Saturday 14 November 2020

Hendo made it! Hendo made it!

We're done with the Players Championship series. Cullen won the event over Ratajski, but we had a couple of surprising semi finalists in Huybrechts and Boulton - we were saying that Andy could put together a run, and he has done and can look forward to the worlds as a result.

The key thing was who got into things - Hendo beat Baker on countback for the last spot, while Wayne Jones was the only player to really get in who was on the outside (with a very nice ten darter to break Rowby to seal the deal in round one), while Kai Fan Leung couldn't get it done against Peter Jacques, Borland ran into Bunting, Noguera needed one more game against Sedlacek but couldn't do it, then Sedlacek had a change against Gurney but also failed (although Karel has the consolation of having forced himself into the Players Championship Finals at least). We weren't looking at Krcmar for the worlds, but he also crept into the PC finals as well.

Some tasty PC Finals matchups - White/Krcmar, Wattimena/van den Bergh, Searle/Rydz, Gurney/Humphries, King/Bunting, Lowe/Joyce, van Duijvenbode/Dobey, Clayton/Hughes and Lewis/Smith all look extremely interesting. We should hopefully get a few of these on the main stream, although there'll be usual wasted spots with games like Wright/Henderson, van Gerwen/Waites and stuff like that.

New FRH rankings (which incorporates Grand Slam mincashes, which only affects de Sousa over Lewis for 20):

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

Smith's double win has moved him up to the to p5 again and within 10k of Cross for England's number 1. Ratajski and Cullen did enough to get past either an absent or ineffective Ando, Clayton took advantage of Suljovic's absence to get into the top 16, and de Sousa's Grand Slam appearance bumps him into the top 20. Should note that Damon Heta is now into the top 50, Adam Hunt is in the top 75, and the surprise package of Kciuk is up into the top 128.

Bit of talk on Twitter as to what they should do with the as yet undetermined worlds spots. For the odd event (Tom Kirby, South American qualifier) I've no issue with them giving the spots to Portela and whoever the best Irish player not qualified is (Mansell?), it's not like they've not done similar before, see back three years where they basically gave Petersen, Ratajski and Jeff Smith wildcards. But for the Asian Tour they're in a bit of a pickle. Giving out the same four spots, adjusting for Asada now not using the Japanese spots, seems a bit shitty, so I think they need to try to do something on the fly. What I'd do is take the top 7 from last season (Ilagan, Asada, Paul Lim, Malicdem, Yamada, Lam, Muramatsu) where there's a natural cutoff in prize money won, invite Kai Fan Leung as a tour card holder, then hold an open qualifier for two further spots into a round robin event, all played online. They've got the experience of doing things like this, and it seems the fairest thing to do. Gives everyone a shot to get in, and respects who's been the best in recent history. We'll wait and see - the last thing I think anyone wants to see is them to chuck an additional god knows how many spots to the PDPA qualifier.

I'll get some stuff on the Grand Slam up tomorrow once we know the draw (should be happening any time round now). Won't comment on the MvG/Worsley thing beyond that van Gerwen should shut up and mark, and Worsley shouldn't react.

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