Thursday 12 September 2019

Riesa preview

Qualifiers are done already! We had six (yes, six!) home nation qualifiers, many of whom I know nothing about, this could be fun, thanks to van Gerwen and Chisnall withdrawing. Dave's an odd one given he appeared in form in midweek, and a second one of these might be needed to make the Grand Slam in some permutations, but hey, here we are. Let's look at the draw:

Gurney v Mansell/Noppert - Beaton v Woodhouse/Bilderl

Tricky section to call. The Gurney side appears clearly stronger, we talked a bit about how Noppert's having a good season a couple of posts ago, Daryl's obviously up there with the best in the world, while if Mansell shows up he certainly has the game to pressure. The other half also looks interesting - Manfred Bilderl isn't a complete unknown, but is making only a second appearance on the European Tour after a first round defeat nearly two years ago to Jonny Clayton. He did at least beat Horvat and Kurz averaging 88 in both games, but Woodhouse, for whom it's an important weekend for worlds qualification, should have too much class, and isn't tha far behind Beaton in terms of quality, although Steve should kick off the favourite.

Ratajski v de Decker/Rosenauer - Durrant v Richardson/Poge

Lot of qualifiers from today here. Two face off for the right to face Ratajski, who ought not to have too much trouble with either - de Decker we know more about as he's come through these qualifiers plenty of time, and ought to have an edge over the veteran Rosenauer, making his third appearance of the season. Michael did at least run Durrant fairly close in one of those. Speaking of Durrant, you'd have to think James Richardson will face him, and off of a good midweek, James might be playing well enough to cause Glen some issues. Mike Poge's a new name to me, he did play Q-School but wasn't anywhere near at all, it's his debut, and not having cracked 80 in today's qualifier I can't see it being a winning debut.

Aspinall v Jentschke/Pipe - Evans v Hunt/van den Bergh

Another debutant here in Christopher Jentschke, so completely unknown he's not even on dartsdatabase, and shows up no results on the internet at all. Got to be some random local Sachsen-based player? In any case, Pipe should have no issues unless Christian can produce the 96 average that he did in his first game today. Pipe's having an understated solid season, and while not quite on Aspinall's level, has certainly shown enough this year that there's glimpses of his best game - which could give Nathan some issues. The other section's full of exciting young talent - Ricky's been doing work in these all year, Dimitri's finally getting the hang of the senior tour, and Adam Hunt is dangerous on his day, he's just not having a great 2019 at all.

Price v Anderson/Monk - de Zwaan v Murnan/Klaasen

The defending champ's now the number 2 seed and does not have a nice draw, whoever he gets. Kyle, as I've said repeatedly, has been playing excellent darts all year and has not got the rewards for it, and certainly has the peak game to challenge Gerwyn, while Monk is having his best season in years, scoring over 90 per turn season long and has got enough results that even one win here could get him very close to sealing a World Championship return. The other half looks like the second round will be an all Dutch showdown - Jelle's been slowly picking his game back up, and doesn't look like an automatic "play well for four legs then fall apart" as he was for a few months. Murnan's not done much of anything since regaining his card and I can't see him preventing Klaasen taking on de Zwaan, who should have enough to take out the former Lakeside champ, but cannot take any liberties at all here.

Wright v Edhouse/Venken - Suljovic v Ward/Robinson

It's a return to the PDC stage for Davyd Venken, having last played in the Netherlands in 2015! His scoring really ramped up in the qualifier, ending with a 103 clip over Wilco Vermeulen to get here - do that and Ritchie Edhouse, who definitely needs a win to help his worlds quest, may not have things all his own way. Peter ought to be strongly favoured and shouldn't make a mess of things, but either opponent does have the peak to make in interesting. Couple of younger players next for the right to play Mensur, Harry Ward's made a name for himself after getting his tour card by winning a Pro Tour event, so should be a solid favourite over Robinson, still only 27 himself despite having been around for a decade or so. Fair to say Reece hasn't had a great season and it's hard to see him getting home here. While Ward has a title, his overall scoring shouldn't be enough to give Suljovic any problems, but he is a bit streaky so if he turns up then anything can happen.

Lewis v O'Connor/van de Pas - Clayton v Boulton/Siepmann

Tough draw for Adie. I think the secret is pretty much out with O'Connor now, their stats are fairly similar, so it could be tight if Willie can get past Benito van de Pas, who hasn't kicked on at all since his World Championship run, which looks like it's only postponed a real knife fight to save his card for twelve months. Clayton doesn't have a bad draw - Siepmann's made it into the field for a second week in a row, he's got an easier opponent than Clemens last week, but not by that much, Boulton's got very respectable season long scoring of 89, which should be enough to get through to face the Ferret, but probably not enough to actually win.

Cullen v van Baelen/Luckow - Cross v Henderson/Claydon

Joe's got a nice start to kick things off in his first event as a Euro Tour winner - Luckow is yet another debutant who was mid-70's in every game, so it's not a bad draw for van Baelen, who's almost certainly losing his card but at least has managed to qualify - he'd failed every time so far. Seems an obvious tour card holder wins then loses to the seed. Cross will be looking to finally win one of these - he's rightly the favourite and should go into every match as such, although against Hendo he might not have a completely straight forward game. Claydon is here for a second weekend in a row, he didn't make much of an impression last week and I can't see John being troubled tomorrow.

White v North/Koltsov - Hughes v Larsson/West

Both sections here seem similar - the seed is having a great season, and they'll play someone who's a card holder having a disappointing season, or a regional qualifier. Can't see White not advancing past either North or Koltsov, Richard's been out of sorts all year and is scoring down in the sub-85 regions, the Russian will be thinking this is one he should win, and I'm thinking the same. West is mostly just disappointing on results, his scoring is still above 90, but turning that into cash money has been the issue and missing the Matchplay must have hurt. Daniel Larsson has been a bit under the radar this year, and ran into an on-fire Durrant in his only prior appearance this season in Prague, and I don't think he has the game to advance assuming West has anything like his B or C games, and doesn't miss clumps of doubles and starts tilting, as sometimes happens.

I wouldn't think it'd take too long for lines to get up, so check back later this evening for recommended plays.

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