Friday 30 September 2022

A few quick thoughts

Couple of days before the Matchplay, I'll have a full list of bets/predictions for the first round on Monday, always a bit tricky to work out how much, if at all, to adjust for the double in format, I've seen some other pundits make some shifts that seem quite severe (10%+ in a first round game seems rather lol) and we certainly won't be going that far, but maybe it'll push some marginal punts one way or another. I think that's the best way to handle it, just use it as a tiebreaker when we can't decide.

Chizzy binked in Belgium over Gilding, and that gives us new FRH rankings:

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

Gilding is up to #36 with his semi final, Clemens is getting fairly close to the top 20 after hitting another final session, while Schindler doesn't climb any places but continues to solidify his top 30 position.

PDC calendar has been announced for 2023, and it's really a bit lacklustre. Not that I was expecting anything revolutionary, but I was kind of hoping for a bit more diversity in terms of Euro Tour destinations. Eight events in Germany? Really? That's excessive and really limits the growth potential. One in each of the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Hungary and Czechia is good for those countries, but I would have thought they could have capped the German events at, say, six, and either hit a new country, have a second in one of the first couple I listed (particularly the Netherlands with the depth of quality of players they have there), or return to a previous location we've missed for a little bit. Oh well. Interesting that they've finally binned off Gib, I've always thought that's only ever been on the calendar to cater for gambling sponsors based on the island rather than for any sort of competitive purposes, so now that everything is sponsored by Cazoo, it's a bit of a pointless stop. Could have replaced it with an Iberian event? Oh well.

In terms of what I'm looking forward to in the Grand Prix, the top quarter isn't massively interesting - Cullen/Heta should be good and Schindler could have the game to test Price in what is an extremely short format, but the Cross side isn't that great. Remainder of the half isn't brilliant either - Smith/Aspinall might not be too bad given respective form, but the remainder look moderately predictable, at least through the first round. Third quarter has probably the hype match of the round between Clayton and van Duijvenbode, you've also got three of the four most recent Euro Tour finalists in there, Huybrechts is hitting a bit of confidence and might be able to test Wright, while Rydz/Ratajski might be under the radar in terms of a decent watch given neither appears on peak form and both could do with results to solidify decent worlds seeds. The bottom quarter is the spiciest though. MvG/Anderson is going to catch the public's attention despite the fact that it should in no way be competitive, de Sousa's in there against a resurgent Lewis, you've got two of the best young players in the game in Dobey and Humphries going at it, while Dolan against Bunting pits a former finalist against last year's semi finalist.

Some big names have missed out, and it seems to be mostly the elder statesmen - King's the highest rank player out and the only one of the current FRH top 30 not there after mincashes are applied, Suljovic isn't there, White isn't, Whitlock isn't. It's concerning times for some of these, the last two aren't even seeded for the worlds as of right now and White is in no way guaranteed to get there through the Pro Tour, sitting 23rd right now less than 4k ahead of the current last man out, and he doesn't have an appearance at Gibraltar to make possibly the easiest money on the table, draw dependent of course.

Will probably be back Sunday evening with tips for Leicester.

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