Saturday 11 July 2020

Three down, two to go

Firstly, apologies for lack of posting during the first time we've had ranked darts back since forever, it's been a really weird combination of work and non-darts stuff that's limited me somewhat, it's never going to be easy to do this sort of thing on a midweek, but the timing was really not great just now. So we're back, and I think it's fair to say there's been quite a few surprises - nobody would ever think that van Gerwen winning one would be a shock, but winning two in this sort of format which you'd think wasn't ideally suited to his style of play might raise a few eyebrows. Then again, he's still the best player in the world (sorry Peter/Gerwyn), and in the brief amount of the games I've seen, it's been nowhere near as stop/start as the German Superleague was. The big shock was Ryan Joyce binking his first title, well done, that ten grand has pretty much locked a spot at this stage, and also got to give a shout out to Aaron Beeney for getting onto the board with a good win over Scott Waites.

Courtesy of the Weekly Dartscast Twitter feed, the current race looks like this:

It's hard to say who's going to be completely safe, I'd be surprised if enough combination of people go on runs to knock out Dimitri, Beaton's a different question as it's just needing three people to do not much. That extra £500 that the Belgian had makes a big difference, especially in the context of the roads for the four behind him - they're seeded 32, 31, 30 and 29 respectively, so today Searle, Evans, Brown and Beaton are on the same boards as Price, Wright, Ratajski and Suljovic. Good luck getting more than a grand out of that, but who knows it can happen. DvdB doesn't have the most favourable board himself, getting MvG, but against Stevenson first round then probably Kuivenhoven, you'd think he'd get a grand a fair bit of the time and £500 most of the time.

Let's quickly chuck up who's scoring the best just in the three events so far:

You weren't expecting de Sousa number 1, were you? Let's have a look at who's just on the bubble who might play in on this list. Dobey could, but has so much work to do - he needs a final one day or another, two semis just won't cut it, and his board today is really spicy, Whitlock first round (who's not been playing too badly) then Aspinall before someone else moderately dangerous, that's tricky. Bunting doesn't look too bad and is a lot closer, one semi might be enough, he's got Jacques and then probably Durrant, so while it's a tough ask, even that 500 quid might give him enough to keep him within a quarter final on Sunday. Searle we've mentioned, if he can get through Price it's not necessarily all plain sailing from there as Cross is on an adjacent board. Lowe continues to look good but it too far away, Petersen continues to look solid enough, and on the Gurney/Clemens board, he's not got the trickiest thing to deal with in the world, although with van Gerwen on the next board, Devon's probably capped at £1500 for the day which would mean a final's necessary on the Sunday. Luke Humphries has a bit of a chance - he's got Beaton first up, then likely Kleermaker, Suljovic and Clayton, which isn't a real tricky task to get to a quarter. If he does that he's within a board win of making it in all probability, so who knows.

Of those on the bubble who have disappointed? West has done little but we weren't expecting much, so let's look down to Hendo - god knows what he's doing, and he's now got Ross Smith and then Peter Wright. He was looking really good, but is scoring a pedestrian 87 and change per turn - pretty much identical to West. Baker, Leung and Kciuk are games he should be winning, even one extra win from those tournaments puts him level with Bunting. King's probably the biggest name that's outside who might creep in, but we can't really say he's disappointed - Wednesday/Thursday he won the games he should then lost to Michaels Smith/van Gerwen respectively, then drew Smith again yesterday. It's hard to say it gets easier when you draw a multiple major champion, but Gurney isn't the worst out in round one for Mervyn.

I think the Matchplay's now looking like three from four between 14-17 on the Pro Tour rankings. I think that gap from Searle to Huybrechts is significant at this stage, if you assume that nobody's standing still. Sure, two first round defeats are entirely possible, but Searle should beat Dave Pallett and have a good chance against an improving Callan Rydz, Evans has a real potential banana skin in Boris Krcmar but his round two opponent (probably Lennon) isn't that bad, Beaton's got a tough one as mentioned above in Humphries, while Keegan Brown has Darren Penhall then McGeeney or Menzies. Stick on what you think they'll get out of those, and then maybe another £500 tomorrow, and that's a big amount to catch up without, realistically, a final run. Huybrechts out of interest has van der Voort, then probably Webster then White (or maybe DvD if Dirk can get going), so I wouldn't be counting on Kim to tear things up either.

We'll know a lot more by this evening - I'll be watching our game vs Chelsea when we're at the real business end, but expect something when we've really trimmed down the possibilities. Watch Luke Woodhouse bink from nowhere and ruin everyone's projections.

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