Friday, 12 June 2020

DARTS! ON!

It's a bit later than anticipated, but finally we have a reveal as to what the PDC is planning to do - five events, running from July 8-12 (which is a Wednesday to Sunday) down in Milton Keynes, in the same venue where they held the snooker that has an on-site hotel next to MK Dons' ground (and, critically, a KFC). There's not been a massive amount more at this stage, other than that the events are currently ranked, although that is apparently subject to change if large numbers of non-UK players can get here.

What we know at the moment is there's three and a bit weeks to go until that point, and they're due to revisit the quarantine rules two weeks tomorrow (assuming BA, Ryanair etc don't win their judicial review before then, which frankly they should). Regardless of what happens at that point, it gives plenty of lead time for players to sort their travel arrangements, and even if the comical quarantine rulings stay (which are pretty much unenforceable and you've got to be pretty dumb to get caught out by them), it'd still leave the window for someone to fly in that Monday and stay in the hotel for two weeks, incorporating the events into the quarantine time.

What we don't know at this stage is plenty - it's probably easier to watch Matt Edgar's video that he put out today, as he covered a lot of what I'm thinking, but I'll summarise:

- Matt was wondering if there'd be an event, indicating unranked, to get people back into the swing of "live" darts, and how the logistics would work of running the event. I think we've got to assume that they'll have the thing set up a day or two before to allow for some walkthroughs, demonstrations and practice, maybe they could have done the first event unranked and the next four as ranked, but there's a lot of a backlog to catch up on so doing them all ranked seems fine.

- Matt also wondered if these events are going to count towards Matchplay qualification. Fair point, there's no indication one way or another, but one would assume yes.

- One thing that isn't clear is if these are going to operate as normal Players Championship events, and if they can't get all 128 tour card holders in (it is interesting that it is worded "The Summer Series will see all 128 Tour Card Holders given the chance to compete") whether they're going to call up Mitchell etc to fill the field. One would also assume yes, although the scheduling is right across the next couple of Challenge Tour days - then again, the concept of being able to run a Challenge Tour within the next month is lol.

There'll probably plenty of internal discussions that'll clear up a bunch of things, but that's my thoughts right now. Just glad we know something is going on, and we can start to get back to some sort of normal schedule. If they're not moving the Matchplay dates, one would think that they'll do something similar in August to further catch up on the missed Pro Tours.

There's also a decent interview between Matt Porter and, if I remember rightly, Phil Barrs, where they talk a whole lot of things, Matt doesn't really tell us anything new, but I think it's worth the watch.

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