Thursday 23 May 2019

Dutch Darts Masters preview

Here's the draw courtesy of the PDC's website:

Cross has withdrawn late so we've got an extra spot in the home nation qualifiers, which look to be pretty strong - Mandigers showed up but lost, van Tergouw lost in the last round, recent BDO event winner Toon Greebe lost as has hotly rated youngster Jurjen van der Velde, but let's talk about who's there:

1/16 section - Can't really look past van Gerwen on home soil. Then again, last year on home soil he did lose to... Willie O'Connor, who's just got the first big win of his career within the last month. Joyce wouldn't be an easy out either but it's fair to say he's not quite at the level he was last year. Possible last sixteen opponents aren't easy - Pal Szekely is making a debut here after being real close on multiple occasions previously, and qualifiers from that region are generally no mugs, but it's looking like one of Smith or Barney - surely Smith has to be favoured and would give van Gerwen a right test.

8/9 section - Chizzy could have his work cut out against Steve Beaton, Steve's current form isn't too far behind, you'd think that form would be too good for current day Norris, but Alan's been known to raise his game on a stage if needed. Ricky Evans could face Keegan Brown for the third time in Europe this year, winning the first but losing the second, the home nation qualifier is Danny van Trijp, who looked alright on his first appearance this year against Adam Hunt, but shouldn't trouble Keegan.

5/12 section - Oh boy, that's not nice for Wade. There's very few people that can legitimately compete with Wade on current form right now, but Glen Durrant is one of them, someone who I think has somewhat of a similar style of play, so could be an interesting one. Assuming Glen gets past Alex Merkx, of course. Merkx made a final in Lithuania a couple of weeks ago, so who knows. Clayton ought not to have too much trouble reaching Sunday, Nilsson occasionally has purple patches and home nation qualifier Erik Hol has been somewhat consistent on the Challenge Tour, but Jonny's a step ahead I think.

4/13 section - Nasty draw for Price as well. Ross Smith has probably cooled a touch over the last month or two, but Ratajski certainly hasn't and easily has a top 16 game statistically, if not top 10. Great first round entertainment midway through the evening session. Bunting has been doing some alright work in Europe, but Dolan seems a very tight matchup, season long stats rating them very similarly, Dolan perhaps being more consistent. Brendan would need to get past what'll probably be Wesley Plaisier (3-0 up in the final round as I type), which I think he should do.

2/15 section - Can White keep his European form going? Hard opening game if he wants to, Mansell has shown occasional bursts and despite a 2-8 record against Kyle Anderson, has won their last two, albeit last year, Kyle's numbers remain excellent but he's just not getting the result. Wattimena on home soil could be formidable, although a derby against Danny Noppert or an opening round match against the newest PDC title winner in Harry Ward isn't necessarily the nicest thing he could have drawn.

7/10 section - Another solid opening round match here. Boulton did start off the year very nicely indeed, he's dropped a touch but should still give van der Voort, who's playing the best darts he's done in a while, a decent examination. Suljovic awaits the winner, and while he should be favoured, might be a bit too far ahead of van der Voort in the markets. The other bit of this draw is explosive - we get Hopp/Aspinall for the second time this month on the European stage, Nathan won that one, will Hopp get revenge? Joe Cullen completes the section, these three could battle it out at a high level for at least a decade or more to come, and Joe will need all of the additional game he brings to the European Tour to stay in this one.

6/11 section - Peter Wright will face up against either Ritchie Edhouse, who's no longer top of the Challenge Tour rankings but is still having a very good season, or a to be determined home nations qualifier - Michael Plooy or Jimmy Hendriks. Ritchie should have enough, and can occasionally show the game needed to trouble someone of Wright's quality. Whitlock's back amongst the seeds after his good run right after he dropped out, and it's a good draw for everyone I think - neither of Florian Hempel on debut, or Ryan Harrington effectively playing out his tour card, will hate drawing each other, both would be happy getting what appears the weakest seed, and Whitlock will be happy with avoiding one of the many qualifier landmines that are out there.

3/14 section - Gurney is looking for a second European Tour title of the season, and will open up against either Luke Woodhouse or Mervyn King. Another good first round draw, King will probably draw a favourite tag on name form but the two are evenly matched up this year and playing solid darts, either one could threaten Daryl if they can put a spurt in. Finally we have Darren Webster, who was able to shake off the injury he picked up on Saturday to compete on the Sunday, albeit in a losing first round effort, how well will he actually be able to compete against either Mike de Decker or Rowby John Rodriguez? Mike's making a habit of qualifying for these and is probably in a bit more form than Rowby, but hasn't yet demonstrated the ceiling that Rowby has - although Rowby rarely shows it himself.

Bets later. I intend on doing some Matchplay scenarios and analysis on Monday after this event, it's a public holiday here so expect some analysis of the race to get into Blackpool.

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