Monday 31 January 2022


So I suppose the big news this weekend is that Vladimir Anderson and Madars Razma took the titles in the opening SDC weekend, and that Diogo Portela, Danny Lauby and Kai Fan Leung were able to qualify for the UK Open, right?

Well, no I guess, as Joe Cullen managed to win the Masters, with in fairness a very strong showing which is an early contender for best single tournament performance in 2022. The problem is that it's got him into the Premier League.

Now I don't know if there's anything that's gone on behind the scenes with Cross and the PDC, and Rob wasn't interested in playing it for whatever reason, in which case it's fair enough. But to have a non-ranking "major" (and if you can name me what TV events are weaker outside of individual World Series events, if they ever return, do let me know), seemingly count more than a ranking major, particularly when the winner of the ranking major smashed the other guy 11-3 during that event, that's wrong. Nothing against Cullen, and I'm pleased he's got a win and it'll be a great opportunity, but if you win a ranking major, you should get a Premier League invite. It's that simple. If you want to force Cullen into the line up to add a new face, dump Anderson, who's won nothing all year, got murdered by Cullen on his way to the title, and is probably very close to getting the Barney treatment based on perceived popularity. Cullen outscored Anderson all season. Heck, I'm surprised it wasn't Anderson that said "meh, I'll give it a miss" based on his fear of travelling to Europe.

But hey ho, it is what it is, and one can only hope that Cross can utilise the reduced schedule to hit the Pro Tour and European Tour hard early in the season. The upshot is that we can now decide the second/third division darts competitors:

Division Two

On last season's rankings: Damon Heta, Luke Humphries
On last season's third division rankings: Dirk van Duijvenbode
On year end FRH rankings: Jose de Sousa, Rob Cross, Dimitri van den Bergh, Krzysztof Ratajski
Wildcard one: Ryan Searle (highest FRH ranked player not selected, close to binking a major, murmurs of PL selection, just outside top 16 in overall scoring)
Wildcard two: Chris Dobey (highest scoring player not selected, seemingly set for a breakout season)
Wildcard three: Dave Chisnall (highest FRH ranked player not selected after Searle, could easily have got in by right if it were not for world championship bullshit, based on this weekend seemingly playing well)

Division Three

On last season's third division rankings: Callan Rydz, Keane Barry
World Youth Champion: Ted Evetts
On year end FRH rankings: Adam Hunt, Steve Lennon, Martin Schindler, William Borland
Wildcard one: Rusty-Jake Rodriguez (winner of multiple young player of the year awards in 2021, already playing at a high level on the senior circuit)
Wildcard two: Rowby-John Rodriguez (maybe not played quite as well on the senior circuit, but pretty close, scoring just fractionally under 90 in 2021, would have been the next player in from the FRH rankings)
Wildcard three: Ryan Meikle (comparable scoring to Rowby, only a few spots behind him in the FRH rankings, showing signs that this could be a breakthrough year)

In other news? Winmau's taken over from Unicorn as the PDC board supplier. Good. I don't think anyone outside of the Lowy family actually thinks the Eclipse is a better board than the Blade, that they've switched to a better board can only be a good thing. Also, the PDC have announced that they're going to let the players who were in the WDF worlds who won a tour card compete. I think this is a very welcome and sensible move, after all, they would have been able to play it if it wasn't pushed back, although it would have created a few interesting questions if any of the players who made the final were also doing Q-School. If they all do play it is another question, I've not looked at the schedule just yet but I believe someone said that it does clash with a Euro Tour and a couple of Pro Tours. We'll see what happens. I'll be back later tonight probably as I've been wanting to do a "most likely players to next win some level of title" post for a while now, with Pro Tour at the weekend it's best to call 2022 sooner rather than later.

Edit - in my disbelief at Cross not being selected for the Premier League, I forgot he was not selected for the Premier League, so division two lineup edited accordingly. Sorry Noppie, you're out.

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