Tuesday 28 January 2020

Getting Challenge Tour events finished quicker

OK, here's a follow up to the previous post. I've gone through the timestamps of every game from the last 128 onwards of Challenge Tour 1, and then the first match played on each board in Challenge Tour 2. Here is what the board usage looks like:

This should just about fit in the blog template I have in place, if it looks shit on mobile I apologise, but it probably needs to be large enough that you can get a good view of what's going on. Putting things simply, each board is a line that goes along horizontally. The time along the top of the image is real time, and then everything in the actual chart is showing when an actual match is played on that board, and in which round.

Needless to say, I've been cheap and done this on Google Sheets (if you want to see the raw sheet, drop me a line and I'll send you the link), but to give you a clue, the dark and light purple are the round of 128 games, the horrible electric blue is the last 64, then it carries on through orange, green and so on until we get to the final. Then we have the second event start, where we colour in red the first game being played.

Now let's be extremely clear - these board assignments are not exact - they should be through the round of 64, but they've certainly shifted players around here and there, hence why if you look at board 15, there are two light purple blocks - namely because board 24 was so far behind at the time, they started their game somewhere else, which I've assumed to be board 15, as there was no other board available for the entirety of the time which that game was being played. There's similar things elsewhere. What actual boards are being used is not the big thing though. The key thing is to do the following. Draw a big rectangle from around half two in the afternoon to five o'clock on boards 17-32. See how many games are being played in that area.

This is an enormous resource, which when you're trying to play over 600 matches in one venue in one day you can't really afford to pass up, particularly when your scheduling requires the vast majority of players to come back the next day and do the same thing again. Even if we assume that it takes, I don't know, half an hour to switch all the Dart Connect tablets to the new system (which I guess is a huge overestimate, given they started event 2 within 10 minutes of event one being done), then you have 32 hours worth of board time on boards 17-32 alone to start the second event of the day. Looking at boards 9-16, they were all done not long after 3pm - that's another 25 hours of board time, being very conservative with setup time again.

Let's call it an even 50 hours of board time. That is going to be a massive underestimate, but I want to make a point about minimum gains - I think it's fair to do this, as you may have a bit added administration from what I want to say below. You can see from the chart I posted up that the time from an average nine leg match starting to the next one starting, barring huge lag while you're waiting for a player to finish a game on a slow board or section of the draw, is maybe 20 minutes. That would allow you to get through 150 games.

150 games. In a Challenge Tour event of the size we've had this weekend, that will eliminate HALF THE FUCKING FIELD before the first event has even finished. Just imagine how much quicker the event will finish if you do that.

How can you administer that? It seems easy to me. Let's talk through it:

- Halle 39, where they held the Euro Q-School, appeared to have half the boards on one side and half on the other. I assume Challenge Tour venues are arranged similarly, or at least in a similar fashion for all intents and purposes. Arrange the boards so that, if you label the board winners 1-32 going down the draw, the odd numbered boards are on one side of the venue, and the even numbered boards are on the other, and that from the last 32 onwards, you use the relevant odd numbered board (e.g. winners of boards 1/2 and 3/4 play on boards 1 and 3. Winner of that plays on board 1, etc etc), so the end of the first event is all played on one side of the event away from any clusterfuck on the new event.

- Register for both events at the same time. I assume this is done already. If not, do so, if someone is wanting to register for just the second event, they have a deadline of three hours after the first events starts (which here would be around 13:30). If you can't handle registration for two events at once, start registration for the second event immediately after you've drawn the first. There's enough hanging around in the early stages for people to do so at some point while they wait.

- Immediately draw the second event.

- Highlight who has been eliminated from the first event already (this is a simple vlookup for the Excel geeks among us if you just grab a player list from Dart Connect of the live first event) so we can easily see what games can be played straight away.

- Start allocating matches to begin some small amount of time after the last of boards 17-32 have played their last game. Here you need to be able to work on the fly a little bit, given you're going to have players still active in the first tournament, but if you've done the first step you should be able to be ahead of the game to some extent. For ease of allocating games, you just need to do a bit of manual allocation for who will play the first couple of games - on the first set of games you're going to play, just allocate as many games as possible to players on board 1-4, maybe 5-8 if there's some space, whose boards are going to be in use for the first event through to the very late stages. Once they've got a head start, you can start assigning games to the boards that players would ordinarily be on, and given an hour you've got every other board available for everyone else to catch up.

This is not hard to do. It is not hard to do in the slightest. It just needs a bit of careful planning and organisation, which you would think an organisation with the word "professional" as the first word of their name would be able to do. Then again, if they can't work out if Alcinas was to retain his card until a few days before Q-School, then what do I know?

Monday 27 January 2020

Big weekend just gone

Let's look at the WDF first - Matt Campbell won an event in Canada which sadly only seemed to have the final on Dart Connect, while Wayne Warren and Nick Kenny claimed titles in Romania, some interesting new names coming through that I've not heard of before, and a few that haven't been seen for a bit.

To the PDC, and the first Challenge Tour weekend is in the bank - let's look at the winners, as due to the top heavy nature of it, they're going to get first dibs at the Players Championship events, through at least twelve and possibly fourteen of the events. Robert Collins? That's believable. Scott Mitchell (who I believe did enough on the remaining events to top the table, Erik did the table but I can't find the tweet right now)? That's very believable. Matt Dennant? Fine. Jitse van de Wal? Now that's a real oddball winner, but fair play to the lad, the Dutch production line keeps producing them, will be one to keep an eye out for in next weekend's Dutch Open.

We zoom forward towards the Dutch Open now, it's always a fun event to try to keep track of. It's rumoured to be on Dart Connect, but we'll wait and see, it's not there yet - hopefully at a minimum I can find a stream and get the key parts logged in the database - but something I'll do at some point this week is take another look at the Challenge Tour and how it's scheduled, and how they can speed things up a bit. Mitchell won his event after last orders, which is a bit silly - obviously if you're running through 300+ players twice it will take a while, but the matches do have one thing on Dart Connect - timestamps. Using those, and this could take a while, I should be able to demonstrate how they can speed things up by better using their resources. It's what project managers, or wage thieves as they're better known, refer to as a Gantt chart - I'll plot when each board is in use, and hopefully it should show a bloody huge leak in how they run these events. The only small problem is that the board that are listed on Dart Connect aren't the actual boards they are using - at least in the later stages when they're down through to the last 32 onwards and it filters down to using "boards 1-16", that Callum Francis played Jerry Hendriks between 8:03 and 8:20 on board 7 in event 4, while Boris Koltsov played Graham Usher between 8:11 and 8:24 on board 7 as well is kind of a clue, but if I spot where there's overlap and allocate the overlapping game to the lowest numbered board available, it should still demonstrate what they can do to fix things.

Monday 20 January 2020

Coverage of non-PDC events

With the WDF announcing a new ranking structure, I may as well put onto paper what levels I want to cover non-PDC events, so that I can try to get a better level of statistics from outside the main tour, so here's how far I plan to go down in each type of tournament (as always, this is reliant on statistics being available, with the growth of Dart Connect I would like to think I can get most of these):

Semi-finals - WDF Silver category tournaments
Quarter-finals - WDF Gold category tournaments, PDC Challenge/Development Tours, PDC-affiliated tours (SDC, CDC, DPA and Asian Tour)
Last 16 - WDF Platinum category tournaments (just the Dutch Open at present)
Last 32 - Any BDO major that runs, WDF "World Masters"
Full coverage - BDO worlds if applicable, WDF "World Championship"

As such, the Las Vegas Open's now in the books, and I have more stats on Danny Baggish than I had before the worlds...

Sunday 19 January 2020

Your 31 new tour card holders

So Q-School is done, so let's say, in increasing order of interest, who I'm most interested in seeing on tour over the next two years:

31 - Wayne Jones

Over the last couple of years, it's either been he's hit a disproportionate amount of twelve darters compared to the legs he's won, because that seems that's more or less the only way he's been able to win legs. Surely not going to be able to make that much of an impact.

30 - Steve Brown

Will probably be interesting to see where his game is actually at, up until the point where JDC commitments limit the amount he's actually able to do in terms of playing the tour, then he can't get anything going and just drops off after two years.

29 - Martin Atkins (Wigan)

He's been around for a while, and not done anything really remarkable, only just got over the line so will surely just be making up the numbers.

28 - Alan Tabern

Never that much of a fan of older players who've done not enough to retain their card, but do just enough to win it back. Seemed to show a little bit more than Jones so a little bit higher.

27 - Gary Blades

Kind of for the reasons I posted when he won his card - I just don't think he's good enough to be able to have a winning record on the tour. Maybe he can up his game, I don't know, if he's anything other than mediocre it's a bonus. Somewhat funking for him because of his name, but that's about it.

26 - Daniel Larsson

We've never really seen any Scandi's made a sustained impact on the tour, and I'm not convinced that Larsson will be able to do anything different. If he was a bit younger and showing an upward trend, I could believe things, but he's already 38 and wasn't impressive last year.

25 - Harald Leitinger

Perhaps this could be a bit higher given he's apparently alright in soft tip, but this just strikes of someone that won't be able to adapt to the full time nature of the tour given he's come from more or less nowhere.

24 - Peter Jacques

I think my only real interest is that he did show a pretty nice purple patch in 2017 that saw him get into the worlds, so there's something there. That there is something there is a bonus, so maybe that it's been basically absent for two years might be misleading if he's got through here.

23 - Kai Fan Leung

This is possibly misleadingly low. I'm hugely interested given what he's been able to do in this weekend - I'm just not convinced that he's actually going to play enough of the tour to make him worthy of a card. Maybe he stops around for a few months, gets some results and then decides to put in a full effort, that would be interesting. If he plays the first couple of months, wins £500 then heads back home, it's just be a waste of a card.

22 - Ryan Murray

Maybe I could have put the top qualifier from the points table higher. I don't know. I just look at his record, see he's been drakking around the Challenge Tour for years without ever really doing much of anything. Could easily be another one where he's hit some form at just the right time and it's unsustainable.

21 - Steffen Siepmann

Always nice to see more Germans on the tour, he's been gradually improving from where we've seen him on the Euro Tour, but I really don't think it's been enough to think he'll have any real chance of retaining his card.

20 - Darren Penhall

The main interest is in that I have no fucking clue who he is. He's crept over the line in the points table today, coming completely in from under the radar despite me having paid a decent amount of attention to this weekend. Could be that he ends up being outclassed at this level. If so, it may be at least a little bit of fun finding out.

19 - Aaron Beeney

Can't really justify putting him any higher. It's going to be an experience, and there may be a small amount of macabre entertainment to see how long it takes him to win a game, but that's about it really.

18 - Krzysztof Kcuik

He's had a little bit about him from where we've seen him now and again over the past two to three years. We saw with Kanik that the Eastern European guys were able to develop and do a little bit of damage, maybe it's the case with Kcuik that these two years are about getting the hang of a week in week out schedule, then he can come back stronger. He's still south of forty so there's enough time.

17 - William Borland

This could be potentially a little bit higher - it's good to see some younger Scottish players coming through, and he's going in the right direction, these two years should be the next stage in his development and do him a world of good, but I wonder if he's going to be ever so slightly outclassed.

16 - Derk Telnekes

He's been around the Dutch and BDO scene for a couple of years and has come through on the points table, but has he really done anything of note during that time? He's still fairly young, he did play Development Tour events last year, so maybe it's the right time for him to go full time and do something, I just think if he really had something about him we'd have seen more already.

15 - Andy Hamilton

The Hammer's back after a couple of years off the PDC circuit, that might have done him the world of good and he's able to come back invigorated and able to try to come back to the levels he was at a decade ago. Then again, he's not massively set the BDO on fire, he did a bit more in 2019, but 2018 was a bit of a truncated attempt. He's got the class, so if he can find it, it should be fun, if possibly sporadic.

14 - Boris Krcmar

I love the potential of soft tip players shifting over, he's very respected in that form of the game, and clearly has enough quality in the steel tip game to have gone over. The only question is why he didn't try it earlier? Maybe he has his reasons and he can jump on things and make an impact. We'll see.

13 - Jeff Smith

Similar to the Hammer, except the difference here is that he's been in a world final (albeit BDO) more recently, and with his Canadian location it's questionable as to how much he'll actually be able to play the circuit. I hope he gives it a go, we know what he can do, and after the tragedies he had with his business away from darts it'd be a feel good redemption story if he's able to make a real impression on the PDC circuit, plus having North American representation is always a good thing.

12 - Bradley Brooks

I'm always going to be somewhat impressed of someone who was able to win his card the first time at the age Bradley was able to do, gain the experience and have a few decent moments, then not let the initial experience of losing a card put him off at all, winning it straight back. He was one game away from the worlds in the PDPA qualifier, so maybe the last couple of months have seen an uptick in form and he can hit the ground running.

11 - Dirk van Duijvenbode

He's really good. Honestly. The numbers don't lie, he just needs to do it more consistently on the main circuit. The performances he put up in qualification are no joke, I think he just needs one decent result on a largish stage to put that whole Barney busted 180 issue behind him. It's coming, I think it's just a case of when.

10 - Adam Hunt

Winning the Q-School Order of Merit isn't easy, Hunt's been there or there abouts for a while now, and like Brooks he was also one game away from making the worlds in the PDPA qualifer, he's still fairly young and may have accumulated enough experience at this stage where he can actually make a tour card stick after two years.

9 - Nick Kenny

There's been a lot of people talking up his performances on the BDO circuit this season, so I think I'm going to give them enough credit to put him up this high. He got up to the number 6 seed for a reason and is still a few years away from 30, so maybe 2019 was the year that the senior circuit's started to click, and his game is in the place where he can properly attack the PDC scene. We'll see.

8 - Karel Sedlacek

Always exciting to see new nations represented on the PDC scene, and Karel winning through to become the first Czech player to get a tour card is going to be exciting. At the very least, seeing him in Prague is going to be an experience, but I get the feeling it's just a case of opportunity. Maybe not straight away, but maybe it's a case of a Suljovic or a Ratajski that it takes a bit of time, and then he explodes. We've seen spurts at least, so it's a possibility.

7 - Mike de Decker

The Belgian's been on the fringes of the main circuit for a while now, and has won his card back after a couple of year absence - still developing, and developing strongly given his performances in the European Tour in 2019, this feels about the right time for Mike to properly transition to the senior circuit.

6 - Jason Lowe

This might seem quite low, but the guy appears really good. From what people have said he's been bossing the lower reaches of darts which aren't really tracked by major sites, but when we last saw him on the PDC, he looked in great form in the early stages of 2018. If he's not dropped off much in levels from then, and just hasn't been appearing when we can see him, then it's entirely feasible he can jump straight in and show up in the worlds from the Pro Tour in twelve months time.

5 - Scott Waites

How much is he going to play? That's the critical question. I think everyone wanted to see Scott on the PDC circuit 5-10 years ago, it's simply never happened for one reason or another, and what he did play on the BDO scene hasn't been extensive. If, and it is an if, he puts everything into it and gives it a full two years at 100%, then we know Waites' upside and it could be very exciting indeed. We'll see what happens but the potential is there.

4 - Martijn Kleermaker

What's interesting about Kleermaker is that he's had an exceptional twelve to eighteen months on the floor - which is where he's going to need to do things, at least initially, if he's going to make an impact on the PDC. From what he's been saying it seems like he couldn't wait to make the switch, he's done so, all the quality is there, I've got the sense that he's going to be another Danny Noppert-type switcher that might start to come truly good given a year or two.

3 - Wesley Harms

Wesley got to where he was seeded in this year's BDO worlds for a reason. He's shown resilience - he was impressive earlier in the decade, then dropped for a few years, now has made a resurgence to get to the levels where he currently is. While he's been around for a while, he's only 35, so has the combination of a good level of BDO senior experience while not being too old to really make a difference.

2 - Damon Heta

We need another player from Damon's area of the world to start pushing through, following Whitlock's seemingly gradual decline, Anderson's inconsistency, Cadby's off-oche issues and Harris just failing to get onto the circuit yet again. It's a bit rare to see someone that's won a PDC TV title only just winning a card, but we saw then what Heta is able to do, the big question now is how he's able to make the difficult transition to the other side of the world.

1 - Lisa Ashton

Can there be any other number one pick? Sherrock made the headlines, but this is a far bigger story. Ashton winning through a completely non-segregated qualifier to get onto the main tour for a two year span, is what's really making the breakthrough for ladies' darts. It's an enormous event. It sets up the possibility where we could realistically get five ladies into next year's worlds - Ashton through the Pro Tour if she's able to step up, as I think she can, and if Suzuki can do the business on the Asian Tour and Dobromyslova can play the EADC, then it's not beyond the realms of possibility.

Q-School proposed reforms

Well today's not got off to a good start, Richardson, Asada and Vandenboegaerde are all done already, Ashton's not added to her overnight tally so is very much hanging on and hoping that the eventual winners have a bunch of points already, so as promised earlier, here's how I would reform Q-School. This is very similar to something I have previously posted, but I can't for the life of me find the post, so I won't link it. I'll outline a bunch of principles first:

1) It should be easy to administer

This is the foremost one. There's no point in suggesting a brilliant new system that'll perfectly produce the best results if it's impossible to run. The PDC would need to operate it so it needs to be realistic.

2) It should be easy to understand

There's plenty of players in the darting community that don't seem like they're the sharpest knifes in the drawer, so it's got to be fairly straightforward. This, in combination with point 1, is probably a bit reason why they have the system that we have at the moment.

3) It should be more equitable than the current system

We all want the best players to be playing in the PDC, so any proposed changes should make it more realistic for the best players to come through at the end.

4) It shouldn't prevent anyone who wants to come and have a go to do so

There's always talk at this time of year that there should be some sort of limitation on who gets to play, be it some pre-qualifier, some sort of average requirement (yes, really), whatever - Barry's always said that it's a meritocracy so that as long as you make him money as long as you're good enough, there should be a pathway open.

5) It should be easily expandable

The number of players entering seems to show no sign of slowing down (although given the BDO system can't possibly get any lower, this may tail off slightly), so any system should be able to cope with ever increasing numbers.

6) It should require players to commit to four days

This is, for all intents and purposes, a job interview. If you can't take it seriously enough to commit to taking 2-3 days off your day job then you shouldn't be playing it.

So, with those points in mind, here's how I would go about things. The first thing I would do is, for each venue, is to seed 64/96/128 players, not in any particular order, more just so that they can be evenly distributed and prevent any real difficult boards on day 1 with two, three or four on each board. I would go with seeding:

- Any players who have lost their tour card from the previous year
- Any players who are in the top 16 of the Challenge/Development tours
- Any players who are in the top 4 of PDC-affiliated tours
- Any players who have qualified for the WDF's season ending event
- The semi finalists from whatever ladies' worlds we have going forward
- Top up with players alternating from the Challenge/Development Tours until we hit the magic number.

Once that's in play, we draw however many out for each of the 32 boards evenly, then draw out everyone else as evenly as possible to a board.

Day 1 - Cut to 256 players

The first thing to do is to get to a manageable number of players. If you want to be a "fun" player, then go ahead, but you're probably only going to be around for one day. On each board, you basically play King of the Hill, or winner stops on, or whatever you want to call it. Each board:

- Randomly orders the players into a list, the first two throw for the bull and play one leg
- The winner stays on, the loser goes to the back of the list
- The next player comes in and has the darts in the next leg
- Repeat until everyone has had two opportunities to play
- Whoever is the winner at that point stays on the board, but the list is then redrawn to prevent the possibility of the same matches taking place over and over. Keep redrawing every two orbits.
- Once someone has reached some set number of legs (back of a fag packet calculations give between 8 and 10 as the magic number), they have qualified for day 2 and take no further part. They vacate the board, the loser goes to the back of the queue as normal, then the next two bull up and we continue as normal.
- Repeat until we have players ordered 1-8 who've got the required number of legs. They all qualify, everyone else is eliminated.

I think this works well. If you're good enough to be able to play at the PDC level, you should be able to get a string of games where you keep breaking and pushing your points tally up. There's no theoretical maximum of how many players this can accommodate. Every player has their chances - you come in with the darts, if you can't hold your throw at this level then that's too bad. It's also not a complicated system - anyone who's here has probably been in their local at some point and there's been winner stops on, it's very straight forward.

Day 2 - Cut to 128 players

Here's where we go to a Swiss format. For those who haven't seen it before, a Swiss tournament lasts a certain number of rounds, and in each round you play someone with the same won-loss record as yourself. This can be organised without a huge amount of complication. We've got lists from 1-8 for each board from yesterday, draw so each board has a player 1, player 2 etc as they finished on day 1. Then they all play 3 games like so:

Intuitively this shouldn't be too hard to understand if you've ever player a knockout - you know in one of those who you'll play if you win a match, the only twist here is that it works both ways - you know who you'll play if you lose a match as well.

You'll then have eight players labelled as the winner and loser of each of matches 9-12. You then repeat the cycle once more, pairing eight winners of match 9 on each of four boards, eight losers of match 9 on each of four boards, and so on. Like the first stage of day 2, this can be pre-drawn and highlighted so that everyone can know where they're going for the first three games of the day, and then once you've played those, you know which board you're going to dependent on your results. This can be drawn the night before for added clarity.

Once you have five wins on the day, you have qualified for day 3. If you have five losses on the day, you're eliminated. After the second cycle, you'll have 28 players already through, 28 players out, and then the remainder on between 2 and 4 wins (and losses). At this point it doesn't easily break down into the same multiples, so you'd need to draw round by round. For the seventh round, players with a 4-2 record play other players on 4-2, winners advance, similar with players on 2-4 except here the loser goes home, while players on 3-3 will end up on 4-3 or 3-4. Round 8 is similar, players on 4-3 go up against each other to advance, players on 3-4 play to survive, then the final round will see everyone on 4-4 play one more match where you'll make day 3 or go home. 128 players will get through the day and come back for day 3.

This involves quite a large number of games on each board, so I imagine to have things finish at a reasonable time, you'd probably be limited to a best of 7 format. That's fairly short, but Q-School is only best of nine now, and you're given plenty of chances to get the job done.

Day 3 - Cut to 64 players

On day 3, we do a similar process, except as we have less players, we have a bit more time - here the "correct" number of matches to play a field of this size without having the possibility of players with different records facing each other is to get to four wins. With half the number of players and two less rounds to play, you can easily extend to best of eleven matches, i.e. a standard Pro Tour length match. Rather than assigning eight players to each board, you assign four players to each board for pairs of matches - first game is random, second game is winner v winner and loser v loser. This'll leave you with 32 players on 2-0, 64 on 1-1 and 32 on 0-2. Group four players together with the same record and repeat the cycle. After this, you'll have eight players through, eight players out, 32 on 3-1, 48 on 2-2 and 32 on 1-3. Group into fours again - the 3-1 groups will see three players advance, the 1-3 groups will see three players eliminated, the 2-2 groups will see one through, one out and the remaining two on 3-3. Finally, you'll have 40 players on 3-3, each of them plays another, and you get your final 20 players making day four.

At a maximum of thirteen games on a board, this isn't the longest day even at best of eleven - it may be more sensible to have the last couple of rounds of day 2 come back this morning to finish off to balance the lengths of the days a little bit. This also gives more incentive for players to get through early on day 2.

Day 4 - all play all for the cards

We're down to 64, and we have 32 boards available. Everyone can play at the same time. Could we eliminate any form of randomness whatsoever and have everyone play everyone else? Let's do some maths - if we assume just one leg on throw each against each other, and some time to work around between each game, I would have thought you could get through five matches per hour. With there surely being few players that are poor left, they should be able to get through a leg each and move to the next board in less than twelve minutes, particularly if you are clever with the scheduling. This isn't too hard, set up four pools of players labelled A-D. Have pool A start on boards 1-16 and not move. Have pool B play them and move down one board each time. Meanwhile pools C/D are doing similar on board 17-32. Once all games are done, take a short break, then have A play D and B play C in a similar fashion (switching the groups which stay still so you've not got the same set of players continually moving boards). Have the last two sets of boards play off, then finally you just need to play the players in each pool against one another - this can be pre-ordered on a set of eight boards to minimise movement.

This'd probably be the longest day, but I don't think it would take substantially longer than the current setup, or a current Challenge Tour day, and it has the huge advantage that there is *no* possible unfair draws, as you play every possible opponent. Sort by legs won, then assign cards.

That took longer than I thought to post - looking through Twitter it looks like Kleermaker, Telnekes, van Duijvenbode and Larsson have clinched cards, while Harms, Kciuk and Krcmar are all very close, the UK's a bit more of a mess but it looks like Edhouse is probably the biggest casualty since I started writing. Back later with the full roundup.

Saturday 18 January 2020

Q-School day 3

Getting close to the business end now, first our direct tour card winners. First guy in was Karel Sedlacek - should be familiar to most, previous world championship contender, European Tour quarter finalist, very welcome addition to the tour who beat Berry van Peer in the final, along with some decent scalps beforehand. Second player is Jeff Smith, had a fairly quiet 2019, but the Canadian's back on the pro circuit, denying Seigo Asada in the final, didn't have the trickiest run, but we know what he can do when he's on it, question is how much he'll be able to play really. Finally we have Aaron Beeney. OK then, here's what he's done previously to this weekend:

That's, er, not great, and it's from a year ago, here's what he did today, after losing 5-1 yesterday with a 65 average and 5-4 on Thursday with another sub-70 average:

Jesus christ. He's won EVERY game from the last 128 onwards averaging lower than his opponent, and hasn't broken 90 in a single match. I don't recognise a single player he's faced up until he got through to Dave Ladley (Ricky Clarke I guess rings a slight bell?), and even then it's not exactly the top tier of possible opponents. When you consider from the last sixteen stage the other half had, as well as Smith and Asada, John Bowles, Paul Nicholson, Ryan Murray (maybe not that well known but he has 14 points already and is effectively guaranteed a card), Lee Evans, Ryan Hogarth and Willie Borland, that's a sign of how silly Q-School is. I've posted several times previously in the past about how you could reform Q-School to make it more equitable, fairer and give the cream every chance to rise to the top, while still not being difficult to administer, I'll repost something later.

So, to the points. The UK qualifier is a bit easier. Murray's in, Hamilton's effectively in, Heta and Jacques are both on 11 and should be fine, Steve Brown's stuck on 10 and will stay on 10 as he says he has some JDC stuff to fix, will that be enough? Ashton, Tabern, Hunt, and Atkins (I assume Wigan) are all on 9 and could do with another couple of points to be absolutely safe. Pilgrim is on 8, then there's a whole clutch of players on 6/7 points who could do with winning their board as a very minimum to stand a chance. Nicholson, Fitton and Richardson are some obviously notable ones aside from a few players who went deep today that have already been mentioned. Think Edhouse is on 5 or 6 as well (I'm counting 7, but I think he was missed on the PDC graphic? [edit - missed him in the bottom left, he is on 7])

On the EU side, it's a right mess. Kleermaker, Telnekes, van Duijvenbode and van Peer are all on 12. Larsson, Tricole and Kciuk are a point back. There's only seven cards on countback so everyone else is outside. Harms and Krcmar are one off, Munch, Lerchbacher and Rusty-Jake are two off, then it expands exponentially - Harris, Huybrechts, Nilsson and Vandenboegaerde are all on 8.

There's quite a few big names who are in bink only mode - in Europe you're needing 5/6 by now to stand any chance without binking it all, so Perales, Koltsov, Nijman, Pratnemer are looking in real trouble, probably chuck Veenstra, Mandigers and Unterbuchner in as well. In the UK you're probably needing about the same, so Jim Williams, Menzies, Burton, David Evans, Norris, Jenkins, Barry, McKinstry, Mitchell, Rafferty, Fullwell, Monk, Sherrock, Waites (if he shows up again), and Scott Taylor (same) are all needing that miracle run.

Friday 17 January 2020

Q-School day 2

Second day's in the books, and we got some known winners. Let's start with the Euro qualifier, where Mike de Decker got his card after a year of more or less qualifying every weekend for the Euro Tour events from the associate qualifier, certainly seems well deserved and will be a great addition to the tour. He beat out Dennis Nilsson, who after a bad first day put himself into contention to get a card, as did everyone else who made the quarters, as nobody at that stage had a great day 1. Kleermaker's more or less a lock now after a last 16 run, it'd be hard to shift Sedlacek after the same, while Tricole hitting another last 16 has put himself into a solid position along with Krcmar adding a couple of points today.

To the UK. Bradley Brooks is back on the tour, he won through over Damon Heta, scary to think he's burned through one tour card already, won a second, and he's not even twenty. It's an unorthodox way to develop, but it's clearly working if he's won the card outright straight back again. The other outright winner is Kai Fan Leung, who's been putting up some silly averages over both days and got home, just about, over Lisa Ashton, who was the talk of the twittersphere this afternoon/evening. I don't think I'm the only one that thinks that if Ashton would have won the card outright, that'd have been a far, far greater achievement than Sherrock winning a couple of games at the worlds. Oh well. I guess the thing we really need to hope from here is that Leung actually uses the card, unlike how Royden Lam did next to nothing after he won it, apparently according to some social media quotes, he's "thinking" about bringing his family here. OK then. Maybe just suck it up here for three months and see how it goes.

On the countback in the UK, Ashton's obviously in a great spot on nine already, as is Heta - it'd take a calamitous collapse or back to back horror draws for them not to get the one or two points that'd make them secure. There's a good few familiar names up there - an odd one is Steve Brown from nowhere leading the table with Ryan Murray. Andy Hamilton, Adam Hunt, Tony Newell and James Richardson all hold countback spots right now, while Ritchie Edhouse and Andrew Gilding are just outside looking in. It doesn't take a huge deal to get in right now, but if you've not got anything right now, a bad Saturday will make things out of reach for sure. Mitchell, Asada, Scott Taylor, Monk, Barry, Jenkins, Suzuki, Waites - none of them have scored a point. If you think that you need five to get on right now, and there's plenty of people on 3-4 who may well push up to six or more after tomorrow, you need to set some sort of platform to attack on Sunday as a minimum. Remember that 10 points wasn't enough for everyone last year. Plenty of people just on a single point - Fullwell, McKinstry, Williams and Rafferty all need to do something desperately tomorrow.

Interesting news from the WDF today as well:

So they're basically saying that when the BDO goes busto, they'll take over the World Masters, and have a largish end of season event similar to the current BDO worlds, which is exactly what I said they should intend on doing. This is nice to see.

Thursday 16 January 2020

Jeremy Dolan v Eight Ace

I love my Viz, it's a great Northern institution which while apparently not being as funny as it used to be, at least according to my old Geordie housemate, still brings a chuckle now and then. One of my favourite strips was Eight Ace, where our titular hero continually fails in whatever he's trying to do due to regular consumption of eight cans of Ace beer.

Now let's suppose that today, he has been entrusted with £451.49 worth of TA Towers' slush fund, with the sole goal of registering for Q-School and winning just one match, leaving £1.49 for expenses. Alas, that is just enough money to purchase the regular eight cans of Ace, and our hero is completely twatted. He can see the board, he can throw just about well enough that we know he will hit the board, but we have no clue where he's going to hit. It's completely random. He's fucked, right?

Wait. His opponent is the current star of the Twittersphere, Jeremy Dolan. He's achieved some form of notoriety for achieving this great game against former world finalist Mark Dudbridge earlier today:

That's, shall we say, not the greatest standard. 32.67 per visit would definitely not get you your bus fare home, which is what it's rumoured quarter final losers at the BDO worlds won, in comparison to Jim Williams' speedboat. But is it good enough to beat Fulchester's finest?

What we need to do is, assuming Mr Ace's throws at the board are randomly distributed, is to calculate the size of each scoring segment of the board, and then go from there. Oddly enough, while the metrics for actually mounting a dartboard are fairly well known, the actual dimensions of each scoring area took more than two seconds to Google, so let's quote what some Australian site is saying (assuming their server hasn't caught fire since I looked it up earlier... oh wait, it's based in Perth so we're fine):

Bull radius: 6.35mm
25 radius: 15.9mm
Inside treble wire radius: 107mm
Outer treble wire radius: 115mm
Inside double wire radius: 162mm
Outside double wire radius: 170mm

So, using our trusty pi*r^2 area calculations, we know there's 90792 square millimetres of surface area which Ace can hit. Of which:

- 126.7 mm^2 is the bull
- 794.2 mm^2 is the bull and 25 combined, so 667.5 mm^2 is the 25 segment itself
- 35968.1 mm^2 is inside the inner treble wire - so 35173.9 mm^2 is the thin single numbers
- 41547.6 mm^2 is inside the outer treble wire - so 5579.5 mm^2 is our trebles
- 82448 mm^2 is inside the inner double wire - so 40900.4 mm^2 is the big numbers
- Which leaves 8344 mm^2 to be our double sector.

Those are our figures. Now, as Ace is throwing completely randomly, we don't need to bother calculating every single segment - we just assume he's hitting a wedge between 1 and 20 randomly, which is 10.5 on average. So, what we need to calculate is:

(126.7*50 + 667.5*25 + 35173.9*10.5 + 5579.5*31.5 + 40900.4*10.5 + 8344*21)/90792

This, to the best of my drunken calculator work, gives us an average of slightly less than 12.92 per dart, or a three dart average of 38.75. Hooray! Ace is averaging more than Dolan is!

Now of course, this doesn't take into account that Ace will have absolutely no realistic chance of hitting a double to win a leg in any reasonable time, and Dolan being able to see where the double is likely helps matters. Then again, at the same time, remember everything that I've always said about averages - they rise in comparison to what they'd normally be if you play against a better player, as you're not throwing at doubles. We have no clue whatsoever what Jeremy's checkout percentage is, as he didn't get below 230 in any leg he played, although we can probably have a guess.

Let me finish by saying this is in no way intended to take the piss - if someone wants to pony up nearly half a grand to roll up, have a laugh and maybe draw someone notable (as Jeremy's managed to do in drawing a former world finalist), then that's perfectly fine. Whether the PDC still thinks it's a good idea to just have straight knockouts and not switch to a Swiss format to trim the worst of the field after each day, that's their problem to answer.

Edit - botched some of the initial maths by using a diameter rather than radius for the double rings, now altered and the random average actually went up. Want to validate it again tomorrow, but if we think that picking a number at random between 1 and 20 is 10.5, and doing it three times gives you 31.5, then that'd be what we'd have if there were no doubles, trebles or bulls

Q-School day 1

First day is in the books and we have our first three card holders. We'll start in the UK, where Jason Lowe claimed his card, he's seemingly dropped off the scene a bit in the last 18 months, at least according to dartsdatabase, but looked pretty decent the last time we saw him (he was a Pro Tour semi finalist in 2018 and did well at the UK Open) so should be able to hold his own. Gary Blades claimed the other card, which is a bit of a weird one after claiming less than a grand on the Challenge Tour last year and only making the last 128 at Q-School on one day in 2019, so I'm a bit sceptical if he isn't going to go straight back down at the end of 2021. In Europe, a complete unknown in Harald Leitinger won the card, apparently he's more of a soft tip guy if what I've been reading on Twitter is remotely accurate. Very surprising one, but the list of players he beat to win the card is legitimate so fair play to the lad.

More or less everyone useful got selected in the predictamania, having a very decent day of those to not win cards was Martijn Kleermaker who lost the final to Leitinger, this kind of has a feel of McGeeney last year in that he'll surely do enough to get the card in the bag by the end of day 2. Also picking up useful chunks of points were soft tip specialist Boris Krcmar, former world finalist Andy Hamilton, American Dan Lauby, perennial card holder Tony Newell and Czech ace Karel Sedlacek.

The likes of Hunt, Telnekes, de Graaf, Harms, Plaisier, Koltsov, Brooks, Heta, Evans, Ashton, Edhouse, Vandenboegarde, de Decker, Wayne Jones and Lerchbacher were all able to make the last 32 or better and set a solid enough foundation. On the ladies side, Sherrock was able to grab a couple of points, while Suzuki failed to score.

Other players who also with a bad day one include Jenkins, Monk, Menzies, Barry, McKinstry, Dennant, Rafferty, Fullwell, Veenstra, Mitchell, Scott Taylor, Waites, Asada, Burton and Nijman, who could do with a board win as a minimum tomorrow, otherwise it may well be too much to catch up on already unless they bink. A couple of people picked Simon Stevenson - he didn't show (we know about Warren and Kurz already), but that's because Cadby resigned his card earlier, which is a bit late to do so, but there you go. Sorry, no refunds on the zero points you'll get.

Tuesday 14 January 2020

Q-School Predictamania

The list of 853 (!) runners across the two events is up, it looks like Alcinas has retained his card, there's 20 available at the UK event and 11 at the European event, so let's play a little game. I'll pick my runners, and will award 20 points if they win a card, and 1 point per point they win if they don't, so 620 points available. I'm going to go with:

1 Seigo Asada
2 Keane Barry
3 Stephen Burton
4 Kevin Dowling
5 Ritchie Edhouse
6 David Evans
7 Nick Fullwell
8 Damon Heta
9 Pete Hudson
10 Andy Jenkins
11 Darren Johnson
12 Kyle McKinstry
13 Cameron Menzies
14 Scott Mitchell
15 Arron Monk
16 Nathan Rafferty
17 James Richardson
18 Mikuru Suzuki
19 Wayne Warren
20 Jim Williams

1 Mike de Decker
2 Wesley Harms
3 Cody Harris
4 Martijn Kleermaker
5 Nico Kurz
6 Wessel Nijman
7 Wesley Plaisier
8 Karel Sedlacek
9 Dirk van Duijvenbode
10 Mario Vandenboegarde
11 Jose Justicia

Will post out on Twitter and see if anyone else wants a shot, post in the comments if you want.

Edit - there's 11 spots in the Euro one and I only picked 10, idiot, I'll tack on Justicia as the eleventh guy. And even though Kurz is apparently only playing the one day I'll live and die by my lack of research

Monday 13 January 2020

Tungsten Analysis 2019 Awards

So, Wayne Warren did it. What a story, I'm so pleased he's been able to get the title, pity for Jim, but Wayne played the better darts throughout the week and deserves it in my opinion. There wasn't a great deal to separate the two in fairness, at least in the final, Wayne just managed to nick enough of the key legs.

2019's done. We're just a couple of days away from Q-School, but let's look back before we look forward, and as such, here's my take on the best and worst of the last twelve months in darts. A reminder - players can only win one of the top four individual awards, we don't do stupid things like having Gareth Bale win Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year in the same season. Without further ado, the awards:

Best single tournament performance

Previous winners:
2017 - Phil Taylor, World Matchplay
2018 - Gary Anderson, World Matchplay

Nominees: Ian White, Dutch Darts Masters, Damon Heta, Brisbane Masters, Gerwyn Price, Grand Slam of Darts

Winner - Peter Wright, World Championship

It was very close between Price and Wright for this one. I think the tipping point had to be that Wright beat the two best players in the world in back to back long games in order to claim the biggest title of them all, having previously come through two extremely tough games against the best that Asia has to offer, and then two more very tough games against the best of the young up and comers. He needed to dodge match darts, stem off comebacks, and overcome the end boss in the biggest match of his life. And he did. Price's retaining of the Grand Slam was incredible, beating Gary Anderson in a repeat of the final, finally beating van Gerwen and then taking out who's now the world champion in a very one sided final. Some other ones to mention - White being able to beat van Gerwen in van Gerwen's backyard, in the final, having come through Wright and two other Dutchmen on the same day is a great achievement, and Damon Heta wasn't expected to do that much in the World Series, so to take out four major champions in doing so is worthy of a mention.

Match of the season

Previous winners:
2017 - Rob Cross v Michael van Gerwen, World Championship
2018 - Gary Anderson v Mensur Suljovic, World Matchplay

Nominees: Jeffrey de Zwaan v Dave Chisnall, World Championship, Glen Durrant v Michael van Gerwen, World Matchplay, Michael van Gerwen v Gerwyn Price, Players Championship Finals, Adrian Lewis v Darren Webster, World Championship

Winner - Peter Wright v Noel Malicdem, World Championship

I'm biased, because I was there for the match, but this had everything - an established major winner against someone from a developing area of the world, which had tension and drama aplenty as the game went the distance and kept the fans on their feet throughout. It didn't seem like there were a massive number of high quality games outside of the worlds, which is a bit odd - the Durrant against van Gerwen clash didn't disappoint given the level of hype that there was about the game, and similarly with van Gerwen's against Price saw the clear best two players in the world at that time go toe to toe for nearly the full distance. Most games either were either high quality but one sided, or if they were close, didn't reach the real heights we'd want. So I feel compelled to pick lots of games from Ally Pally - the Webster/Lewis game was real hard to pick a winner and featured one of the best sets we'd seen ever, while the de Zwaan against Chisnall match was a seven set thriller of incredible standard that probably cost Chisnall a Premier League place. For notability, could probably chuck in any of Sherrock's matches as well, or Suzuki against Richardson.

Most disappointing season

Previous winners:
2017 - Benito van de Pas
2018 - Rob Cross

Nominees: Darren Webster, Steve West, Michael Barnard, Richard North, Jamie Lewis

Winner - Raymond van Barneveld

There's plenty of possibilities here - Webster for sure has had some injury issues and has really struggled, West seems like a fraction of his former self, dropping from near the top 20 to probably out of the top 32 very shortly, Barnard's complete collapse in form following his domination of the Challenge Tour is shocking, Jamie Lewis hasn't done much for a few years now but this year hasn't even had the world championship to bail himself out, while Richard North was looking like he could possibly push towards the top 32, but instead will be in a fight to save his tour card. But there can be only one winner here, and that's Barney in his final season. The whole Premier League saw him look like he was going through the motions, then we had the whole 24 hours of retirement farce, when he did play ranked events he was out in the early rounds very frequently, then just when it looked like he might have one last hurrah at the worlds, the decent showing at Minehead was the ultimate false dawn as his final appearance was a huge damp squib against Darin Young. It's all the more disappointing as we know that's it.

Best young player

Previous winners:
2017 - Justin van Tergouw
2018 - Luke Humphries/Leighton Bennett

Nominees: Leighton Bennett, Beau Greaves, Ted Evetts, Callan Rydz, Adam Gawlas, Luke Humphries

Winner - Keane Barry

Where do we start here? The two youth players who we've seen in the BDO as they're too young for the PDC speak for themselves - Greaves getting seeded for the worlds and Bennett coming very close to doing so himself. Ted Evetts completely destroyed the Development Tour, picking up eight titles and looking like he's very close to making huge inroads on the senior circuit, while Callan Rydz was able to win the Challenge Tour after two seasons of coming incredibly close to getting his tour card outright and not looking out of place on stage or on the floor when having the opportunities that his Challenge Tour performances allowed him. Gawlas has been a revelation from absolutely nowhere at an incredibly young age, and is one that could be dangerous in the ever developing eastern European territories, while Luke Humphries claimed the world youth and only fell at the quarters in the worlds themselves to the eventual winner. But I think I have to give it to Barry based on the whole "there's no age limit, but as you get older you need to do more" criteria. Keane won the BDO world youth and World Youth Masters. He won the JDC world youth. It was only Humphries that stopped in the PDC world youth. He won the Tom Kirby and looked solid in his senior worlds debut, and has started doing the business on the BDO senior stage. And he can't legally have a pint yet.

Most disappointing news of the season

Previous winners:
2017 - Phil Taylor still not getting it quietly
2018 - Everything to do with the UK Open

Nominees: Gary Anderson withdrawing from the Premier League, Corey Cadby continuing to be out of action, continued snubbing of certain players for invitational events

Winner - Everything to do with the BDO

There's not a huge deal to choose from this year. Ando not being able to play the Premier League was an irritant, but it gave us the Contenders as an alternative which seems to have worked well enough for them to repeat it next season as well. Cadby only appearing for a couple of months before more issues arose is so annoying as we all want the best players to play in the same place, but is he even that any more? Additionally we keep seeing the likes of Ian White and others being passed up for events which they deserve to play in on merit which massively grinds my gears. There's only one winner though, and that's the BDO. Everything to do with it. That their two biggest events have been clusterfucks to end all clusterfucks only scratches the surface. We've all seen just recently what's happened with the prize funds, continual social media failures and general poor production with their worlds, and we all remember the whole draw/fake draw shenanigans from the World Masters. They're surely on borrowed time at this stage.

Personal highlight of the season

Previous winners:
2017 - Mensur Suljovic wins the Champions League
2018 - Ian White claims a European Tour title

Nominees: Peter Wright finally claiming a big major, Joe Cullen finally getting a European Tour title, Callan Rydz getting his tour card, Glen Durrant finally opting to switch and not disappointing

Winner - The explosion in quality from non-traditional areas

Will explain that one in a second, but let's go through the others - Rydz came so agonisingly close the last couple of seasons, so for Callan to be able to get his card without having to go through the gauntlet that is Q-School is incredibly pleasing. Cullen getting over the line on the Euro Tour, over van Gerwen of all people, and deserving the win after so many last session appearances was very nice to see, similarly it was so good to see Peter Wright claiming the big one. Finally, Glen actually making the switch, getting his card (just), and then going and showing why most of us in the know thought him to be a top ten player. But the winner has to be the game growing exponentially all around the world. Let's just look at the worlds - all the CDC players looked competitive. The ladies looked very, very good. The Asian Tour goes from strength to strength. The DPA circuit has given us another World Series winner. We've had breakthroughs from players in Poland, Portugal, Spain, France, Romania, even slightly more traditional areas such as Ireland are at the highest levels they've ever been. Japan made the World Cup semi final. The game on a global scale has never been so healthy.

Best new tour card holder

Previous winners:
2017 - Richard North
2018 - Danny Noppert

Nominees: Jamie Hughes, Jose de Sousa, Harry Ward

Winner - Glen Durrant

There can only be one winner here, can't there? Hughes has had a very good season, good enough to win a Euro Tour and make the Matchplay on not even a full year's worth of events. de Sousa's come from relative obscurity to win two titles and play at a level that's solidly in the top 32. Ward deserves a mention more or less solely for having won a Pro Tour title as well. But it has to be Glen and it's not even close. Three major semi finals, multiple ranking titles, world quarter finals, into the Premier League. It's the easiest selection of any of these.

Most improved player

Previous winners:
2017 - Daryl Gurney
2018 - Jeffrey de Zwaan

Nominees: Jose de Sousa, Gerwyn Price, Fallon Sherrock, Luke Woodhouse, Krzysztof Ratajski

Winner - Nathan Aspinall

Last year, we were wondering whether Nathan's semi final run was a bit of a fluke. One major title, another televised title, a second world championship semi final and a Premier League place later, and it's not. He looks a danger to win any event he enters now, and we can see him defeat the likes of van Gerwen, Cross etc and we don't bat an eyelid. He's come on that much. Elsewhere, Fallon Sherrock is an obvious mention, coming from someone who most people didn't think was in the top four or five women in the world to someone who's beaten one of the deadliest young players in the world and then a Premier League player is remarkable. Gerwyn Price has continued to rise from someone who's in and around the Premier League, to being in a very short list of players we think can realistically claim major titles. Ratajski continues to up his game, claiming a European Tour title and putting up statistics that leave him in or around the top 10 in the world. de Sousa's ascent from being an interesting player to get a tour card to being a multiple title winner is very quick indeed, while I also have to give a mention to Luke Woodhouse, who didn't do much in his first year with a card, but this year did enough to make the year end majors and look extremely good on the stage with wins over Michael Smith and Daryl Gurney.

Player of the year

Previous winners:
2017 - Rob Cross
2018 - Gary Anderson

Nominees: Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price, Rob Cross

Winner - Michael van Gerwen

This is an incredibly tough one to call. I think it can only go to one of the top four players in the Order of Merit, the FRH rankings, all of whom are in the top five of points per turn this season. Despite him having a season that he'd probably think was disappointing, I think I have to give it to van Gerwen. He claimed two major ranking titles. He swept the non-ranking major titles. He won multiple European Tour events to lead that order of merit by some distance, and it was only players hitting absolute peak form at the right times that stopped him from possibly claiming more titles. Of the others - Wright won the world title, but one event does not make you player of the year, he had a nice purple patch just in the run up to the Matchplay, and won the World Cup, but there's not a huge amount on top of that. Price was able to retain his Grand Slam title, finish top of the Players Championship order of merit and reach that series' final, but similarly had a few early exits in majors which he might have avoided. Finally, Rob Cross needs mentioning for having added to his major title haul with the Matchplay and European Championship, reach another couple of finals in the Premier League and UK Open, but would it surprise you if I said Cross didn't win a non-televised event all year?

There we go. I'm sure plenty will think some of those picks controversial, but we like controversy here. Back maybe Wednesday with some shots in the dark at who's going to get through Q-School, once we know the final entry list.

Sunday 12 January 2020

Just on the ladies for one second

I thought I'd have a quick look at what Ashton and Suzuki did over the course of the tournament:

That's fifty legs they've won between them, and only ten of them were in fifteen darts or less. In comparison, when Sherrock had her run at the worlds, she won 32 legs - twenty of which were in five visits or better, four of which were twelves or better. While Mikuru did play somewhat better in her PDC appearances (9/17 five visit legs won for a near 88 winning PPT, and near 84 overall), this does highlight some of the perils of using numbers at what are lower levels of play - against better opposition, how many of those seven visit kills get turned into losing legs? It's why I'm wanting to be incredibly careful if I want to incorporate more non-PDC, and PDC events that aren't on the main tour, into the database.

Of course, it's perfectly possible that neither player is was playing at 100% on account of the whole BDO fiasco, and that, at least in earlier rounds, they didn't really need to. But it's something to be aware of, and these figures somewhat highlight why people are saying that it's going to be probably odds against that any of the ladies' players come away with a tour card.

BDO final

So, despite the best efforts of the BDO to suggest otherwise:

We do have an all-Welsh final between Wayne Warren and Jim Williams, for the final (probably) BDO world title and prize money of somewhere between their bus fare home and maybe what you get for winning a Players Championship event. Perhaps. Who knows. I've shoved all the data from the worlds into the master computer, and I think Wayne's playing slightly better. He's got the most twelve dart legs of anyone, is finishing his legs at a decent enough 56% clip in fifteen darts or better (while this isn't incredible, it's 15% better than what Jim's been doing), and his points per turn is less than a tenth of a point below 90, which really isn't too shabby at all - there's only four players that are above that mark, and only Kleermaker and Mitchell have played more than 30 legs in doing so. I'm not going to recommend a bet, as anything I do here is reliant on the BDO's stats being accurate, and given what I posted yesterday, someone entering 140 as a score might be 140, but it could probably be just as easily 100, 40, 84, what they've ordered from the nearest Chinese restaurant, or their score at Snake on their BDO issued mobile phone.

Nice to see Keane Barry claim the youth title in what's been an outstanding year, and Mikuru Suzuki retaining her world title, hopefully one or more of them can get through Q-School and really push their game on. I'll look a little bit more at Q-School early next week, there's some entrants on Dart Connect but the list looks somewhat incomplete, and the deadline isn't until Tuesday anyway. Check back later.

Saturday 11 January 2020

New BDO lows

Let's have a look at Friday's results:

I don't know what a Paul hoagan is, I mean it's not as bad as captioning a Suzuki/O'Brien match with photos of Scott Waites and Martin Adams, but honestly. But wait, there's more. Let's click through to that nine-set thriller between Waites and Mitchell (I won't post the whole PDF as it's huge, just the pertinent information):

At this point, words fail me. How on earth have they managed to have Darts for Windows, a fucking computer program, somehow say the two players have combined to win 38 legs and lose just 30? It's a computer program - you type in the scores, and it calculates it. This shouldn't be possible. For the record, the individual leg tally was seventeen a piece.

I might pay a bit of attention today. The ladies' final should be good, as should the youth final between Bennet (sic) and Barry, and I've got a bit of funking power for Mario having got him each way after his first game. Let's see what happens.

Thursday 9 January 2020

If the BDO were to go busto

Is there anything that the PDC could look at and think would be worth saving with their help?

I think it'd be very limited, but there is one thing I think they could do which would make a lot of sense, and that's to try to keep the World Masters running.

Let's think about how they could do this - there's a very easy way in my opinion, and that is to co-promote it with the WDF, and host it late in the season, either on the weekend of the Players Championship Finals, or the weekend after (maybe leaning towards the latter if you want them to have some sort of televised entity to the extend where you don't want it to clash with Minehead, rather than just being streamed, which I'm sure the PDC wouldn't see as too much of a threat).

The trick is to allow certain tour card holders to play - i.e. those who did not qualify for the Players Championship Finals and would otherwise already be playing something else. Apart from the occasional oddball who doesn't play many events (Gary Anderson, I'm looking at you), this is going to consist primarily of players who are going to be losing their tour cards, in which case the PDC allowing them to play in a WDF-televised event isn't going to be hugely hurting them commercially. Maybe also disallow any top-64 players from the Order of Merit additionally.

The benefits for the PDC, as far as I'm concerned, is that:

a) It would work as somewhat of a parachute payment for players falling off the tour, to allow themselves to start earning WDF ranking points in a major event should they not immediately jump back onto the tour
b) The worldwide nature of the players in the event would help the PDC to further develop new markets, by adding a bit more stability to the World Masters in terms of prize money/organisation
c) In addition to allowing tour card holders to play, they could to similar to what they do with the UK Open and allow some players to qualify by right from the Challenge and Development Tours (if they haven't done already, as a lot of them will have), creating more incentive for players to go on the PDC secondary tours
d) By holding it when I suggest, or perhaps even a weekend later on the weekend before Ally Pally starts, you could help to reduce a lot of the costs of international qualifiers who have made the worlds with clever scheduling
e) As it's the oldest event in the world, as far as I can tell, you help to retain a bit the history that goes with the event

As for anything else, I don't see the point. The World Trophy seemed incredibly artificial and may as well go pop for all I care. Lakeside could be kept around by the WDF as a season-ending event based on their ranking tables, they just wouldn't refer to it as a "world championship". Most other events would be run as they are by their respective organisers, picked up by the home nations as needed.


Wednesday 8 January 2020

Some more thoughts

They've announced the contenders today. Not a huge amount of surprises - the top two Dutchies are in Rotterdam, Clayton's in Cardiff, Dobey's in Newcastle, O'Connor in Dublin and Humphries coming back all seem fair enough to me. The one weird one is including Bunting. What's Stephen done all year? He got through a couple of rounds fairly fortunately at the Matchplay and had half a good tournament in Minehead. That's about it. Yes, he's from somewhere fairly close to Liverpool - but he's not even the best player from St Helens that isn't in the Premier League. Chisnall, who was probably the last man out of the main nine, is.

Of course, we don't know if Dave was asked and declined, but that's the one really weird pick. If not Chisnall, White's from near as damnit the North West. With no obvious other place to go, you could have shoved Ratajski in. Cullen won a big event in 2019 and is just a short trip down the M62 from where the event is. The most asinine comment that I saw was "but White doesn't sell tickets". It's the fucking Premier League. Tell me honestly, how many people will be in the crowd in Liverpool that:

a) actually know more than two players in the field and aren't there just to get pissed
b) will even know who the contender is
c) would, despite the magnetic presence of van Gerwen, Price, Wright etc, actually care who the contender is
d) would care enough to buy a ticket if Bunting is the contender, but not if White is
e) aren't friends or family of Bunting but not close enough friends or family to have got a freebie anyway

I'd guess it'd be roughly 1% of the number of tickets the BDO have sold for some of the sessions of the Indigo.

Speaking of that, I really, really hope that Kleermaker against Hogan can save the event. Hogan nearly hit a nine, which was nice, but it needs something right to happen. Bennett was probably about the most marketable player they had and he lost playing fairly poorly in the first round, which is fair enough given his age and that it's his debut, and it's probably the biggest event he'll play for the next two years. We'll ignore that they've managed to caption up this afternoon's schedule with Chris Landman having the photo of Aileen de Graaf, Lorraine Winstanley looking awfully like Joe Chaney, and the word "ladie's" being used to describe the competition that Winstanley and Gallagher played in earlier. Some of the games have just been dire.

Let's take the Robson/Hazel game. Now this isn't a first round game - Hazel had played through one round already, and Robson's not far removed from playing well enough to qualify for the Grand Slam. But between them, in 21 legs, neither of them was able to finish one of them in 15 darts or less. Not once. Only two of them were even in sixteen darts. Now let's compare that to the PDC - in my database for 2019, I've got almost 5,000 matches, in which there were just over 1,000 examples of players being unable to record a fifteen dart leg. Now some of these instances will be obvious - if you get twatted 6-0 it's going to be pretty hard to win a leg in any number of darts. How about instances of both players doing it? There are some examples:

Michael Rasztovits 6-4 Barry Lynn, UK Open
Carl Wilkinson 6-0 Joe Cullen, PC3
Yordi Meeuwisse 6-3 Adam Hunt, PC3
Ryan Harrington 6-1 Gary Eastwood, PC4
Gabriel Clemens 6-2 Gary Eastwood, PC9
Nathan Derry 6-1 Eddie Dootson, PC10
Conan Whitehead 6-3 Mark Dudbridge, PC12
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Geert Nentjes, PC12
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Reece Robinson, PC18
Darius Labanauskas 6-2 Diogo Portela, PC21
Ian White 6-2 Mario Robbe, PC22
Pete Hudson 6-4 Tom Lonsdale, PC22
Stephen Bunting 6-0 Robert Thornton, PC22
Darren Webster 6-1 Joe Murnan, PC23
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-1 Mark Wilson, PC29
Ryan Harrington 5-1 Wayne Warren, Grand Slam

That's not a pretty list of players, and only three of those games were able to force it up into double figures for legs.

Sunday 5 January 2020

Some early thoughts from the BDO worlds

Haven't watched any of it so far, but it's nice to see that there's still plenty of errors going on with their stats - not putting up the Jim Williams game until the following day, uploading the Dave Parletti but having the link go to an FTP server (who knew those still existed in 2020?), the Chaney/Hazel game links to the Wayne Warren game...

But enough about the inability of the BDO to run a website, what about the actual games? Not overly impressive, as you'd expect, probably the best player has been Ross Montgomery, who lost, you've got (through the John O'Shea game) nearly 20% of the legs going to a seventh visit, Mandigers looked decent but also lost, Williams got through but didn't look good at all, I think it's only Wayne Warren who's actually won his game and hit more fifteen dart legs than over fifteen darters. Hopefully the standard picks up a little bit once we get to the last sixteen.

I've been thinking a little bit about how I could incorporate more data into the database without:

a) Making it completely unmanageable timewise
b) Getting to such a low level whereby there's so much bad darts it distorts the figures

I think that it would be safe enough to take major WDF events, the Challenge/Development Tours, and regional PDC affiliated events from the quarter final stages onwards. In most of those, you're going to have enough players of a competent level at that stage whereby it's worth adding them to the database. It is, of course, reliant on getting good enough data that I can actually add them, but at least the Asian Tour (when their wifi is working), Nordic and Baltic Tours and I think the CDC are all on Dart Connect, the Dutch Open is rumoured to be coming to that system as well, I don't know about the DPA tour but I'll see what I can do. It'll certainly help in 10-11 months to get a bit more solid info in about the international qualifiers.

Friday 3 January 2020

BDO worlds

I don't think I'll actually place any bets on this. Ignoring the obvious in that there's so many players that I simply have incredibly limited information on, the whole omnishambles that is the event itself is such a massive external factor that I simply don't know how the players will react to it. There's a few tempting lines - Steyer's half tempting at near 2/1 against Vandenbogaerde, Herewini just short of evens against Stainton, Chaney the same against Hazel, Mandigers just odds against versus Unterbuchner, maybe Bennett at 13/8 versus Mitchell. Hammond at 8/13 against Prium is a possibility in the ladies. Having said those, there's nothing that is such incredible value that I want to actually recommend a play.

Still seemingly no word on how they're going to handle Barney not having a tour card with respect to whether Alcinas keeps his card. This is beyond ridiculous now.

Wednesday 1 January 2020

2019 year end FRH rankings, Second/Third Division Darts player announcements


Year end FRH rankings:

Big climbers are mostly the obvious - Aspinall and Ratajski, Dobey's made a huge amount of ground up, Ricky Evans is up there with a nice gain, while for losers? Webster and West have plummeted out of top 20 spots at the start of the year, while Michael Barnard's had the largest drop of anyone that's still in the top 100, along with Alan Norris - when you think of how little Barnard's done in 2019, that he's still in the top 100 shows just how good a 2018 he had.

Congrats to Andrew Francis who has won the fantasy darts comp - van Gerwen wasn't able to get anywhere near enough points to push any van Gerwen teams into the top 3, Andrew's team of Price, Mervyn King, Aspinall and Searle was enough to win by a clear 60+ points from mcarter, who had Dobey, Wattimena, Kyle Anderson, Ilagan, Aspinall, Webster and Asada, mcarter claimed third from Gordon Parker by about 30 points, Gordon similarly opting for an all low value approach with Monk, Reyes, Webster, Kyle Anderson, Humphries, Hopp, Evetts, Barney and Ross Smith. If Andrew's reading I'll sort out the prizes over the weekend, if not before.

So, to the Premier League, and we had the obvious nine players in MvG, Wright, Price, Cross, Smith, Gurney, Anderson, Durrant and Aspinall, not really sure about the two contenders they've announced, but I'll save a berating post for once they give the full reveal. This means we need to announce our second and third division, so let's go full the criteria we use.

For the second division:

Ian White - highest ranked player in last season's second division
Krzysztof Ratajski - second highest ranked player in last season's second division
Dimitri van den Bergh - second highest ranked player in last season's third division (Aspinall, while champion, having gone straight into the Premier League is ignored)
Dave Chisnall - highest player in FRH rankings not already selected
James Wade - second highest player in FRH rankings not already selected
Mensur Suljovic - third highest player in FRH rankings not already selected
Adrian Lewis - fourth highest player in FRH rankings not already selected
Chris Dobey - first wildcard, two major semi finals and a European Tour final this season
Jamie Hughes - second wildcard, European Tour winner, highest points per turn in 2019 of anyone not already selected
Jose de Sousa - third wildcard, twice Pro Tour winner, next highest points per turn after Hughes

For the third division:

Keegan Brown - highest ranked player in last season's third division remaining
Max Hopp - second highest ranked player in last season's third division remaining
Luke Humphries - world youth champion
Jeffrey de Zwaan - highest eligible player in FRH rankings not already selected
Ricky Evans - second highest eligible player in FRH rankings not already selected
Danny Noppert - third highest eligible player in FRH rankings not already selected
Josh Payne - fourth highest eligible player in FRH rankings not already selected
Ted Evetts - first wildcard, complete dominance on the Development Tour and extremely high scoring on the main tour
Martin Schindler - second wildcard, very high scoring on the main tour on a comparable level to Evetts
Callan Rydz - third wildcard, Challenge Tour winner who has looked competent on the main circuit and in this year's worlds

I may chuck something up about the BDO worlds in the next couple of days, I may not, I guess I'll wait and see if there's still anyone left entered in the event.

Worlds final preview

Quickly before I start, things go from bad to worse for the BDO in light of the hottest name in darts withdrawing from their event - that's an enormous blow, especially considering that the post on their website indicating that Prium is in for Sherrock has a huge "get your tickets now or watch on these obscure TV channels!" banner at the top of the page with, er, Sherrock, front and centre, and their Twitter feed having a most recent tweet from five days ago saying that, er, Sherrock will feature in their event. Jesus christ. You can't blame social media for everything, and then go into complete radio silence on social media when the shit hits the fan, leaving as a most recent post something that could easily be construed as false advertising.

So, there's another darts tournament going on right now, and it's a replay of the final from six years ago, sadly this year I don't have one of the finalists at 100/1 each way, but it is what it is:

So, yeah, 0.25u Wright 5/2. We've been laying van Gerwen all year on account that the market is generally overvaluing him, and that the distance in quality between van Gerwen and the field is greatly reduced from what it was 12-18 months ago. The simple fact of the matter is that Wright will probably not have a better chance ever to defeat van Gerwen in a major final than he does right now (at the outset at least, he probably had slightly better chances with six darts at 32 for the Premier League title than he does to win the worlds) - he has come through much greater tests than van Gerwen has in this event, and he is scoring better - the legs he's won in this event, he's won faster than van Gerwen has:

van Gerwen's won a higher percentage of legs, sure, but Wright is scoring more in legs when he's winning, he's getting more power legs of twelve darts or better, he's staying in closer order when he's losing legs, everything points to him having a much better chance of taking this one than the market is currently suggesting. Sure, Michael's not had a brilliant tournament, but while he's certainly capable of suddenly upping several gears and blowing Wright away, that's factored into all the calculations. We'll go with Snakebite to take his second major title.