Thursday, 31 December 2020

Second/Third Division Darts update

With a bit of a lull in the action today, I've gone through the Second and Third Division Darts update page and caught up to date. Barring an unlikely Ratajski/Chisnall final, the season is done, so the results are:

- Wade's managed to win the second division by about three quarters of a point from Ian White, who's marginally ahead of Krzysztof Ratajski in third place. At the bottom of the field was Adrian Lewis who's had a shocker of a year and will surely not be selected for next season's event.

- Third division winner is Luke Humphries, who's just managed to get over the line ahead of Danny Noppert to win promotion to the second division for next season. Josh Payne and Jeffrey de Zwaan (yes, really) tied for third, while Callan Rydz is a bit unfortunate to finish below Ricky Evans at the bottom by less than a hundredth of a point.

For the uninitiated, the Second and Third Division Darts project is something I've been doing for a few years now, where I take players who are just outside the Premier League, and then compare how they have done against each other across the season. It's mainly just for fun, but also to give an idea as to what might have happened. The selection process is as follows (after, of course, we take out those players from the Premier League, which for the sake of clarity is just the main list, not the Challengers):

- The top two players from the previous season in division two return as of right
- The top four players in the FRH rankings not already used are selected
- The winner of division three (or highest ranked player otherwise - last year Aspinall skipped straight to the Premier League) is selected
- I then choose three wildcards to complete division two

- The top two players from the previous season in division three return as of right
- If not already picked, the world youth champion is selected
- The top four players in the FRH rankings not already used are selected
- The remaining spots are filled by wildcards

Should also point out at this stage that there is an age limit on the third division of 30 at the start of the year, to give it more of a development/challengers sort of feel. Will also point out that selection is contingent on a player being likely to play most of the tour - if someone's not got a tour card in the bank, they're not getting in.

So who does that put where? Well, it's hugely, hugely dependent on who they pick for the Premier League, but if we use a list of van Gerwen, Price, Wright and Cross by right (who barring strange results will still be top 4 in the world), van den Bergh and de Sousa as major winners and Durrant as the defending champion, that only leaves 2-3 spots between the likes of Wade, Smith, Aspinall, Anderson and others. Hard to say who they pick, and the quarters onwards may have a lot to do with it, but I think they may just give the Contenders a rest and go with three of those four - which means at this stage the second division would be:

White, Ratajski (2020 div 2 results)
Wade, Smith, Aspinall, Chisnall, Anderson, Cullen, Gurney (current FRH rankings, select top four who aren't picked for the PL)
Humphries (2020 div 3 winner)
3 wildcards

Payne, de Zwaan (2020 div 3 results)
Brooks (world youth champion)
van Duijvenbode, Brown, Hopp, Hunt (current FRH rankings)
3 wildcards

Obviously there's a fair chance that I might pick Dirk as a wildcard, and the order of the FRH rankings can change substantially in the next few days, but that should give you enough of an idea for now. Will post up tips for the quarters in the morning.

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