Sunday 28 June 2020

It's ranked, thank god

PDC had a quick update a couple of days ago (removing the Kurz winning an Ally Pally spot headline which had a 404 error), their Summer Series is ranked, which is a clear enough indication that these events should be close to full strength, the points will count towards the Matchplay (obviously), and they're also chucking in a Grand Slam spot to whoever tops the rankings for these five events. That seems fine, they're probably going to have to rework a bunch of things with that event anyway (how the hell do they decide the non-PDC spots with their calendar decimated?) so throwing one spot at it looks alright to me.

As such, let's first throw up a new FRH rankings - we've not had an event since March, but these are a living, breathing thing which has seen 11 events drop off the radar since the last update, and two legends of the game in Ronnie Baxter and Prakash Jiwa fall off the rankings completely, but for now, the top 20:

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

Whitlock drops off completely, the big mover is Durrant (obvious when you think about it), Ratajski moves to the number 2 ranking for overseas players, also we see Dimitri crack the top 20 for what I think is the first time - having a very deep worlds run is going to have helped out massively with that.

So who's going to get in the Matchplay? The seeds look close to set looking at the PDC's Matchplay race, and in any case, the last two men in (Durrant and Ratajski) are going to be clearly safe on the Pro Tour anyway. Whitlock's only a couple of grand ahead of these two, and not close on the Pro Tour, but let's be realistic - Bunting, who's the last man out, is 18k back, which is going to require a heck of an effort to get in, even if you bink one you still require four quarter finals in the remainder to sneak in by a grand - assuming Whitlock stands still and does nothing. That seems a pretty huge long shot. So we'll just look at the Pro Tour race, we'll assume these are the seeds (courtesy of PDC's article):

For future reference I need to name files better, far too many images that start "matchplay". We'll also assume anyone that is Pipe and above is safe on the Pro Tour, as he's 5k clear of 17th right now - so Cullen, Dolan, Noppert, de Sousa, Wattimena, de Zwaan, Clayton, Clemens and Pipe are fine. One or two players might get above him, but all of the players below these as well isn't going to happen. So let's put together a list of the seven provisionally in, and down to 6k below the last man in (which oddly enough doesn't include Chris Dobey, but it's right, since the last Matchplay on the Pro Tour he's been pretty ordinary):

rank player cash money best 4 pro tour 2020 ppt
10 Jamie Hughes 22750 qf-16-16-64 90.80
11 Keegan Brown 22250 qf-32-32-32 90.35
12 Dimitri van den Bergh 22000 16-64-64 89.57
13 Steve Beaton 21500 qf-qf-32-64 90.32
14 Vincent van der Voort 21250 16-16-16-32 88.65
15 Ryan Searle 19000 win-32-32-32 90.69
16 Kim Huybrechts 18750 sf-32-64-64 90.84
17 Steve West 18500 32-32-64 89.49
18 Ricky Evans 18000 16-16-32-64 90.96
19 John Henderson 17750 32-32-32-64 92.65
20 Luke Humphries 17500 16-32-32-32 93.37
21 Ron Meulenkamp 15750 64-64 90.21
22 Stephen Bunting 15500 sf-16-16-64 91.62
23 Willie O'Connor 15250 qf-32-64-64 92.01
24 Ryan Joyce 15250 16-32-32-64 91.58
25 Mervyn King 15000 32-64-64-64 90.72
26 Devon Petersen 13250 sf-16-64 95.21
27 Mickey Mansell 13000 qf-16-32-32 89.69
28 Dirk van Duijvenbode 13000 sf-16-32-32 92.78
29 Ross Smith 13000 qf-16-32-64 90.92

Best four pro tour just considers the eight events played in that series. Let's start from the top - Hughes and Brown have enough of a combination of money in the bank, quality of play and results to be safe as houses. Beaton's probably the same. Dimitri hasn't been playing quite as well, or getting results, but with a semi final lead on enough people, he ought to be able to put one thing into place. Vincent's a funny one, statistically he's not been good, but he's been getting results, so again with enough in the bank he should be able to grind out enough to be safe.

This leaves a bunch of people scrapping for two spots I think. It really doesn't need much to be able to force your way in - but you need to be showing enough to not only get in, but to stay in, as there's a lot of people that are in the mix. There's a bit too much of a gap for the bottom four on this list, although Devon and Dirk are playing well enough that they can put together one really good event and throw themselves right up into the mix. King I think is in real trouble, just not getting results, Joyce looks in a much better position. O'Connor looks better again - higher standard of play, and has shown in fairly recent memory enough to be able to punch a ticket to Blackpool. Bunting is maybe similar. Meulenkamp we can probably chuck out, 2020 has not been kind to date. Humphries is probably the one player who's outside who can power in - his scoring is really good, he's not that far behind and he's been getting fairly consistent money, although having one very good run is going to help out a lot. Henderson's not playing that much worse, but results are a little bit worse, scoring's a little bit worse, and most people would feel he's not quite at Luke's level as of right now. Evans isn't showing enough to have any sort of edge among that group from 15th to 20th that makes me think he'll claim a spot, and West certainly isn't.

So can Searle and Huybrechts hold on? Searle definitely has a chance, he's won one this year and looks to have got the bad run he had well behind him at this stage, while Huybrechts I think is a bit more vulnerable - that semi final was in the one where we had all the withdrawals (although in fairness he did beat some good players), and he got 2k for free as a result of Belgium being the only place this year to hold a Euro Tour.

Outside of a Dobey bink, I don't think there's anyone outside of this list that's realistic, Damon Heta maybe, but he's even further behind than Dobey is so it's that much more of an ask.

One key thing here that's often overlooked is what the fields for these events are going to look like. The thing about the Pro Tour list is that those who are going to creep in are typically going to be around the low 20's and high 30's in the Pro Tour rankings right now - exactly those sorts of players who are going to get low seeds, and hence run into an elite player in the last 32 potentially, that can greatly limit your earning power. Is it better to know you're not going to get a seed in the first two rounds (although there's some really, really good non-seeds you can hit obviously) and be sure you're going to hit an MvG, Wright etc and have a good chance of ending up with 1k tops, or do you want to roll the dice on ending up in a random sector of the draw and get an easier seed, albeit in round 1 or 2? Tricky one to call, once we get entrant lists we can probably project a fair bit easier.

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