Sunday 13 February 2022

Winners and losers from PC 1-4

Didn't immediately post anything up after the first weekend of Players Championship events, mainly because I didn't have the time, but additionally I think it's useful to look at a couple of weekend's worth of data at the same time to get a bit more sample size in terms of what's been going on. It's been somewhat eventful, first we'll get to the FRH rankings:

1 Peter Wright
2 Gerwyn Price
3 Michael Smith
4 James Wade
5 Michael van Gerwen
6 Jonny Clayton
7 Gary Anderson
8 Rob Cross (UP 1)
9 Jose de Sousa (DOWN 1)
10 Joe Cullen (UP 1)
11 Dimitri van den Bergh (DOWN 1)
12 Ryan Searle (UP 1)
13 Krzysztof Ratajski (DOWN 1)
14 Luke Humphries (UP 2)
15 Dave Chisnall (DOWN 1)
16 Nathan Aspinall (DOWN 1)
17 Dirk van Duijvenbode
18 Mervyn King
19 Danny Noppert
20 Stephen Bunting

So the question is who's been the winners and losers from the first two weeks? Let's go.

Winner - Joe Cullen

Got to start with the guy who went back to back today and climbed into the top 10 of the FRH rankings, possibly for the first time, I'm not sure but I think it must be the case. That's a pretty big achievement considering he's done it without any real deep major runs, which is normally a prerequisite to get this high.

Loser - Michael Smith

I'd have liked to have thought he'd have kicked on after his worlds final, but he's not massively cutting the mustard in terms of results. 3-4 record only picking up 2k, losing out to Ritchie Edhouse, Keane Barry, Joe Murnan and Danny Jansen - to be fair Danny was playing out of his mind, and Murnan wasn't playing too bad either, but you'd have liked a little bit more really. He's not scoring too badly, but it was kind of an issue for a lot of last season that he was doing this but not really getting results, and he's whiffed the first two Premier League weekends as well. Not ideal.

Winner - Josh Rock

Just got to look at the numbers here. He's lost all four matches, and apart from Heta he's not played anyone that's really top level, although I wouldn't call anyone he's played bad by any stretch of the imagination, but he's played great. He tops the whole of my database in scoring, and over 93 in losing legs and 103 in winning legs is real great stuff. It's a brutal welcome to the PDC kind of entry, but he is clearly doing something extremely right, and it'll pay off soon.

Loser - William Borland

He gained a lot of plaudits after his worlds exploits, but these past four events have brought him crashing down to earth in some fashion. He's not had nice draws, but he's only picked up the one win against Ron Meulenkamp, and he doesn't look anywhere near the level he was at in 2021. Of everyone that's played all four events, only Boris Koltsov and John Brown are scoring lower than Willie is. This is an early concern.

Winner - Luke Humphries

He's right up there in terms of scoring this season (at least amongst Pro Tour players, there's a couple who've played one or two matches deep in the Challenge Tour that are higher) with anyone, in the top three only behind Rock and Heta, and more importantly he's broken his title duck. I didn't list him in the previous post in terms of the Pro Tour, as I think he'll do something bigger pretty quickly, but this has got to be a weight off the shoulders.

Loser - Glen Durrant

You really wanted to see some sorts of positives in what is a huge year for Glen, where it is not inconceivable that he will lose his tour card one year after being seeded for the worlds. He went 0-4 and says he saw some positives - I'm not entirely sure that I'm seeing what he's on about. He got a few legs against Keegan Brown, but that looked to be more Keegan switching off for a few minutes, and was unlucky to draw Peter Wright, but I'm worried that he'll never regain the level of play he had in mid-2020.

Winner - Kevin Doets

This is all consistency. Four straight board finals. Only Bunting and Gurney managed that. He couldn't take any of them further, but it is a very good sign that he will be able to accumulate solidly across the course of the season, and probably take up a spot in Minehead and the worlds. Scoring looks where it needs to be, I don't think he'll be denied his place on the big stage this time around.

Loser - Martijn Kleermaker

His scoring's down at 87, and he's not managed to win a match yet. In fairness, he did lose 6-5 three times, but given he's someone I've tipped to be able to take a title some time fairly soon, I'd have thought he'd be able to do a bit more. Evetts, Clemens, Boulton and Woodhouse is not the easiest draw he could have got, but it is certainly not the hardest, not by a long shot. It's bumped him down the Pro Tour rankings quite a bit - the new prize money is going to throw things off a bit, and in terms of who might be able to push into the lower end of the seedings, you want a good start. Martijn didn't get that.

Winner - Lee Evans

This is some way to take advantage of getting a spot through the Challenge Tour. It's not quite at spectacular as Stephen Burton's run where he beat vans Gerwen and Barneveld, but it's one I picked up on when looking at Doets. Two board wins, another board final and an opening win today, scoring close to 91 across the course of 2022 (which will include Challenge Tour results). It's not bad going at all.

Loser - Brendan Dolan

This one really does surprise me in terms of players who've not managed to win. The scoring is down at the low 88 mark, and as a seed (and a fairly high one at that), he should get opening games that aren't too taking unless you hit a landmine like a Gary Anderson or someone like that. Brian Raman, Connor Scutt, Jon Worsley and Mario Vandenbogaerde is an influx of new players outside of Worsley, and I don't think it's unreasonable to think that Dolan would have been able to deal with these. It was only against Worsley that he was able to break a conventional average of 90 and get as far as a deciding leg. Let's hope it's just a temporary blip and he'll be back soon.

We've got a week break now from main tour action, as the Development Tour starts, before the first Euro Tour of the year, glad to be quasi-back to normal, on that weekend we've also got some WDF darts in Europe that'll count towards the database, long time since I've been able to say that. I'm away much of this week so don't expect anything before next Sunday.

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