Thursday 24 September 2020

ET2 pre event thoughts

Finally, the Euro Tour HAS COME BACK to our screens. It's been long overdue. I've not yet seen odds for the matches involving the qualifiers, which excitingly include Nico Kurz and Cody Harris, as well as another appearance for old favourites Ronny Huybrechts and Dragutin Horvat, then finally Lukas Wenig makes a second appearance and we have a new name in Franz Roetzsch, so what do I think in the early stages? I'll go with bets in the morning, but for now, the matches:

Waites/Penhall - Got a feeling this'll be quite dull. Waites looked pretty good in the Autumn Series (it's a good interview with him on the Weekly Dartscast out today by the way, check it out), whereas Penhall didn't play it, so we've got no real clue where he's at, which makes it a hard one to read. He wasn't awful prior to the break, doing well enough that he should get some legs, but it's hard to go with someone who's going to be missing a huge amount of match practice.

Larsson/O'Connor - This ought to be Willie's. He's not done a great deal I've noticed in 2020, but seems a good couple of points per turn better than Larsson. That said, Daniel can be dangerous on occasions, looked nice in sweeping a decent Home Tour group, and does have the mental benefit of being the only player on the tour to live in a free country right now, which might be useful.

Meulenkamp/North - Similar to the above. Neither have been in great form in 2020 but Ron showed some flashes earlier in the month which were notable, is scoring that little bit better than Richard, who's really in a bit of trouble when it comes to retaining a tour card, a long shot away from two years ago where he was pushing for the top 32. North has had very occasional bursts, which against a player like Ron might be enough if they're well timed, but the Bomb is the favourite here.

Koltsov/Lennon - Steve's another player that's kind of stopped making progress, and the ever dangerous Russian isn't the ideal draw. Boris, despite not being a card holder, was involved in a lot of the Modus events so will be sharp enough you'd feel, Lennon's numbers this year really aren't that bad, they've just not been translating into results. Should be the best match so far.

Roetzsch/Smith - Jeff's to lose. Franz is unknown to me, fortunately the scoring was on Dart Connect, he doesn't seem like a complete mug but got a fairly favourable run avoiding most of the big guns, Kohnlein in the final being the strongest player he faced, and got a complete gift in the semi against a 60 average player. Smith didn't have a marvellous time in the Autumn Series, but will be way too strong here.

Wenig/Harris - We saw Lukas once before, he didn't do much then, in this quali he got his hardest match first up against Eidams, but got a couple of low 90's averages and then got past Pietreczko in the final, so it's a much better resume than Roetzsch had. Harris we know a lot more about, he wasn't bad in Austria last weekend and looked very strong in the quali - not a high average in the first match against an opponent that wasn't helping, but then 94 against Symeonidis and 97 against Plaisier is a good finish. Looking like 0 for 2 for the Germans here.

Huybrechts/Horvat - We've seen a good chunk of Horvat as he bottled worlds qualification, but the standard today for him was good, particularly late where it mattered with averages of 96 and 93 to close out a qualification spot. Ronny will be an interesting one - he only broke 90 once in qualification when he smacked up Arjan Konterman, but it's about getting the results. Both have a lot of experience, and assuming Ronny's game hasn't completely deteriorated since falling off the tour, this could be quite tight, but Dragutin must surely be considered the better player at this point in time.

Siepmann/King - More German interest, Steffen must have got through the tour card qualifier months ago, and gets a bad draw against Mervyn, who if I remember rightly has work to do to get into the Grand Prix, or at least solidify a spot, and a motivated Mervyn really isn't who you're wanting to face. King's scoring this season is bang on 90, which is a good six points higher than Steffen's, this should be a mismatch.

Noppert/Payne - Into the evening session. Payne's been around for a while, but despite having won a couple of Pro Tours, has never really been able to put enough of a consistent run together to push towards the top 32, while at the same time never really being in any danger of being outside the top 64. Noppert at this stage is one of the most underrated players on the circuit and there's a strong argument he's the second best Dutch player right now, it's certainly what the ratings show and Josh shouldn't be able to compete here unless he pulls out his A-game.

Brown/Hunt - Old versus young, Steve had some nice results earlier in the year but that was a long time ago now, Hunt's been around for a while but never really produced the results, at least not on the senior level, he had a few nice spots in the Autumn Series where he looked like a threat, but statistically the two are extremely close. Probably trending the right way for Adam but an over on the number of legs may be the best play of all.

West/Clemens - This should be good - if Steve turns up. Clemens is the clear best German player now, Steve was a solid top 32 player and a danger to win events not too long ago, although he's gone off the boil in the last twelve months. West's scoring is a point below Gabriel's - which includes a very mediocre Superleague, so I can't see the home favourite messing this one up.

Lowe/Kurz - This'll be the second best game of the night. Nico already has an Ally Pally (ideally not if you read my last post, but you know what I mean) spot booked, and looked extremely good in qualification with 90 averages throughout (apart from round 1) in the quali. This is a real good test - Jason Lowe has been consistent as anything all year and is likely number 1 on the list of solid floor players that you don't know about - of course, if he had cleaned up that checkout against MvG at the UK Open, everyone would know about him. Can't miss darts this.

Robinson/Hopp - A bit hard to feel excited about this one. Reece seems to have been around for a long time, but been missing in action forever, it's hard to feel excited about him but his numbers have been steady enough at around 88 and a half. Hopp gets in through the new Max Hopp qualification rule, his scoring this year is actually lower than Reece's, but external factors will surely play a factor in this one, this is exactly where Max needs to up his game (and critical that he does so, his rankings are not looking good right now).

de Zwaan/Petersen - Oh boy, this is spicy as anything. Devon's playing at a top sixteen standard right now, if not higher than that, that's how well his 2020 game has been doing, so a game against Jeffrey should be entertaining, but will it be? Jeffrey needs to do something in order to be safe of getting to Coventry - I can't find an accurate race table for the life of me, but he's definitely not secure, and it's hard to see how he will be able to hang with Devon given their relative form, Jeffrey's had an awful 2020 to date.

Dobey/Murray - Not a bad draw for Chris, who's slipped a bit in the Pro Tour rankings so picking up some money here would be useful. The scoring is definitely still there, he's just been lacking results. Murray's an interesting opponent who's extremely steady and definitely underrated, which we used to our advantage in getting him at a good price to win his Home Tour group. Chris has the quality and should be fine here, but he can't take any liberties in this one.

Smith/Tabern - Our final match sees Michael Smith at an uncharacteristically early stage of the event, but that's the nature of the Pro Tour rankings. Alan Tabern's the opponent, Smith is obviously the clearly superior player, but while Alan is lacking the scoring to hit the key power legs, you can't buy his experience and he'll be there or there abouts if Michael starts messing around in legs. Could be interesting dynamics with both players being from St Helens - surely they must have practiced together at some point?

Expect bets in the morning before 9am.

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