Tuesday 3 January 2023

What a final

That's not, as the commentators were desperately, desperately trying to push, the best final ever, it wasn't even close. It may have had the best leg ever, but in terms of drama it didn't have sustained tension. Had a couple of spots where you thought Smith might choke it away, but that was pretty quickly extinguised, was only really in the last set where you though "ok, he's fucked this", but then MvG couldn't get better than a dart at the bull in leg four and that was that. In terms of quality? It was fine, but there were plenty that looked better on paper looking back at things. But hey, it was a fucking good game, and in the absence of any obvious counter-programming, that's got to be up there. And congrats to Smith. That was an immense performance, there were enough spots where he could easily have buckled, but didn't.

Year end FRH top 20 - year on year stats will follow in a post tomorrow, possibly Thursday:

1 Michael Smith (UP 2)
2 Michael van Gerwen
3 Peter Wright (DOWN 2)
4 Gerwyn Price
5 Luke Humphries
6 Rob Cross
7 Nathan Aspinall
8 Danny Noppert
9 Dimitri van den Bergh (UP 4)
10 Jonny Clayton (DOWN 1)
11 Dirk van Duijvenbode (DOWN 1)
12 Joe Cullen (DOWN 1)
13 Ross Smith (UP 1)
14 Damon Heta (UP 1)
15 Jose de Sousa (UP 3)
16 James Wade (DOWN 4)
17 Dave Chisnall
18 Ryan Searle (DOWN 2)
19 Gabriel Clemens (NEW)
20 Chris Dobey

Obviously Smith is the huge mover, along with the semi finalists, but other than that there is surprisingly not a huge amount of movement within the top 20 given the amount of money on offer, with just Wade dropping several spots following his first round exit and Searle sliding slightly. Ratajski drops from the top 20, there's a good 20k gap from Dobey to Ratajski, the same again from Ratajski to Bunting, and then another 15k down to Anderson below that. Huybrechts, Rock and Soutar are 29/30/31 respectively, Jim Williams is up near to the top 40, but with the chalky nature of the first couple of rounds there is not a huge amount of movement in the lower regions. Ian White as the main man who missed out is dumped down outside of the top 50, Lennon is similarly down to 70th, and Glen Durrant is out of the top 100 and will likely, sadly, never return there.

The PDC have wussed out of naming a Premier League lineup, so will have to wait to see who we line up in the Second and Third Division Darts for next season, but we've finished up the table for this season - Humphries won div 2 and Schindler ran away with div 3, so Martin'll be in div 2 next season, and we'd expect Luke to get the promotion - I'm not going to even speculate as to who I'll pick, obviously those based on the previous season's results and FRH rankings are going to be secure, but if they put off until the Masters again, then we can wait until post Q-School and maybe get a bit more of an idea. We'll see. For now, congrats again to the Bully Boy, it's been a long time coming, but it's there now.

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