Monday 8 February 2021

Q-School is under way

Thank god for that as well, something to analyse. A bunch of people have put up their picks, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, but I'm going to wait until we've got lineups for Stage 2 before picking out who's going to get a card.

Simple thing is that we've not got much of anything to go on. It doesn't take any skill to say that Raymond van Barneveld will win a card, or that Danny Baggish will win a card, or that Matt Campbell win a card, or that Jim Williams will win a card. Or that the guy who lose 6-0 to someone averaging 45 won't win one. Where there is interest is in some more of the fringe names and making some sort of hero pick that comes good. But how will we do it?

Answer is we don't know. The only non tour card level darts we've had in the last 12 months is limited Challenge Tour and Development Tour games, the Dutch Open, and maybe the odd game in the UK Open. That's really about it. At least if we look at how players have done in the first stage, we can have some kind of an educated guess.

That said, if there's something of note that I want to say over the first stage, I'm definitely going to mention it. While three events and then done is a pretty brutal format, it's not going to take a huge amount of points to make stage two. But you really don't want a bad start. In the Euro event, you're going to need to make the last 32 to get anything, so it's a bit concerning to see some players who I'd have thought would do well drop early. Franz Roetzsch didn't play well at all and is out already (sure he'd have played Barney in the following round). Wesley Plaisier is done. Boris Koltsov needed to come from 5-0 down and did after playing like complete arse before then, while he's got one point (which may be it as he's getting tanked by Vandenboegarde right now) he's lucky to get that. Quite a lot of the decent German names have already slipped up early.

Couple of interesting draws in the UK field - Hedman against James Bailey. Gordon Mathers against Daniel Day. Mike Norton (he who had a nice UK Open run a few years ago and played Barney IIRC) against Sherrock. Haupai Puha and Mick Todd. Mike Warburton and Darryl Fitton. These are all first round games. No idea on the board assignments as a whole, but if you're getting this in round one, the later rounds should be a lot of fun.

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