Monday 30 January 2023

Second/Third Division Darts players

PDC have finally decided who's going to be in the next Premier League. Think it's fair to say that reaction has been overwhelmingly negative, the omission of so many players that we thought would have a great chance - two major winners, a four-time European Tour winner and world number 5, then the likes of Cullen, Cross, van Duijvenbode, Rock amongst others. Dobey I'm fine with if the PDC just came out and made the Masters a Premier League play-in event, and not inviting the players who qualified automatically or they've already given wildcards to. But they haven't. Pleased that Chris has got the TV win, but I get the feeling he's going to be making up the numbers more often than not, despite the clear peak game we all know he has.

Still, with the decision made, we can announce who we're including in the new year of the Second and Third Division Darts we do - won't repeat the whole concept, but here's the player list:

Division Two

On last season's rankings - Luke Humphries, Dirk van Duijvenbode
On last season's third division rankings - Martin Schindler
On year end FRH rankings - Rob Cross, Danny Noppert, Joe Cullen, Ross Smith
Wildcard one - Josh Rock (clearly elite level talent with top five scoring in 2022, Pro Tour winner, world youth champion)
Wildcard two - Damon Heta (next player down on FRH rankings, second highest player in 2022 scoring)
Wildcard three - Dave Chisnall (top twelve player in scoring, one of the last players not included already, form clearly picking up towards end of season)

Division Three

On last season's third division rankings - Ryan Meikle, Keane Barry
World Youth Champion - In division two
On year end FRH rankings - Callan Rydz, Rowby John Rodriguez, Mike de Decker, Adam Gawlas
Wildcard one - Nathan Rafferty (Development Tour winner)
Wildcard two - Geert Nentjes (solid two senior seasons with tour card nearly retaining it automatically, reclaimed through Development Tour)
Wildcard three - Kevin Doets (winner on the Development Tour, scoring fractionally under 90 for the season, showing competent results at senior level)
Wildcard four - Ricardo Pietreczko (scoring and results rapidly improved across the back end of 2022)

There's a few alternative possibilities I could have gone with - Gary Anderson would have been an obvious choice based just on scoring, but on ranking he's not quite there and it's unknown just how much he'll actually play, while Ryan Searle and Krzysztof Ratajski have a good combination of both scoring as well as rankings. In the third, shoving Cadby back in would be an obvious call but I base wildcards on having had some senior results in the previous season, even if that's not the deciding factor, and Corey has none. Lewy Williams and Danny Jansen were close on results/rankings, but not in the same ballpark on performances, and Niels Zonneveld can consider himself unlucky not to get in through a combination of both. New card holders like Gian van Veen and Dylan Slevin who plenty think will progress quickly are in kind of the same boat as Cadby, there's a few others who we can stick in a similar group as well.

Expect the year end rewards at some point this week, before we start looking towards the first Players Championship weekend of the season, but before I sign off, a huge congratulations to Berry van Peer for taking down the Dutch Open.

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