Thursday 28 March 2019

Hildesheim draw thoughts

Bets will follow once the remaining qualifiers are known (it's Mike de Decker or Cody Harris, a couple of random guys or Diogo Portela, then five non-tour card German qualifiers), but first thoughts on what we have:

Wright vs EQ2/Gilding - Shouldn't be too much trouble for Peter, Andrew was looking alright in the run up to the end of last season but lost his card and was merely alright on the Challenge Tour, and probably isn't significantly better than de Decker or Harris who I think he'd play (edit - de Decker has just beaten Harris to qualify).

Wattimena v HNQ4/Mansell - Another surely easy time for the seed here, Jermaine's been just fine this season and Mansell, after that World Championship comedy, has been quite bad to the point where the German qualifier is tempting.

Lewis v HNQ1/Taylor - Another outing for Scott Taylor after his opening round win last weekend, he's not been amazing but ought to have enough to take out a local qualifier, but Adrian Lewis is way too big of an ask you would think.

Cullen v HNQ2/Aspinall - This could be one of the highlights of the second day, assuming Nathan advances past the qualifier which you think he would do, Joe's been hit and miss all year but did show a bit of form on the first Euro Tour, so this ought to be tasty.

Cross v Meulenkamp/Viljanen - Rob's got to be a big favourite, but who he plays is in question - Ron's scoring has been steady and not much better, where Viljanen is now, I don't know, we've not seen him on a PDC stage since the 2018 worlds but we know he has the game in him to compete with the likes of Meulenkamp.

Gurney v Payne/Boulton - Interesting section. Daryl's been a lot steadier than last year, Payne's made a recent deep major run which ought to give him confidence, while Boulton has been under the radar and is scoring quite handily, the three of them all being separated by less than a point and a half on points per turn.

White v Kanik/Hughes - Ian wouldn't want this draw as we see a potential UK Open redo, where Hughes won - Tytus Kanik has had a slow start to the year and generally hasn't been up to tour card standard throughout 2018 either, so Jamie should get through and be able to produce a great match up on the Saturday which could be too close to call.

Bunting v Beaton/van den Bergh - Two Lakeside champions and a twice world youth champion - this is the second of four straight Euro Tours in 2019 for Steve, who's scoring overall a bit better than Dimitri, mainly due to consistency - van den Bergh has either been checking out in twelve or less for fun (hitting as many or more than Durrant, Wright, Smith etc), or not knowing which end of the dart should go in the board and losing the leg. Bunting is way down on the scoring, only getting 88 per turn in my stats (both potential opponents are over 90) with a horrid win-loss ratio and should be a dog whoever he faces.

Wade v HNQ5/Koltsov - Annoying for James to be in the MvG half, but he's not got a bad section of the draw, we don't know who the qualifier is going to be but Koltsov can be really dangerous when he wants to be, as was seen when he won a Challenge Tour event earlier this year. It's just a shame he's often equally as likely to still be needing 200+ after 12 darts. Boris should beat the qualifier, but Wade in this mood ought not to give him the chances he'll need.

Webster v Atkins (Leeds)/Humphries - Darren managed to get a win last weekend but then lose in the last 16 to Pipe, and could be under threat if Humphries can bring his stage game. Atkins was disappointing last week and Luke should beat him, and it's a good section of the draw to potentially kickstart his season.

Suljovic v Evans/Thornton - Evans has been good but not great so far in 2019, outside of the run to a Pro Tour final he's been fairly quiet, same for Thornton who's only had the one board win but is only a point behind Evans on the scoring front. Mensur's been his usual self and should be too strong for either player on the Saturday, got to think that he's a timing nightmare for either of them.

Chisnall v EQ1/King - Chizzy against King looks likely enough, Mervyn should be able to dispatch what looks like Diogo Portela, but Dave has surely been scoring too heavily, averaging a couple of points higher in all aspects of the game.

Price v Dudbridge/Clemens - Not seen Flash for a while but he's had occasional flashes (boom boom) with some board finals to date. Clemens has made a board final and had a nice little UK Open run, playing at a comparable standard to last year, while Mark's better than in 2018 so far, he's still way behind Gabriel. Who's way behind Price, but he may be out for revenge from that final I mentioned, where Gerwyn ran out an 8-4 winner. Could be spicy on German soil if Clemens gets through.

Clayton v Prins/Stevenson - This'll be the first game up, Stevenson was on form in the UK Open but overall seems to be down a bit on his 2018 game and hasn't looked too hot on the floor. Dave Prins was perhaps a surprise qualifier over Steve Lennon, but has made a Challenge Tour final this year, which has got him into some Pro Tour events - he's not done as well as Stevenson in my database but it ought to be competitive. Clayton has been putting together some good games with no real hiccups this season, and will be strongly favoured to reach the last sixteen.

van Gerwen v Brown/Razma - This isn't really the draw that MvG would want, both can run extremely hot and cold, Razma in particular has hit a huge number of good legs, and if one of them sparks then there's definitely the possibility of the upset. Hard to call who'd win, Madars has been showing the higher ceiling (just) but Keegan is a lot more solid overall. Should be a fun game on both days.

Wilson v HNQ3/Robbe - James has snook into the seeds, don't know who's quit to let the fifth home nation qualifier in. He's not been playing anywhere near his best or how he was last year, losing more than he's won and down at 88 points per turn, only a couple of points better than Robbe, who beat both Barney and de Zwaan to make it here. Might be closer than you think, assuming Mario can beat whoever the qualifier is, which isn't certain in the slightest.

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