Wednesday 6 November 2019

Grand Slam draws

Quick thoughts - I plan on shoving all the group games and likely second round/quarter final games through the master computer, but won't go beyond that, I'm on holiday without access to the master computer after today so that'll have to do, but for now, the groups:

van Gerwen/Lewis/Smith/Williams - Only really looks to be one winner, or does there? Smith's beaten van Gerwen not too long ago, Lewis is certainly capable, can Jim Williams cause upsets? It's not too outlandish to think that someone might nick a game from MvG, Clayton did it last year after all, but two seems a bit steep, so it's three playing for one spot. Filtering year long (counting Lakeside), Lewis and Smith are within a point of each other on the averages, and the market seemed to have them close, Williams has 160 legs of data and is about a point and a half behind those two, which isn't insurmountable. Have to think that Lewis/Smith is a decider for second place, but wouldn't count on it for sure.

Wade/White/Lennon/Harms - This looks like a real two horse race though. White's top five in points per turn this year, Wade's just outside the top ten, whereas Lennon is putting up a respectable points per turn score just in the 90's, it's a clear two points behind the big guns. Harms will be looking to repeat his last sixteen performance from last year, but it seems unlikely, he's a further couple of points per turn behind Lennon, albeit on short data, so I'm not feeling overly confident about his chances.

Price/van den Bergh/Thornton/Suzuki - The defending champ's got to feel fairly happy with his draw. He's the clear class of this group, Dimitri is nearly four points per turn behind him season long, although we know if the Belgian turns up he can give anyone a run for their money, Thornton is down below 88 a turn for the year, beneath the likes of Benito van de Pas, but if he can get his game clicking then who knows. That leaves the great unknown in the women's world champ - if she plays like she did in the world final, then a shock could be on the cards, but an overall conventional average on the Asian tour of below 80 isn't confidence inspiring. It's a fascinating wild card in any case.

Anderson/Webster/O'Connor/Parletti - Hmm. This one isn't too pretty. Anderson, if healthy, walks the group, but he looked like complete arse against Noppert last weekend. Webster's been poor all year and is a point and a half behind O'Connor, but as we alluded to in the European Championship preview, has dropped off the pace a lot in recent months. So there's definitely a shot for Parletti, although any time we have seen him on TV he has struggled mightily, his Lakeside last year was one to forget, so while he's got a decent draw, can he gain some stage form in time to do anything with it?

Cross/Chisnall/Hughes/Ashton - Jesus christ, this is tough. It's a lot easier than it might have been if this took place six months ago when Jamie was in red hot form, but then again, Chisnall's form has increased to counterbalance it. Cross is the clear class of the field but lost to Chisnall literally last weekend. I think what Hughes does is key, if he turns up then it's going to be incredibly tight between the top three. God knows what to make of Lisa Ashton here, her scoring on the Challenge Tour is a couple of points better than what Suzuki was doing on the Asian Tour, but likely inflated by playing mostly better players, still, low 80's probably isn't going to cut the mustard in what's a draw from hell.

Wright/Noppert/Harrington/Warren - Nice draw for Peter this. Danny Noppert got in really late, and while we've stated on numerous occasions he's been playing better than his results have suggested, it's still a good three points worse than what Wright's been managing over the course of the year. Harrington's down at an 85 per turn clip for the season and ought not to trouble either of the other two PDC players, and probably ought to be an underdog to Warren as well, who's generally looked alright when we've seen him on TV in short samples, although not really getting the results. Still, he's got to have been doing well enough off stage to get here, maybe he can trouble Danny and steal second?

Gurney/Dolan/Clemens/Veenstra - This one looks very even. Gurney's the stand out name, but his scoring per turn really isn't spectacular, at least in comparison to his results and general level of recognition. The big German's less than a fifth of a point per turn behind him over the course of the season. Dolan over the course of the last year, and especially the last six months, has had a real return to form and cannot be counted out against either of these two, he's close enough to Gurney that all three players are separated by less than a point a turn. This leaves Dutch Open winner Veenstra, who I think is going to be outgunned a bit too easily here, but over a short race then maybe he can hold his own, his scoring's unimpressive but he's held it together in match situations quite well, and if he can at least hold his own in the opening game, maybe he can grow into the tournament from there.

Smith/Aspinall/Schindler/Durrant - Whichever group got Glen was always going to be a group of death, but this looks pretty nasty full stop. Over the course of the season in points per turn, Durrant is 7th, Smith 12th, Aspinall 15th and Schindler 26th - if you go back a few posts, you'll see that, outside of Cadby, Schindler's scoring more than anyone who isn't already qualified for the World Championship. All of these are scoring more than 91 per turn over the course of the year, with the bigger three names all over 92. It's a really intriguing group, between the main three it's too close to call, but to write Schindler out of this is severely underestimating how well he has been playing.

Quick game by game summary and bets later tonight.

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