Monday 8 May 2023

Belgium done

van Gerwen grabs the victory over Humphries in the final, MvG perhaps surprisingly only getting his first ET win of the season, while Humphries is now 0-3 in ET finals this season, seemingly not playing badly in any of them, but just running into the better player on the night each time. It's a quick turn around now before Prague this weekend, but for now, the 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 Jonny Clayton (UP 1)
9 Danny Noppert (DOWN 1)
10 Dirk van Duijvenbode (UP 1)
11 Dimitri van den Bergh (DOWN 1)
12 Dave Chisnall
13 Joe Cullen
14 Ross Smith
15 Damon Heta
16 Ryan Searle
17 Andrew Gilding
18 Gabriel Clemens
19 Jose de Sousa
20 Chris Dobey

Clayton going a round further than Noppert sees them swap places in the really tight battle between 7th and 11th, which also saw Dirk's semi put him ahead of Dimitri and back into the top 10. Lower down, Rock is now within a Euro Tour win of the top 20, and a repeat of this weekend's run could see him get past both Wade and Ratajski, neither of whom are in Prague. Ando's run doesn't really do much as he's in a bit of an island below Bunting but ahead of a few filling out the bottom end of the top 30. Andy Baetens is up to #178, but lower down there weren't many notable runs which make a difference, Matt Campbell's gained a couple of spots but that's about it.

Betting was OK, correctly identifying Dirk got us up for the event, could have been more for reasons that we've eluded to earlier but we're not going to get greedy, a steady seasonal ROI of above 5% is just fine.

Nice job by Conan Whitehead to get the last Challenge Tour win of the weekend, while in Wales, Martyn Turner, a name who's been around forever, was able to get the Open win, while Connor Levett, a name I've never heard of before, won the Classic as well as the pairs, so not a bad weekend for him either. Obviously Greaves won both the ladies' events, but are we really learning anything at this stage? I don't think so.

We're rapidly closing down on the Matchplay cutoff - just looking at the race now, 14 of the 16 Pro Tour qualifiers are in places 17-32 of the live main ranking race, with only Rydz and King (who's 32nd anyway) missing out in favour of Whitlock and Beaton. Is there really not that many players breaking through this season, or is it just a case of there not being enough time? Players in the ascendancy who aren't too far outside include de Decker, Williams (Jim) and Pietreczko, all of which are within a couple of grand of the last spots, but they're all second year of tour card players. Looks like the nearest player from 2023's intake is Veenstra, but even a Pro Tour win wouldn't put him in the field, so it's looking like it might be a slightly stale field this year. Still plenty of time for players to make runs and shake it up though, starting on Friday. Will be back before then with first round thoughts.

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