Monday 27 May 2019

The Matchplay Race

As mentioned, here's a look at how the race for the Matchplay is going. We're only going to look at the cutoff scenarios for the Pro Tour qualifiers - the top 16 look pretty safe:

16 Adrian Lewis 251,000
17 Joe Cullen 222,000
18 Stephen Bunting 206,750

That's a near 30 grand gap from Cullen to the last spot, which Cullen on current form isn't catching, and if there was some sort of miracle, Adie dropping to the Pro Tour spots doesn't affect the cutoff for the Pro Tour qualifiers. So let's go down and look at who's there.

I'm going to eliminate Evans, Ratajski, Durrant, Beaton, de Zwaan, Cullen, Hopp, Noppert and Wattimena from the discussion, they're all on 40,000 or (much) higher which, given what 17th is on and given that it needs eight players to overtake them all, isn't happening, although it's probably not mathematically impossible. So, the race for the remaining spots looks like this:

10 John Henderson 35,750
11 Stephen Bunting 34,250 (**)
12 Mervyn King 32,750 (*)
13 Vincent van der Voort 32,500 (*)
14 Chris Dobey 32,000 (*)
15 Ryan Searle 31,750
16 James Wilson 31,750
17 Ross Smith 30,500
18 Keegan Brown 30,500
19 Kyle Anderson 29,750 (*)
20 Gabriel Clemens 26,000 (*)
21 Steve West 25,500 (*)
22 Ron Meulenkamp 22,750
23 Willie O'Connor 22,250 (*)
24 Harry Ward 22,500
25 Martin Schindler 21,500 (*)
26 Josh Payne 21,500
27 Kim Huybrechts 21,500
28 Dimitri van den Bergh 21,000
29 Steve Lennon 20,750 (*)
30 Raymond van Barneveld 20,500
31 Jelle Klaasen 20,250

Here, a * indicates the player has qualified for ET8, one of the four events remaining - ET9 and PC 17-18 being the others. Bunting has two on account for him being a seed in this event. No mincash is added for anybody - so you can add a grand to a lot of players here.

Who can we cut off? I think that anyone from Meulenkamp down is probably out of the running, unless they are qualified for ET8 already. Meulenkamp is nine grand down on Wilson and Searle, so you're reliant on either winning an event, making the final of ET9, or reaching the semi of ET9 or final of PC17/18 plus doing well enough to make three grand in the other two events. That seems quite the parlay. For anyone who's in ET8 though, it's maybe not quite so outlandish - take Lennon, he's 11 grand down - something like making the ET8 quarter, qualifying for ET9 and losing to the seed, making a semi final in one of the Pro Tour events and winning his board in the other gives you £11,500, which isn't quite so outlandish an ask.

For those at the top, I think that anyone from Dobey up is probably alright. They should all be favourites to win their opening games in ET8 unless they got a brutal draw like Durrant, Ratajski, Aspinall or each other, even then, for one of them to miss out they'd have to do very little in the remaining three events and hope that multiple players do a fair bit.

Which leaves us in my eyes with ten players battling for two spots - Searle and Wilson holding on for now, then Smith, Brown, Anderson, Clemens, West, O'Connor, Schindler and Lennon looking in from the outside. You know that rolling averages graph I did for the Premier League players earlier in the month? Let's do another one.

For the sake of clarity, Smith, O'Connor and Searle all have the dotted lines. So if you look at current values, O'Connor is ahead of the bunch, as you'd expect given he's recently won an event, so while he's a fair bit down on the cutoff right now, you wouldn't put it past him to be able to do something in an event to really make up the ground. Next we have Steve West, who we've not heard a huge amount from this season, but certainly by the graph isn't exactly playing badly. Next is Keegan Brown, who's not in Denmark but already has the points on the board, then there's a grouping of Anderson, Clemens and Lennon, Anderson who was playing clearly the best of these earlier in the season but has since slid a bit at just the wrong time. Making up the rear are Smith and Searle, then a further drop to Schindler and Wilson.

How about some raw season long figures?

Anderson tops these figures, but the graph demonstrates that a bulk of these good figures come from earlier in the season, whereas O'Connor, who's just behind him, is doing it now. You've then got a cluster of four players who are within a third of a point of each other with not much to separate them, before a drop off to Searle, Smith and Schindler, with Wilson a fair bit off the pace, although I believe it was mentioned that James was playing through some sort of medical issue which may certainly explain that.

How about what they've done in terms of results this season? Let's just look at results where they've put more than 2k on the board, I don't see any real point in looking smaller than that, for one on the Euro Tour it's only a first round loss that's worse, and it's that level of result that you really need to start to push away or make inroads into a deficit.

Anderson - Pro Tour QF (3x), Euro Tour L32
Brown - Pro Tour SF, Euro Tour SF, L16 (2x), L32
Clemens - Pro Tour F (2x)
Lennon - Euro Tour L32 (2x)
O'Connor - Pro Tour Win, Euro Tour L32
Schindler - Nothing
Searle - Pro Tour QF (3x), Euro Tour L16
Smith - Euro Tour L16 (2x), L32
West - Pro Tour SF (2x), QF
Wilson - Euro Tour L16

So in terms of putting in the cashes that count, Brown has five, Anderson and Searle have four, Smith and West have three, Clemens, Lennon and O'Connor and two, Wilson has one and Schindler has nothing.

What does this all mean in terms of who's going to get the last two spots? I think you can chuck Lennon and Schindler immediately, after that I think you can make a case for anyone. O'Connor's the hardest to make a case for given the ground he has to make up, but he is playing the best of all these right now and has shown he can put the result he'd need together very recently. West's figures aren't bad and he's had some results domestically but the lack of anything whatsoever on the European Tour is a huge concern. Clemens is less than 5k back once you factor in the ET8 mincash he will get and has shown twice he can put together a tournament where he can get that type of money. Anderson and Brown are fairly similar in that they're solidly producing decent results and statistics, and it'd just need a little purple patch to get over the line, Ross Smith has shown some nice peaks in Europe, but only has the one shot to do something there and it'd be hard on the results he's been getting on the Pro Tour to really believe that he'd get enough on the board to get over the line. Wilson's one of the incumbents, but has no real results, is playing the worst and is hanging on for dear life, while Searle is at least playing a bit better overall and you'd think he'd be able to get more in the bank than both Wilson and Smith in the last three events to stay ahead of both of them, which would then require two from outside to overtake him.

Gun to my head and I'd say Searle gets one spot and Anderson gets the other, but it's so hugely dependent on Kyle getting a decent draw in Copenhagen - the difference between getting Nathan Aspinall and Teuvo Haverinen could be the difference between Kyle playing at the Winter Gardens, or shooting off to where it is winter ahead of the World Series.

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