Thursday 26 September 2019

Gibraltar draw early thoughts

No sign of the domestic qualifier on Dart Connect, I can only assume the monkeys have eaten all the tablets, or that the bookies don't want us to see just how bad the domestic qualifiers are and stopping us betting the farm on Michael Rosenauer. Let's have a look at what we do have, I'll order the games by the highest ranked qualifier in the FRH rankings (which I'll put in brackets):

(11) Mensur Suljovic v (193) Wessel Nijman/(23) Darren Webster - not the worst draw Darren could have got I guess. His form, or lack thereof, has been well documented, but I'd think it would be enough to get past Nijman, a finalist in the Challenge Tour this year and making his second appearance on the European Tour, where he'll hope to do better than the zero legs he won against Corey Cadby. He did play the Hildesheim Pro Tours, where he got to a board final with wins over Dimitri and Patrick van den Boogaard before losing to Cody Harris. Seems a bit inconsistent, Webster should have enough - 4/9 to advance looks about the right ballpark, but Mensur ought to be comfortably through to round three.

(19) Krzysztof Ratajski v (24) Steve Beaton/(174) Tony Newell - Beaton's closing out a good year on the European Tour, the veteran comfortably qualifying after an impressive early string of qualification results. He'll face Tony Newell, who's almost certainly losing his card after a huge string of first round defeats all year, but he did at least get past Whitlock in the qualifier. Tony, who had a nice interview on the Weekly Dartscast this morning, probably isn't quite as much of a dog as the 7/2 that 365 price him at, but it's not far off. Ratajski's a different kettle of fish though. Beaton should be around a 6/4 dog I'd guess.

(12) Dave Chisnall v (25) Jeffrey de Zwaan/(31) Steve West - very attractive first round game this. West's one of the heaviest scorers in the game when he's on, last weekend in Barnsley indicating that he might be, and we all know what Jeffrey can do. Not the sort of draw Steve would have wanted as he tries for a miracle run to get into the European Championship, the bookies place JdZ in the low 60% range to get through, which might be underselling Steve ever so slightly. Chizzy isn't the worst draw in what's a pretty good lineup of seeds, but certainly not ideal, that seems like an 8/11 Chisnall game vig free if it was de Zwaan he faced, so whoever gets through ought to be live.

(3) Michael Smith v (26) Keegan Brown/(29) Danny Noppert - big, big section for qualification. Keegan's safely in after the couple of deep runs he's had, but the other two are in the conversation for forcing themselves into the event. Noppert is scoring a couple of points better over the course of the year than Brown is, and the 4/5 being offered looks alright, and gets better as you look at more and more recent form. Smith also needs a win to keep his hopes alive, if it were to be Noppert he'd face, I actually think it'd be fairly close - statistically there's not much to separate the two of them.

(21) Glen Durrant v (40) William O'Connor/(28) Chris Dobey - Dobey and Duzza are safely into the European Championship, O'Connor could probably do with one more win to make things absolutely safe, to do that he'd have to prevent a North East derby in round two, the bookies have it even and I tend to agree - Dobey has a tiny edge, but that's about it. Glen will be looking to make a third straight Sunday evening on the Euro Tour, he's the best player here but not by as much as you'd think - I'd call it about 60/40 in favour of Durrant if it were Dobey he faced, and O'Connor wouldn't be much different. Tough section to call.

(18) Jermaine Wattimena v (32) Dimitri Van den Bergh/(86) Scott Taylor - Dimitri's probably done enough to qualify for the finals at this stage, Wattimena almost certainly has, while Taylor likely has too much to do, so it's all about single event glory. Can Dimitri claim a first senior crown? It's not a bad spot for it - Taylor's a tricky customer, but he's one of the few players on the circuit that has an even higher degree of inconsistency than Dimitri has, I think he has slightly better chances than the market suggests but this could be one of those elite level games where both turn up, or pub level if neither does. Jermaine is scoring ever so slightly worse than DvdB year long, a couple of points worse on winning legs, but a point better on losing legs - will be priced close with Dimitri probably a small favourite, but a nightmare to bet on.

(13) Joe Cullen v (76) Ritchie Edhouse/(37) Jamie Hughes - could be a clash of European Tour winners in round two. Can Edhouse stop that happening? No is the simple answer - Yozza's 1/3 which looks in the right ballpark, possibly even value. A match up with Cullen, if Joe can produce what he did when he won his title, would be mouthwatering, but Jamie would surely start the favourite based on all he's done this season.

(8) Nathan Aspinall v (38) Ryan Joyce/(129) Matt Clark - Nathan's not won one of these yet, and as the 16 seed in an event with van Gerwen playing I won't hold my breath, but who will he play in round two? Joyce has been fairly quiet all year following his World Championship quarter final, probably doing enough to make an Ally Pally return, but nothing really special in 2019. Clark has had a fairly tough time since winning his card in January and is amongst the favourites to lose it straight back at the end of next year, but the underlying numbers aren't horrible if you just look at the legs he's won - which rate him season long as a small favourite. Very nice power with a good number of twelve darters, it's just everything else, he can't do it consistently any more. 11/5 might be worth a stab?

(15) Jonny Clayton v (54) Justin Pipe/(39) Kim Huybrechts - as far as qualification goes for the Europeans, this is the match. Pipe is just outside on countback, Kim is a couple of grand further back. Kim's not been overly relevant for a couple of years now and is drifting outside the top 32, while Pipe is having a bit of a resurgence and is looking to head back in the right direction. Pipe is priced as a small favourite, and the model surprises me and says it's about right. Kim's not playing that badly. Going to come down to bottle really. Clayton ought not to be too far out of reach for either player, rating in the mid t high 50% range against Pipe. Decent opportunity for everyone this.

(1) Michael van Gerwen v (56) Darius Labanauskas/(59) Jose De Sousa - now this has potential to be great. I want to see van Gerwen against de Sousa on stage in current form, and we have a chance of it happening. Darius stands in Jose's way - the Lithuanian has been a bit up and down since winning his card at the death in January, couple of deep runs mixed in with far too many early exits of a man of his calibre. Jose we know all about, market has him 4/9 which you wouldn't credit even six months ago - it's probably a bit short season long, but about right with more recent samples. Jose obviously can beat MvG in current form, will he? Probably an auto bet, I'm thinking it's around a one in three shot and we'll never see it priced like that, although with van Gerwen at 6/4 to win the whole thing, maybe the market is catching on?

(5) Gerwyn Price v (65) Robert Thornton/HNQ1 - still no word from the domestic qualifiers. Got to think Rob's doing enough to advance, probably around a 3/1 shot against Gezzy, nothing really interesting here.

(6) James Wade v (87) Ryan Meikle/(165) Paul Rowley - not heard much from Paul this year, he's not even been able to get into many qualifiers, but he got through this one over Mervyn King, which is fair play. Meikle beat out Ross Smith, Lennon and Newton to qualify for a third event this season, a season long points per turn of 88 is respectable enough and should see him through against Paul here. Wade is a class apart though, although Ryan's doing just enough that he has a bit more than a one in four chance.

(2) Rob Cross v (194) Krzysztof Kciuk/(92) Kirk Shepherd - all the K's! Kirk against Kcuik, Shepherd's made a few of these and had a nice run in Denmark, on the floor he's kind of been making up the numbers though. Kciuk is in the equation as to who is Poland's number two, he's in a third game here having lost to Ratajski and then a close one to Dirk van Duijvenbode, it's probably his best chance to advance and the market is only giving Kirk a fairly small edge. Cross wins really comfortably, of course.

(4) Daryl Gurney v (142) Carl Wilkinson/HNQ4 - can Carl beat the domestic qualifier? He should do, he beat Bunting and Monk to qualify, both of whom are way better than anyone he's likely to face, let's see if he can finish 2019 on a high, this is only his second four-figure score even now. 85 points per turn all season isn't great, but against Gibraltar's finest, he should be alright. Daryl ought to be in the 1/5 neighbourhood, even shorter, can't see Gurney having the slightest trouble.

(10) Ian White v HNQ2/(150) Michael Rosenauer - Rosenauer's the last German hope to make Göttingen, but while we've only seen just short of 50 legs from him, less than 82 points per turn is a worry, and maybe it's a rare chance for a local qualifier to pick up a win? Who knows. What we do know is that White's got a really nice draw.

(9) Peter Wright v (212) Cor Dekker/HNQ3 - Second round is automatic, Wright wins, how is Cor doing? We've only got one game on him, where he lost 6-3 to Dietmar Burger, so I'm thinking the only predictable thing about this first round game is that it won't be pretty.

Some other notes - the Grand Prix draw is tomorrow morning, assuming nobody messes anything up again, I won't look at it on here until after Gib's done, and won't line up any plays until the day before (the Pro Tours before the event are historically fairly important - should they play those two double start? It'd be more stats I can't use at least). It's also the final Challenge Tour weekend, which hugely sucks for the likes of Edhouse and Taylor - Ritchie's within 2k of the tour lead, Taylor's 3k back, Nijman is within 4k if we're stretching it a bit further. How many of them do you reckon have flights back to Wigan booked if they lose first round? Edhouse is on last tomorrow, if he was on first, like Nijman is, maybe he could think about grabbing a £300 Easyjet flight to Gatwick and calling a cab? Who knows. Elsewhere in Gib, there's been some JDC action, looks like Keane Barry got all the cake and will play off against the exciting Czech prospect Adam Gawlas at Ally Pally. Two days after I'm there, bastard.

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