Tuesday 14 December 2021

Worlds quarter three

Wouldn't change my assessment of Q1 given that Wen is out and Hudson is in, much as I like Pete given I used to work in his home town, he's scoring over 85 and Edhouse should still be an easy winner.

Meikle/Schmutzler - Huge game for Meikle, who's going to need to win this to retain his card in all reality, he did look good at the PC Finals and is scoring a deceptively decent high 89 scoring rate, the concerns are bringing his game to the stage and turning it into results, as he seems like the sort of player that shows up on the averages quite a lot but rarely in the prize money. Especially later in the year. Fabian's a great story but my concern is that he's not needed to put up huge numbers in order to do what he did on the EU Development Tour with scoring down at 81 over nearly 100 legs, and also what he will do on a big stage, given he has basically zero experience in that setting. Meikle 3-1

Wright/Meikle - Peter's had a great year, claiming the Matchplay and the Players Championship as well as going deep into the Slam, scoring is a bit off the top two but he's still third although in a cluster of players at the 94 mark. He should take this reliably enough, I do think he drops a set as Ryan is very competent, but Meikle taking the actual match seems unrealistic. Wright 3-1

Woodhouse/Wilson - Luke has been under the radar in terms of results, plodding along at 89 in the scoring, he does have a couple of quarter finals to his name and some board wins, but he's the sort of player that in order to progress he needs to go deep in a Pro Tour to get chances to qualify for majors, and he's not doing that. Wilson is back after a year away and needed the PDPA qualifier to make it, his card is probably gone but he's actually been playing really well - scoring nearly 92 which is enough to be in the top 32 in my rankings, he's simply not been able to convert into results, which is baffling from someone who was seeded not too long ago. Probably ends up being tense but I'll go with the numbers. Wilson 3-2

Heta/Wilson - Surprisingly awkward draw here, Damon's the #31 seed but his level of play is a lot better than that, Damon's already forced his way into the top 25 of the FRH rankings, and sits comfortably in the top 16 of the scoring tables. Heta's a quality operator and will surely improve over a disappointing defeat to Danny Baggish from last season. Heta 3-1

Borland/Brooks - William is up close to the FRH top 50 and has done enough to retain his card, his scoring isn't spectacular with a mid-88 mark, but it's been enough to get him both here, the PC Finals where he was maybe a bit unfortunate against Smith, as well as grabbing a win over Whitlock at the European Championship. Bradley is scoring a couple of points lower, the former world youth champion still waiting to make a real mark on the Pro Tour circuit but he did look good on TV to get out of his group at the Slam and then ask some questions of Price in a bit of a scrappy game. Seems an awkward one to call but I think Bradley just falls short. Borland 3-2

Searle/Borland - Ryan's escalation to top 16 quality talent (just waiting for the OOM to catch up) and major finalist has been remarkable, ending up 24 points shy of the Players Championship, binking another Pro Tour and finalling three more, he has all the momentum on his side and I really don't see how he loses a set in this one. Searle 3-0

Heaver/Mathers - Jason is a new tour card holder who I've not seen too much talk about, but the numbers seem legitimate enough with a high 88, which translated into five board wins, one of which was converted into a semi final. Can't complain about the first season really. Mathers is in as a late alternate, he is scoring less than a point below Jason, obviously playing well enough to get to the PDPA qualifier final, and has the benefit of stage experience here having pushed Asada close a few years ago. I think that might make the difference in a tight scrappy game. Mathers 3-2

Noppert/Mathers - Danny however is different gravy, still somewhat underrated and still in my betting circle of trust despite back to back decent major runs in October, which resulted in a lot of the value disappearing. Scoring for the season is actually in the top ten, that's how good he has been playing, and I think the final score will reflect that. Noppert 3-0

Lowe/Larsson - Urgh, this one might not be too pretty. Lowe got in as the last man in the field, and was in doubt until Jeff Smith got one of the CDC spots to free up an additional Pro Tour berth. He's still actually scoring over 90, but isn't being talked about anywhere near as much as last year given his real lack of results, although a couple of quarter finals on the Pro Tour early in the season isn't too bad. Daniel got a Nordic/Baltic spot, but was hugely lacking in Pro Tour results, only winning 500 quid (although if I remember correctly he did miss quite a few events). Scoring five points below Jason isn't a great look, maybe he wins a set in a sluggish game, but Jason should take this one. Lowe 3-1

de Sousa/Lowe - Jose is scoring in that cluster on 94 along with the likes of Wright and Clayton, play levels that bagged him three Pro Tour titles, as well as notably the Premier League final, he didn't make a massive impact in the ranking majors, just reaching a couple of quarter finals, but considering where he was eighteen months ago, that can't be too much of a complaint. Will be too strong here. de Sousa 3-0

Soutar/Portela - Alan has had a fantastic first season on the Pro Tour, putting in a heck of a lot of great perforances especially early on, mostly noted at the UK Open where he turned over Barney and Bunting. Scoring over 92, he's on the first page, multiple quarter final runs on the Pro Tour seems a fair assessment. Diogo won the South American qualifier again, but has failed to make a real impact on the Challenge Tour with just 200 quid won and an orthodox average of 81, fair to say he's not made the progress he'd have liked in 2021. Should be no trouble for Alan here. Soutar 3-0

Suljovic/Soutar - Could be a good competitive game here. Mensur was looking like he was on a terminal slide down the rankings and not getting the results, missing some events as well, but pulled some back with a good European Championship run as well as winning his Grand Slam group following the World Cup final appearance. Scoring is fairly close but Suljovic is behind Alan, down by about a point or so. Ought to be a tight one, but I'm going to opt for the Austrian to not get home as we lose another seed. Soutar 3-2

Murnan/Lim - Joe was making some waves early in the season, looking extremely strong when he won back his card at Q-School, although he wasn't able to turn it into concrete Pro Tour results. Two Euro Tour qualifications and getting to the seeds did help and got him here with a grand to spare, but he did miss a good chance to advance at the big Euro event by losing to Adam Gawlas. Paul Lim is who we know he is, question as always is how much competitive match practice he's been able to get. The World Cup wasn't a great sign, only just scraping past Gibraltar then averaging 75 against MvG. Think Paul finds a way to make it close before losing. Murnan 3-2

Aspinall/Murnan - Nathan is looking a lot better in recent months after a moderately quiet first half of the season after back to back Pro Tour semis to start the year. Good runs in the Matchplay and European Championship were the highlights, and he can still count himself very much in the elite tier of players and ought to have too much to handle Joe. Early season Joe could have made it interesting, but while I think he might claim a set right now, he's not realistically going to win. Aspinall 3-1

Rydz/Yamada - Callan has smashed through onto the senior scene in 2021 after looking threatening for a good couple of years, winning two Pro Tours and having a nice run at the Matchplay, taking advantage of a good draw against Durrant before defeating Rob Cross - he's now inside the top 30 of the FRH rankings and rapidly approaching the top 32 in the official order of merit, which he should easily be inside with a win here. Yamada is back after a year's absence, last time round he beat Meikle before being swept by Webster in 2020, winning just the one leg in the process. Rydz now seems stronger than Webster did then, and it's natural to think Yuki will be weaker now than he was then. Rydz 3-0

Dolan/Rydz - This one's going to be fascinating. Callan is maybe the name to avoid from the Pro Tour list, while Dolan is one of the more under the radar seeds who I'd punted on each way much earlier in the year, although much of that under the radar ability was lost after the PC Finals where he reached the semis and dumped Price out in the process. The scoring seems extremely balanced, both are 92 with Dolan about half a point higher. I think that, along with the extra experience Brendan has, might just be enough to squeeze home, but it is going to be a razor-thin game to call regardless. Dolan 3-2

Wright/Heta - It really wouldn't surprise me if Damon was to take this one. As noted above, he's playing extremely well, and it's the same stage where last year Wright fell out to Clemens, another player who we know is good and is not just in the seeds to make up the numbers. With Wright's form turning up in the last month, I think that might just about be the difference, but this is going to be real close. Wright 4-3

Searle/Noppert - This has the potential to be an instant classic. Both are well deserving of their places in the top 20 of the order of merit, and it's a real shame that they run into each other this early as either could go on a nice deep run. Noppert has the slightly better scoring but Searle is coming off the best run of his career and better results throughout the year. Ryan to pinch it. Searle 4-3

de Sousa/Soutar - Think that Alan's run will grind to a halt here. Soutar is a quality operator, but de Sousa is that much better and is due a good run at the worlds after being somewhat disappointing in the last couple of years, the huge amount of additional TV experience he'll have accumulated in the last twelve months may be somewhat telling. de Sousa 4-2

Aspinall/Dolan - Nathan and Brendan is going to be yet another that's incredibly tight to call. Both players are hitting results at the right time of year, both players are separated by less than half a point in the scoring. Aspinall has had deep runs here and clearly likes the venue, while barring a quarter final run three years ago (where, ironically, he eventually lost to Aspinall - heavily), Brendan hasn't got too many great performances at the worlds under his belt. Will lean towards the seedings and the numbers. Aspinall 4-2

Wright/Searle - We get a repeat of the last major final, which anyone who was watching will know went the distance. This one could easily be the same, could easily go either way, I wouldn't like to call it. I also wouldn't be surprised if neither of these players get here, it's such a stacked eighth of the draw. I'm just going to lean ever so slightly with the numbers and maybe the psychology of Searle being close to getting deeper than he has before/having lost a big one to the same opponent. Wright 4-3

de Sousa/Aspinall - And here we get a repeat of the Premier League semi final, that being the one where de Sousa hit the three D20 out. That one went all 19 legs, but I'm thinking this one might not be quite so tight. Jose did get the win there and seems to have a bit more in all aspects of the game, which should be enough to get through, but not before Nathan claims a couple of sets. de Sousa 4-2

Wright/de Sousa - The top two seeds would then clash in the quarter final. Seasonal scoring is 94.63 to 94.54 - less than a tenth of a point between them. Take your pick. I will opt with the seeding upset in this one, if only because of the previous games and how I think they might go - we've already seen Peter once tire over the combination of long games, and with me thinking that Jose will have the slightly easier path and matches, he might have a bit more left in the tank by the time we reach the quarter final stage. de Sousa 5-3

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