Monday, 4 February 2019

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done so already - I've just checked the PDC website and there's no mention of it, but as it does say that Suljovic has withdrawn and Gilding is in, then next on the list would be either Hamilton or Portela - assuming they don't go back and ask Lynskey, Taylor or Askew again who would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.

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