Sunday 11 August 2019

Challenge Tour 13-16 - this is so tight

So, let's have a look at the standings:

That's everyone with a bag in the bank, but there's quite a few stupidly strong players just outside - Colin Osborne, Darren Johnson, Mark Frost, Wes Newton, Barry Lynn, Mark Barilli, Andy Hamilton, Stuart Kellett, John Bowles and Scott Waites should all be known to various degrees of darting cognoscenti and they're all above £750 and could at least force themselves into a UK Open spot for 2020, assuming the PDC doesn't move the goalposts as they have a habit of doing.

So what of this weekend? We had winners in Cameron Menzies, Patrick Lynskey, Jesus Noguera and Callan Rydz. I don't think any of them can be surprises - maybe Patrick, but he did have a final earlier in the year, I say maybe on account of that outside of his two final runs, he's really not done a great deal, heck, look at Shaun Carroll for comparison who beat Lynskey in that final - he's added £300 in the following 15 tournaments (not sure how many he actually played).

There's just the one weekend left - who would I like to see push through and grab the tour card and the worlds spot? Let's look down to anyone who's within 2.5k of Noguera in second and is therefore within a win and a decent second performance striking distance:

Menzies - would be absolutely fine with that, only just missed out on getting a card by the narrowest of margins this year, so getting an automatic card would be great.
Noguera - you don't win two in a year if you're a mug, so he'd be a welcome addition to the tour, and boost the argument to have a Euro Tour somewhere on the peninsula, but would he actually use the card? He's shown no inclination to try to get into the Pro Tour events, which he could have walked in to, and has done no Euro Tour qualifiers either.
Burton - again, fine. Was really good in 2018, but just a bit too late to retain the card.
Koltsov - another one I'd be fine with, he seems to be developing incredibly rapidly through repeated Challenge Tour and Pro Tour outings, and I think he'd be in a position to give it a proper go if he were to get in.
Jenkins - I'm really not sure what Andy would add to the tour. At 48 he's clearly not completely done, but I think he'd be just another Wayne Jones or Mark Dudbridge in that he's declining, not good enough for the Pro Tour, but still good enough to work around the Pro Tour/Challenge Tour boundary.
Rydz - if there's anyone I want to get over the line it'd have to be Callan, he's got so much potential and talent and he's been so close to getting in the last couple of years, I think he's now gained enough experience on the secondary tours that he could jump into the Pro Tour and make a success of it.
Edhouse - he's a bit like Stephen Burton, although maybe not quite as good, I wouldn't hate the idea of him getting the card but there's certainly plenty of players that I'd prefer ahead of him.
Lynskey - I think I'd want him to show a bit more consistency to be honest, if he can punch his way in then fair enough, he just seems a bit streaky compared to others around him.
Harris - get him in, he's good enough and he definitely needs the security of a tour card to keep giving this a real go, if he doesn't make it I could quite easily see a return to NZ for a year and trying to work it out on the DPA circuit.
van Peer - if he's over the problems he had, then it'd be a great redemption story - I just fear that if he did have a couple of good runs and got on, that the week in week out might be detrimental to him at this stage.

The final weekend isn't until the last weekend in September, which coincides with the final Euro Tour event. How idiotic is that? If someone's in the running to get into the worlds spot or the tour card spot, are they really going to risk missing the Challenge Tour events to go for the European Tour qualifiers?

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