Thursday 1 December 2022

(24) Gurney, (17) Soutar, (OcMa) Cuming

Daryl Gurney - FRH #25, 490-459 (51.63%), 90.63 scoring (#35), 3.61 consistency
Alan Soutar - FRH #38, 408-411 (49.82%), 89.26 scoring (#53), 3.38 consistency
Mal Cuming - FRH #149, 25-24 (51.02%), 81.29 scoring (#88), 10.51 consistency

Soutar's the next Pro Tour player up and seems to be someone who's getting results in cycles. Started out 2021 very well, tailed off a fair bit towards the end, albeit not without a gritty last 16 worlds run with deciding sets wins over Portela, Suljovic (in overtime) and de Sousa, before running out of steam and crashing out to Callan Rydz with a four set run to forget, after getting the first he won one leg in the second and nothing after that. Maybe it dented his confidence a bit, he was lacking results early in the season, but did get a semi final in May, but dropped off again until a quarter in August (against how strong a field with the World Series on?), but like Wattimena before, has been picking it up of late. Two back to back quarters in October were followed by another board win late in the season, then Grand Slam qualification, and making the most of his chances, took it to the quarter finals there, scraping out of the group on leg difference, then dumping out Jonny Clayton before losing a rematch with Nathan Aspinall. Might have been disappointed to lose to Scott Williams at Minehead, but the key thing is he's upping his game right now, and maybe with that moderately low consistency score he's due results.

Cuming is making a PDC worlds debut, but has played in a world championship before, where ironically he travelled half way around the world to lose in straight sets to Justin Thompson. He averaged 81 there, ten points below what Thompson was doing, but looked a fair bit better than that to claim the Oceanic Masters and the worlds spot it provides - averaging over 90 in each round, knocking off previous winner David Platt in the quarters, Haupai Puha in the semi final and then tour card holder Gordon Mathers in the final two sets to one. That was a fair bit better than what he did in the big WDF event in Australia where he averaged in the seventies twice, and also better than what he was doing on the DPA tour. Still fragmented at the time which will have diluted the averages, he won five of the events in Victoria but couldn't break a 90 average in any of them, and in the playoffs that Raymond Smith won, he was swept in the quarters averaging just 76. Australia's brought us a lot of good players in the past, and certainly hasn't brought us any complete duds, but I find it hard to see how Mal will be able to handle someone with the solidity and recent form of Soutar. A set, maybe, but three seems a big stretch.

Neither player will particularly mind the seed they have, as Daryl Gurney will hit double figures in PDC world championship appearances, although he is defending quarter final money so is under a bit of pressure to perform. Daryl had a little bit of a resurgence after falling away from the top 10 level (or at least ranking) that he was at which saw him winning majors, but might have tailed off a bit this season. Scoring that's outside the top 32 of players in the worlds is alright if you can take chances, and Daryl's done that on occasions, mainly where it counted. He hasn't made any finals, but did get through the opening game at both the Matchplay (over Anderson) and at the Grand Prix (over Cross), before losing to Noppert (fine) and Razma (OK then) respectively, but getting the first win is going to keep him solid in the rankings for the next season at least. His best work might have been on the Euro Tour, picking up over twenty grand on that circuit, beating seeds three times, peaking early on with a semi final run grabbing the scalps of Humphries, Cullen and Clayton, which is not a bad run at all. He should be a moderate favourite, but maybe only 60/40 against Alan, so certainly one he can't take for granted which could go either way.

No comments:

Post a Comment