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?

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