Monday 30 March 2020

Let's sim the Pro Tour

First of all, let's all wish Kyle Anderson a swift recovery.

Into week two of the coronaplague police state, and people are going a bit nuts - everyone is simming everything. FDI's done a whole ladies' tour, a few people have done various popularity contests, so let's go nuts on this one. Let's sim a whole Pro Tour season on steroids. But, to make it more interesting, we're going to invite non-tour card holders.

How am I going to do this? I'm going to pick 24 players from just outside the Pro Tour rankings, and rotate them in somewhat at random, having some of the main tour players step out to let them in. What we'll do is:

PC 1-6: All 128 Pro Tour players in
PC 7-30: 16 random Pro Tour players replaced by 16 invites

Everyone on the main tour will miss out on three events (this kind of simulates what happens for a lot of players anyway), while everyone on the invite list will get sixteen events to "show" what they can do, so they get more or less half a season. We'll use the current Pro Tour Order of Merit to seed players, but to shake things up slightly so we don't get the same potential matchups every single tournament, once we have the seeding order we will do what they do in tennis and shuffle things about a bit. Seeds 1-4 will be placed as normal, but seeds 5-8, 9-16, 17-24 and 25-32 will be randomised within their own groupings. We'll then run things through the master computer, although I'm not going to run out every leg, just a win/loss based on the standard projection system, albeit tweaked slightly so that I'll add 2% to the winning chance for every one point differential in consistency (for newer readers, consistency rating is winning points per turn minus losing points per turn), if only so that we don't have Sherrock going in as a favourite against Gurney.

So which 24 players am I going to pick? I've expanded my database back to include as long ago as the 2019 (PDC) worlds, have sorted by points per turn, and while I've not gone purely on that ranking (I've needed to exclude some players like Paul Lim and Keane Barry based on lack of sample to run the sim with, and have passed on some players just to ge ta bit more variety), it roughly represents the best of what's out there. In alphabetical order, I've gone with:

Seigo Asada
Danny Baggish
Stephen Burton
Corey Cadby
Robert Collins
Ritchie Edhouse
David Evans
Andrew Gilding
Cody Harris
Paul Hogan
Boris Koltsov
Nico Kurz
Noel Malicdem
Kyle McKinstry
Cameron Menzies
Scott Mitchell
Arron Monk
Nathan Rafferty
James Richardson
Fallon Sherrock
Scott Taylor
Mario Vandenboegarde
Wayne Warren
Jim Williams

Fairly wide selection there - I think the only surprise is that I've not got any Dutch players on there, although most of the good ones are on the tour right now, and apart from maybe Veenstra or Landman, or maybe some of the younger guys like Nijman or van Tergouw, nobody is jumping out to say pick me (while looking through the FDI Dutch list, is Christian Kist really only 33?), so I won't. It's my sim, I'll pick who I want :)

It'll take a fair bit of time to put all the technical gubbins into place before doing the draw, so don't expect anything immediately, it sounds like we'll have plenty of time to do this sadly.

Monday 23 March 2020

Let's make an exbo

Day 2 of working from home purgatory complete. All I've learned today is that the soundtracks to all of the Playstation-era Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games combined don't even last until lunch. Hey ho.

They've unsurprisingly pushed back more Premier League events, but for now, I'm going to play fantasy exbo booking. We can all say we want to watch van Gerwen against Price or Wright all night, but that's a) boring and b) unrealistic, so let's set some criteria. How would I book an evening that, if I had the power to do it all streamed from the players' homes in a similar method to the comp suggestion that I gave a few posts back, would be interesting? I'm going to say the following:

1) Go between eight and ten matches

If we're assuming roughly a Pro Tour length of match, that's roughly a session's worth of entertainment.

2) Nobody from the Premier League

Because we're cheap. To make it a bit harder, I'm going to exclude myself from picking anyone who's been selected as a challenger/contender or whatever they're calling it this year. Similarly, I'm not going to be cheap and pick any retired players, Taylor vs Barney 102 - Electric Boogaloo wouldn't really be that interesting.

3) Matches need to be somewhat competitive

Part of the reason why I hated watching Phil Taylor is that we knew what the result was going to be most of the time. We should pick games where the result is reasonably in doubt. Finally...

4) Some sort of theme would be nice

Having a coherent plan when booking, rather than just shoving names into a hat/blender and seeing what you get makes things seem more interesting in my eyes. With that in mind, my first effort would be England versus The World. Nine matches, even split in money between each game, bonus for the overall winning team. What games would I pick? Let's kick things off:

Jason Lowe v Dirk van Duijvenbode - I think it's important to start with a decent quality match, so I'll go with two of the in form players right now in Lowe and van Duijvenbode, both with very good starts to the season, evenly matched statistically, too close to call for my money. Plus who wouldn't want to see a Dirk walk on from his kitchen?

Ricky Evans v Wayne Warren - Let's keep the pace up and ask the question - would the current BDO champ cut it in the PDC? Why not put Wayne up against someone on the fringes of the top 32 and see how he fares?

Paul Hogan v Paul Lim - Paul on Paul violence! Who wouldn't want to see two legends of the game go up against each other?

Lisa Ashton v Mikuru Suzuki - Sure, it's a rematch, but with Fallon not being available due to the criteria we've selected, let's continue to try to settle arguments as to who the best women's player in the world is.

Leighton Bennett v Danny Baggish - This one's a little bit mishmashey, but the thing with this sort of thing is that you can put together matches you'd never normally see. Leighton's probably a bit of a way off the highest level, but the top players from the US are probably the same, so this one ought to be competitive.

James Wade v Mensur Suljovic - It's nearly ten years since Mensur first really made a name for himself by knocking Wade out of the worlds, so let's do that match over again. Two top sixteen players still playing at a very high level, let's have good darts for the sake of good darts.

Dave Chisnall v Seigo Asada - I think we were all gutted when Seigo just missed out on getting a tour card and we wanted to see the top of the Asian scene clash with the best of the PDC on a regular basis. Sadly it looks like that's going to have to wait another year, at least, but for now we can shove him into a game against someone on the fringes of the world's elite.

Adrian Lewis v Gabriel Clemens - It was becoming quite tough to find quality English players, while there's no shortage of top overseas talent - the likes of de Sousa, Petersen, Noppert, Heta and the rest of the DPA tour, and the Phillipines lads all failing to get a game, whereas outside of Lewis, who are we picking? You're looking at maybe Bunting, Cullen, Beaton, or someone a bit under the radar like an Evetts or a Woodhouse. So we've got a twice world champion against the German number one (sorry Max). Shouldn't be a bad game at all. Then, to the main event...

Ian White v Krzysztof Ratajski - If anyone wants to make an argument that these two aren't in the top ten in the world, come at me. I could watch these two go against each other all night, it may not necessarily have the star power as a Premier League tie, but the quality would be just as good, if not better.

I'd pay decent money to watch a stream of this, but what match ups would you make if you had the power?

Friday 20 March 2020

Barney v Taylor 2007 - the nitpicking rewatch

Seeing how the last instances of fun have just been shut down here, and everyone's looking at classic matches, let's look through the greatest game ever, while adding commentary and having a look at the obvious mistakes made by everyone leg by leg:

Immediately - That orange shirt might be the worst thing Phil's ever worn.

Set 1, leg 1 - Dave Lanning mentioning averages in the very first leg, sure Barney's had a real poor opener, but come on now.
Set 1, leg 3 - Wasn't really the done thing back then, but when Barney misses the treble looking at 96, he's really got to go double-double from there, it's not like he doesn't like D18.

Set 2, leg 1 - It's a minor one, but I hate Phil going on 20's on 271 there, a standard ton can't leave a shot, going 19's gives you the bull option to leave 170 if you hit four in the first two darts. It'd have needed something really special from Barney to punish, but it could have happened.
Set 2, leg 2 - Strong argument that with Barney on 167, he should have gone bull last dart on 101 left, then again it looked a very nice lie for Phil's throw so it doesn't seem to be a big error.
Set 2, leg 3 - No clue why Barney didn't switch to something other than 17 to leave something other than 305 - an 18 last dart leaves a much nicer 304. 305's a bastard score to leave a finish with, unless you start on bull. That said, Phil then says hold my beer, and hits a straight ton on 262. With Barney needing 305, I've seen worse, but it's so easily avoidable.

Set 3, leg 1 - When Phil missed the second dart at double 5 low, rather than chucking the last dart away and busting, with the way his darts lie, I think he's got to go for a single one to leave double two.
Set 3, leg 2 - Maybe not the most pressing thing with Barney waiting on 147, but if I was Phil there on 85 I'd have gone bull first dart - 3-D16 if you hit, if you miss and hit 25, then a nice high dart in the big twenty leaves you a glorious marker at tops. Simple case of going for bull early, but very specifically a Phil thing here. Was interesting to see him go the 19's route for the Mensur before Mensur was even a thing.
Set 3, leg 3 - Phil could easily have left a shot on 306 there, if he goes 19's first and if you premise that he hits two trebles, then with 192 left he can go bull to put a bit of doubt in Barney's mind, or if he likes the lie, keep going and try to leave 135.
Set 3, leg 4 - More careless counting from Phil to go 20 first dart on 268. You simply can't do that, miss that and you need a treble last dart even if you switch and hit a treble on 18's. Then Phil does that stupid thing of going bull on 66. Barney's on 158 there at that stage so who cares, but I've yet to see anyone make any justification for that route.

Set 4, leg 1 - I've just noticed that Barney's advertising that postcode lottery ripoff/scam, no standards whatsoever. Waddell going on about the pulverisation in reference to averages, when Barney actually won the second set and drew the third on those metrics.
Set 4, leg 2 - Seeing a wider angle shot of the stage and I forget that the PDC's website used to be planetdarts.tv, I wonder if a certain current website could be done with passing off nowadays? Minor one again, and it's mitigated by that it looked a good lie, but Taylor staying on 20's after two in the single on 402 (he shanked it into the 1 but it's the same principle) would give Barney nine darts guaranteed at 341, which someone at his level would expect to do - and he was on a double after seven.

Set 5, leg 2 - Fairly standard not going 19's first on 306 from Barney, that's it. Waddell's changed from one trick bore into contradictory bore at this stage, going on about Barney not being able to chase Klaasen the previous year ad infinitum, then saying that's exactly what he's doing as soon as he wins a set.
Set 5, leg 3 - That's twice they've gone to Bobby George in the crowd, surely once is enough?
Set 5, leg 4 - The referee is asking the crowd for order, and they're not even doing the Yaya/Kolo Toure song? What's going on?
Set 5, leg 5 - Waddell going on about Alan Evans any time someone hits their first dart in the side of a treble is as tiring as any snooker commentator making reference to James Wattana whenever someone makes a tricky middle pocket pot. Barney going two big 18's on 86 after hitting a big 18 on the first dart with Phil not on a finish to deliberately leave double 16 is an interesting one, I don't hate it, but if you're not going to go for the bull, why not go T16 to leave D10 or T20 to leave D4?

Set 6, leg 1 - Taylor with a bit of a comedy miscount on the 167 out, after he misses the treble 19 and leaves 88 with a dart in hand, I'm pretty sure he didn't want treble 18 for double 17...

Set 7, leg 1 - I'd normally approve of Barney going in for bull when he did to leave 116, but that looked a glorious lie and he's almost certainly getting six darts, so staying on treble 20 looked alright. Needless to say, Phil says hold my beer and tries to fill up for a maximum going off of 305 to leave a bogey.
Set 7, leg 2 - Again, another argument that on 76 with two in hand, Barney should go double-double, it didn't matter though. Also a strong argument that if you don't, you don't go treble 12, but with Phil lurking on under 60 I don't think worrying about two singles not leaving you a double is the greatest concern here.
Set 7, leg 3 - Questionable switch to 19's from Phil to leave 304 after he hit the treble. He hit it, so it didn't matter, but a miss would have given Barney nine guaranteed at something in the mid 200's, which is end of set. He's getting nine anyway unless Phil hits six perfect, granted, but Taylor's perfectly capable of it, may as well leave a little doubt. 310's no different than 304 if you hit the treble anyway.

Set 8, leg 1 - Another avoidable leave of a bogey from Phil here, staying on twenties after hitting a treble on 305. Bull there Phil, bull. As was, you didn't get an outshot and allowed Barney in for free at 81 to break and get the whole match on throw.
Set 8, leg 2 - Anyone else think that last dart on the 121 combo from Phil looked incredibly rushed? Cost him potentially two darts at double if he came back, which he did (but only needed one).
Set 8, leg 3 - John Gwynne, for I think it's he, turned into the Churchill dog during Barney's 156 attempt.
Set 8, leg 5 - Classic miscount from Phil, switching to 19's rather than 18's after hitting fat 20 on 262. It didn't cost him, but still really, really dumb.

Set 9, leg 1 - We're sadly still at the stage where Russ doesn't give it the big one when Barney hit 177 to leave a single darter. Phil then proceeds to go bull with two in hand at 82, a cardinal sin as far as I'm concerned, sure he hits it, but don't do that please.
Set 9, leg 2 - Blink and you'll miss it, but there's some sad bastards in the crowd in the background when they pan to it that spell out S-K-Y as part of their card, similar to how Americans do in their sports, hoping that it'll help them get on TV. It worked, but not as they'd have liked.
Set 9, leg 3 - If you're not going to go aggressively at the treble on 68 with two in hand, then go much further into the big 18 so that if there's a little rush of blood, you hit the double and leave a nice double?

Set 10, leg 1 - Crowd, you're meant to boo when someone fucks up a nine dart attempt.
Set 10, leg 3 - Utterly baffling choice of cover from Phil to go for bull on the 167 out after hitting two singles in the first two darts. What's he hoping to achieve that going to 18's wouldn't?

Set 11, leg 1 - Phil bails himself out on 272 last dart by hitting the treble 19 when switching, but maybe look at bull to leave 167 or 142? At least, after leaving 135, he doesn't compound the error by going bull route with Barney only on the big fish, nicely setting up tops.
Set 11, leg 2 - STOP PANNING OVER TO BOBBY GEORGE, NOBODY CARES ABOUT SOMEONE WHO'S CAREER HIGHLIGHT WAS LOSING THE FINAL OF THE WEAKEST BDO WORLDS EVER. And then the crowd don't boo the nine darter fail again. Jesus christ.
Set 11, leg 3 - Spotter somehow doesn't realise that Barney's going to stay on 19's when he checks down after hitting a single on 263. The only other targets he'd consider is 16 or bull, and both of those are in shot. These were simpler times where there's not so many permutations that people have worked out are optimal, or at least an option. Phil then immediately goes 20's first dart on 302, and I don't care about spotting mistakes.
Set 11, leg 4 - Phil fucks up counting on 306 again and leaves 169, putting zero pressure on Barney who hits a casual 140 to leave tops and cleans it up when he returns.
Set 11, leg 5 - Ah, those were the days you could smoke in venues. Now we can't even go into venues because there's a cold going around.

Set 12, leg 1 - A long way out, but Phil switching to 19 on the last dart of his second visit meant Barney knew he had nine darts to finish, touch confused when he got into a position to finish 96 he then stayed on 20's after hitting single first dart, when his MO previously was to go treble 12. Maybe he thought Phil wouldn't finish his low ton out so took a route to leave a double guaranteed?
Set 12, leg 2 - Straight ton from Phil on 265, never change. Of course Barney can't then leave a shot in the knowledge he'd get a chance guaranteed. John does pick up on Phil's habit of a lifetime, that's the insight we pay the big bucks for.
Set 12, leg 3 - My eyes started spinning like cash registers when Phil left 99, wondering what route he'd go for. 17-bull-miss is, well, interesting.
Set 12, leg 4 - Normally it's Phil that does this, but Barney staying up and not going down to 19's on his second visit to leave 349 gave Phil a tiny bit of breathing room. Then again, the situation would probably be as far over Phil's head as my usual efforts at double 18. Was Phil playing loops on that 37 out?
Set 12, leg 5 - Good old Mystic Gwynne - "all four legs have gone against the darts in this set" - Phil opens 174-140, Barney 58-44.

Set 13, leg 2 - Waddell still going on about Phil's average from twelve sets ago. Someone remind me how he became such a beloved commentator?
Set 13, leg 3 - Phil starts up top on 303. Who knows if he could have left himself 170 and denied Barney a shot at 136, which he just wired? Probably not as Taylor still wasn't on a shot as he made it six bad darts in a row.
Set 13, leg 5 - Like clockwork, Phil doesn't know what to do on 265, misses all the trebles but in an order where he couldn't leave a shot by sticking on 20 too long.
Set 13, leg 6 - Gwynne does make a marginal good point here in that Phil, in giving up the throw, is always going to chase in an extended deciding set, always serving to save the match. I think that's outweighed by the psychological pressure that you put on the other guy by forcing him to start quickly or get broken immediately, but it's an interesting enough point. I like the T17-tops-tops route on 131, as Barney hit the T17 last dart maybe he could have done it - then again, he missed two clear at tops for the title, so probably not.
Set 13, leg 7 - It's taken me this long to notice, but apart from the few Flintstones for obv reasons, I've seen nothing in the way of fancy dress. When did this phenomenon start exactly? Maybe Barney could have gone bull first on 81 to guarantee a dart at a big double?
Set 13, leg 8 - I know it'd have taken a maximum from Barney to leave an outshot, and the biggest one at that, but Phil could surely, after blocking 20's on 230, have gone bull and then engineered a finish? At least he had the gonads to not go 20-bull needing 70 with Barney on a shot later, which is nice to see.
Set 13, leg 9 - Gwynne commenting on the quiet as Phil lined up the last dart at fours in the previous leg. If Phil was taking that long these days, it'd be wooooaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh... great awareness from Barney on the approach to go bull to leave 80.
Set 13, leg 10 - Gwynne - "all legs have gone with throw, and so for the fifth time Phil's throwing to save his title". No. Spotter takes a moment to pan down to 19's with Barney on 303, then again with him probably being brought up on a decade and a half of Taylornomics it's understandable.
Set 13, leg 11 - Russ fucking up announcing who throws first for the bull. At least he remembered that we do bull up, unlike whoever it was in the Newton/Reyes game years later.

Monday 16 March 2020

PC8 roundup

Of course Ian White won it, the day after I backed him, marvellous. What joy. He got one over the guy that knocked him out the previous day, namely James Wade, while Derk Telnekes added to what was already an impressive weekend by reaching the semi finals, the day after reaching the quarters. Also into the semis was Kim Huybrechts, who looks like he's heading back in the right direction to try to get back into the top 32 in the world - if and when we actually play darts again.

Was a surprise first round defeat for Michael van Gerwen, which opened up a ton of possibilities, having flooded my each way tips with players in that half it was looking good, until all of de Sousa, Lowe and Clayton fell one round later and Humphries went one round after that. Marvellous.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Peter Wright
3 Gerwyn Price
4 Rob Cross
5 Michael Smith
6 Nathan Aspinall
7 Daryl Gurney
8 Dave Chisnall
9 James Wade
10 Ian White
11 Glen Durrant
12 Gary Anderson
13 Mensur Suljovic
14 Krzysztof Ratajski
15 Adrian Lewis
16 Chris Dobey
17 Stephen Bunting
18 Jonny Clayton
19 Simon Whitlock
20 Joe Cullen

No movement, an early exit for Nathan Aspinall allowed Michael Smith to reclaim the top 5 spot he lost on Saturday, but Nathan's less than 500 points behind him. Lower down, Derk's good weekend has seen him reach the top 150, and we've finally seen John Part drop off the rankings completely.

Don't know when we'll get any more darts. They've finally shoved Thursday's Premier League back, no word on the Development Tour but I'd be pretty surprised if that runs given the continually escalating paranoia levels, there is a stream of the Isle of Man tournaments on Twitter that I'll catch up on, if only just to get the stats of the Masters last four. I guess I'll have plenty of time to watch it in the coming days...

Sunday 15 March 2020

How the coronavirus could provide a unique boost to darts

These are desperate times for the world right now. There's talks of the elderly being in lockdown, I have no FA Cup quarter final to look forward to next week, I'll be down half a month's wages on lost non-refundable flights around Euro 2020 in a couple of days, and given a week or two I won't be able to go down to the pub and moan about it with my mates. For many countries, this is the situation already. But as I sit here waiting for Players Championship 8 to start with a decimated field, this unprecedented situation and all that goes around with it provides, oddly enough, a unique opportunity for the PDC and darts in general.

You see, there's one thing that we're being told to do, that's if it's at all possible to work at home, do so. What's almost unique about the sport of darts is this:

Darts is about the only sport in the world where it would be feasible to work from home

Is there any requirement for players to be facing off against each other in the same building? Not really. Amateurs around the world have been playing against each other via webcam or similar for years, possibly over a decade. As we see half of Europe in lockdown, what do you actually need to play from home? More or less just a dartboard, darts, and an internet connection to transmit all of the above. You would think that any player even at county level would have all of those in his (or her) house.

As such, what is stopping the PDC from co-ordinating a tournament, or series of tournaments, where tour card holders and, for that matter given the unique circumstances, invited players from regional tours all around the world, from competing against each other in their front room in place of optimistically re-scheduled European Tour events (moving Sindelfingen to May, really? You think this is going to go away in a couple of months?)

The critical thing to also consider is this:

The PDC is sponsored solely by betting companies

If I was a bookmaker that didn't have a large percentage of their revenue streams coming from online casinos, I would be very concerned right now that there is nothing for losing punters to bet on - especially if I'd just had a very bad Cheltenham. They need sport of any description to function, and if they go bust, then the effect for the PDC is clearly obvious. It is in both the interest of both bookmakers and the PDC to try to get some form of elite sporting event taking place if at all possible, therefore to put all sorts of efforts they can to collaborate and deliver should be obvious. It would cost them next to nothing in the grand scheme of things to post out a decent streaming setup to Jesus Noguera or Karel Sedlacek if they don't have one.

Also consider the following:

The PDC's sponsors rely on TV coverage to get a return on investment

How many people right now do you think are cancelling their subscriptions to Sky and BT Sport, and how many people do you think will have done so in a fortnight when they've seen repeats of 1992 Worlds Strongest Man? Heck, I've set fire to my TV licence already after the BBC replaced Match of the Day with Mrs Brown's Boys Live, which is surely the height of social irresponsibility from our national broadcaster. It's not that unreasonable to say that people may cancel their subscriptions and then realise they can do without them once the crisis has passed with obvious consequences for TV turnover.

If you arranged something like a 256-player tournament that included all the tour card holders, all of the top 16 from the likes of the DPA tour, the Asian Tour (last year's obv), the CDC, the SDC, the Challenge/Development Tours, the ladies' game, etc etc, and played it out over the course of a week, then given the nature of the event where you have players facing off from all over the world, you can schedule each match at such a time where it's convenient for both players given the differences in time zones and probably get blanket 24 hour coverage on Sky, as they literally have nothing else live to show. The benefits of this for all parties, including the players who, as independent contractors, could have serious problems if they're not already made from the game or have significant sponsorship backing - no prize money to play for and no exhibitions = no income.

As I say, it's a very weird situation that the world's going through right now, and while it wouldn't have the same atmosphere as Ally Pally or the Winter Gardens, for the casual fan you'll get to see some live sport of some description, and for the darts enthusiasts that like the people that'd read this it'd be a fascinating event. While we do see international players from around the world make it to Ally Pally, it's very rare that we actually see them play off against each other, as the fixed nature of that draw would require them both to win a game against a Pro Tour qualifier and a seeded player. Only Seigo Asada, Fallon Sherrock and Nico Kurz managed that last year, and only Devon Petersen did it the year before. Who wouldn't want to see Seigo Asada against Danny Baggish? Mikuru Suzuki against Noel Malicdem? Keane Barry against Fallon Sherrock?

The draw's out for PC8. The seedings have got down to Darren Webster, which is quite an impressive number of drop outs. White's only 30's today, which is probably still value but with Ando on an adjacent board, Chizzy in his quarter and Wright/Aspinall/Smith all in his half as well, I'm maybe not feeling it quite so much. I'm going Clayton 66/1 and Humphries 100/1 - they're in the van Gerwen half, and on the same board (6), but that quarter looks weak and it only requires one MvG slip up and the quarter is wide open (Maik Kuivenhoven round one is a game he should win, but isn't trivial). I'll chuck in Jason Lowe at 150/1 on board 5 and de Sousa at 80/1 on board 2 as well, Clemens is tempting on board 3 but is as short as 50/1 already.

Saturday 14 March 2020

PC7 live blog

1740 - Aspinall claims the title - Brendan had a solid chance at a hold, but back to back maximums after a poor first six darts left Aspinall on double ten, a fourteen darter is good enough with Brendan waiting on double eight.

1738 - Dolan doesn't threaten a break at all, only leaving a huge three figure out after twelve, which puts Aspinall under no pressure as he's on double sixteen at the time. 7-4.

1736 - Another maximum helps Aspinall to back to back twelve darters with Dolan nowhere near threatening. Dolan then has a poor scoring leg to not leave a finish after twelve, Aspinall left 83 after the same but by the looks of things missed bull for 6-4, it didn't matter as Dolan couldn't finish 82 and Nathan came back - missing two more darts to break, Brendan then can't clean up 20, Aspinall finally breaks in 21 darts. A comic leg after the last two, but the Stockport lad's two away regardless.

1731 - Big moment in the final as Aspinall hits a 136 out to break and level, Dolan didn't doo much wrong to leave a two darter after twelve, but a maximum helped Nathan get in range to hit the big shot.

1729 - Nathan holds for 4-3, he left 40 after twelve darts, it needed to go with Dolan on a low three figure out, and it did.

1727 - Dolan with a thirteen darter to hold, he had plenty of time early after Aspinall started with six darts without a treble. 4-2.

1725 - Aspinall holds for 3-2, odd choice to go two treble twenties on 130 with Brendan on a huge out, but he gets back in to finish five next visit.

1722 - Break for Dolan, who cleans up 80 for a 15 darter. It looked like the chance had gone when he made a right mess of a 124 shot, but Nathan couldn't finish a two darter and it's the Irishman who's ahead. He follows up with a heavy scoring leg to leave 84 after nine, he can't clear that either but Nathan wasn't on a finish, so steps back in on 12, leaves three, Nathan can only manage 28 trying to get 160, and Dolan is finally 3-1 up.

1718 - Good scoring leg from Dolan to leave 24 after 12, he can't clean it up in the next visit but Aspinall's scoring is nowhere and Brendan can return to level.

1715 - Looks like Dolan had a dart to break with a 125 out, but he couldn't pin tops and Aspinall holds the opener.

1713 - Final just under way. Aspinall's won the bull.

1701 - Brendan Dolan's into the final. He probably had six darts at 146 with Wade on an even higher outshot, but he only needed three of them to get the job done.

1659 - Wade's got one back and is on the board.

1656 - Aspinall's in the final, I guess he had one match dart on a 135 attempt, if he'd left tops it's surely a bull-T15 attempt, that needed to go after Noppert had hit two maximums in the leg to leave 45 after nine darts, but Danny couldn't finish it and Nathan was back in for the match. Dolan's made it 6-0 and is throwing for a whitewash, incredibly.

1654 - Noppert gets another one back, leaving 76 after nine, but needed six visits to win the leg, nearly letting Aspinall in for the match. Dolan's 5-0 up despite both players averaging in the low 90's, that first comedy leg no doubt having something to do with it.

1652 - Noppert leaves 84 after nine and finishes it off for a twelve darter, still a big ask but he has the throw here at least. Meanwhile Dolan has finished 106 with Wade waiting on tops and now leads four zip.

1650 - Nearly a James Wade thing, looks for all the world like he missed tops for a 105 out, Brendan cleans up 32 for 3-0. Nathan is one away from the final but Danny's started leg eight strongly.

1647 - That's a bit better, Wade missed bull for a 122 out, and Dolan, who'd left 36 after twelve, gets a break for 2-0. Aspinall's just got a five visit hold to go within two legs of the final.

1645 - Dolan wins the opener in 20 darts, no 157 special from Wade, that match hasn't really got going yet. Noppert left 40 after twelve for a break back, but Aspinall finished 81 with the last dart to go 3-1 up, then went 140-140-180 for another break and a 4-1 lead.

1643 - Both finals under way, the Aspinall final is a bit ahead, Nathan has managed to get an early break and is 2-1 up on throw, Dolan has won the bull and looks comfortable for an opening hold after Wade managed just 63 with his first six darts.

1632 - As we wait for the semi finals to begin, a brief word on what this means for everyone in the FRH rankings - Aspinall, if he wins this, can pass Michael Smith and move into the top five, if Noppert wins he'll move ahead of Jermaine Wattimena and become the Netherlands' number three, Wade's locked in ninth no matter what he does but can cut the gap to Chisnall significantly, as well as putting distance between him and White and Durrant, while Dolan would climb back into the top 32 with a win from a current position of 35th. He'll move above Luke Humphries if he's the losing finalist.

1629 - Scenes as Dolan completes the comeback from 5-2 down. Both had left just outside the finishing zone after nine darts, Telnekes ruing a second turn of 42, and he only sets up 114. Dolan sets up 120, Derk can only leave 16 so I assume he didn't get a match dart, and Brendan finishes shanghai on twenties to move into a semi final against James Wade.

1626 - Steady from Brendan, three tons to start before a sloppy 45, however Derk's not in the picture, and another ton then 56 out on return and we've got a deciding leg.

1623 - Sloppy that from Derk, two poor setup shots leaves him only a shot at 130, he does get a shot at bull but only hits 25, and Brendan steps in for an easy break. Dolan needs to serve out and then hope for something big in a decider.

1621 - Brendan stops the rot, checking out 102 to claw a leg back but it's still a hugely uphill task for the man who won one of these twice last year.

1619 - Very solid stuff from Derk this, leaves 53 after twelve darts this time with Dolan nowhere, cleans it up in two to go one leg away from the match.

1617 - Four in a row for Derk now, looks like Brendan missed two darts at 32 for the hold, Derk stepped in and finished 87 for a 4-2 lead and a very commanding position.

1615 - Only the one game on now while we wait for Aspinall/Noppert to begin, Derk again leaves a single darter after twelve, and again pins it first time, 3-2 to the Dutchman and he's half way to a maiden PDC semi final.

1613 - Noppert completes a 6-2 win over Ratajski to face Nathan Aspinall for a place in the final, high quality game with every leg finished in five visits. Telnekes has tied his quarter final up at two-two, good scoring to leave double eighteen after twelve darts, which he pins at the first attempt.

1609 - Ridiculous from Wade, White's left 121 for the match after nine darts, only for Wade to finish 161 and not give him a shot at it. Mother of god. Dolan's consolidated the break and made it 2-0, while Noppert is throwing for the match at 5-2 up.

1607 - Nearly the perfect finish from White, from 350 he went 180 and then missed bull for a 170 out, he'd come back with Wade not finishing 126, but somehow busts and Wade has the throw in a deciding leg. Dolan's broken Telnekes in the opening leg.

1605 - Wade holds after White misses what I assume to be a dart at bull for the match on a 135 out that should have been something much easier, poor set up shot. Danny Noppert has another break and leads the Polish number one 4-1 now.

1603 - White clears up to go 5-3 ahead. Noppert finishes 67 with the last dart despite a Ratajski maximum to hold and lead 2-1. Telnekes and Dolan are starting shortly.

1601 - The breaks continue in the Noppert game, a maximum setup allowing Danny to lead 2-1. Wade's held for 4-3 but Ian has six darts at less than 200 to go a leg away from the semi finals.

1559 - Nathan Aspinall has dumped van Gerwen out of the tournament 6-1 cleaning up 93 in two darts for an eleven in the final leg. Very nice. Also had a couple of ton plus outshots early on. Ratajski has the break back, meanwhile White left 32 after twelve and then held on to make it 4-2.

1557 - van Gerwen has one break back after Aspinall missed what I assume to be a double-double out attempt completely. Wade's held to trail 3-2, while Noppert's broken Ratajski in the opener and started 140-140 in the next leg.

1555 - Thought we'd have a quiet few minutes, I guess not - Brendan Dolan's into the quarters with a 6-2 win, while Nathan Aspinall's won the first five legs against MvG. Oh wow. White's a break up on Wade at 3-1.

1544 - Dave gets the break straight back, the first two quarters of van Gerwen/Aspinall and White/Wade are just warming up now.

1541 - Noppert's completed the whitewash on Gurney, punctuated with heavy scoring to, again, average 102. Only Chisnall against Dolan in the last sixteen now, Chizzy's scoring went to pieces in leg two allowing Brendan to grab a break and he's throwing with a 2-0 lead.

1536 - White completes a 6-1 win of his own on double two, and will probably face Wade, although Duzza may break back for 3-5 shortly. Noppert is now 5-0 up and has stolen the darts and could whitewash. When I say Durrant may break back, he's missed multiple darts at double and Wade is through.

1534 - Telnekes completes a remarkable 6-1 victory, and will play either Chizzy or Dolan in the quarters. Huge for our White bet that. Noppie has another break and is throwing at 4-0, while Wade is throwing for the match against Durrant at 5-2. Chizzy and Dolan haven't yet started by the way.

1530 - Telnekes breaks again to lead 4-1, and starts leg six a lot better and should make it 5-1. Noppie is now 2-0 up on Superchin, so has the break. MvG completed the win 6-3, another 102 average for the quarter finalists, and will play Aspinall next. White is one away with KFL yet to trouble the scorers.

1526 - Telnekes has made it 3-0 with another break, but Wright looks good to grab one of them straight back. van Gerwen now has the break himself and is 5-3 ahead, Duzza has an early 2-1 lead over Wade, Noppert's grabbed the opener against Gurney, while Chizzy/Dolan is yet to start. Wright has indeed broken straight back but Derk still leads 3-1.

1524 - Huge blown chance for Humphries that, on 88 after twelve darts, he is somehow on 40 after that visit, so I've got to assume it's an unorthodox T16 and then two missed at tops. Ratajski can't finish 72, but Humphries misses three more and Ratajski nips in third dart to clean up 20. God damnit Luke. That just leaves us with Ian White who's three up over Kai Fan Leung, van Gerwen has got the break back at 3-3 but will still need to find another one with Jermaine winning the bull. Telnekes, in another surprise, has broken Wright early and is two up.

1520 - Luke's back in this, Ratajski started with three trebleless visits in leg 10, but a 180 then 128 didn't help as Humphries took out 116 to have the darts in the decider. Dolan completed the win over Teehan by the way.

1517 - Dolan looks to have held off Teehan's comeback as he goes into a 5-3 lead. Ratajski is ahead of Humphries by the same scoreline, while Aspinall is the first man into the quarters, averaging 102 in a 6-2 win over Vincent van der Voort. Wattimena has got an early break against MvG and has the darts leading 2-0, big chance for Jermaine here.

1511 - Noppie's survived a 105 average from Cross to win the decider with a break - shouldn't have done, Cross had 230 left after six, but wasn't on a finish after twelve! He did set up tops after fifteen, but Danny cleaned up 110 for the match. Teehan/Dolan's the last round three game and it's 3-3, while in the last sixteen Aspinall's in a huge lead against van der Voort, and Ratajski leads Humphries 3-2.

1506 - Dave Chisnall and Kai Fan Leung win deciders, Leung being a bit lucky as Stevenson appears to have missed a match dart, while Chizzy was maybe a bit lucky that Evans couldn't really score heavy enough to take advantage where a fifteen darter would have won him the game with a break. Gurney's completed a 6-1 win, Cross and Noppert are now 5-5, Dolan was 3-0 up in an all Ireland clash against Ciaran Teehan, but the youngster's won two in a row to make it 3-2.

1503 - The second of our super long shots is probably gone as Jason Lowe trails Daryl Gurney 5-1. Gilding missed bull for the match then contrived to bust 25 somehow, allowing Wade to go through to face Duzza, Cross and Noppert are in a News of the World situation.

1501 - Ian White powers away from Willie O'Connor, finishing with back to back four visit kills. Wright beat Lovely 6-2, Glen Durrant wins another close one 6-4 against Madars Razma, Wade and Gilding are in a decider, while Evans and Stevenson lead Chizzy and KFL 5-4.

1450 - While only half the last 32 is done, we can actually get three last sixteen games under way given the games that have finished first - MvG/Wattimena, Aspinall/VVDV and Ratajski/Humphries all look tasty matchups. Lovely's run looks like ending against Wright who's 4-1 up, Duzza's a break up on Razma at 4-2, everything else is only just starting or on throw.

1445 - van Gerwen keeps doing van Gerwen things, averaging a cool 104 against John Henderson to move on, Nathan Aspinall managed the same against Chris Dobey, both winning 6-3, as did van der Voort against Kleermaker, while Wattimena gets another 6-5 win against Vincent van der Meer. Our tip Luke Humphries has also just dumped out former world finalist Michael Smith, Smith languishing with a mid 80's average. Ratajski also finished off Borland as expected given the lead he had.

1440 - Telnekes is the first man to win his board, completing a huge win over Gary Anderson, just as Brendan Dolan finally gets over the line to complete the last 32 lineup. van Gerwen and van der Voort are both a leg away from joining Telnekes in the last sixteen.

1438 - Telnekes got the break back again and consolidated to lead 5-3, although only one of the last three will be on his throw. Ratajski's up four zip against Borland, while everything else looks on throw up just the one break apart.

1435 - Anderson's got his game with Telnekes back on throw at three all, only two round two games remain after Evans won a decider against Meikle, make that one as Jason Lowe defeats Luke Woodhouse. Brendan Dolan's bringing up the rear, but leads 5-3 against Niels Zonneveld.

1433 - Surprisingly good game that Lovely/Hunt game, Eddie averaged a ton and Hunt wasn't far behind, only one of ten legs in more than fifteen darts. Talent pool is so deep nowadays. Noppert's clinched that game, but I don't know how, he needed 21 darts to hold the final leg, but if Evetts is still on 200-odd after fifteen, you can take that many I guess.

1430 - Eddie Lovely's completed that win, 6-4, Willie O'Connor edges Mike de Decker in a decider, meanwhile in round three, Derk Telnekes has got an early break against Gary Anderson and has the darts at 2-1 up. Evetts and Noppert are now in a decider, while Ricky Evans and Ryan Meikle are locked at four a piece.

1426 - Andrew Gilding's into round three with a break in the deciding leg against Lisa Ashton - he left 96 after nine darts, and while he couldn't finish it, Ashton looks like she missed a dart at tops for the match and Gilding stepped in to clinch it. Eddie Lovely's at it again, leading 5-3 over Adam Hunt, while Ted Evetts is up by the same score against Danny Noppert.

1423 - Good game between two in form players in Devon Petersen and Kai Fan Leung, Kai hitting a ten darter to break Devon and win 6-4. Ashton and Gilding has gone all the way, while Madars Razma is in a commanding 5-2 lead against Adam Huckvale.

1420 - A few of the young'uns advancing, Chris Dobey needed every leg but beat Conan Whitehead, while Luke Humphries wasn't at his very best but was still solid enough to beat Keegan Brown. William Borland will go up against Krzysztof Ratajski after beating Jesus Noguera, but may need more than the high 80's average he put up if he wants to win that one.

1414 - That Ando match might be the game of the day, 108 plays 103, every leg within fifteen darts, Gary hitting three twelve dart or better legs. Gurney got the decider to move to the last 32, Ciaran Teehan's just dumped out Jamie Hughes, while Vincent van der Meer's completed a whitewash of Antonio Alcinas. Where did that come from? Easy answer is a 76 average from Toni I guess...

1411 - It looks like North had a dart at 14's for a 148 out to win the match, damn. Gary Anderson and Vincent van der Voort have both won their games, Vincent will go up against Kleermaker in the first board final to start, Hendo's just beaten Klaasen while Steffen Siepmann has forced a deciding leg against Daryl Gurney.

1408 - North had the throw in leg 10 but Chizzy got the break, and proceeded to go 140-121-140-100 out for an eleven darter. Elsewhere, Lisa Ashton's a break up against Andrew Gilding, leading 3-1, and Rowby John Rodriguez is hanging around against Gary Anderson, but the Scot at 5-4 is still a big favourite.

1405 - Great game that White game, both averaging 100+, only one leg going beyond 15 darts. Richard North's on the edge of a big upset, leading 5-4 over Dave Chisnall.

1403 - Peter Wright is easily through with a 6-2 win over Arjan Konterman, Glen Durrant was able to turn that game around against Robert Thornton and pinch the decider, and Ian White's just pinned a 125 out to hold in his decider against Kim Huybrechts, who was waiting on tops after 12 darts. Yikes.

1359 - Good game between Jermaine Wattimena and Scott Waites, went all eleven legs and the combined average was as near as damnit 100. Rob Cross easily defeated Nick Kenny, but both White and Durrant are 5-4 down and in big trouble.

1357 - Good god that de Zwaan game, Stevenson didn't win a single leg in five visits. Huge missed opportunity for de Zwaan. In better games, Ratajski turned a 3-1 deficit around to beat Collins 6-4, averaging nearly a ton in the process.

1354 - Derk Telnekes is through to round three after an awful game against Scott Taylor that went ten legs with only one in fifteen darts. Michael Smith's come from behind to beat Benito in a decider, Wade leads Mansell 5-0, while Simon Stevenson's completed a huge comeback to defeat Jeffrey de Zwaan.

1351 - Niels Zonneveld is the last man through, coming from a big deficit to edge Krzysztof Kciuk in a deciding leg. van Gerwen completed that victory, 6-2 over Brian Raman, but de Zwaan's been pulled back to 5-4 by Stevenson. Aspinall's just beaten Geert Nentjes 6-4.

1346 - Kleermaker is the first man into the last 32 with an easy win over Wesley Harms. Smith's in a bit of bother against Benito, down 4-2 midway through their game, while de Zwaan and van Gerwen are each a leg away from victory.

1344 - While we wait for the Kciuk/Zonneveld and Wilson/Woodhouse games to finish, Ratajski is down a break early to Robert Collins in round two. Woodhouse has just nicked that game.

1341 - More good news for the Challenge Tour team, Adam Huckvale has rolled Gavin Carlin, 6-1 the final score, very nice display from Adam in that one. Ted Evetts dropped just two legs against Ron Meulenkamp, getting near the 100 average, just the one poor leg letting him down. Ryan Meikle and Adam Hunt are also through to round two, we're just waiting on two matches now.

1335 - Borland won that decider to move through and face Jesus Noguera, Vincent van der Meer has also won a decider against Andy Boulton and will also face Spanish opposition in round two in the form of Antonio Alcinas. Gilding completed that win over Ward, leaving just half a dozen or so first round games to complete.

1332 - It continues to be a tough school for Aaron Beeney, he did get three legs on the board against Mike de Decker but a mid-70's average isn't going to win many games at this level. Willie Borland against Darren Webster has gone all the way, while Andrew Gilding is one leg away from another win for the Challenge Tour contingent, leading by two against Harry Ward.

1329 - Luke Humphries is through to face Keegan Brown, going one higher than Keegan's 100 average in a 6-2 win against Mark McGeeney. Kai Fan Leung has a match complete on the scoreboards for once, taking out James Wilson 6-3 from a 2-0 deficit, while Rowby did complete that victory over Brooks, leaving 40 after twelve in the last leg against throw, Brooks being unable to leave a shot after five visits.

1325 - The slow start to the year for Callan Rydz continues, being hugely outclassed by Kyle Anderson in a 6-3 defeat, which'll see the first of our second round games kick off between Kleermaker and Harms shortly. Conan Whitehead has unsurprisingly just beaten Barrie Bates to finish off round one on his board, while Rowby and Bradley Brooks have gone to a decider.

1319 - Last of the third set of first round games has just finished, the penultimate game saw yet another seed go down in Simon Whitlock, who was pipped to the line in a last leg by Madars Razma, but the last game saw an amazing display from Brendan Dolan, averaging 107 over 10 legs against Adrian Gray, despite not hitting a twelve darter in the whole match. Gray averaged 104 himself!

1316 - Jesus Noguera and Justin Pipe combined for four four-visit legs between then, Noguera winning out 6-4 to see another seed go tumbling out, Jason Lowe won comfortably 6-2 against Mervyn King, Lowe with a solid 95 average. But the biggest surprise is probably Dimitri going out, losing a deciding leg to the relatively unknown Eddie Lovely.

1312 - A couple more seeds through in deciders, Danny Noppert edged Matt Edgar in a very fine match from both players, while John Henderson was 4-0 up against Scott Baker before being pegged back, Baker couldn't clean up having got down to 161 after nine and allowed a fifteen dart break in the final leg.

1309 - Steve Lennon averaged over seven points more than Vincent van der Voort but lost 6-4, Vincent making it three Dutchmen through on his board, O'Connor survived in that game against Usher, hitting a fifteen darter in the decider to clinch it. Brown averaged over a ton in his win, Lisa Ashton has completed that shock win over Gabriel Clemens, Clemens having a real off day averaging only 82.

1305 - Seeds falling now - Antonio Alcinas capitalised on missed match darts from Steve Beaton to nick a decider, while Gary Anderson thrashed Stephen Bunting 6-0. Keegan Brown's just defeated Darius Labanauskas 6-1, while Willie O'Connor and Graham Usher have gone all the way to an eleventh leg.

1258 - Next seed out is Jose de Sousa, Devon winning 6-2 with all but one leg in fifteen darts or better and averaging a shade under 100. Possible big shock on the cards with Lisa Ashton taking a 3-0 lead over Gabriel Clemens.

1252 - That Siepmann game saw Steffen win the decider in 24 darts, Mike not being able to clean up 126 in six darts. Derk Telnekes only averaged 82 against Michael Barnard, but that was enough for a whitewash, while veterans Mickey Mansell and Robert Thornton are in round two, along with Ciaran Teehan, who didn't play great against Christian Bunse but did enough for a 6-3 victory. Meanwhile in one of the picks of the round, Devon Petersen's currently 4-2 up against Jose de Sousa.

1248 - Brian Raman's another Challenge Tour player to make round two, getting past Steve West 6-4. Benito van de Pas joins him, Maik Kuivenhoven being way below par in comparison to earlier in the season. Mike van Duivenbode's out though, from 5-2 up he lost the remaining legs to Steffen Siepmann.

1244 - Bit of a surprise to see Schindler lose to Richard North, Richard's been playing a bit better in places but Martin averaged more, so could be a case of timing for North. Nick Kenny's got through an up and down performance against Jitse van de Wal, Kenny won 6-1 but got three legs in over six visits so maybe a bit fortunate not to be pushed harder. Cristo Reyes made a bit of a comeback but Collins has got over the line with a 6-4 win.

1241 - Impressive 6-3 win for Kim Huybrechts over Josh Payne, averaging easily over a ton, Scott Waites and Geert Nentjes have also made it through dropping just one leg each.

1239 - Mixed fortunes for a couple of other Challenge Tour replacements, James Hubbard went down 6-2 to Simon Stevenson, but Arjan Konterman beat Kirk Shepherd by the same scoreline. That Hubbard game saw James start with a ten darter, but was pretty mediocre after that, not that Simon will care one bit.

1234 - Robert Collins is making the most of his Challenge Tour call-up, racing into a 4-1 lead over Cristo Reyes, Wesley Harms is one leg away against Gary Blades, while North, Waites and Nentjes all have big 4-1 leads as well.

1228 - Glen Durrant's the last seeded player through with a workmanlike 6-4 victory over Scott Mitchell, leaving Clayton and Cullen as the only seeded players to be out at this stage.

1224 - Good job we didn't go for Clayton, he's just lost a deciding leg. van Gerwen was 2-0 and 4-2 down to Damon Heta, but rolled off the last four legs to book his spot in round 2. Looking at the play by play, Clayton must have missed about seven match darts!

1220 - Results flying in now - Peter Wright never really needed to get out of second gear to beat Nathan Derry, Jermaine Wattimena really put his foot down late grabbing both of his last two legs in four visits, while Rob Cross got a routine 6-2 win over Peter Jacques.

1217 - Stunning performance by Ian White, a 6-2 win over Jeff Smith with every leg of his being won in fifteen darts or better. Aspinall's also just completed a routine 6-3 win against Alan Tabern.

1214 - Kleermaker does take out Joe Cullen with a 6-1 win, not a vintage performance but with Cullen down in the mid 80's it didn't need to be. Most other games are midway through, nobody's up by more than a break, Wright and White both just going 5-2 up and on the brink of victory.

1210 - de Zwaan's the first man into round 2 with a 6-0 drubbing of Carl Wilkinson, we don't normally talk averages but a near 105 tally isn't bad, elsewhere Ratajski may be in a spot of trouble, currently behind to Jan Dekker.

1206 - All first games under way. MvG quickly down 2-0 to Damon Heta, as was to be expected Cullen not having things his own way against Kleermaker as he's down 2-0 as well. Nobody else in real trouble yet, de Zwaan's 4-0 up in no time at all.

1145 - You come here for tips, so let's look at the each way market:


Given what I've said below, I think we have to go with Ian White as usual, that he's twelfth favourite really is ridiculous, I want to have a bit of Clayton as well, but with Ando on his board and potentially getting Peter Wright even before we get to the quarters is a bit tough, he can do it but I think there's better spots (and better odds, you can usually get three figures on the Ferret, but 365 don't have the market up and I've only got money on Betfair right now). Luke Humphries is probably worth a small stab at 100/1, if he can nick past Smith or van Duijvenbode then it's only really Ratajski in his way before the quarters. Not the easiest, but a decent price. It's a fair way down, but I think I've got to have micro stabs at Evetts at 225/1 and Lowe at 250/1, they're too long not to have a chance.

1126 - We start the bottom quarter on board 13, which should be Peter Wright's easily. Can easily see him reaching the board final dropping no more than three legs, Dimitri if he shows up and gets there could be a small problem, but Wright is surely the shortest priced player to win his board anywhere today. Board 14's a bit unpredictable, you think Clayton and Telnekes should easily get by Taylor and Barnard, and then the Ferret reaches the final, but the bottom half is a bit nuts with Bunting playing Gary Anderson, and then throw the unpredictable Rowby in there as well as Bradley Brooks, and who knows what happens. Chizzy should win board 15 easily enough, Schindler could be a bit of a danger if he gets past Richard North, but a bottom half of Evans/Murray/Meikle/Hamilton doesn't seem like a serious threat. Decent chance for any of them to put a grand on the board. Finally, board 16 has a couple of good matchups, Hughes against Searle is the pick, Teehan against Bunse is a bit below that but not a bad shot for Ciaran to break a bit of a losing streak, Dolan should get through Gray but then Kciuk against an improving Zonneveld is a tough one to call.

1121 - Ian White against Jeff Smith in round 1? Oh boy, that's tough. Winner of that ought to win the board, Kim Huybrechts and then Willie O'Connor as a probable path isn't overly challenging, relatively speaking. de Sousa against Petersen on board 10 would be an incredible watch, de Zwaan really shouldn't be troubled on his side, Kai Fan Leung or Wilson against Jose or Devon could be interesting wildcards. Very tough bit of the draw to call. Board 11 looks like an easy seed win special, Wade and Clemens are far enough ahead of Robinson/Mansell/Worsley/Ashton/Gilding/Ward that it's hard to see who can challenge them, Clemens I think should just have the edge, but it's tight. Durrant against Mitchell in round one is an interesting old BDO tie, chuck Ryan Joyce in as a probable round two opponent and you've got to think whoever wins that side should beat any of Whitlock, Razma, Carlin or Huckvale.

1117 - Ratajski should coast through board 5. Pipe's been in some decent form but has waned a bit over the last couple of months. Michael Smith and Dirk van Duijvenbode on board 6 in the first round will be amazing, please make that the stream board, winner should take that if they can get by the impressive Maik Kuivenhoven, although Luke Humphries is always going to be in with a shout right now. Board 7 I can see a dark horse coming through it. Gurney and King isn't a great seed combination again, Jason Lowe or Luke Woodhouse could easily come through the King side of it and challenge Daryl. Board 8 should be Cross in the final, a potential second round tie between Noppert and Evetts looks very tasty.

1114 - Top quarter doesn't look too strong, van Gerwen really should take this without a great deal of trouble, at least until a possible quarter final match against Aspinall. Heta's not an easy out first round but the rest of the board doesn't look too threatening. Ross Smith against Klaasen could be decent. Board 2 is a bit bland, ought to be Wattimena's but Waites or Boulton could fancy it. Board 3 is probably a straight clash between Aspinall and Dobey, I don't think anyone else there is really in their league, while Tabern looked OK in places last weekend Nathan's a bit ahead of him. Can't get too excited about board 4, Kyle against Rydz aside, Cullen/VVDV isn't that great of a seed pairing, and I could see them both losing to Kleermaker/Lennon respectively.

1100 - Morning ladies and gentlemen, coronaplague hasn't yet brought the darts to a complete halt (although them rearranging the Premier League as they've done is wildly optimistic, the only play right now is to cancel the entire second half of the season and have Rotterdam plus two nights in September to finish things), the draw's out and we have a couple of very fun ties at first glance in the first round with Jose de Sousa and Devon Petersen guaranteeing Carl loses at least one of his tips in the first round, while van Gerwen against Damon Heta is also fun. More thoughts on the draw shortly.

If the coronaplague lockdown on everything continues, there's a few things they could look at doing to keep things moving as much as possible on the Pro Tour. There's nothing to stop them splitting an event across two venues if meetings of 100+ are eliminated, you can host a quarter of each event in a different location (maybe even one on the continent to help those in Europe that may be more restricted than we are now), and then play the semis/finals at a later date, or even stream against each other live. Darts is one of the few sports where it's legitimately possible to work from home - Sedlacek isn't there as I think the Czech Republic has one of the largest restrictions there is, but surely he has a board at home and a webcam? Webcam darts has existed for years, and it's something the PDC has probably never thought of at this time.

Thursday 12 March 2020

Coronaplague hysteria

We've now lost three European Tour events to the outbreak of panic across the world, now the thing they've done for ET2 is to put in two additional Pro Tour events for that weekend. Now it's unclear as to whether ET2 has been cancelled or just postponed, but putting in these events instead makes me think that they're having a contingency to cancel it completely, so what I think they should do is give Boris Koltsov, who'd already qualified for it (I think whoever the Scandi was that did has a tour card anyway) first refusal to play these two as compensation. Makes sense.

Of course, it'll be moot as if the current escalation in hysteria continues, Boris will have napalmed all ports of entry, troops will shoot anyone on the streets on sight and Trump will have nuked Europe from orbit just to be sure, but it seems the right thing to do in these extreme circumstances.

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Quick UK Open recap post

Not a great deal to say on the final session, Price blew the final, but MvG played bloody well throughout the tournament and any rumours of his demise are well and truly gone. Sadly the world flu on steroids paranoia tour has hit the European Tour with events 3/4 being postponed, we can all go into work on the tube jammed next to each other but we can't watch the darts, fantastic idea.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Peter Wright
3 Gerwyn Price
4 Rob Cross
5 Michael Smith
6 Nathan Aspinall
7 Daryl Gurney
8 Dave Chisnall
9 James Wade
10 Ian White
11 Glen Durrant
12 Gary Anderson
13 Mensur Suljovic
14 Krzysztof Ratajski
15 Adrian Lewis
16 Chris Dobey (UP 1)
17 Stephen Bunting (DOWN 1)
18 Jonny Clayton (UP 2)
19 Simon Whitlock (DOWN 1)
20 Joe Cullen (DOWN 1)

Bunting nicking the place last time out was, as expected, only extremely temporary, while Clayton having a fine UK Open run pushes him very close to Bunting himself. Jamie Hughes is into the top 30, Dimitri's up to 23, Jelle Klaasen's back into the top 45.

A brief comment on something I mentioned quite a few posts ago about Noppert doing something dumb in the first (only?) Euro Tour event of the season, it wasn't as bad as I remember, it was only a go for bull on 132 when the other guy wasn't on a shot, he did at least hit the bull first time and go for it second time, so it's at least an attempt for a party piece finish I guess, for whatever reason I was thinking he went bull but hit 25, then hit the treble 19 before laying up instead, which would be pretty darned stupid.

It's just a Pro Tour weekend this time round, I should be able to post some live updates for one of the two days, in terms of non-PDC it's the Isle of Man event, which is ranked highly enough in the WDF for me to want to try to grab the stats, it looks like there was a stream last year so hopefully I can get something out of it.

Sunday 8 March 2020

UK Open quarter finals

No post for the last sixteen - as expected the data signal wasn't good enough to be able to do much other than peek at the draw quickly, but to be honest, looking at who drew who, I didn't see any games that I thought would be exploitable from a betting perspective - Gurney would likely have been installed as a big dog against Wright anyway, Clayton drew Dobey, Hughes drew Suljovic, maybe I'd have looked at Clemens against Price, most of the players we'd be looking at went up against each other.

Quarter finals today, as ever there's a couple of surprising names, looking quickly through the games, maybe Dimitri's worth a look at 100/30, but he's not put in any really powerful performances that make me think he can hang with Gerwyn over a longer format game. It'd only be tiny marginal value anyway, I'm only thinking this should be a 4/9 sort of price for the Welshman. I'd have expected to have been all over Cross against van Gerwen at 4/1, and if this game took place six months ago I would be (and I doubt we have this price), but looking at the last six months, he only projects to win maybe 25% of the time, so I can pass that one as well. Gurney/Klaasen's a nightmare of a game from our perspective, both are so all over the place in terms of how the model interprets their games, it's another one where maybe the underdog is the value play, but Jelle's only 7/4, and I'm only getting him up to 45%, I think with Daryl's weird propensity to outperform the model on a consistent basis, I can leave this one alone as well. This just leaves Clayton against Hughes, which I think is the only play of the day - 0.25u Clayton 4/5, he needs to win 55% of the time for this to be break even and I think he's playing well enough that he'll get there just short of two times out of three. That's enough of an edge for me.

Couple of other quick things - there's been a DPA weekend, I really like what they're doing in that each of the three tournaments they have has a bit of a different format, one's a straight knockout, another's the same but with set play instead, while the one in the middle has some sort of group stage play before a knockout. Keeps things fresh and interesting, as for the winners, I don't know much about Steve Fitzpatrick other than he had a decent performance in a quarter final loss previously, but he's won today, while Mal Cuming and Ben Robb took down the other events. Seems like the pots are getting shared around a fair bit.

Finally, we have a tragic tactical error to talk about, from the deciding leg of van Gerwen against Lowe:


This is just horrible to see. You're on 86 for the match against the best player ever who is sat on a single darter. You miss the big number, fine, it happens to everyone, at least it's not a shank into the 1 needing 100, you can rebuild. But you absolutely have to take a moment and not think "82 = go for the bull". The entire point about going bull on 82 is that with three darts in hand, you give yourself at least one dart at a double guaranteed if you hit at least the 25 in that visit. With one dart in hand, you leave yourself two darts at double when you come back, guaranteed. With two in hand though, you'd better be pretty fucking sure that your opponent isn't going to check out to not go for the biggest two targets which, in combination, will win you the match, and that is treble fourteen into tops. If you miss the treble and then miss another treble and only leave yourself on 48, it doesn't matter as you are playing Michael van Gerwen with three clear darts for the match - leaving yourself an extra dart at double next visit is irrelevant if 80%+ of the time you're not coming back. Such a shame, Lowe's been playing great stuff and this could have been a career defining win. I'm sure he'll rebuild though.

Saturday 7 March 2020

UK Open round 5 bets

Round 4 wasn't too bad, at least compared to rounds 1-3, sure it would have been nice if Darren Webster hadn't missed a clutch of match darts in the deciding leg where he had 21 darts to win it, that'd have put us fractionally up for the tournament, but it is what it is. Sixteen games today, warning in advance that anything I put up for round 6 will be brief as I'm at the football today:

Gurney/O'Connor - This is odd, they actually only have Gurney at 4/5 - I'm guessing that this is either a reaction to Willie blasting his way to a huge lead against Chizzy and/or noticing Gurney's bottom of the Premier League, rather than catching on to Daryl being a tad overrated by everyone, needless to say whatever the cause is, it's putting the line round about where I don't want to bet the thing.

Hughes/Atkins - Hard to really tell where the Wigan lad is given he was the recipient of the bye, but Jamie looks good enough that we can bet him here, 0.5u Hughes 2/5, a ton on the averages yesterday is a great showing and I'm reading about 88% chances here, so 2/5 looks good value.

Cullen/Clayton - Market has this close, I don't think it's as close as the market has it, 0.25u Clayton 4/5, we've been saying Jonny is underrated for a huge amount of time now and it continues, he's probably winning this two in three and his performance against Waites yesterday shows that he's in nice form.

Dobey/Whitlock - Oh my god, what a game Chris had with Ratajski yesterday. I hope to got that, as it was on board 2, someone, be it the PDC or someone capturing the stream, puts the game onto Youtube. Game of the year candidate. In any case, the market puts this at around 60/40 in favour of the Bedlington man, which I think is close to a perfect line, Whitlock's declining but hasn't been completely terrible in recent months so has a bit of a chance.

Suljovic/van Duijvenbode - Thought Dirk was going to find a way to blow his game against Wattimena, but he got through, as did Mensur easily enough, the market's been pretty quick to react to Dirk's form in 2020 and only has him as an 11/8 dog, perhaps that's a slight overreaction, I've got Mensur at just over 60%, but it's not quite enough to consider betting on the Austrian in this one.

Evans/Price - Ricky's a large underdog here with the market thinking that Price wins 80% of the time or more, following a convincing win in all departments against a better player than Evans in Danny Noppert. Can't really see how Ricky wins this one, he has a slight chance, but it's just under 20%, so the linemakers look spot on again.

West/Klaasen - Steve got away with one against Lewis Williams, the qualifier really should have got through that one, while Jelle was among the first players through after a lopsided performance against William Borland, who I guess just ran out of steam after an impressive afternoon session. The Lakeside champ's favourite, but it's only 10/11, looks in the right area, I might have put it 4/5 or maybe 8/11 with vig, so another game to leave alone.

van Gerwen/Lowe - Sounded like a decent game between MvG and Aspinall, while Lowe powered away from Adie to give us a nice result after the first half dozen legs were fairly tight. The model's saying Jason has a one in four shout and we can get 7/1. It's very close, but I'm going to restrain from going even a tenth of a unit on account of us really not knowing how Jason will react to the big stage. It's not like we're on someone that's played a huge event before.

Tabern/Bunting - Alan's looked very solid in Minehead this weekend, which continued with a fine win over Richard North (who continues to be an irritant when we go against him), while Bunting just scraped over the line against VVDV. I was expecting this to be a Tabern value bet, but the model's actually showing Bunting as around a 2-1 favourite, which surprises me quite a bit. With it being around a 13/8 Tabern line, there's no value here.

Huybrechts/Wade - Kim got through a solid game against Ryan Searle after earlier swatting aside an out of sorts Robert Thornton, while Wadey was easily able to get by John Henderson. Market's seeing it as 60/40 in favour of Wade, there's not quite enough here to bet, it's probably slightly closer than that, but only by 3-4%, so we can pass yet again.

Schindler/McKinstry - Martin played the best he's done in months against Justin Pipe, I guess all he needed was for us to bet against him, while Kyle's come all the way through from round one and is doing well enough to be only a 60/40 dog in the market. That's a little bit too close for me, 0.25u Schindler 4/6, as we know from last year Martin was playing some great stuff and was probably the best player not to have qualified for Ally Pally, with him looking like he's on it from yesterday then I think that the 75% I'm seeing for the young German isn't going to be too far off.

van den Bergh/Edgar - Putting this on the main stage would have been money, but I guess we need to see van Gerwen again. I'm not sure why this is as close as it is in the market, 0.5u van den Bergh 2/5, this is pretty similar to the Hughes game, except I'm only up at 85% for this one, which is more than enough at a line that equates to 71-72%.

Clemens/Boulton - Gabriel edged one against Ryan Joyce, while Andy, often under the radar and underrated, outdueled Luke Humphries in maybe not the greatest game average wise. I think I can pass on this one, while I think Andy's a bit better than most people give credit for, the same can be said for Clemens, and the 2/5 line is possibly slightly unkind to the German, this looks more 75/25 to me.

White/Wright - Doesn't get any easier for Snakebite after edging past Durrant, while White took a bit longer than I'd have liked to get over the line against Ward but was never really in trouble. Market is saying Wright wins two in three, we know Ian's much better than that and it's maybe not even 55/45 in favour of Peter from how I see it, 0.25u White 21/10, assuming Ian doesn't choke on TV as is often the case this should be down to the wire.

Stevenson/Anderson - Simon got out of jail against Webster, while Ando was maybe a bit fortunate to get over the line against a rallying Steve Beaton. It's an 80/20 line, it looks a lot safer than that though, could easily be 1/7, 1/8, I don't see a huge amount of point in putting in enough units to make a punt worthwhile here though, it's not a Harms/Beeney lock situation.

Smith/Cross - Tie of the round here after Smith easily took James Wilson apart and Cross needed to pull away late in the game against Zonneveld, books have Smith as the slight favourite, I've got Cross as the slight favourite, but it's no more than 52/48, we can get 13/10 in one book and 6/5 widely available. It's close, but I'll pass.

Keep an eye out for quick stabs after the round 6 draw's been made, conditional on 4G connection over the Pennines not being shit as usual.

Friday 6 March 2020

UK Open round 4 bets

There's at least a line for every game on Betfair now, but everyone else including oddschecker is lagging behind to some extent, so let's pull up five bookies and go through the games, seeing if there's anything we want:

0.5u White 2/5, Betfair are too generous here
0.5u Suljovic 10/21, Betfair again being too nice
0.25u Clayton 20/21, how is this a pick'em, Waites has been good today but Clayton remains class
0.25u Pipe 10/11, similar, not sure how this is close
0.25u Webster evs, this seems deceptively easy
0.25u Lowe 11/5, shouldn't be anywhere near that long against Adie in current form
0.1u Wilson 19/4, seems worth the stab if I've got them substantially closer

UK Open round 4 winning chances

Bets will follow once there's more than a handful of lines up, give it half an hour, but for now, the winning chances of each player:



Got to have been a long time since none of van Gerwen, Price or Wright have been in the top half of favoured players in terms of likelihood to advance, but here we are. I love the UK Open. I hate dartsdata. Back shortly.

UK Open afternoon live post

Afternoon people,

Just about caught up with the round one results, got 20 games into the database, will post round 2/3 tips as we go, OK performance on the round 1 picks with a half unit gain with just the Heta and Meikle picks still to go.

1250 - 0.25u Sedlacek 4/9 is available on 365

1255 - Checked the rest of the round 2 games that are finalised, nothing is appealing

1310 - OH MY GOD SHERROCK IS ACTUALLY WEARING A RILEY'S SHIRT

1318 - Half tempted by Askew over Klaasen at 11/5, maybe if there's money on Jelle I'll think about it

1330 - Not seeing anything new yet, but it's pretty disappointing that the first Kai Fan Leung game is frozen in time on dartsdata, and the Cheeseman game is nowhere to be seen on Dart Connect, hopefully the latter, given it was on a stream board, will show up on Youtube soon, but we'll see

1337 - 0.25u Heaver 13/8 against McKinstry, their first round games were fairly similar so I guess that this might be a bit closer, a 6-0 has to fill Jason with a bunch of confidence

1411 - Still seeing no further bets, but it looks like dartsdata doesn't recognise that Scott Waites' second round game exists, hopefully Dart Connect picks that one up as well

1415 - Not seen a line yet, but Evetts over Wilson is surely one to look at

1423 - Seeing 8/11 Evetts, which is borderline, will have a look at other bookies. Kuivenhoven against Clemens will be an interesting one to look at, Maik will probably be a bit underrated and may be worth a tenth of a unit play

1424 - Never mind that Kuivenhoven comment, the previous game's finished and that game started before anyone could post a line, lol

1426 - The Waites game has come through, Dart Connect's just a bit funky and not sorting by board, so it was hidden at the bottom

1434 - 0.25u Evetts 10/11 is available on 365

1515 - Can't believe both Meulenkamp and Smith lost, just ridiculous. I found all but a few darts of the de Decker game eventually, but Dart Connect eventually came through for that one. Doubt there'll be any more tips at this stage, nothing looks inspiring so check back for round four, now with less Max Hopp

Wednesday 4 March 2020

2020 UK Open tips

As ever, we don't have every game available to look at, so I'm going to have to give reads on those games that we know, and estimate the rest, with the nature of the UK Open field a lot of it's going to be somewhat speculative, so let's look at rounds 1-3.

Round 1

de Decker/Ashton - I think this is worth a small stab at Lisa, 0.1u Ashton 11/5, their winning legs aren't too far apart, that there's a big consistency differential is an issue, but maybe the crowd likely being on Lisa's side will make the difference.

Larsson/Meikle - Looks a great spot for someone who's ripped up the Dev Tour recently, 0.25u Meikle 4/5, he's favoured much more than that in my opinion.

Koltsov/van Trijp - Don't think there's much between then, although my data on Danny is limited. Maybe the values on Boris, but it's not much.

Davidson/Borland - Borland hasn't looked brilliant but should have more than enough against Davidson, whose Challenge Tour weekend was very worrying.

Heta/Waites - I can see why this is priced close, but it shouldn't be like that just on reputation, 0.25u Heta 8/11, reputation counts for little these days.

Telnekes/Kleermaker - Appears fairly close, oddly enough, can leave this one alone.

McKinstry/Sherrock - This ought to be close as well and is priced as such, almost want to take Sherrock at slightly odds against based on the crowd, but can pass on it.

Heaver/Noguera - Heaver's meant to be fairly decent, but I don't know where he's at with any sort of reliability to take him at not even 2/1 against a tour card holder who's scoring 89.

Huckvale/Burton - Burton certainly averaged a lot better than Huckvale on the Challenge Tour, and it's only that Adam had some decent results that's leaning me away from him. I guess I can pass, Stephen's only 4/5.

Harris/Taylor - Got a fair bit of data on these two, and it likes Cody comfortably enough, 0.25u Harris 11/10. It's over 60% so 11/10's tasty enough.

Siepmann/Kciuk - This looks very good, Steffen's not even close to Krzysztof, 0.25u Kciuk 4/6, almost tempted to go stronger, this probably ought to be closer to 4/9, if not shorter.

Jacques/Teehan - Small stab on Peter here, 0.25u Jacques 19/20, Teehan's not had the greatest of times since the worlds and Peter is projecting over 60%.

Askew/Ritchie - Ritchie looked alright on the Challenge Tour, and while we know Askew should be somewhat dangerous, I think Greg being a tiny favourite isn't unreasonable.

Smith-Neale/Cheeseman - Know nothing of Cheeseman. Know enough about Smith-Neale that a 2/5 price doesn't seem like it should be that far off the mark.

McGuirk/Rydz - Rydz ought to be the favourite, and is, but Shane appears to have enough quality that I think he'll get home around the one time in three that the market's thinking.

Williams/Owen - Challenge Tour sort by average special this one, 0.25u Williams 11/10, Owen's got course and distance here but it's been some time since he's shown what he can do.

Jones/Blades - Half tempted by Jones, but 4/7's just about too much on the short side given the projections I use will likely overrate him given his wild inconsistency.

van Peer/Roelofs - Owen didn't look great on the Challenge Tour and van Peer's had some success in recent times, so I think Berry ought to be favoured, he is, but I'd want a bit more than 4/7 to really consider it.

Doets/Thompson - Doets tops the Development Tour averages right now. That's almost worth punting on alone, but 2/5 is perhaps a wee bit unforgiving, we'd need to be right so often, I can't justify it.

fan Leung/Self - Kai's a quality operator, looking extremely impressive statistically, so much so that while I'd normally take mostly anyone at 4/1 at this stage I don't think I can do it.

Hunt/Sedlacek - Too close to call in both my projections at the market. Maybe I'm liking Sedlacek more than the market, but thinking he should be 10/11 when he's 11/10 is no biggie and certainly not worth betting on.

Burness/Leitinger - Seems a close game, market is like that, fortunately we don't need to punt so we can leave this one alone, Kevin may have a small edge but that's where the line lies anyway.

Barry/Tabern - Keane being the slight favourite feels correct, maybe Tabern's experience will count for something but it's another one we can just pass on.

Barnard/Brown - Steve's started the season very well. Michael not so much. Why this is so close is beyond me, 0.25u Brown 8/13.

Hamilton/Lynskey - Hammer's looked OK, doing enough on the Pro Tour in comparison to Patrick on the Challenge Tour that a 70/30 projection feels as if it's in the correct neighbourhood.

Beveridge/Rafferty - Think you can make an argument for either, not much to choose from, Nathan's mediocre showing last weekend is almost making me want to punt for Ice Cold (that is a great nickname) at just better than evens, but maybe it was just an off weekend.

Hayden/Clark - Similar game, can barely separate the two on fairly limited information, as the market has it tight we can move on, Rhys being slightly odds on is probably where I'd put the line as well.

Richardson/Penhall - We've got real data on these two - however it's saying too close to call. Darren's almost worth the shot at 13/10 but it's a big event for him and James has been in this sort of spot many times before, which may negate anything we have.

Menzies/Brooks - Cameron's been quiet for a few months now, but looks like he's done enough on the Challenge Tour that, coupled with historical information, his small favourite line against Bradley appears fair.

Beeney/Harms - 1u Harms 1/6, wish I'd have got on at 1/4, Aaron's outclassed against Wesley here.

Smith/Jenkins - Christ, how many razor-thin first round games are we going to get? This is one more in the market, with their Challenge Tour averages extremely similar, move on...

Atkins/Murray - Ah, finally one we can shove into the master computer, which reckons this should be near two to one in favour of Ryan, so 0.25u Murray 8/11

Round 2

de Decker/Ashton v Meikle/Larsson - If Meikle advances, then he should probably be about a flip against either, if it's Larsson that goes through, then he's got to be a decent underdog, don't take either of the other players anywhere south of 1/2. For all these conditional games I'll put where I think the line should be, but on Friday I'll be rushing back to enter live results and suggest live tips. If anyone puts up a really good performance (say no more than two legs won outside of fifteen darts and no really bad losing legs), then pull their chances in ever so slightly.

Koltsov/van Trijp v Davidson/Borland - Willie ought to be a 60/40 favourite against either of these, he's playing well enough.

Heta/Waites v Nentjes - Heta ought to be a 1/2 favourite against Geert, if Scotty gets through then call it evens.

Telnekes/Kleermaker v Razma - Going to be hard to call given Razma's up and down nature, Madars should have an edge but if you can get longer than about 13/8 on Kleermaker then go for it, Derk I'd want a little bit longer.

McKinstry/Sherrock v Noguera/Heaver - This is going to be an awkward one to read. I'd say Noguera's probably 40/60 or there abouts, but I'd just avoid this one as you don't know how either Jesus or Jason will react to the stage situation.

Huckvale/Burton v van der Meer - Should be a tight second round game, would probably line it up around 8/11 for Vincent against either.

Harris/Taylor v Lowe - Jason's playing very well and should be a decent enough favourite, around 60/40.

Worsley v Clark - Model can't separate the two, and neither can the market, move on.

Siepmann/Kciuk v Wilkinson - Hard to see how Wilkinson could be considered a favourite assuming Kcuik advances, but I'd need at least 4/5 to go with the Pole and have any edge, similarly I'd need 2/1 for Carl. If it's Siepmann somehow then Carl should be strongly odds on, if you can get 2/5 or better you'd have a good edge.

Ward v Carlin - Gavin rates decently better here, he's a fair bit more inconsistent than Harry but 0.25u Carlin evs looks very nice to me.

Jacques/Teehan v Meeuwisse - The two first rounders rate quite close on the market, and should both rate very close to Yordi, if the market chucks out 6/4 on anyone take the underdog.

Askew/Ritchie v Rodriguez - Rowby should be easily too solid for either. Hard to gauge a line with the lack of information on the two at main tour level, thinking that the Austrian should come in around 1/2, maybe 2/5, but probably doesn't.

Smith-Neale/Cheeseman v Rydz/McGuirk - Going to be tight to call. I would think that, assuming Adam gets through the first game, it'll be priced around 4/7 for Callan or Shane.

Williams/Owen v Gray - Adrian's not been hugely convincing, but should have a slight edge. If it's priced as a flip I'd probably take Adrian, but would need at least 7/4 to consider either of the qualifiers.

Jones/Blades v Whitehead - Conan projects more or less evens with Jones, and has similar wild inconsistency. If Wayne gets through then it's similar to the Meeuwisse game, if offered 6/4 either side grab it. If Gary gets through, he should be a fairly big dog, would take up to 1/2 on Whitehead in that situation.

van Peer/Roelofs v Evetts - Ted should be a decent favourite in this one, I'd price it 1/2 against van Peer and shorter against Roelofs, to give you a rough idea if they don't respect Ted's game.

Doets/Thompson v Pallett - I get the feeling that Doets is doing well enough that he ought to measure up fairly closely to Dave, all things considered. Another one where if the market chucks out a 60/40 sort of line then go with who the market doesn't like.

fan Leung/Self v Shepherd - Kai should be a prohibitive favourite here. If they think Kirk's got a realistic chance then go on Kai, 1/2 I'd probably take.

Hunt/Sedlacek v Bates - Barrie's in a bad enough place right now that he should be a large underdog. I'd go a 3/1 sort of line, if you can get a chunk better on either Adam or Karel then print the money.

Burness/Leitinger v Murnan - Joe's had a couple of good results, but nothing brilliant - this one ought to be a fairly tight game whoever advances out of it.

Barry/Tabern v Barnard/Brown - Assuming Brown gets through, which he should, then I think he'll have a small advantage against either opponent. As the market doesn't like him in his first game, then I'd imagine we're offered at least 6/4, maybe a lot longer, so keep an eye on this one.

Hamilton/Lynskey v Zonneveld - Might be a good spot for Niels here. I'm seeing him playing just about well enough that he should be a tiny favourite over Andy, and I don't think he'll be priced as such.

Beveridge/Rafferty v van Duivenbode - Another one that should be close, and might be exploitable - Mike I think has the better of it, but it's very marginal, that said, the market may favour the other guy, in which case go with Mike.

Hayden/Clark v Richardson/Penhall - I'd be tempted to avoid this one without seeing how Hayden or Clark do on the day. I'd guess 4/7 on Richardson/Penhall is the sort of price where I'd be avoiding the match.

Menzies/Brooks v Kenny - Kenny's had a good start to the season, but it's not a prohibitively better start - I'd put a line at around 8/11 on Kenny against Brooks, maybe closer to a pick'em against Menzies.

Beeney/Harms v Smith/Jenkins - Harms has enough quality here that he should be value at anything better than 4/5, regardless of opponent - if Beeney somehow gets through then almost no price will be too short on Smith or Jenkins.

Atkins/Murray v Bunse - Christian's looked alright, if he was to play Murray then I'd set a line at 4/5 for the German, adjusting a bit shorter if Atkins advances, if it was Martin going through then I'd bet at 4/6 on Christian, and I doubt I'd ever see a long enough price to go against him.

Baker v McGeeney - This one appears incredibly tight on paper, but we're being offered an alright price on the Mod, so 0.25u Baker 13/8, this is only 52/48 really.

Boulton v Robinson - No idea why this is close, 0.25u Boulton 10/11, this is easily 70/30 in Boulton's favour.

Smith v Michael - This is almost close to a punt on Michael, he's playing well enough that 2/1 is fairly close to value, but he only wins this in the high 30% region, so the edge isn't quite there for me.

Kantele v van Duijvenbode - Oddly, the market may have overreacted to Dirk's recent form. Marko's playing alright, he might have as much as a 40% chance here, so I really should be looking at the 5/2 price here, but it's so hard to back him because of the inconsistency variance and that he's lost a very high percentage of legs which extenuates that problem. The legs he wins are good, they're just real infrequent.

Derry v Kuivenhoven - Looks like an alright spot to go with Maik here, 0.25u Kuivenhoven 8/13, he's got a 70% chance to win here more or less, that's enough of an edge for me.

Round 3

I'm not going to go through every permutation here, just the guaranteed games, the rest will come live as we get down to it on Friday in running.

Humphries v Anderson - I really, really want to bet on Kyle here, the model loves him, but Luke's on fire right now, so I'll pass and regret it.

Huybrechts v Thornton - 60/40 line this one for me. Maybe tiny value on Robert, but it's not enough to consider a bet, Kim's at least trending in the right direction which'll help matters.

Payne v Woodhouse - Market appears to have this one perfect. They have Woodhouse as a tiny 4/5 favourite, I'm seeing 53/47 in Luke's favour. Nothing here.

Searle v Reyes - This is as near as damnit to 60/40 in favour of your newest Pro Tour winner. There's no value in this one either.

O'Connor v Dekker - Yet another game where the line looks good. Willie's playing darts to a good enough level that the 1/2 line is justified, maybe I'd have put it 8/15 but it's nitpicking.

Meulenkamp v North - There's few signs that Richard's getting out of his slump yet, but we can get nearly 4/6 on Ron? That'll do for me, 0.25u Meulenkamp 8/13, this ought to be nearer 4/11 really. He's that much better right now.

Lewis v Smith - Er, how is this one even close in the market? 0.25u Smith 8/11, that's a quite absurd line, Smith should be shorter than 1/2.

Schindler v van de Pas - I wouldn't like to call a winner on this one, and the market doesn't want to call it either. Probably goes to a deciding leg. Very competitive game.

Watch out on Friday for live tips as the afternoon session goes on.

Sunday 1 March 2020

Belgium done, next stop the arse end of nowhere

King and Suljovic didn't really turn up at all, however van Duijvenbode's run to the semi finals at least mitigated the damage somewhat so we only lost about two thirds of a unit over the weekend. Price ended up winning the thing with a convincing final display over Michael Smith, who'll surely be hugely happy to get another 10k onto his Pro Tour ranking that should push him up the rankings enough so he doesn't need to deal with qualifiers for a while.

Wessel Nijman was able to claim the last Development Tour tournament of the weekend over Martin Schindler, Dom Taylor was in the semis again, could very well be turning into one to watch.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Peter Wright
3 Gerwyn Price
4 Rob Cross
5 Michael Smith
6 Nathan Aspinall
7 Daryl Gurney
8 Dave Chisnall
9 James Wade
10 Ian White
11 Glen Durrant
12 Gary Anderson
13 Mensur Suljovic
14 Krzysztof Ratajski
15 Adrian Lewis
16 Stephen Bunting (UP 1)
17 Chris Dobey (DOWN 1)
18 Simon Whitlock
19 Joe Cullen
20 Jonny Clayton

Bunting's the only mover, his first round loss being enough to pinch the top 16 spot for now by less than 30 points. Duzza's within one Pro Tour final of the top 10, while recent hero Dirk van Duijvenbode is now up into the top 80.

I'm not sure what I'm going to post this week, I've posted up early reads for the UK Open, I'll obviously post up actual tips on the Thursday evening and, work depending, will be pretty quick on the Friday to post live tips/thoughts as the day develops (at the very least, I'll post about round four), I know there was some weirdness in one of Danny Noppert's games in terms of shot selection from both players that I wanted to mention, but I'll have to dig through the archives to see what was going on there.