Saturday, 5 December 2020

Section 4 - van den Bergh, Humphries, Lim, Wattimena, Telnekes, Kenny


What a year it's been for Dimitri. After a first season outside of the youth ranks where he'd make the quarter finals of the worlds, but still show no signs of winning anything, he goes and wins a major. Not only that, he's looked like he's capable of winning more than one, but let's talk about the Matchplay first. After only getting in as the eleventh player on the list from the Pro Tour, helped out hugely in that ranking by still having six grand on his account from a final in the earliest Pro Tour event that counted towards the rankings, he would defeat Nathan Aspinall, Joe Cullen, Adrian Lewis, Glen Durrant and then Gary Anderson on the way to the title. He was clearly the best player over the week looking back at all the figures, don't let the FRH rankings of 9th, 13th, 24th, 10th and 14th make you think Dimitri only won because he got a relatively easy path.

That opened up so many doors, as it pushed him into the top 16 - without that, he wouldn't have made the Grand Prix, where he took out Michael Smith before losing to Dirk van Duijvenbode, it put him into the Grand Slam where he completely dominated his group, crushed Jonny Clayton, edged out Nathan Aspinall before losing a decider to James Wade, and it's pushed him into a top 10 seed for here. Even before that, he had a great UK Open run, although that was definitely helped by the draw, getting two qualifiers and Matt Edgar. The only real blemishes were two fold - losing to Ryan Searle in the Players Championship Finals, and everything away from TV. Dimitri didn't make a single quarter final all year, and only won his board four times. He only made one European Tour event, and that's because he didn't need to qualify given that it was in Belgium. That meant he missed Oberhausen. It's nice having a major win, that's going to keep him in all the majors for a while now, but he really needs to start picking up floor form. It's the only reason he's not been in more majors.


Speaking of former world youth champions, Luke Humphries has just finished his run, and if anything is in a comparable position, perhaps even with slightly better statistics. The quality of his performances can't be questioned, it's just failed to translate itself into results, hence why he's only here through the Pro Tour list in the bottom quarter. His points per turn rating is at a top sixteen level, it's surely a matter of time before it clicks. That didn't happen at the UK Open - he beat Kyle Anderson but couldn't then beat Andy Boulton. His world youth title got him into the Grand Slam, where he had chances to advance against Dave Chisnall, but couldn't take them. It nearly clicked at the Players Championship Finals - he got through Jermaine Wattimena and Devon Petersen, and was holding his own against Gerwyn Price until Price pulled away after the second break. But that's about it.

Humphries simply hasn't done enough on the floor, or at least enough as you might have expected given how well he's played. Just the one quarter final, one further floor win, and one European appearance where he was trounced by Ronny Huybrechts isn't cutting it. There's a lot of pressure on here with Luke defending quarter final money. Some of it is bad draws, which you can get quite often if you're not seeded, in round one in the PC he's faced Bunting, Chisnall, Dobey, Price, Cross, Gurney, and other losses further into a tournament have been to Cross again, Ratajski, van Gerwen, Suljovic, Bunting again, Wattimena twice... it's not ideal but he's good enough that he should be able to win some of those, and after this event will need to look to do so to get into more majors and punch into the top 32.


Everything that can be said about Paul Lim has pretty much already been said, and with the current situation there's not a great deal that can be added really. Since there's unfortunately been next to no play in Asia since forever, knowing where Paul's game at is incredibly limited since his one sided loss to Luke Woodhouse in the first round last year. Lim didn't play badly, Luke was just better and didn't let him get to as much as a deciding leg in any of the three sets. We can't even look at the World Cup - Singapore couldn't make it because of absurd travel restrictions preventing Harith Lim, or anyone else for that matter (Paul would have been fine), from appearing.

Lim got here by winning the Hong Kong qualifier - there were 24 runners with a few known names such as Royden Lam, Scott MacKenzie, Lee Lok Yin and others. It was Lee that Lim beat in the final, Lee eliminated Lam in the semi while Lim took out Ho Tung Ching, and then Paul completed the job with a 7-5 victory. Looks like Paul was fairly solid in that final, hitting a couple of twelves, another in fourteen and the remainder in six visits, ending up with an average around the ninety mark. Paul will probably need to step that up a touch to handle someone of Humphries' calibre, but we all know what he can do in any given match.


2020's been more or less a stationary year for Jermaine, failing to make the breakthrough that looked like it might have happened after he was able to make the quarter finals of the Grand Prix. That's not to say it's been bad, not at all, but he's failed to either win a first event, which he really looked like he was going to do on day one of the Winter Series when he made the final, following up wins over White, Klaasen, Humphries, Stevenson and van der Voort with an absolute demolition job on Brendan Dolan where he averaged 112, but fell to Michael Smith. He was solid enough around that, making another quarter later in that week and having a decent track record of winning his board, but it's another year where he's yet to win anything. He also didn't do great in Europe, not making events 3 or 4, and losing as a seed in round two to Noppert and King to get zero ranking money and hence miss the European Championship.

What about the majors? The UK Open saw Jermaine draw Dirk van Duijvenbode, where he lost a decider, not a bad loss. Matchplay - Ratajski averaging 107, can't do much about that. Grand Prix - Gerwyn Price, eventual champion. Not an easy draw. Jermaine did make the Grand Slam as a result of that final in the Pro Tour, he was the highest ranked player in the Winter Series not qualified, but in a winner takes all spot against Damon Heta, he missed three match darts in the deciding leg and went out third in his group. Jermaine did at least get a win at the PC Finals, and played very well at that event - 103 average against Steve Lennon who was averaging over a ton himself, and then went even better to average 107 in the second round - only problem is Luke Humphries was doing the same. Wattimena's at the spot where he needs to do better in majors to really progress, just being there won't push him any higher.


We've got a PDC worlds debutant here in Derk Telnekes, and his opening season is probably best described as being sporadically good, but with a lot of quiet spots. He's here primarily from Pro Tour performances - his numbers aren't great, but he did put enough together on one weekend right before the shutdown, going to the quarter in PC7 and one round further in PC8, although at least in the second of those events it was a relatively weak run, not playing a single player who is seeded here, but he did beat Wright and Anderson fairly comfortably in the first event. His only other board win was also a quarter, taking out Wade to get that far, so Derk's at least made his runs count as much as he reasonably can.

On a stage it's been mixed - he made two Euro Tours, in Belgium he drew Dimitri and lost, which is fair enough, while in Sindelfingen he did a job on Marijanovic before getting obliterated by Michael Smith, which is also fair enough. He beat Kleermaker before losing to Razma at the UK Open, which may be a bit disappointing as Madars is probably beatable, and it was a round before the money, while at the Players Championship Finals he lost in the opening round to Vincent van der Voort. Seems to be mostly a case of beating the players he should beat, and then occasionally putting in something useful. This tournament would certainly be an opportunity to do either of of those.


Kenny's another player to switch to the PDC this season after a disappointing BDO worlds where he lost in the opening round as quite a high seed. Kenny won his card on the final day after coming through a very solid list of opponents including Jim Williams, Stephen Burton and Scott Taylor in the final, but despite actually averaging slightly higher than Telnekes in the Pro Tour, he's not got the same results, suffering an astounding sixteen first round defeats, but actually winning his board three times - on day one, where he beat Meikle before losing to Cullen, then in the next weekend getting a good win over Clayton before losing to Ratajski. The highlight was clearly a semi final run in the Autumn Series - Nick beat Petersen first up, then Whitlock, Wade, Lisa Ashton and Ross Smith, before van Gerwen would be too strong.

This wasn't enough to make any majors except the UK Open (losing his first game to Bradley Brooks), so he needed the backdoor of the PDPA qualifier to make it here. Nick made hard work of it - needing a decider against Steve Brown, who seemingly missed three match darts, getting past Ted Evetts, then in the final game he was 4-1 down to James Wilson, forced a decider, then it looks like he faded another match dart before finishing last dart in hand to qualify. Seems like a good opportunity for both players this - neither has done much on a consistent basis, and both have some level of upside which can give them the match if they find it.

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