Tuesday 28 February 2023

UK Open power rankings

Will get through some thoughts about the actual draw (as well as the bets obv) in due course, but for now, let's rank the 160* players that will be playing. This is only rough, and is just opinions, it's using form, course and distance, scoring, all sorts of things.

160 Christian Perez - sadly not here
159 Corey Cadby - also sadly not here
158 Gary Davey - no real information
157 Noel Grant - same, Grant over Davey is purely arbitrary
156 Jonathan Wynn - nothing recent, but seemingly has some CT experience from the past
155 Daniel Lee - looks to have been here before but didn't end well
154 Callum Loose - has a DT win but nothing notable for ages
153 Stuart White - lot of experience, but been quiet for a while
152 Harry Lane - taking things seriously enough to give Q-School a go, but that didn't go great
151 Callum Goffin - looking a bit out of his depth early on as a card holder
150 Jitse Van der Wal - plugging away alright on the DT but not putting up big numbers
149 Jim Moston - has potential, but metrics don't look brilliant
148 Lewis Gurney - still developing with some occasional bright spots
147 Joshua Richardson - fairly recent DT win offset by mediocre Q-School performances
146 Christopher Holt - maybe not quite the peaks as those before, but a bit more consistent perhaps
145 Conor Heneghan - possibly doing a bit more at the DT level than the above and getting tested at a bit higher level
144 Nick Fullwell - best days probably behind him now, too many first round losses
143 Brett Claydon - scoring not the greatest but showing commitment to bounce back and get a Rileys win
142 Thomas Banks - showing an awful lot of promise at youth level, maybe this is a bit of an early step
141 Andy Jenkins - all the experience in the world, but can he produce the numbers needed at a major level any more
140 Robbie Knops - bit of a random name to have won a card, only so-so performances so far
139 Jarred Cole - has shown great flashes in the past but never really in the PDC, at least not of late
138 Dom Taylor - some experience here, doing alright at secondary level
137 Jim McEwan - won CT's before, not looked hugely out of place at main tour level
136 Vladimir Andersen - real bad first season with a card, some better signs in the early stages in 2023
135 Michael Flynn - competent Q-School showing helps him finish this high up
134 Kenny Neyens - cashed last year and with big stage experience
133 Adam Warner - bit up and down so far as a card holder, but not his first appearance here
132 Damian Mol - not really clicked after winning a card but has pulled off a big shock here before
131 Dan Read - good secondary level reputation with multiple appearances here
130 Darren Webster - never really got going since immediately regaining card, but pedigree is still there
129 Darryl Pilgrim - has put together occasional very high level performances, all that is needed over a short distance
128 Jules van Dongen - tour hasn't really worked out for him to date, not really sure how good his ceiling game is anyway
127 Owen Roelofs - playing well enough to have won a card, slow start to year though and not the greatest 2022
126 Jurjen van der Velde - three secondary level wins last year isn't bad, but statistics aren't brilliant
125 Josh Payne - peak game puts him much higher, but it's been a while since we've seen it
124 Danny Lauby - can string together some good performances, but several mediocre ones and was not close at Q-School
123 Lukas Wenig - fresh off good Euro Tour weekend, gained a lot of experience at the top levels in the last couple of years, free hit after only getting in through Pallett saying no
122 Luc Peters - good Q-School showing for two years in a row, but Pro Tour performances indicate he's a way off a level to hold the card
121 Ross Montgomery - vastly experienced, occasional bright spots in PDC but best game is probably way behind him
120 Devon Petersen - sad how far his game has fallen but it is what it is, maybe big event kicks him into gear
119 James Richardson - bags of talent but a while since that big worlds run and was not close at Q-School
118 Jamie Clark - great start to tour career but on real dry patch, still very much a learning experience
117 Kevin Burness - wealth of experience and appearances on many big stages, not scoring terribly
116 Jimmy Hendriks - WC qualification bink bailed him out of bad 2022, doesn't look tour card holder level
115 Christian Kist - Lakeside winner at peak, won CT to start the year, Kist playing well is dangerous
114 Bradley Brooks - been doing enough to keep getting back on tour, but yet to really make a splash at senior level
113 Darius Labanauskas - horrific 2022, early 2023 results not encouraging, very strong on his game but when did we last see it
112 Danny Jansen - still very young, but looking very much like that Pro Tour win was an enormous fluke and some rebuilding at DT level is needed
111 Ronny Huybrechts - extremely experienced, some very solid wins this season, can maybe bounce of his brother's win and gain confidence
110 Jacques Labre - finally a French player on tour, looked extremely dangerous last season but a real sluggish start to life as a card holder
109 Connor Scutt - started and ended 2022 brilliantly but huge barren run in between, did at least cash last year
108 Tony Martinez - seen occasional good averages, but a lack of noteworthy results make him look one and done as a card holder
107 George Killington - was looking extremely good immediately around when he won his card, but has regressed since then and still looking for a consistent game
106 Radek Szaganski - another player that's not looked bad, but not done enough to make us think there's enough levels to stick around more than a couple of years
105 Daniel Klose - very strong and notable Q-School performances indicate he can turn it on now and then
104 Shaun Wilkinson - not a terrible first year with a card, at least got a stage debut last weekend which wasn't a trainwreck
103 Nathan Girvan - very strong youth pedigree and a DT winner, still learning though and yet to do a great deal on the senior level
102 Arron Monk - very good last weekend, but been away for long enough it could be a fluke
101 Ted Evetts - among the best there's been at youth level, but senior level continues to be a tough nut to crack, maybe never really recovered from that Sherrock game
100 Brian Raman - steady player with a great floor record in the old BDO days, ok start to 2023 indicates he may be eliminating cheap losses while still lacking a big PDC breakthrough
99 Lee Evans - finally on tour, been around and a name we've been waiting to do so for years, in money here more than once and a good quarter final Pro Tour run last season
98 Sebastian Bialecki - all the potential in the world at a venue he clearly likes, just hard to put him much higher while still without a card which he was a fair bit off winning
97 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez - 2021 Rusty is a lot higher, 2022 has been off but could easily have been a "getting used to senior tour" sort of year that's now behind him
96 Jeffrey Sparidaans - quiet for quite a while, but looked extremely good at Q-School and throwing alright on the Pro Tour level
95 James Wilson - stats have been better than results for some time now, peak game is much higher than this but can't justify any higher right now
94 Jelle Klaasen - disappointing not to see him back on tour but had a great 2022 off the tour and has world championship and PL quality at best
93 Pascal Rupprecht - next new young German hope? Full of confidence and no fear
92 Robert Owen - very good course and distance, more than competent floor player
91 John O'Shea - BDO major calibre and with a Pro Tour final, but too many misses and mediocre matches
90 Keegan Brown - not a bad weekend and did get a win last season, but goes missing far too often
89 Adam Gawlas - has spells of three or four legs where he's unplayable, but still very raw
88 Jeffrey De Zwaan - we all know what he can do, but it's a long time since he's done it, at least he got his card back immediately
87 Richie Burnett - not been showing bad stuff for the past half a year or so, got him into a worlds and will want a possible swansong performance
86 Danny van Trijp - twice a CT winner last season, had a win at the worlds, yet to be convinced he can push to the top 64 but knows how to win in a big knockout
85 Graham Usher - been dangerous at the CT level for a while now, looking competent at the next step up
84 Adam Smith-Neale - BDO major winner, scoring not been bad so far this season
83 Stephen Burton - been up and down between the tours for a while, never really pushed on at the Pro Tour level but can certainly take scalps
82 Nick Kenny - has a knack of making runs when it counts
81 Maik Kuivenhoven - a little bit unfortunate to lose his card, but right back on things
80 Graham Hall - very good course and distance here
79 Joe Murnan - shown ability to go on big runs, hanging around at this sort of level
78 Kevin Doets - looked extremely competent for a few years, doesn't give much up
77 Geert Nentjes - thinking this is the next Dutch guy to make a big breakthrough
76 Jose Justicia - consistently looking decent
75 Krzysztof Kciuk - habitually underrated for some time
74 Ricardo Pietreczko - was looking excellent in the second half of 2022 with a big TV win at this venue
73 Lewy Williams - 2022 was meh but good pedigree and shown good signs early this year
72 Dylan Slevin - not quite Rock levels of hype but a Pro Tour semi this year cannot be ignored
71 Nathan Rafferty - done close to everything on the youth stage and ready to take the next step up
70 Niels Zonneveld - if there were more than 64 continual cards would probably have held one for ages
69 Luke Littler - the anticipation from youth to senior is unprecedented and he has done stuff at the next level, just not in the PDC. Will it be too soon? We'll find out very quickly
68 Scott Waites - done incredible things in the BDO, maybe not completely shown in the PDC but cannot be counted out of any match
67 Thibault Tricole - everyone expected him to win a card, didn't quite work out, but first CT weekend makes a statement
66 Jeff Smith - maybe past his best, but knows ways to win
65 Mickey Mansell - showing good signs after a fair bit of a blip a couple of years ago
64 Mario Vandenbogaerde - real solid first year on tour, great non-PDC pedigree, excellent start to 2023
63 Martijn Kleermaker - didn't have brilliant 2022 but did show some sparks towards the back end, calibre in this event
62 Ricky Evans - similar to Kleermaker, but with a really explosive peak
61 Karel Sedlacek - opposite to the above, fantastic 2022 but a bit of a slow start to this year
60 Florian Hempel - winning the event he did in 2022 to get to the worlds is hard, not really dropped levels massively, just been unlucky
59 Keane Barry - overtaken by Rock amongst others in the hype stakes but clearly not a bad player, ultra deep run last year
58 William O'Connor - always been a bit up and down, maybe at a nadir but still a competent operator
57 Cameron Menzies - numbers do not lie, as long as he finds the board he is on he is a threat
56 Boris Krcmar - never really done it on TV, but is absolutely deadly when he wants to be
55 Steve Lennon - probably ran worse than anyone in terms of results than anyone in 2022, showing some alright signs early that he'll correct it
54 Gian van Veen - maybe a stretch, but deadly on secondary tours, already a tour final in the bank and showing early 2023 form
53 Matt Campbell - perfect mix of having shown what he can do on the floor with having a game that excels on the stage
52 Madars Razma - isn't as high up on the rankings as he is for no reason, I can't work it out statistically though
51 Ritchie Edhouse - got into most of the latter stage 2022 majors, picked up some scalps, been a name to avoid in short races for some time now
50 Luke Woodhouse - can produce brilliant stuff but it seems like it's year 69 of him not being able to push above around rank number 50
49 Vincent van der Voort - annus horribilis completed, still young enough to rebuild but needs to do so
48 Ian White - maybe even worse than Vincent's year, not playing bad but not getting results, so will put him slightly above
47 Richard Veenstra - not been card holder long but already looking like he absolutely belongs this high, record in the WDF/BDO cannot be questioned
46 Scott Williams - brilliant 2022, winning a card in the way Ratajski did doesn't go away easily
45 Mike De Decker - improving, improving, improving, numbers don't lie and Edgar's let the cat out of the bag
44 Steve Beaton - experience obv there, but got a good run late in 2022 and played brilliantly last weekend so perfect combination of everything
43 Ryan Joyce - numbers all there, results weren't there in 2022 but showed he can put a game together when it matters
42 Jermaine Wattimena - long way off his peak ranking, but the last six months have been the best he has been playing for a while
41 Rowby-John Rodriguez - stage presence is key, maybe a little bit off form but I think there's enough there to keep him up this high
40 Mervyn King - maybe we've already seen his best, and has been indifferent for over a year now, but over a short race there is still enough game there
39 Martin Lukeman - archetypal match player, will find ways to get it done and won't easily back against him doing so
38 Ryan Meikle - the peak has been demonstrated more than enough times, and he's finding it more often, bad last weekend is a worry though
37 Jamie Hughes - his peak is top sixteen. Has been showing signs that he's getting back towards his 2019 form
36 Mensur Suljovic - still performing enough that he should be within top 32 consideration, but is probably just outside for me
35 Callan Rydz - been a fair bit too much inconsistency for me for some time now, particularly on stage
34 Simon Whitlock - will absolutely put it together when it matters, enormous experience, showing things in 2023, people will not want to play him right now
33 Alan Soutar - late 2021 and early 2022 were meh, but since then he's been in the ascendancy
32 Brendan Dolan - not really done a great deal wrong, just not done quite as much as those ahead of him
31 Adrian Lewis - has the star power and the peak game, as well as a 2022 win, just too many people doing it more often of late
30 Daryl Gurney - seemed to be tailing off a tad, but hasn't been looking bad at all in the early stages of this year, over a moderate distance he can't be discounted
29 Jim Williams - averages in 2023 have been phenomenal, won on the tour, finds ways to win
28 Raymond van Barneveld - previous winner, fairly recent deep TV run, fan favourite, not playing bad
27 Gabriel Clemens - lot of the stats in 2022 may be misleading, huge worlds run can't be ignored
26 Jose De Sousa - another where we might be past the best, but picked things up in the latter half of 2022, so at least trending alright
25 Andrew Gilding - was here where he made his best ever TV run quite some time ago when he hit a purple patch, maybe we're a bit behind the peak of the latest one, but who knows
24 Kim Huybrechts - recent tour winner, hyper confidence player, trending the correct way
23 Martin Schindler - been so, so good over close to a two year period now but still waiting for a first title
22 Chris Dobey - got a TV win but in the most irrelevant event possible, love the player but finding it hard to justify him higher
21 Krzysztof Ratajski - still just plugging away at an elite level, maybe down a couple of percent from his peak but feared by anyone
20 James Wade - 2022 was not good, but he is defending winners money, which points at course, distance and motivation
19 Stephen Bunting - extremely underrated, must be confident after beating MvG last weekend, numbers are there, feels like an event that should suit him
18 Ross Smith - recent major in the bag, and he's outside the top 16. Answer me this - who out of those I list above Ross would you prefer in a last longer?
17 Gary Anderson - game has not gone away, but it's an enormous tournament in terms of rankings and he must be feeling some pressure
16 Nathan Aspinall - was looking as good as anyone in the middle of 2022, but maybe tailed off a bit recently and perhaps the PL tomorrow won't help him?
15 Dimitri Van den Bergh - kind of similar to Nathan, except that he didn't have a brilliant 2023 and the last time we saw him on TV in a ranking major he was getting pwned
14 Joe Cullen - excellent start to the year for someone I've underrated but was getting results regardless. Easily someone I could see grind out a run
13 Ryan Searle - recent Pro Tour win in the bag, has a run at this venue to a final, lots of things to like here
12 Damon Heta - TV form has been relatively shit, but numbers don't lie, was able to make the final day last year
11 Rob Cross - will forever be underrated, literally the only reason I have him down at eleven is that I can make a better case for ten other players
10 Dave Chisnall - fresh off a Euro Tour win, last six months have been the best he's been playing in some time, plenty of experience getting extremely deep in TV majors
9 Danny Noppert - defending champion, recent Pro Tour win, numbers aren't necessarily top 10 but Danny knows how to work with it
8 Josh Rock - hype train maybe has died down a bit but there is no questioning that he is an elite player and with more TV experience behind him, he is only going to get more and more comfortable
7 Dirk van Duijvenbode - Dirk is just that good at this stage. Pro Tour win just now, has been to a major final, can beat anyone on his day
6 Jonny Clayton - major winner, enormous numbers in 2023, just goes about his business, could easily place him one or two spots higher
5 Luke Humphries - first major feels due, very good Euro Tour run last weekend, is doing absolutely nothing wrong, no PL drag factor to worry about
4 Peter Wright - seems to me to be the worst of the "big four" right now, which may be a title I've just made up, but PL results are a concern
3 Gerwyn Price - looked fantastic in Kiel, game is still right up there and a Gerwyn right up there is a threat to win any tournament
2 Michael Smith - must have an unprecedented level of freedom and confidence in TV events right now
1 Michael van Gerwen - still the best player in the world, come at me

Come at me?

Sunday 26 February 2023

Chizzy wins it

Apologies for not posting up anything either this morning or late yesterday, real life things caught up with me so couldn't post up a bets post for the last sixteen. That said, nothing much was missed - I was at least able to look at oddschecker this morning and didn't see any lines that were way out of kilter, or at least worthy of further investigation. So we didn't get much action on, and just down a small amount - will surely make up for that with the biggest betting day of the year coming up just on Friday, with the UK Open kicking off. To make up for it, I'm going to try to do a power rankings of all 160 entrants (assuming all the tour card holders turn up - whether Cadby, Perez etc play is obviously questionable), which should NOT be intended as a "well, this guy is #108 and he's playing #111 and he's 11/10 BET ALL THE MONEY sort of thing, there will be the usual round 1 and known round 2/3 matches tips thread in advance, and an in-running additional bets and notes thread as things progress. For now, Chizzy beat Humphries in the final, Luke not being quite able to say a full fuck you to the Premier League selection cabal, but Chizzy continues what's becoming an extended purple patch, and he's got to be considered as live as anyone for next weekend. Clayton continued his good form as well, Searle made a best run at this level to date, while Schindler, Beaton, Brown and van Duijvenbode rounded off the last eight. Nice job by Bunting as well to take out MvG.

But to end this post off, will only be a quick one, new FRH rankings:

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

Yep, despite Dobey having not even tried to qualify for this event in order to prioritise Newcastle losing a cup final, and despite Wade having shown up and won a match, Dobey actually moves ahead. Chizzy naturally gets a huge boost, the increased money up top making enough of a difference to get him ahead of Smith. Lower down, Beaton's quarters run gets him up to #53, Brown is one outside the top 60, while Martijn Dragt isn't a complete newcomer but is slotted into the 160's somewhere.

Expect a busy few days of posts as we get into full UK Open fever.

Saturday 25 February 2023

Kiel day 2

Slightly odd day one, some good performances, some not so, down on the betting with both the underdogs losing, Wade showing up isn't unexpected and Mioch generally outplaying his opponent but just missing doubles isn't also unexpected on debut. Oddschecker is asleep at the wheel again so just going to look at 365, Betfair and Coralbrokes and go from there.

Searle/Vandenbogaerde - Mario didn't do anything yesterday to make me think he's playing exceptionally well, just getting over the line in a tight, sluggish match which was all holds of throw. Not drawing completely dead at about a 30% chance, but we're only seeing 5/2 which is spot on, and we'd need more than usual given the form Searle is in.

Cross/Dragt - Martijn got through without showing anything special, more to do with the level of opponent than anything. Still too little data to get a real comfortable projection, the 5/1 that we're seeing on some bookies looks OK, maybe the 8/1 on Ladbrokes is a little much and might be worth a small stab, but I won't recommend it.

Chisnall/Williams - Lewy didn't look too bad, especially finishing the game off, but this is an entire different opponent and he doesn't even have 20% chances here. 2/7 on 365 for Chizzy isn't completely out of consideration but I'd need a little bit more. 1/3 I'd probably go small, anything longer I'd look at a standard play, but I really don't see the line going that way.

van den Bergh/Edhouse - Ritchie was comfortable in dispatching Wilkinson, nothing spectacular, just steady play was enough. Ritchie's a bit undervalued here, I'm seeing him as having enough quality to win this more than one in three, being closer to 40% than that mark ever so slightly, so 0.1u Edhouse 16/5 on Ladbrokes, he may need to improve his game a bit from yesterday to realise the equity but he has big TV wins over better players than Dimitri in recent memory.

Cullen/Monk - Arron seemed quite happy to get the win, didn't play badly, but Cullen right now is going to be too strong. Still lacking data as Monk is only just back to the tour so wouldn't want to guess at a true line, but the 7/2 we can get doesn't look like near enough for an underdog play, would need a full point before we even start thinking about that one.

Heta/Brooks - Bradley didn't play great, but Josh just couldn't score often enough, or hit doubles when he could, so the scoreline looks a touch lopsided. 1/7 for Damon actually looks about right, that's just how much better he is.

Noppert/Brown - Keegan looked alright, a couple of sloppy legs but was generally scoring alright in the legs he was losing, maybe it's a different story if Filip was a touch more clinical, who knows. Danny at 1/3 looks about right, I've got Brown at slightly more than a one in four chance, we are not getting anywhere near the price to consider it, or for that matter for a bet to be break even.

van Duijvenbode/Veenstra - Lot of breaks in this game, seems like in many cases Florian was on a double then Richard came back and punished a miss, still Flyers is through and this should be a very good game, the line looks about right with Dirk being around 1/3 or slightly shorter, that's roughly what I'm seeing on fairly limited data on Richard, it feels correct with how well DvD is playing.

Aspinall/Beaton - Steve was probably the standout player of yesterday with all legs won in fifteen darts or less and a 106 average in the two he lost, not bad at all and play like that again would easily see him through here. On long data I'm seeing this as a 2-1 game. Beaton is 11/5. If you think that wasn't a fluke and he's outperforming longer data (it was towards the back end of last year where he did go on a deep Pro Tour run after all), then don't let me stop you.

Clayton/Evetts - Ted did for our bet on Mioch yesterday, didn't look great with just the one leg won in five visits, but he was there or there abouts to punish missed chances often enough. He's not going to get that against Clayton, maybe Evetts at 4/1 is a little long but I'm not going there the way Jonny is playing.

Price/Usher - Graham got the win over Joyce yesterday, not a great performance with multiple seven visit holds, but he's not going to care. Can't see Price losing this one, but Graham's competent enough that we can't really see a play - a best of 1/6 on Gerwyn isn't a tempter in the slightest, and I can't see that Usher converts often enough to take the near 5/1 which Coralbrokes are throwing out there.

Humphries/Gurney - Daryl got a good win yesterday, probably the most entertaining game of the day, and has got to be considered somewhat live in this one with Luke maybe not quite at the peak of his game and Gurney having had a good kickoff to 2023, relatively speaking. Long data says 70/30, we can get slightly longer than 1/2 on Luke which doesn't look bad on paper, but on form maybe there's enough of a shift that it goes to being just the wrong side of a break even play. Clearly not touching the 6/4 or there abouts on Daryl.

Smith/Springer - Niko came through the match with Wattimena with a decent enough showing, fears about form being unfounded and maybe an opportunity to bet missed. Michael is surely going to be too good here, 9/2 on Springer doesn't look like an awful bet, but given the confidence Smith must have right now, I think he's outperforming his larger data sample and get home way more often than the limited data I have says he will (which is about 70% of the time).

Wright/Wade - James looked good yesterday, no doubt about it, and with a repeat performance he can easily give Peter plenty to think about, and that's something the market is perhaps overreacting to. I'm seeing Peter as having 71% chances, and we can get 1/2 - maybe he's not performing as well as his long data (the Premier League being the best evidence we have of that), who knows. I think there's enough uncertainty going in James' favour to not consider what would have been slim Snakebite value here.

van Gerwen/Bunting - Stephen had a good win against O'Connor, who did well to stay in touch after a quick 3-0 scoreline, and now Bunting faces MvG, which I think should be a great clash. As mentioned before, Stephen's a tad underrated, and I'm seeing just slightly over a one in three chance for this one at around 35%. We can get 5/2 which I think is getting close to considering, I would have hoped we could see 3/1 which I'd definitely take for a small play. Monitor the line, maybe money comes in on Michael and shifts it further in our favour. Might throw out an exchange price to see if we get there.

Schindler/Wenig - Final game and it guarantees a German into Sunday (well, there's only the one other one left), Lukas taking apart an out of sorts Ryan Meikle by a 6-1 margin. Schindler should be too good here, the lines of 3/10 that I can see pretty much exactly coincide with the 76% my projections give us.

So just the one play, but there's a few to think about if you disagree one way or the other with my analysis and want to take some which aren't bad, just not big value. Good luck everyone and back for the last sixteen.

Friday 24 February 2023

Kiel Friday bets

Let's go in running order:

Evans/Dragt - We can get slightly longer than 2/1 on Martin. That feels about right, maybe it's slightly closer than that with Ricky's mediocre form, but with the lack of data on the other side I'm generally going to avoid tips where it feels like it's in, if not the right ballpark, at least the right postcode.

Zonneveld/Vandenbogaerde - Niels is priced as a very tiny favourite in this one (shorter than Mario, but we can't get odds against on Mario either). From the data this looks to be where I'm at, so no bet here.

Williams/Nilsson - Lewy's available at 8/13 on 365, I think that's close enough to be a small play - 0.1u Williams 8/13, not convinced with Dennis's level of play and the break ought to have allowed Lewy to reset. Only small, but think there's a play here.

Sebesta/Brown - Is 9/2 enough to take the Czech upcomer here? Instinctively given the opponent I feel like it should be, but the limited data I've got on Filip is not encouraging. If he plays like he did against Bialecki in the semi of the quali then it's a really easy play, but that seems like an outlier. I'll pass it, but would not be surprised if come 2pm it was the wrong play to do so - even if Keegan wins it.

Mioch/Evetts - I think Jeroen is a live enough dog in this one given Ted's level of play to take a small shot here despite limited data - 0.1u Mioch 2/1 on 365 (literally just moved from 11/5 in the last couple of minutes). This is more an indictment of Evetts rather than an endorsement of Mioch, but coming through that level of qualifier takes some talent, enough that this is worth a small play.

Monk/Dolan - Brendan's big odds on here, showing at around a 75% favourite. If that's off, I can't be thinking it's off by a significant enough amount that there's any sort of play either way.

Wattimena/Springer - Market is favouring Jermaine a little more than I was thinking it might be here, we can get 13/8 in multiple places on Niko, which I think is worth considering. If we'd seen a bit more from Springer recently, then I think I could get behind a play a bit more. The play in the German Super League was at least good. I'll avoid it just based on Jermaine getting back towards his best, but wouldn't be surprised if this is an error.

Brooks/Payne - Bookies can barely separate them, similar spot to the second game with Payne playing the role of Zonneveld. That looks fine to me, easy enough one to avoid, maybe with more data on Josh down the road we can take a firmer point of view and maybe consider Bradley, but we don't have that right now.

Wilkinson/Edhouse - Another one which is more or less where I thought it would be, market is correctly asserting that Ritchie is a favourite, but recognising that Shaun's got some quality and generally putting him in the 6/4 to 2/1 range. Don't think there's anything here, maybe the 9/5 on Shaun on Coralbrokes is getting close, but can't truly recommend it.

Joyce/Usher - Initial thought is that Ryan's maybe priced a little bit too short. We can get north of 2/1 on Graham, that feels close. If we were seeing 5/2, I'd probably be "fuck it, bet", but 11/5 isn't quite tasty enough. Usher is on debut after all.

Meikle/Wenig - Line looks close to perfect, Meikle's 1/2, 4/9, that sort of thing, and we said he'd win two in three.

O'Connor/Bunting - Stephen's about the same price as the above. Thought that might have been priced closer and we'd have a play. Oh well, one to avoid.

Hempel/Veenstra - Market can barely split them. If a bookie is not going 10/11 pick your poison, they're giving Veenstra a wafer thin edge. That coincides with where we're at, should be a closely fought battle with maybe form deciding it.

Wade/van Barneveld - Market can't split them? Seems a little bit off that. 0.1u van Barneveld 10/11, Wade is definitely live but we're only putting him at around the 40% chance range, which I think is enough of a margin to make a small play.

Clemens/Gurney - Another one where the bookies aren't making a decision on who will win, and as we can't split them by much, there's an easy pass on this one.

Beaton/Lewis - They do make a decision on this one, and that's to price Steve as a 35-40% chance player in our final opening round game. Sadly that means that the vig is such that we can't really look at a play on Lewis, 8/15 on 365 isn't an awful play, but it's only break even as far as I can see, and we're not looking at betting for the sake of betting.

So just the three small plays in round one, maybe we could have gone a bit heavier on Raymond but let's just take small steps this early in the season. Back tomorrow morning probably for round two.

Thursday 23 February 2023

Kiel round one draw thoughts

The draw's already out, which makes a refreshing change from it being at the last minute, so let's have a scan through what we've got.

Humphries v Clemens/Gurney - Decent first round game between two players who are fairly evenly matched up in terms of rankings and statistics, Clemens is a real slight favourite (smack in the middle of 50% and 55%) but given the injury issues that Gabriel wasn't mentioning and the possibility that he's underperformed a bit, maybe it's a touch of an underestimate. That said, Daryl's had a decent start to the year. Luke ought to be around a 2-1 favourite against either.

van den Bergh v Wilkinson/Edhouse - Not seen a huge amount of Shaun, but he's played decently enough, and has got some OK results on occasions. Ritchie's had a bit more notable success but isn't an overwhelming favourite, call it between 55% and 60%. Dimitri's not an overwhelming favourite if Ritchie gets through, call it between 60% and 65%.

Smith v Wattimena/Springer - Jermaine was picking up his form towards the end of the year, while Niko was doing his better stuff in the start of the year, so while Niko is a similar level of favourite to Ritchie based on the raw data, form based stats might make this more of a flip than first appears. Smith's around a 3-1 favourite against Jermaine.

van Duijvenbode v Hempel/Veenstra - Interesting first round game, Florian's had a quiet 2022, while Richard has had a great start to 2023, and probably has a small edge, around 55%, maybe a little bit more. Dirk's a huge step up in class though, especially coming off a Pro Tour win, and should be a 3-1 favourite again.

Cross v Evans/Dragt - Limited data on Dragt, with only just over 50 legs in the last year that make the database, while the Challenge Tour results weren't great despite making a final, averaging under 85. That ought to give Ricky a solid edge, but it's hard to truly quantify. Rob ought to be too classy for either, over a 70% shot against Ricky.

Searle v Zonneveld/Vandenbogaerde - Nice low countries derby here, which appears to be an extremely close one to call with Niels only having the tiniest of edges, and ought to be moderately live against Searle, having a bit more than a one in three shot, but given that Ryan's just recently got a win, maybe there is more chance for Searle than that.

Wright v Wade/van Barneveld - What a great set of games this is. Wade's continued to be just alright, and should be only a little bit more than a 40% dog against a resurgent Barney. Peter's naturally going to be favoured, but the quality in the opening game is such that it's only between a 60% and a two in three favourites tag against RvB, so this section could legitimately go any of three ways.

Noppert v Sebesta/Brown - Don't know too much about the Czech qualifier, averages in the Challenge Tour was down in the low 80's and the only legs we got in the database were a 6-0 reverse averaging down in the mid 70's. Keegan should be comfortable here, but easily outclassed by Danny, who's probably slightly closer to a three in four favourite than two in three.

van Gerwen v O'Connor/Bunting - Great first round game here, Willie's going to be consistent while Bunting's quietly getting good stats and is probably one of the more underrated players on the circuit at this time, and actually projects at 65%, which is a bit more than I thought it would be. That's actually what MvG would be against Bunting as well, oddly enough.

Clayton v Mioch/Evetts - I only have one match worth of data on Mioch, which looked alright in defeat, and his Challenge Tour weekend saw an 85 average, which against Evetts, ought to see him live although a dog. Hard to gauge how much though. Clayton ought to be extremely comfortable here, one of the biggest favourites we've seen so far at a bit over 75% if he was to play Ted in the second round.

Aspinall v Beaton/Lewis - This is an interesting opener, Beaton's still not going away and Adie's still looking to reassert a position in the top 32, Adie's probably winning this about two in three so Steve's still playing well enough to be live against a quality operator. Lewis is not too big of an underdog against Nathan, I'm actually seeing projections as a basic flip to the closest five percent, so could be a bit of value in this one.

Cullen v Monk/Dolan - Arron's back on tour, not done a great deal yet so tough to really extrapolate what he might do against Brendan, would think he's a solid dog but he's shown a few occasional good legs, just a case of putting it together more frequently. Cullen's started 2023 like a train (PL exclusion told you so factor?), but Dolan has enough quality that he ought to only be about a 60/40 underdog, so Joe won't have it all his own way.

Heta v Brooks/Payne - Limited data on Josh at this stage, didn't do a great deal in 2022 and been a quiet start on the Pro Tour so far. Probably been playing slightly better than Brooks has over that period, although whether Bradley's play against a consistently higher level of opposition will be beneficial will be seen. I'd call it a flip, then Damon should be an enormous favourite - 85% I'm seeing.

Schindler v Meikle/Wenig - Ryan's going to have to come through two home favourites to make the money, we've got a lot of data on Lukas for a non card holder, but it only shows that the ever improving Meikle is about a 2-1 favourite. He's good enough now that despite playing against one of the stories of the last couple of years, he's still got about a 40% chance, so he could get on a bit of a run here.

Chisnall v Williams/Nilsson - Lewy had a down 2022, Nilsson has a decent chunk of data mostly from the Nordic tour and is scoring about four points worse, so let's call Williams a solid enough favourite - 2/1 looks about right. Dave's got to be happy with this draw, a fair line against Lewy would be about 1/5 shall we say?

Price v Joyce/Usher - Ryan's still playing well, although had a '22 with not the greatest of results, while Graham's newly on tour but scoring a few points below, so let's install Joyce as a fair favourite, and call him as having a 30% shot against Gerwyn? He's done this before if I remember rightly, so live.

Checking for lines later.

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Changes I'd make if I was Matt Porter

I did one of these posts a while back, and I thought it's due a revision. Looking back, I did this just after the previous UK Open, for some reason I thought I did it a bit further back than that, but I guess not. Still, let's go, that post (http://www.tungstenanalysis.com/2022/03/ten-things-i-would-do-if-i-was-matt.html) had ten, I don't know how many I'll go with, but we'll see - this is a post I was going to make anyway, but the PDC having announced a much greater offering for the UK Open, with EVERY game being streamed (what level of production we'll get on boards 3-8 is yet to be seen), it's one of the things I'd have liked, so what else would I do?


This is a redo from point number one of the previous post, but it still stands. If you want to keep using sportradar for feeding the bookies, that's fine - that doesn't mean you can't do what you do with the UK Open and relay the televised boards to Dart Connect afterwards. It would make stat compilation much easier, and having all the stats in one place would be of some use to the casual fan.


This is something I've touched on before back when the entirety of the PDC's sponsors were bookies - commenting on the natural fear that if governments were to crack down on gambling advertising (because personal responsibility isn't allowed these days), the PDC and Matchroom in general would be up shit creek. Now it's kind of the same issue, except that the worlds, Premier League, Slam, Euros, PC Finals, UK Open and Masters are all sponsored by Cazoo. I've made the comparison before, might have been on here, might have been on Twitter, I can't remember, but the last time I saw a company sponsoring so much stuff was Football Index, and we all know how that ended up. They've got a pretty wide array of secondary sponsors, surely one of them could take the step up and take on a big event?


This is another redo, but it's one that continues to make huge sense, and would prevent bye issues, points only being awarded from the last 32 etc - and this started happening in day one of the UK side with Jenkins only playing the one day on a weekend. Similar with issues of players playing the final day and actually being worse off as a result of doing so - this is a direct result of the points system combined with not having a full field of 128. Fix it. While we're at it, increase the number of straight passes in stage one to sixteen each day. With the fields the size they are, nobody who gets to that stage is not going to get in through points anyway, so why bother making them (or at least giving them the chance to) play it out?


The Riley's qualifiers are great, but there's a bit of a problem in that they're all distributed in England - whereas previously they were a bit more evenly spread out. Scotland in particular doesn't have any, while there's five within a stone's throw of London. Wales is also not represented, but at least the northern side could easily enough get to the Chester and Manchester events. I am guessing there is some reason why they can't hold one at the Aberdeen or Swansea venues, but if not, why not cut the spots down to six for each of the secondary tours, and then hold four separate qualifiers? How much interest would there be in holding a couple on the continent - one in Germany, one in the Netherlands perhaps? Maybe also, given that they kind of get fucked by not having had the opportunity to get a Challenge Tour spot, have a qualifier straight after Q-School for those players who immediately lost their tour card (and didn't regain it) to get a "goodbye" bonus and win through to the UK Open? It's been seen a few times that players have just gone and won a Riley's qualifier anyway, so why not keep more spots open for potential true amateurs?


For that Scottish event suggested above, could the PDC not have looked into tacking it onto the just-run Scottish Open, either straight before or after (on outside boards while they're playing the stage finals maybe)? For the initial European Tour associate qualifiers, could they not have worked around the Dutch Open, using side boards at the end of the Friday/Saturday? That one in particular makes sense given that any affiliate worth their salt would be at the venue anyway. You'll probably get a stronger affiliate field, you might help the hosting event in question, and it should theoretically save player's expenses.


Something I suggested in the previous post, which seemingly hasn't really been done, is that PDC.TV basically doesn't have anything of worth to viewers in regions where there is an established TV deal in place. So why not, as an experiment, organise an event which is available to watch ONLY on the stream worldwide for a one-off payment amount, which is then available for replay afterwards as you've got no TV production company holding back the rights for an extreme amount of time, if not ad infinitum? I wouldn't be suggesting an enormous prize pool, maybe just a European Tour tournament format event on steroids with a ~50% boost to prize money compared to one of those events. If they had a £250k prize pool compared to £175k on the Euro Tour, they'd only need to sell 50k passes at a fiver a pop to break even on the prize money assuming that sponsors wouldn't be interested, then live ticket/booze sales ought to get close to covering venue hire and their own production costs. I for one would quite easily pay into three figures a year direct to the PDC if I got all the events, including the ones Sky/ITV currently have exclusivity for. Why not start to work out whether there is the customer demand for this with a small step? If it doesn't work, it's not as if it's going to really break the bank.


Moving event five to the second weekend and having events 1-4 run across the same length of time would eliminate an awful lot the tournament/day length issues that are caused by the added number of players which naturally play the first set with the idea of hoping to run good and then maybe get into a Pro Tour callup spot and/or international players having made the trip for Q-School and other events then stopping around.

That I think is the lot for now without hugely repeating myself from a year ago. Check in tomorrow by around this time for initial Kiel thoughts.

Monday 20 February 2023

Ten things we've learned from the last two weekends

It's been an interesting couple of weeks of darts, with the first two Pro Tour weekends in the bank and a real variety of winners that we wouldn't immediately have expected, and some other notable results from elsewhere to report on. Firstly, new FRH rankings:

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

But hey, those ten things:

1) The Smiths are still good

Not been a bad time for those down under - first Raymond binked the Super Series, solidifying his reputation as one of the best non-card holders in the world, then Ky was able to win the latest WDF event which has got him into one of their future worlds. When that is, I'm not going to pretend to work out or understand, but it's still an important result for him.

2) Is Ando done?

Maybe not, as his scoring is still pretty solid, and the players he's run into for his four Pro Tour defeats (Bunting, Dolan, Rock, Boulton) for a return of just one win, along with Gilding earlier today in the one Euro Tour qualifier he surprisingly entered, makes it look like it's just a situation of bad draws. But as someone who's far enough down the Pro Tour rankings that he can run into seeds pretty easily, this is an occupational hazard that he's just going to have to deal with, and sooner rather than later, being seven grand below the current Pro Tour cutoff for the Matchplay, with plenty of players ahead of, and just behind him, getting four Euro Tours with new boosted prize money that he's not playing in, it'll be tricky for him to not collapse down the rankings.

3) That was huge for Huybrechts

Can't understate just how important that result was for him. Kim was only just inside the top 32, and in kind of the same spot for the Pro Tour qualifiers for the majors, so to get the boost of a win will be enormous. It'll get him way up the seeding lists for the Pro Tours, and on the borderline of getting into the Euro Tour automatically, especially if he can back things up with another decent result or two.

4) Some ups and downs for some aging players

Whitlock getting a final in the opening weekend, coupled with another 4k in the other events, gives him enough of a platform to get back into majors through the Pro Tour, and maybe turn down a slide which sees him outside the worlds top 32. But for others, it's not great - van der Voort with a 1-4 record and really poor scoring, King with the same record but still OK scoring (and, in fairness, awful draws with losses to DvD twice, Aspinall and Rydz), Suljovic is 0-4 but is scoring even better, again with bad draws being the issue. Labanauskas also has concerning form continuing from 2022 and doesn't have the backdoor of the Nordic tour to rely on.

5) Some young guns doing well

Rock remains up in the top echelons of scoring continuing into 2023, but there's lots of others doing well. Dylan Slevin opened up with a semi final (which I was on at 250/1), and is scoring just fine - naturally a lot of comparisons with the likes of Rock and Barry can be made, that might be a bit ahead of things, but there was plenty of evidence he looked good in both the 2022 secondary circuit and at Q-School. Gian van Veen is on the first page of my average database, and but for a couple of narrow defeats against decent opponents, might have added to just a quarter final this season. de Decker is still relatively young and continuing to score well. We've got a bit of a wait before we get a Dev Tour weekend to see more from people outside of the main tour system, but there's going to be some real tough competition there.

6) Richard Veenstra is for real

It's taken a while for Flyers to get onto the PDC circuit, but there's already signs that he's going to fit in just fine - the Pro Tour system ought to suit someone with such a solid WDF floor record and consistent nature of play. It's showing with 7k in the bank in four events, quite a few notable wins, and we'll see him in the Euro Tour this weekend as well which can really boost things. Who's to say that he won't put enough together to stand a realistic chance of making the Grand Prix?

7) Players we've underrated performing

It might be odd to the casual viewer that we've been bearish on the fortunes of Jonny Clayton and Joe Cullen for a while, but maybe not for too much longer, with the players ranking 1-2 in the scoring rankings. Neither's made a final, and Joe in particular has had some early exits, but over a 100+ leg sample for Cullen and 150 for Clayton, they're ahead of everyone. Who's just behind them? Jim Williams. By contrast, we've been liking his game for some time, and it's being backed up with bigger scoring than we've seen at any point beforehand. He's got a couple of shots at the Euro Tour in the next four events, and may be someone to keep in mind as a long shot when it comes to UK Open outright betting.

8) Is Jamie Hughes back?

Jamie probably had the worst result out of anyone when it came down to worlds results, Keane Barry possibly expected, but he's hit back strongly with a final and two board wins. However, his scoring isn't anywhere near where it was back when he was winning a Euro Tour. That said, good results should restore confidence, and the scoring isn't exactly at a bad level, so maybe we can see it continue to tick up and have the results continue to follow.

9) Some interesting UK Open qualifiers

Matt Edgar's just put a video together, and we knew some players from before the last time I posted, but Luke Littler and Danny Lauby are probably the biggest names to watch. James Richardson is always going to be dangerous, Darryl Pilgrim has shown flashes at the Challenge Tour level now and again, Dan Read is kind of similar, and following on from there there's a real nice mix of youth, experience and unknowns that'll be interesting to analyse.

10) Some players in real trouble

Just looking at the end of the Pro Tour averages, Danny Jansen is showing more and more that his Pro Tour bink is an enormous fluke and getting on the tour was just a bit too early, Devon Petersen is showing no signs of getting back to his peak and could well be without a card this time next year, while some names outside of the top 100 (some of whom we've mentioned earlier) include Labanauskas, Kleermaker, Rowby, Edhouse, van der Voort, Tricole and Sedlacek. A few of these names seem like they could just be a bad couple of weekends (but not what you really want with a major in just a fortnight, unless you're at Kiel to try to turn things around), others are the continuation of bad form from some time, while some might be a case of 2022 being a bit of a fluke? Hard to say at this stage, but something to monitor.

Expect maybe a random post at some point in the next couple of days, before a Euro Tour post on Thursday once we know the draw (we do know all the field now).

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Tungsten Analysis 2022 Awards

Bit late, but let's go:

Best single tournament performance

2017 - Phil Taylor, World Matchplay
2018 - Gary Anderson, World Matchplay
2019 - Peter Wright, World Championship
2020 - Ryan Searle, Players Championship 3
2021 - Peter Wright, Players Championship Finals

Nominees - Raymond van Barneveld, Grand Slam, Luke Humphries, Czech Darts Open, Damon Heta, Gibraltar Darts Open, Josh Rock, Players Championship 28, Dave Chisnall, Players Championship 25, Dirk van Duijvenbode, Players Championship 18

Winner - Ross Smith, European Championship

Seems like a pretty easy winner, with Smith being the longest priced major winner we've had in a while (I'm going to guess Noppert was shorter at the UK Open), performing consistently well to come through four current Premier League players as well as last season's runner up, coming through in clutch situations in every single round. In other tournaments, Barney rolling back the years to beat Gerwyn Price twice and reach a major semi final was an unexpected run, Humphries had one of the tougher runs you can have to win a Euro Tour but didn't drop a beat, if anything Heta's win was tougher with wins over Wright and MvG in the last two rounds, Rock's first title saw him register four averages above 105, while Chizzy and Dirk's wins in their respective championships were equally impressive against really tough fields.

Match of the season

2017 - Rob Cross v Michael van Gerwen, World Championship
2018 - Gary Anderson v Mensur Suljovic, World Matchplay
2019 - Peter Wright v Noel Malicdem, World Championship
2020 - Michael van Gerwen v Joe Cullen, World Championship
2021 - Michael Smith v Jonny Clayton, World Championship

Nominees - Peter Wright v Krzysztof Ratajski, World Matchplay, Michael Smith v Michael van Gerwen, World Championship, Josh Rock v Luke Humphries, Players Championship 28, Michael Smith v Dirk van Duijvenbode, Players Championship 16

Winner - Dirk van Duijvenbode v Ryan Searle, Players Championship Finals

Seems like there's been a bit of a dearth of quality games this season - a lot of majors didn't have much to write home about, I've put the final of the worlds in although there were plenty of games (Rock's last two, Williams/Clemens, DvD/Smith, Searle/de Sousa) that were probably better, the only game from another major on the main stage that I really recall was that back and forth tussle between Wright and Ratajski which went to extra time, while the two finals on the floor listed were super high quality without a greater than five visit leg between them. So I'm going for the hidden gem from board two at Minehead, which went all 19 legs, Ryan averaging a cool 103, which was not good enough to contend with Dirk's incredible 112 standard. 180's for fun, bunches of high checkouts, the game has everything. If you've not seen it, go on Youtube right now and watch it before reading any further. It's that good.

Most disappointing season

2017 - Benito van de Pas
2018 - Rob Cross
2019 - Raymond van Barneveld
2020 - Adrian Lewis
2021 - Jeffrey de Zwaan

Nominees - Mervyn King, Darius Labanauskas, Steve Lennon, John Henderson, Steve West

Winner - Ian White

If you'd have said three years ago that White, off the back of two European Tour victories in 2019, would be so far off the pace that he didn't qualify for the world championships, I'd have said you were nuts. That, however, is the reality, with his seasonal scoring dropping down below the 90 mark and having a horrific run of floor form in the second half to not reach a board final at all and miss out on all the majors. Elsewhere, King looked pretty bad in the first half of the year, has slid hugely down the Pro Tour rankings and, while probably not in a situation where he might lose his card, is certainly going to struggle in 2024. Darius needed the SDC rankings to make the worlds after performances dipped hugely from making a tricky major in 2021, Lennon missed out on the worlds completely, not playing badly but just being really unfortunate with results, while Hendo and West lost their cards, neither getting so much as 20k in prize money and needing to rebuild on the non-pro circuit. John's shown some signs, Steve on the other hand, who knows.

Best young player

2017 - Justin van Tergouw
2018 - Luke Humphries/Leighton Bennett
2019 - Keane Barry
2020 - Callan Rydz
2021 - Rusty-Jake Rodriguez

Nominees - Beau Greaves, Nathan Rafferty, Luke Littler, Sebastian Bialecki

Winner - Josh Rock

Was this ever in doubt? No. I can't recall a breakthrough season of the likes since maybe Cross, and certainly not from someone this young. He's already in the world's elite, he is that good. If it weren't for Rock, it would probably go to Greaves, who's completely dominated the women's side, it's just a pity that she's not attempted the Challenge Tour and the jury is still out on Development Tour appearances. Rafferty gets a spot for actually winning the Development Tour ahead of Rock as well as showing flashes on the senior circuit, Littler continues to look extremely strong on the WDF side at senior level and we'll start to see him in the PDC real soon, while Bialecki remains one of the strongest players without a tour card who showed what he can do at the UK Open with a quarter final run.

Most disappointing news of the season

2017 - Phil Taylor still not getting it quietly
2018 - Everything to do with the UK Open
2019 - Everything to do with the BDO
2020 - Kyle McKinstry and Wessel Nijman match fixing
2021 - Everything to do with the European Tour/European Championship

Nominees - Cancellation/postponement of the 2023 WDF worlds, the European Tour bye situation, no French World Cup team, uninspiring 2023 European Tour venue announcements

Winner - Retrospective awarding of a World Championship place to the Women's Matchplay winner

This one was really quite ridiculous, in terms of the timings and the fact it was done after the event, everyone knows that if it was Aileen de Graaf having won it, they wouldn't have awarded the spot, but as is often the case with the PDC, commercial interests usurp competitive integrity, and it's arguable that someone could easily have lost their tour card on account of really wanting people to watch Ricky Evans win his first round match. Otherwise, it's not been a horrific year in terms of bad news - the worst is probably the WDF pushing back their worlds basically an entire year yet retaining all the places, making the whole point of this season somewhat moot, multiple European Tour events were wrecked on account of late withdrawals and having run home nation qualifiers in such a way that they could not get replacements in, while this has been fixed for next year, the amount of events in Germany seems more ridiculous than ever, while France being snubbed for the World Cup despite Tricole/Labre both looking very strong is a horrific omission which will surely be corrected in 2023.

Personal highlight of the season

2017 - Mensur Suljovic wins the Champions League
2018 - Ian White claims a European Tour title
2019 - The explosion in quality from non-traditional areas
2020 - The PDC's efforts to get some sort of calendar on
2021 - Matt Campbell winning his tour card

Nominees - Australia winning the World Cup, the Dutch Open being back in style, Karel Sedlacek's great season, Prakash Jiwa making the worlds

Winner - Danny Noppert claiming a major title

Will go through the nominees first - Damon Heta holding his own on TV and Whitlock playing his part to finally claim the title after being so close on so many occasions was great to see. Having the world's biggest open being properly fully back, albeit slightly delayed and with limited Dart Connect coverage which has already been addressed in this years' event, was incredible and the tournament is definitely on my bucket list of things to do, Sedlacek doing a bit of a Ratajski impression in running all over the European Tour qualifiers and secondary events to get into multiple majors was a terrific response to (temporarily) losing his card and surely the Czech Republic will finally win a World Cup game this season, while Jiwa getting into a huge event after so many years in and around the tour was something special. But it's got to go to Noppert, criminally underrated for so, so long, it wasn't pretty how he did it in the end, and wasn't rewarded as it should have been with a Premier League spot, but it's given him a world of confidence to have shown how good he can be, which has been followed up on TV multiple times since.

Best new tour card holder

2017 - Richard North
2018 - Danny Noppert
2019 - Glen Durrant
2020 - Damon Heta
2021 - Alan Soutar

Nominees - Ricardo Pietreczko, Connor Scutt, Danny Jansen, Mario Vandenbogaerde

Winner - Jim Williams

I could quite easily have gone with Rock here, and probably should have done so given this is a "better" title, but best young player seemed more fitting, so I'm going to go with the Challenge Tour winner from 2021 in Jim Williams, who's looked every bit a PDC player from the word go. Winning a Pro Tour title real early in the running, and scoring incredibly steadily making himself really tough to beat which was demonstrated at the worlds, 2022 has given him an incredible foundation to work on. Outside of him (and Rock), we've got mostly redoes, so there aren't too many "pure" new card holders. Jansen has to get a mention on account of having won a title, while Pietreczko, Scutt and Mario have all show themselves to be competent players with flashes of real good stuff, and are certainly all in a position where they can look to maybe retain their cards beyond 2023.

Most improved player

2017 - Daryl Gurney
2018 - Jeffrey de Zwaan
2019 - Nathan Aspinall
2020 - Devon Petersen
2021 - Martin Schindler

Nominees - Andrew Gilding, Wesley Plaisier, Karel Sedlacek, Scott Williams

Winner - Martin Lukeman

First up we've got a couple of non-card holders who've looked to be in absolutely phenomenal form in 2022, Plaisier was getting through the Euro Tour qualifiers on an extremely regular basis, as well as winning a Challenge Tour and looking great on the WDF side where he was able to win one of their majors. Sedlacek we've talked about somewhat already, Williams has dominated on the secondary level and looks a legitimate talent. Gilding has shown a great resurgence in 2022, but it's more back to the levels we've seen before and may already have tailed off, so I'm giving this to Lukeman, who's transformed himself from just a guy on the tour making up the numbers, through to an incredibly solid match player who's been able to play himself into all the majors this year. Some higher up players who I thought of nominating included Heta and Humphries, but they were already at quite a high point already.

Player of the year

2017 - Rob Cross
2018 - Gary Anderson
2019 - Michael van Gerwen
2020 - Gerwyn Price
2021 - Jonny Clayton

Nominees - Luke Humphries, Michael Smith, Danny Noppert, Beau Greaves

Winner - Michael van Gerwen

It had to go to Michael, but I've picked the one that most people wouldn't. If he'd won the world final then nobody would have batted an eyelid, it's just Smith's form at the back end, with the two titles including the big one, that is putting things into question. Still, it's got to be van Gerwen for me. Three major ranking titles, the Premier League, and another three Euro Tours to go with getting back to the sort of scoring where he looks like an outlier to everyone else again, that's enough for me. Smith is a totally fair call as well, with an incredibly solid floor game to go with the two wins and further two finals. Humphries did more than enough to be worth a mention, four Euro Tours and multiple good major showings is fantastic considering he didn't have a senior title of any description prior to 2022. Greaves just killed everything on the women's circuit, while Noppert got a major win and has been there or there abouts in lots of stage events, clearly doing enough in my eyes to be worth a mention.