight surprise, probably chuck Ross Smith (remember the players to watch?) in as well who won his board. It was very much a day for the seeds in general with only Darren Webster from the top 16 losing his opening match, there being very few early casualties lower down the seedings either.

Barney went out round two to Steve Beaton, some first round losses that might have been odd were Dimitri (to Pete Hudson), Steve West (to Ross Smith), James Wilson (to Scott Baker) and de Zwaan (to Nathan Aspinall) - although it shows the strength in depth of the PDC that all of the players winning those games aren't seeded.

PC6 draw is out - Whitlock's in this one and has got Kevin Burness, no disrespect to Kevin but if Simon can't win that one I'm starting to get really worried. Board 11 looks fun with Smith and Dobey being the seeds, and Meulenkamp, Richardson, Dootson, Dolan, de Sousa and McGeeney making up the numbers, board 13 has some big names with Adie/Robbe, Kim Huybrechts/Norris, Clemens/Hughes and Killington/Durrant being the lineup. @dartselo1 has started putting up prize money EV for these, may as well just write BFH for George there. Probably ought to chuck in board 6 on a second viewing, Gurney/Humphries in round 1 looks tasty, then you have Dimitri/Dudbridge, Evans/Gray and Baker/Labanauskas. Not sure how I missed that board first time around.

Some other individual first round games of interest to me include Nathan Derry v Ross Smith, Wattimena/Barney, Aspinall/Alcinas (Lennon/Koltsov in that mini-section isn't bad either), Payne/Searle and West/Pallett.

Off to crunch the numbers of PC5, be back later with a roundup of today's action. We've got the last UK Open qualifier in Liverpool as well, Daniel Day, Barry Lynn and Callan Rydz getting through, no unfamiliar names there but I'm pleased for Callan having played some fantastic stuff the last year and a bit but not quite doing enough to get a tour card, maybe this can be a breakthrough event. No Paul Hogan yet though, will he be doing the big trip from Norwich to Liverpool today for one last shot? Will Alex Roy appear from nowhere to keep up his appearance record? Stay tuned. Finally, props to Willem Mandigers who apparently hit a nine in Slovakia yesterday, nice work.

Saturday 23 February 2019

ET1/2 qualification winners and losers

In case you've missed it, here's the state of play with just six spots to non-tour card players (four home nation, two EU-land):

So who are the big winners?

1) Madars Razma

Having already played the Nordic and Baltic qualifier back in October before the PDC changed the qualification format, it's unknown why he was allowed a second shot at the second qualifier (or, for that matter, Labanauskas and Kantele, possibly others, but at least they didn't have the cheek to win it), but there you go.

2) Dimitri van den Bergh

Picked him as a player to watch, and saying that he should be doing well enough to get into at least one of the events, and he did the double. You're on the stage now, run with it.

3) Martin Atkins (Leeds)

It's pretty good going to do the double in the UK qualifiers regardless of who you are, but for someone who doesn't have (and has never had, Scott Taylor doesn't but at least he did and made a Pro Tour final last year) a tour card, it's a great effort.

4) Non tour card holders in general

At least for Leverkusen, there's so many players that do have a card to get through, but nearly half of the qualifiers don't have a tour card. It's a great chance for a bunch of them to get some exposure.

And your losers?

1) Steve West

He's a high seed, and should really have got to one of these, but he lost in the last round twice, once playing alright, the second time maybe not so much.

2) Steve Lennon

Similar theory, and while he's probably not quite at West's level, he should have at least beat one of Borland or Prins to qualify.

3) Chris Dobey

Again, although he at least got tough draws in Ross Smith and Luke Humphries in the final round.

4) Kyle Anderson

He was fairly quiet in 2018, so could have done with a good start here, losing out to Ritchie Edhouse 6-0 and then Jamie Hughes is less than ideal.

5) Danny Noppert

Was the top seed in the Euro qualifiers but got blitzed by a resurgent Kim Huybrechts, and would also go down to a surprise defeat to Tytus Kanik.

Likely won't be back until Sunday evening with a PC 5/6 report, but you never know.

Tuesday 19 February 2019

10 players to watch for this weekend

With it being the last two events before the UK Open cutoff, things could be interesting for a few players as to whether they can get an extra round's bye (does everyone shuffle up if Anderson and Cadby withdraw?) or just consolidate their Pro Tour rankings. Anderson and Cadby being out we knew about, but van Gerwen's taking what I assume to be a scheduled rest, Kist isn't there (odd given he's going to need a shedload of cash to retain his card - has he given up already?), and Whitlock misses the Saturday. Maybe a short break will do him good, who knows. Here's ten players to watch for:

1) Rob Cross

With van Gerwen and Anderson out, there's a big chance for any big name player to claim a title, and Cross is certainly in that bracket - as mentioned in previous posts, he tops the points per turn so far this season by nearly a whole point from van Gerwen, so he has to be a front runner, and maybe under the radar if you fancy a bit of outright action.

2) Raymond van Barneveld

He's back, and he's also playing the Euro Tour qualifiers - for those, it looks like Noppert, de Zwaan, Ratajski, Schindler, Klaasen and Decker will be seeds - who do you put Barney as favourite against right now?

3) Ross Smith

Smith's quietly thrown some good darts over the last couple of weeks but has had some brutal draws - Wattimena and Cross week 1, then van Gerwen and Chisnall in the second round week 2. If we assume Cadby is out of the UK Open, then Smith is right close to the line for a bye to round 3, so if he can get an alright draw or two, he could do damage and nick in ahead of Alan Tabern. If Anderson's out as well, he just needs to defend from Matt Edgar.

4) Jamie Hughes

He missed the first weekend, so it's off a limited sample, but Jamie was really firing in when he was winning his legs, getting 22/26 legs won in fifteen darts. The legs he lost wasn't that good, but if you add in how he was did on day 1 of Q-School, he's clearly playing good darts and if he doesn't run into MvG throwing a nine darter, which he won't this weekend, he could be a dark horse to make a bit of a run.

5) Michael Barnard

What on earth has happened to his form? After dominating the Challenge Tour, he's since gone 2-6, 1-6, 2-6 and 2-6 to, Gerwyn Price aside, pretty ordinary opponents who you would expect him to beat, or at least get close to. Hopefully his form improves this weekend.

6) Jeffrey de Zwaan

His figures so far this season have been, to put it mildly, average, but I'm more interested to see whether he can get a good start in European Tour qualification - he should be seeded if I've done the maths right, so while there's some good players who won't be seeded, he should at least avoid some potential banana skins.

7) Dimitri van den Bergh

Similar to de Zwaan, except without the question of his quality of play, he's got his tour final, and now he's got to back it up to push on to the Matchplay, where he's outside the line by about three grand right now but with plenty of time on his side. I say similar in that European qualification was an issue, this is the easiest way to get into a stage situation, and while I don't think he's seeded, he's doing well enough right now that he should get to at least one of the events.

8) Krzysztof Ratajski

He's looked pretty good in his wins in the first four Pro Tour events, but while his losses look mediocre, he's putting up top ten points per turn scoring level, with his losing average being three points higher than his winning average - pointing out that he's simply run into players having an exceptionally good game on the day. Last year was probably not just a flash in the pan and he could sneak up on the outside this weekend.

9) Gavin Carlin

This guy was a "who?" Q-School qualifier to most players, but he's not had a bad start to his career, getting as far as van Gerwen twice, Wright and then suffering a 6-0 reverse to Clayton in the opening round of the last event. Numbers wide, he's performing remarkably similar to Mensur Suljovic so far this year, with just a little bit less explosive scoring and a bit better fifteen dart percentage. He was one of the top quarter of players to get out of Q-School based on the stats within Q-School, so if he's able to get a kind draw, maybe he can push to another quarter final or better, or at least solidify a top-96 place and a UK Open first round bye.

10) Glen Durrant

Because everyone's watching Glen Durrant and I couldn't go a whole post without making a Glen Durrant reference.

Sunday 17 February 2019

PC4 results

And Durrant's won one. What a start to his PDC career. Was a very impressive set of results all day, only really being challenged by Gerwyn Price (who Durrant beat in the semi final), Price managing a remarkable 13 twelve dart or better legs to top the points per turn ranking for the day, ahead of Durrant and van Gerwen, who was a surprise 6-1 victim of Nathan Aspinall at the last sixteen stage.

The other finalist was Dimitri van den Bergh, and it's hard to understate how much of an important result this is in his career. He knows that to get to more stage events, he's going to have to perform on the floor - this ought to kickstart things.

The only other semi finalist we haven't mentioned was Rob Cross, who in case anyone was of the opinion that he's still out of form, has the highest points per turn of anyone over the first four Players Championship events - even van Gerwen who's won two. Smith, White and Price round out the top five in that ranking, while Durrant slots in eighth. While he's been fairly quiet in terms of results, Ratajski is in the top ten, so let's not start thinking that his form at the back end of last season was just a flash in the pan.

Whitlock lost in the first round yet again, and is down in the bottom ten of points per turn for the four events we've had so far this season, which is incredibly worrying for fans of the Wizard, he's even below Benito if you want to get really worried. Elsewhere today, McGeeney got a whitewash victory over yesterday's semi finalist Mervyn King as part of a run to win his board before he was stopped by a solid Kyle Anderson, youngster Bradley Brooks made the quarters and was a leg away from knocking Durrant out, while Matt Edgar also reached that stage before losing to Dimitri in a tight game. Adrian Gray had a first real run after a slow start and Stephen Burton continued decent form from Challenge Tour call-ups, reaching the last sixteen.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Gary Anderson
4 Michael Smith
5 Daryl Gurney
6 Peter Wright
7 Gerwyn Price
8 James Wade
9 Mensur Suljovic
10 Simon Whitlock
11 Dave Chisnall
12 Ian White
13 Jonny Clayton
14 Darren Webster
15 Adrian Lewis
16 Joe Cullen
17 Nathan Aspinall (UP 2)
18 Stephen Bunting
19 Phil Taylor (DOWN 2)
20 Steve West

Not a huge deal of movement, although Cross was getting a bit close to Anderson so putting 4k in the bank is useful. Dimitri's firmly in the top 32 now, Edgar's in the top 70, two spots ahead of Durrant, Brooks is in the top 128 and Gavin Carlin from yesterday is safely in the top 200.

There's actually a stream of the Scottish Open linked from the SDA website, check it out if PC4 wasn't enough darts for you - looks like it's Ashton against O'Brien or Sherrock in the ladies, then the mens is Barilli or Harris agaisnt Harms or Caven. Might catch up towards the final. Girvan was able to make the quarters before losing to Harms, so a good run for the youngster.

PC3 and Asian Tour 3-4 thoughts

Will start with the Asian Tour, where Seigo Asada had a great weekend, finishing runner up in the first to Haruki Muramatsu (remember him?), before wining the second, defeating Royden Lam in the final. Wasn't a bad weekend for Lam who made the semi finals in the first event, while Ilagan made two quarters. Other than those, it was mostly inconsistency all round, with few being able to put two performances together in a row.

Onto Players Championship 3, with van Gerwen defeating Ian White in the final, but some other notes:

- Good to see Mervyn King put together a run to the semi, while Chris Dobey was able to do the same. Still a wait for Chris to get the first win, but keeping putting points on the board will get him into the majors, which is something he's missed out on a few times by not much, that'll really push him up the rankings.
- Gavin Carlin did alright, reaching the quarters, while of other new tour card holders, Jose de Sousa won his board, and Andy Boulton was able to do the same.
- Also good to see some European talent return to some floor form, Dimitri getting to the last sixteen before running into MvG, while Zoran Lerchbacher did the same, being edged out by Dobey but after a frankly awful 2018, getting £2.5k in three events so far isn't a bad start.
- Ross Smith is getting some unlucky draws, finding himself against van Gerwen in round two and pushing things fairly close. Will surely just take a decent draw before he goes on a proper run in one of these in the form he has right now.
- Something's clearly not right with Whitlock. Losing 6-2 to Nathan Derry averaging 75 isn't good, and he only got the two because Derry wasn't able to finish either leg in 18 darts himself (edit - having actually checked the score, both of Whitlock's legs were miraculously breaks, so Derry actually had 21 darts to win both of them).
- It's a third straight opening round defeat for Steve Beaton as well, now here he at least averaged over 90, but against Justin Pipe, Conan Whitehead and Andrew Gilding you'd expect him not to lose all three.
- There's some silly losing averages. Hunt losing to Smith with a 104, Nentjes losing to Lennon with a 105, Rob Cross in his board final lost with 106...

A few interesting names in the Scottish Open, which is at the last 32 stage and playing to a finish today - Diogo Portela's there having knocked out Jim Williams, Hogan's a potential last 16 opponent, Montgomery/Barilli is an all-Scottish affair, Cody Harris is in there with a possible last 16 tie against Wes Newton, youngster Nathan Girvan is still alive and could run into Tony O'Shea in the last 16, Mitchell and Harms are still in it, while Dutch Open finalist Ryan Hogarth is in what looks like a winnable quarter, also featuring Jamie Caven, remember him.

Off to put PC3 into the master computer and start on PC4 when that kicks off soon.

Edit - one thing that occurred to me just now that I thought I'd mention. Apparently, according to Twitter sources, Barney isn't here this weekend because he's playing exhibitions in Germany against Taylor. Words fail me.

Tuesday 12 February 2019

Random PC 1/2 shots

Finally put all the results from the weekend in the master computer. Figured that if I can write down all the stats I need whilst on my phone in a pub in Rotterdam, I can do it just as quickly at home without using the slightly convoluted methods I did last year, so I did. Being not awful at sums (I have pushed the concept of gambling on anything to its limits and played Countdown for money in the past) it makes it pretty easy to quickly sum up the number of darts someone's used when winning and take it off their total darts to work out the visits they used when losing. I think the new method's slightly quicker, although DartConnect getting an API would be much easier obviously. We can only wish.

So, some random thoughts:

- van Gerwen is pretty good at darts.
- How unlucky has Ross Smith been? He got Cross and Wattimena (getting Jermaine in his final run) in the first round and lost them both, but ended up second in the overall points per turn.
- Incidentally, Cross, Wright and White filled out the top five. Bad form my arse.
- Evetts, Ratajski and McGeeney can probably count themselves quite unlucky. All three were putting in losing averages significantly higher than their winning averages - indicating they were playing better than their results suggested, and just ran into good players at the wrong time.
- Barney's stats were fairly similar to Geert Nentjes' stats, except without the nine darter. Shows where he's at right now, and why I'm likely to just keep autopicking whoever he's playing against in the PL in Josh's last man standing. He was also fairly similar to Zoran Lerchbacher. Interesting times.
- I still have no idea how Joe Cullen won as many legs as he did this weekend. Well, he was gifted eleven legs in over eight visits.
- de Zwaan and Mansell were also beneficiaries of great generosity in that respect.
- I've now switched up my filtering system to only include the last year in the master computer, and it's telling me that Durrant has the third highest points per turn of anyone in the world. Also, the player with the lowest points per turn of anyone who's won more than 100 legs is also a three time world champion. Funny how that works.

Andy Jenkins got into the UK Open this weekend. Nice to see him back. I think the deadline for PC5/6 entry (and the first couple of Euro Tour qualifiers) has gone. I hope to god that Barney's entered them and took the middle week of the three off. Then again, it really wouldn't surprise me if he had no idea how much of an issue he might have getting into the worlds if he doesn't start playing the tour. We'll see soon.

Monday 11 February 2019

PC1/2 quick roundup

So van Gerwen got the first one, and Chizzy got the second - the first was notable for Jermaine Wattimena making a first final, Scott Baker reaching the semi while Harry Ward made the quarters. This may seem surprising to some, but not really - Jermaine's been knocking on the door for a while now, while Ward and Baker were two of the top four players in terms of their averages at Q-School (combining both) that I looked at a while back. In the second, Duzza nearly got the win but lost a deciding leg (I wasn't watching, but scanning through Dart Connect it looks like he must have had a championship dart), while Cullen and Clayton (who beat MvG again) made the semis. A bit of a turn around for Cullen, whose averages in event 1 were terrible, despite him winning his board.

Barney won just 500 quid and isn't entered next weekend, Whitlock busted twice in the first round, on top of that comical result in the Masters he's really not started well, while Dimitri continued to struggle, losing first round both times (although Labanauskas and McGeeney aren't gimmies by any stretch).

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Gary Anderson
4 Michael Smith
5 Daryl Gurney
6 Peter Wright
7 Gerwyn Price
8 James Wade
9 Mensur Suljovic
10 Simon Whitlock
11 Dave Chisnall (UP 1)
12 Ian White (DOWN 1)
13 Jonny Clayton (UP 1)
14 Darren Webster (DOWN 1)
15 Adrian Lewis
16 Joe Cullen
17 Phil Taylor
18 Stephen Bunting
19 Nathan Aspinall (NEW)
20 Steve West

Aspinall didn't do much at all, but that semi final money makes up so much of his ranking points and it isn't degrading. Wattimena's reached number 23 and it's got to be an interesting race for who's going to partner MvG in the World Cup (assuming they don't say "invitational ergo Barney). Duzza is already #86, having some Grand Slam money in his account already, while Baker's semi final on its own is good enough to get him into the top 200.

Now to shove all the stats into the master computer - we don't have anything to look at in terms of betting before the UK Open, but with such a huge chunk of that field being from tour card holders, it's important to keep up and get it ready, what with three straight weekends of Players Championship events leading into it.

Saturday 9 February 2019

Quick thoughts on PC1 draw

Currently sat in Rotterdam having a beer, hunting for old Premier League adverts with Anderson still on. No luck yet, but as I have a few minutes, quick thoughts on the first floor event of the year:
Board 1 - Nice draw for de Sousa, MvG aside, seems pretty weak
Board 2 - Barney could get worse draws than Alcinas then West/Searle
Board 3 - de Zwaan/JLewis could be fun, winner of that or Gurney will surely advance
Board 4 - Just seems full of competent players, seems even, could be a lot of 6-5s
Board 5 - Huybrechts gets Wade, nice, Kyle against Humphries in round 2 could be decent
Board 6 - Quite a nice mix of old guard and new faces
Board 7 - Cross with a safe couple of rounds you'd think, but one of Joyce, DVDB or Labanauskas in the final, not so much
Board 8 - Quite a few new names here, but not that exciting
Board 9 - How is Klaasen still a seed? White ought to steamroller this
Board 10 - Odd selection, King and Wattimena are the seeds, but Dolan, Ed House, Burness, RSmith, Perales and Bates is a real mix
Board 11 - McGeeney gets Price first up, welcome to the PDC. That's about it for exciting games
Board 12 - Whitlock could get worse draws in his half, but Dobey or one of three Dutch in the final could clear him out
Board 13 - Pallett/Koltsov could be good, but Smith's to lose.
Board 14 - Three contenders, including Durrant. Cullen and Lennon are the seeds, don't see why Glen can't win this board
Board 15 - Good draw for both Clemens and Wright as seeds. Hard to think of any on this board threatening them.
Board 16 - Somewhat open. Bunting and Ratajski as seeds should be favoured, but there's players in there who can cause upsets

Wednesday 6 February 2019

Contender ready! Gladiator ready!

Now that much of the whining about the Premier League has calmed down, let's actually take a look at who of the nine remaining players is actually the biggest winner and loser. You can't just look at the quality of new opponent, you've got to look at what the change in percentage chance of winning is going to be. So I've taken the nine players, used the existing best of 13 simulator that I have on the master computer (I know it's not exactly the same but for all intents and purposes it is if we pretend the PL has a tiebreaker at 6-6), and then shoved them all in against Anderson and then against their new opponent. Here's the results:

The obvious huge winner is Barney, given that he's gone from the lowest winning percentage of anyone (hence why I bet on him to finish bottom), to having a better than a 50/50 shot of getting the points (hence why I cashed the bet out upon hearing the Anderson out news). Then we've got Price, before a grouping of Smith, Suljovic and Wright, which is understandable given all their opponents are fairly closely bunched together. van Gerwen's the next worst off, if only because he was actually projected to beat Ando in the first place, then you get the easily worst off - Wade, Cross and Gurney all have the worst draws, with Gurney clearly getting no favours - that's just how good Glen Durrant is.

One thing you could look to do if you wanted, and as it's an exhibition I can't be bothered to go into this, is to do the same, but look at the expected points - sure Barney wins a lot more often, but is it actually enough to get him over the line and turn the increased winning chances into points more than, say, Wright would now do, having gone from a 40/60 dog to a 65/35 favourite? A lot of the gains will be from those close ones where you might go from being a break down to being a break up and turning 0 points into 2. Maybe one for the other stats guys to play with.

Monday 4 February 2019

Seeing how everyone seems to be melting down over the Premier League news

Well, apart from Diogo Portela by the looks of things, here's something completely different. The world of darts is awash with all sorts of statistics, mostly meaningless, and people want to know whether the guys in the BDO are actually any good. So now I have a statistic that the common man can understand - Speedboat%.

This tells you how often the two players in each match would hit 101 or more in six darts to kick off a leg. It's the only real sensible metric in the game, so without further ado, here's the BDO world championships analysed in Bullseye form:

I've also looked at each leg and seen what players have scored with their first six darts, to see who'd have won the Bronze Bully - congrats Jim Williams on your awesome achievement. But yes, even the pros would fail to win the speedboat 4% of the time.

Anderson out of the Premier League

That's a bit of an interesting one. Obviously the back issue that he has is long enough term that they couldn't realistically reorder the schedule to have him catch up games later on in the league - if he were to play twice a night, he'd need to be back in action by week 5 in order to make the games up. That's after the UK Open, so you have to think that the defence of his title is also in doubt. Also have to assume that he'll pull out of the Pro Tour events in the near future, if he hasn't done so already - I've just checked the PDC website and there's no mention of it, but as it does say that Suljovic has withdrawn and Gilding is in, then next on the list would be either Hamilton or Portela - assuming they don't go back and ask Lynskey, Taylor or Askew again who would have had preference over Gilding? As an aside, Taylor won through to the UK Open this weekend so good luck to the lad (Barilli and Newton also got there along with a couple of randoms, not sure who won the Cov one yet but the Rileys Facebook page reckons it's Ian McFarlane who got in three years ago).

What they've done with the Anderson Premier League spot is great. I love the concept. I'd still much preferred for some of the players that they've selected as a rolling opponent to have been in a play-in tournament, but it's a bit of a unique situation and allowing a bunch of the younger players a shot at the big stage is a good idea. It's six of the ten players I selected for Third Division Darts, then de Zwaan (who I'd put straight into the second division), Durrant, which is understandable, then John Henderson, which is the only real odd one out in the concept.

That said, I don't mind the Henderson pick. It's the week that Anderson was due to play van Gerwen, so it is not as if they need to worry about picking someone competitive, it gives them a Scottish player in Aberdeen, which has to have been a big consideration, and there's no other realistic Scot they could have selected.

Will be interesting to see how they do. It'd have been much more exciting if they'd have kept the player's identities a secret and had a "Wait! Could it be? That's Hopp's music!" type of moment, but could they have kept kayfabe for the full nine weeks? It'd have added a little bit extra, but what can you do.

Sunday 3 February 2019

Dutchman wins Dutch Open shocker

Just been watching a bunch of the Dutch Open final day. Congrats to Richard Veenstra on becoming the first Dutch winner since van Barneveld, which should give you an idea of how long ago it was, over Ryan Hogarth in a thoroughly enjoyable final marked with big checkouts. Hogarth has already got a 160 in the books and just missed (I think) 137 for the second set, but Veenstra killed 158 to make it 2-0 in sets. Hogarth got the break back and eventually levelled at two sets each, and was able to take out 141 in the final set to keep it alive, but Veenstra eventually finished 87 to take the title. Good game, was being streamed on Dutch regional TV (a bunch of it was on the NDB's channel, but didn't seem to be working on the Sunday) so should be available on catch up.

Suzuki won the ladies final over Aileen de Graaf, who oddly switched to scoring on 19's after a couple of legs, it seemed to work somewhat but the damage was done at that stage, elsewhere in the other finals I was very impressed with Pim van Bijnen, who won the under-14 boys event extremely comfortably. Quite a few big names went deep in the mens, Parletti and van Egdom were the losing semi finalists while Kenny, Unterbuchner and Warren are well known who made the quarters, don't really know who Kevin Doets is, but he's done the Development Tour last year so could be another one off the Dutch production line?

Elsewhere in the world of darts, the Masters is going on, it's van Gerwen/Chisnall and Wade/Wright in the semis, but as dartsdata keeps thinking today is November and showing me a game between Michael Smith and Adam Smith-Neale from the Grand Slam, it's a hint to ignore it I guess. Razma and Labanauskas have won the first two Nordic/Baltic tour events, with Ulf Ceder, Daniel Larsson, Oskar Lukasiak and Marko Kantele going deep in both of them. Dennis Nilsson, Johan Engström and Kim Viljanen also won their way onto European Tour events, nice to see a new name and it'll be good to see Viljanen again, who's been quiet over the last six months or so. They've also had the first weekend of DPA events, with Damon Heta getting a brace of wins, James Bailey getting one and Steve Fitzpatrick (who he?) claiming the last victory. No sign of Cadby, which is strange.

It's all gearing up to the first Pro Tour events of the year now, with much of the interest being in how the new tour card holders will start their campaign. It's moderately important in that a fast start will see a couple of them grab a first round bye in the UK Open for sure, and maybe if a bunch of them do, they can overtake the stragglers in the Order of Merit from last year - Dootson's only got £1250, and there's another three players on less than four grand which could easily be overhauled - there's three weekends to work with before the cutoff for the UK Open so it wouldn't take that much work to climb into the top 96, even if a couple of players get off to a great start.