Saturday, 20 March 2021

Super Series 2 - Electric Boogaloo

Another four Players Championship events in the books. In the absence of van Gerwen, the three big players claimed three of them, with Price, Wright and Clayton (arguably the best player outside of those three right now - if not higher?) claimed one each, with Brendan Dolan picking up the first event back on Tuesday. Congrats to those - also to Smith, Humphries and Wade for picking up final money, Price also getting one to be the only player to final twice this series. A few surprising names had good series, Jason Heaver made one semi and picked up an additional 3k in the other three events after drawing a complete blank in the first series, Scott Mitchell averaged over 1.5k per event, Alan Soutar made a semi final on day one, but then levelled off a bit (the hype train is a little bit ridiculous on him now, there's certainly no betting value when he's half the price of Noppert to bink a PC event), and we also saw quarters from Barstow, Schindler, Zonneveld and then quite a few players in the top 64 but not top 32 region. Good stuff all round.

New FRH rankings:

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

Wright's reclaimed the #2 spot as a result of van Gerwen's absence. Dimitri having a bit of a bad run this series has allowed de Sousa to nick ahead, Clayton's win edges him ahead of Durrant and Cross, while two quarters from van Duijvenbode moves him up to a new high of 18.

Lower down, Dolan is up to #29 as a result of his win (and two semi finals!), Adrian Lewis is out of the top 32, while Mitchell and Soutar cement places in the top 100.

Is it me, or do there seem to be a disproportionate number of players that we might already have seen the best of? Let's scan our eyes down the FRH rankings, and see who looks to be sliding. That chunk from 14-19 is the big one, DvD obviously excepted, and I think we can exclude Whitlock as well, while we may have made this point 12-18 months ago, he's shown a bit of late. Durrant, post Premier League, has been positively mediocre, he does not even feature on the top page of scoring in 2021. He's below Matt Edgar. It's surely a long, long way back to getting up to the top ten level of play he was at a year or so ago, especially when you factor in the strides the likes of de Sousa, van den Bergh, Cullen and Ratajski have made (and Clayton for that matter).

What about Cross? He's also not on the top page of scoring, albeit only just, but if I were to ask you who would be the two players immediately above and below him in scoring, would you guess Scott Waites, Andy Boulton, Jason Lowe and James Wilson? It's not terrible, but it's a long way off the top five level he was at. He's currently 50/1 to bink the worlds, and I'd rather take a Ratajski at 33s or Dirk at 40s.

Gurney's an interesting one. His scoring is about half a point lower than Cross's, and he's always been fairly low in comparison to his main OOM ranking. That said, when was the last time he was outside the top 16 in the FRH rankings? It's probably got to have been before he won his first major. He's having good results in 2019 drop off, he binked a Euro Tour pretty much two years ago exactly, semi finalled the Matchplay, and also semi finalled the PC Finals as well as a Pro Tour bink.

Then we've got White. Now Ian's scoring is just fine, it's in the top 16. He's been a top 16 player for quite some time. He's just not got results for the last twelve months, and similarly had a good 2019 (by far his best money wise with two Euro Tour wins and pretty decent major results. Question is whether he can get the results back on track. Suljovic is a bit lower down, but fairly similar.

Scrolling down, Adrian Lewis is outside the top 32, and as it stands, wouldn't make the worlds. That's pretty fucking remarkable. Something I posted on Twitter about Lewis - he's inconsistent. This season, he is scoring twelve and a half points higher in the legs he's won compared to the legs he's lost. That's a huge disparity. When he's winning his legs, he's pretty darned good - it's in and around the top 20 level. But when he's losing legs? It's awful. There's only eight tour card holders that are scoring worse than Lewis in losing legs. There's clearly still an A-game there, but it seems like the B, C and D games have disappeared completely. Why this is, only Adie would be able to tell you, but if he can just scratch together a few scrappy legs here and there, then the results will probably come.

Further on, there's lots of players that I think are clearly past their peak. Beaton I don't think ever gets back to the top 32. He's scoring below 89 this season and that won't cut it. Steve West is two points lower again, but at least has a bit of time on his side and still shows something in patches, but I doubt he can ever do it on a week in week out basis to get into one of the tricky to qualify for majors, which barring a good worlds run is exactly what you need to do to get into the top 32 (it's similar to what's been holding Humphries back, although now he does have a major final's worth of money and, after this week's final, isn't too far off in the Matchplay race). Henderson's 48 in a couple of months and is scoring pretty much at West's level in 2021. After being gifted some ranking money in 2020, it's hard to see how he pushes back to the top 32 either. Darren Webster is not only looking nowhere near the top 16 (two years ago, he was seeded for the Matchplay), he's nowhere near the top 32 and is more likely than not to lose his tour card, and is he going to get it back at 53?

Age isn't a defining factor, we just need to look at what Mervyn King has been doing in the last twelve months, but it's pretty hard to see how we don't see the likes of van Duijvenbode, Petersen, Noppert, Clemens, Humphries etc keep pushing on to the top 32 and permanently dumping the likes of White out of it, and similarly lower down, players like Searle, Heta, Rydz and others are going to occupy top 32 spots sooner rather than later. Then you've got players like de Zwaan, Dobey and Hughes, for whom anything can happen - they're all good enough to go on a run somewhere and make serious bank to threaten the top 16, then they're also all inconsistent enough that they may drop from the top 32. de Zwaan and Dobey are both outside the top 32 in the tour card race reckoning, Hughes is 29th.

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