Monday 17 January 2022

Losing Challenge Tour player gets zero points in stage 2

AKA ups and downs from Q-School. It's been a bit of a mad one, but let's go through it:

Up - Norn Iron!

Great weekend for the country. Mickey Mansell regained his card at the first attempt. Kevin Burness returns after a couple of years away, after showing signs of form to qualify for the world seniors. Hot prospect Josh Rock won his card outright on the last day, after Nathan Rafferty finally did enough to get on the main tour. All will join Gurney and Dolan to give Northern Ireland amazing representation on tour.

Down - Sky hype train derailed

If this was anyone else, then we would not be surprised at someone who paid out more money in entry fees than they won in prize money on last year's Challenge Tour not getting a card, but because it's Fallon Sherrock, it's the only thing that matters for reasons unknown. That it took a Danny Baggish level of run on day three of stage one to get that far in the first place was a concern, but you would have thought if she could play even half as well on the floor as she can on stage, then she should have been fine. But she has consistently shown an inability to do so in open-gender events. Why will be forever a mystery - I can't think of a single player that has had this big a disparity between stage and floor games with the stage being better. Even Dimitri of four-five years ago wasn't this far apart.

Up - Ross the boss!

This is one I didn't expect to see. Frankly I didn't expect him to even play, as mentioned in a prior post, but to have done well enough to get a card is a real shock, despite him having won the last big WDF event to have been held. Will be really interesting to see how he does, and the best of luck to him.

Up - The old guard produce!

Darren Webster and James Wilson grabbed their cards outright. Wilson we kind of expected, Webster we thought maybe not so much, but a great run on day 2 took it outright as well. Richie Burnett's back. We'll see Nick Fullwell again. A bit younger, but certainly a veteran of the darts scene, Scott Waites reclaimed a card.

Downs - The Americans couldn't do it

Jules van Dongen did get a card from the EU tour, but does he really count? We'll give them it, but after Danny Lauby topped the points table, Jacob Taylor won a day and Leonard Gates got through, none of them were able to make any sort of impression, Gates being the closest, but Lauby and Taylor only got two points each, one less than Gates. John Part couldn't get out of stage one either, neither could Shaun Narain.

Downs - Disappointing results from the EU from players I wanted to do well

This is naturally purely subjective, but I really wanted Sedlacek to get back onto the tour, I'd like to have seen Klaasen get another go at it, Franz Roetzsch would have been an interesting addition, Sebastian Bialecki I think's done enough on the lower tours that he would absolutely have been value on the main tour, while the Spanish contingent of Reyes and Alcinas are always good to watch. And none of them got close. Tricole was a bit closer but still a good 2-3 points away.

Up - Decent youth representation!

Quite a few good younger players managed to gain or regain a card. Evetts was one we really needed to see as the world youth champ, we've already mentioned Rock won outright and that Rafferty is on tour finally. Connor Scutt's still relatively young and is someone who I think will make an impression and stand a good chance of making the Players Championship. George Killington had a really good seven days, maybe the first time he had a card he was too young, and these two years will see a solid improvement. Kevin Doets gets onto tour after barely missing out on the worlds, Danny Jansen is another Dutch player who's got through who's not even 20 until later this year.

Downs - Byes

This is a major bugbear and one that would be super easy for the PDC to sort. They only score points from whatever round has no byes. This is fair enough in the first stage, but on stage two, they know this is going to happen from day two onwards, and a handful of players are going to have a major advantage. As such, I don't know why after day one, they don't go down the stage one list and invite each of the first players to miss out to make up the field of 128. They can then just score one point for a win, nobody gets a free win, and it gives a few more people a slight chance of getting their tour cards. Many people will have budgeted for hotels for the full seven days, failing that there will be some people who live close by to the venues. At least the top three players know they will get a shot. This is really no different from using the Challenge Tour (last year Q-School) rankings to fill out a Pro Tour field.

I think that's most of what I want to pick out. Later this week, assuming no PL lineup announcement, I'll probably sort year end awards.

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