Thursday 29 June 2023

ET10 round 1 thoughts and tips

Been a moderately quiet couple of weeks, but we've got the big one now in terms of the last Euro Tour (and event full stop) before the Matchplay cutoff, will go through each of the games and the Matchplay implications:

Joyce/Evetts - Interesting matchup to start between two players who've been around for a while, and both probably a bit below where they'd like to be, seems closer than I thought at a first glance with Joyce only in between 55% and 60%, I'd have guessed above 60%. Evetts might be a touch undervalued in the market but it's not by much. Matchplay implications: Nothing realistic, both need to bink to get in.

Klose/Sedlak - Klose hasn't really set the tour on fire as some people might have done, while Sedlak makes a second appearance of the season having looked OK in losing to Chris Dobey in Austria. Not really enough data to make a real good assessment on Sedlak (if he'd qualified for Prague, and I was a bit surprised he didn't, then maybe we could), but this feels about 2-1 in favour of Klose. 8/11 on Hills is kind of close to a play, don't hate it, but won't recommend just due to sample size. Matchplay implications: Neither can make it.

van Veen/Kist - Good third game here between one of the hottest young talents in the game, and a resurgent former Lakeside champion who's well involved in the race to get the second card from the Challenge Tour. Gian should be very strongly favoured here, roughly a 3-1 favourite, and that's not down to lack of data on Christian. 0.25u van Veen 4/7 on Hills looks a good play. Matchplay implications: Both need a bink, Kist would also need first round results to be favourable, van Veen is good enough to threaten but that would be one heck of a run.

Hall/Lukeman - Tough one to call potentially, Lukeman should be favoured and definitely will have the greater state experience, but isn't having as good a year as last time by any stretch and Graham is competent enough to have about a 40% shot. I almost like the price we can get, some places are offering a bit longer than 2/1 on Hall. Matchplay implications: Both need a bink which doesn't seem realistic.

Scutt/Dolan - Another interesting game, Connor tends to show in flashes and is a name I've noticed a bit over the last couple of months, while Dolan has been steady but not spectacular of late, and only rates just over 50% to take it. The market is giving 13/10 on Scutt which isn't really the edge we're looking at. Matchplay implications: Huge. Not for Connor who would need to win, but Dolan is the last man in now. A win here would force anyone wanting to nick his spot to make the last eight rather than just the Sunday.

Pilgrim/Gilding - Andrew got a late call up to this one and goes up against Pilgrim, who's primarily notable for having good averages in one or two games and distorting the Dart Connect stats for some time. The numbers on Darryl aren't bad, but the size is limited, Gilding is too good at the moment, would call it about 70% to be conservative, which the market thinks is not enough and it should be higher. Matchplay implications: None, Gilding's in and Darryl can't make it.

Mansell/Campbell - This one might not be too bad between a couple of players moderately similar on the FRH rankings, both have looked decent in spots in 2023 so this ought to be competitive. I can barely split the two, giving it Campbell by only one or two percent, so will take a huge 0.25u Mansell 11/5 price on 365. Matchplay implications: Both probably left too much to do, Mansell would need an outright win, while Campbell would have a good chance with a final, but an in form Cross in round two would be a significant hurdle.

Burton/Rydz - Another late call up here, Callan has been struggling for form for some time now and is the highest ranked player not in the Matchplay as of right now by some distance, and Stephen might fancy his chances, but I'm actually projecting Rydz by a huge amount, better than 3-1. If we cut it down to just since April it's still better than 60/40 for Rydz, so 4/6 would be the side if we went for a bet, but I'll pass on it. Matchplay implications: Burton is too new on the tour to threaten, Rydz could theoretically get in with a final, but realistically would need to win which on current form seems unlikely.

Maendl-Lawrance/Kantele - How to call this one? Liam's looked alright when we've seen him and has also had some WDF success of late, while Marko's been cruising in the SDC but not really translated things elsewhere. Too close to call, both player's stats are limited but they look fairly even, I would lean towards Kantele based on experience if you wanted to bet and he is the player who is odds against, albeit not quite enough for me to stab. Matchplay implications: Not card holders, neither has a chance.

Herz/Pietreczko - Not sure if Fabian is a known name or not, it sounds familiar but not someone I've seen for a while and I may be confusing a couple of German players and making it into one by mistake, he did nothing special in the qualifier and Ricardo should be easily too good, hard to quantify a number but 2/5 that is available doesn't look unreasonable, might even be a bit of value. Matchplay implications: Obviously Herz isn't getting in, Ricardo has an outside shot though. Getting to the quarters should get him in, Dimi isn't the worst seed you can draw, but Dirk in the last sixteen might be too big of a gatekeeper.

Huybrechts/Barry - This might not be too bad, Kim's been good this year albeit was in the news for the wrong reasons during the World Cup, while Barry made a debut he'd like to forget. Seems tight, I've actually got Keane as a really marginal favourite, the market has it the other way around with Barry the dog but only at evens, which isn't an edge to bet. Matchplay implications: Huybrechts is not completely safe at #15 in the Pro Tour list, a win here would give some security, as would a Dolan first round defeat. Keane isn't actually too many places out, but has a fair bit of money to catch up, needing a minimum final, hitting that final I think would surely be enough. Tough ask though especially with the world champ waiting in round two.

O'Connor/Wade - More Irish action follows, with Willie in a critical game against Wade, and he's playing well enough to have a chance at this one - James is favoured, but it's not by much - give him a 5% edge, nothing more. The price we can get on Willie is close enough to take a small punt, 0.1u O'Connor 13/8 on 365. Matchplay implications: Also huge. Wade is in regardless but could theoretically lose seeding if one of Ross Smith or de Sousa binked, so you're thinking he will be seeded. O'Connor however is the last man out and must win through to a minimum of round three to stand a chance, so Wade and then Clayton is definitely doing it the hard way. That's not guaranteed either, if both Huybrechts and Dolan win their first games he'll need to make the final session.

Killington/van Barneveld - Good to see George making one of these, not seen him too much so let's see how he does against a legend of the game, he actually seems moderately live, the numbers I'm seeing on year long projections give him more than a 35% chance, and on the last three months it's really close. There is a huge consistency caveat with Killington's game, but I'm thinking a tiny flier is fine, 0.1u Killington 3/1. Matchplay implications: Barney is not mathematically in yet, but it would take a weird combination of results to knock him out, and with Huybrechts and Dolan in the same part of the draw I don't think it's actually possible. George needs to win it all, so good luck with that.

de Sousa/Clemens - This is a pretty huge game for a first rounder with two top 20 order of merit players meeting, the market cannot separate the two. I'm giving a bit of an edge to Jose, but maybe the dataset is undervaluing Gabriel a touch and 56% on 10/11 odds is neither here nor there. Matchplay implications: None, both are safely in through the Pro Tour, theoretically JdS can get seeded if he binks.

Whitlock/Wilson - Simon is continuing to show moments of form although it is surely in the twilight of his career, with overall numbers ticking steadily downwards, while Wilson looks great for a couple of months at a time then goes missing for huge periods, often through no fault of his own, but is not really near the peak of his game. Whitlock's a solid favourite here, not quite 70/30 but better than two out of three. Market favours him a bit more than that but no reason to look at James as a dog play given the vig in the market. Matchplay implications: James can't make it but Whitlock certainly can, he needs to win this one, then beat Noppert (not the worst draw), then dependent on results elsewhere may need to get a win over probably Aspinall in the last sixteen.

Woodhouse/Bunting - Luke's finally starting to turn numbers into runs, hitting a final fairly recently although looking completely spent once he got there, while Stephen is due a run with extremely solid numbers not really being reflected in prize money. Bunting is a touch better than 60% in my estimation for this one, with Woodhouse at 6/4 and Bunting only just longer than 1/2 we can pass this one. Matchplay implications: Bunting is safely in, while Luke gave himself a chance with that final. A minimum of the quarters is needed, he's got the 16 seed (Smith) at least, but that means Humphries to actually get to where is needed. More likely than not other results would mean he'd need to win one more game again as quarter final money would only just sneak him up to 15th if nobody else improves as things stand.

That's your preview, more tomorrow.

Wednesday 14 June 2023

World Cup

Long time readers will know that I'm not overly invested in unranked events, and I'm certainly not as much of a fan of pairs events as others - although that is primarily on account of seeing it from a playing side in other turn based sports, that you are taking half as many turns as you would normally expect ruins your cadence and makes you play worse unless you're extremely used to it. But it is the World Cup, and with the expansion that we've had and the change in format, not only do we get to see a lot of players that we rarely if ever see on a TV stage, we're going to get to see them all twice, which should give us some useful leads. I'm just going to blast through thoughts.


England - Is this their best team? A couple of months ago, I'd have questioned it, when Humphries and Cross were super tight in the rankings, and it looked like Luke was playing better. Luke is playing better, and 2023 data shows he is quite clearly the best player from England, with neither Cross nor Smith being in the top 5 (heck, not only is Smith not the highest scoring Smith, he is barely in the top ten of England). Still, Michael binked earlier this week, and Rob's finally hit a Euro Tour and it does feel like they're both rounding into form.

Wales - Probably the favourites on paper. Price is the best player in the world by some distance at the moment, while Clayton in 2023 is the fourth best player of any reasonable sample that I have in my database, and third in terms of people who are playing in the event (Humphries is here, and Anderson is second). That they are barely odds against to win the whole thing does not seem obviously unfair, and while the format has been regarded as a leveller and adding variance, that the team has been settled since forever will surely help.

Netherlands - van Gerwen withdrawing at the last minute is obviously a blow, but Dirk is not a massive drop off in quality and if anything Dirk is closer to van Gerwen in quality than he is to Noppert, and it's just the nature of the rankings (Danny still having his UK Open win on them) which has put Danny into the team by default. Readers will know we love Danny's game, but we love Dirk as well and he's the stronger player right now. It is a repeat from last year but I do wonder how much the late changes will throw things.

Scotland - Team of two halves really. Ando is playing extremely well after many years barely playing in Europe or being interested in this event, but that's changed and it's working out great for him, while Peter is playing as bad as I can remember him doing in quite some time, he did nick a Euro Tour to be fair but he's scoring worse than Ricky Evans and Mario Vandenbogaerde are, numbers don't lie. Maybe the nature of the stage and the event sees him get to whatever his current A-game is, and they perform a fair bit better than many think. Maybe Ando plays the Hendo role and bails him out. We'll see. Kind of sucks that the holders aren't seeded, but it is what it is.


A: Belgium seem pretty standard with the Dimi/Kim pairing, two extremely steady players who are a settled team and looking decent enough in 2023, should get through this one. China are always hit and miss, mainly due to random visa issues often limiting who can actually play, if the team can play at all, but they've got Zong here who may be their great hope, while his partner is a known name but doesn't seem overly competent. Finland complete the lineup, Kantele has been getting results at the SDC level but not dominating things statistically, while his partner is much the same, not looking completely horrible but not inspiring either.

B: Germany should be fine, with both Clemens and Schindler scoring a very steady 91 for 2023, putting both of them in the 20's in terms of the whole tour. Got to think they'll get fantastic support and should be very much a threat against more or less anyone. They'll face two teams who are put together from the Asian Tour in Hong Kong and Japan, HK have got someone playing fairly decent in a small sample in Leung, while Lee is alright in places, while Japan have Matsuda doing merely alright Goto is doing a little better but not really threatening, there certainly isn't a peak Asada level sort of player.

C: Australia are defending champions, Heta has the most recent bink of anyone and while maybe not playing quite at as high a level as he was in 2022, is still up at a fairly high level, while Whitlock can still hold his own and get up to a high enough level when needed. Guyana's a great story having come through the qualifier to get here and hearing what the players have come through to do so, while Gibraltar have got some young developing players who have made occasional splashes on the Development Tour. Winners should be obvious but who finishes second should be right up for grabs.

D: Northern Ireland are another team who are not playing their strongest lineup, Rock is clearly their best player but timings mean he'll have to wait a year to get in, that said they're still going to be a tough team to beat with Gurney looking better than he has done for maybe half a decade, while Dolan's been quiet but still scoring just a sliver above 90 and won't let things down. France would have been great twelve months ago, but right now Tricole is still probably fine, while Labre has really struggled to adapt to the tour and seems somewhat out of form. Ukraine are a wildcard, Omelchenko didn't disgrace himself at the worlds but certainly didn't put up anything that looks too dangerous, and the other guy is a complete unknown.

E: Ireland's team of O'Connor and Barry shouldn't be too bad, there's not a lot to separate the two but I think they should complement each other fairly well and produce decent results. Croatia is one of many countries that have one good player and one random, we've seen the occasional Croat look alright on a secondary tour level but the player that's going with Krcmar is pretty much a rando, Boris is having another good year but it's yet again a case of pushing numbers through to either a deep floor run or TV results. Thailand complete a group, with "that guy that demonstrated Sky's silly obsession with averages" in that one screenshot showing them after half a leg, and someone else I don't really know. Probably another group that picks itself.

F: Austria seem like a team that could be underrated, Suljovic seems to be on a downward spiral albeit one with a semi run the other day, while Rowby's form has also fallen off a cliff so this looks like a really vulnerable seed. Denmark could pressure, Andersen has not been great as a card holder, but if he can hold things together and Benjamin Drue Reus can show the flashes of form he has done from what we've seen on a secondary level, then they may be in with a shout. The USA complete the group, and it's just a shame that van Dongen is here by default as a card holder, as Spellman, Baggish or others might have been a more useful player, while Gates might arguably be the most in form player in the whole group. Might be one of the most wide open groups in the whole event.

G: Poland should be fine here, Ratajski remains a top level player, if anything turning things up after a little bit of a lull, while Kciuk is one of any number of players they could call up for the #2 role who will be more than competent in a supporting role, maybe Szaganski is a bit better right now and maybe Bialecki will be better long term, but KK is not bad at all. Portugal is the archetypal one man team, de Sousa is maybe not as good as he was and maybe has lost a little bit of the form he was showing in the second half of 2022, whether he can hold it together and get some support from the guy who I don't know, and isn't even one of the odd players I have noticed show up on the Challenge Tour, that's the question. Lithuania bring out the Labanauskas/Barauskas partnership again, Darius has been struggling for a while but I'm thinking Barauskas is going to be better than the random Portuguese player, so this should be an awkward but intriguing match to watch.

H: Canada should stroll through this one, Smith was looking fantastic in New York and Campbell remains an extremely dangerous opponent who brings his best game on TV. India sadly couldn't get Kumar so are lumbered with Gilitwala partnering Jiwa, if it was Kumar, who's had some success on the Asian Tour, maybe they could have pressured but Amit I feel will be hugely outclassed and I don't see how Prakash can compensate. Hungary's the third team, a country where the infrastructure is developing nicely and where we've seen some decent players on occasion - but Sarai doesn't seem one of them and Kovacs is alright, but might have his work cut out.

I: This is a tough group to call. The Czechs are the seed, and Sedlacek and Gawlas seem really good on paper, but I don't know if they're actually playing as well as the hype suggests. They've got two really tough unseeded opponents from Asia as well - the Philippines bring over Perez and Ilagan, one killing it on the Asian Tour while one's won a card and looked very good earlier this week on the first time of using it, while the veteran Lim pairing from Singapore are still playing really well and never seem to drop off. This could be any one of the countries getting through.

J: Spain are the seeds, the pairing of Perales and Martinez looking like they'll be alright although neither is really in the ballpark of scoring 90 this season. South Africa is a pretty decent draw, Devon is simply not good at this stage and while still capable of showing up on a stage, will need to do so, and while his partner Bouwers is a known name I'm not sure how much he'll be able to contribute at this level. Iceland complete the lineup and I think they might be a bit of a way off being able to bring a really competitive team to this level, despite the SDC influx and the decent level of darting infrastructure they appear to have there.

K: Latvia are the seeds, Razma is the main guy but maybe not quite at the best level he has been at and has some off-oche distractions which might not help matters, Zukovs doesn't seem awful as a partner and should have enough to hold things together for the most part if Madars ends up misfiring. Bahrain make a debut but from the relative showing of the two players in the World Series could be in a fair bit of trouble, while New Zealand could threaten the seeds here, Robb having had quite a few fairly strong showings in various formats of late while Parry is incredibly experienced and will play his part, sucks we can't have Puha or Harris but oh well.

L: Final group has Switzerland as seeds, with Bellmont and Walpen having made forays into the Euro Tour as well as at the secondary level, doesn't seem to be an obvious weak link in here and ought to give nothing away whatsoever. Italy probably got a reprieve from being booted due to the expansion but I'm not expecting a great deal out of them, still really waiting for someone to step up and do something of note at any level, while Sweden could easily push to get out of the group, with Nilsson and Lukasiak appearing to be a relatively well balanced pairing who arguably seem on a par with the Swiss lineup, and with Dennis likely have more experience in this sort of setup as well.

Sunday 4 June 2023

2023 Second/Third Division Darts

Taken way too long for me to remember to get this into the books, but let's go with it:

Division 2:

Luke Humphries 11.47
Danny Noppert 10.69
Dave Chisnall 10.04
Rob Cross 9.32
Dirk van Duijvenbode 8.92
Damon Heta 8.47
Martin Schindler 8.53
Ross Smith 8.28
Josh Rock 7.66
Joe Cullen 6.63

Division 3:

Kevin Doets 12.64
Ricardo Pietreczko 11.05
Rowby John Rodriguez 9.17
Ryan Meikle 9.11
Mike de Decker 8.49
Keane Barry 8.33
Callan Rydz 8.32
Adam Gawlas 8.28
Geert Nentjes 7.50
Nathan Rafferty 7.12


PC1: Callan Rydz 6-1 Ricardo Pietreczko (3)
PC2: Rowby John Rodriguez 6-5 Mike de Decker (3)
PC3: Ross Smith 6-3 Damon Heta (2), Kevin Doets 6-1 Geert Nentjes (3)
PC4: Dave Chisnall 6-4 Josh Rock (2), Dirk van Duijvenbode 7-6 Joe Cullen (2), Callan Rydz 6-4 Nathan Rafferty (3)
PC5: Ross Smith 6-4 Luke Humphries (2), Martin Schindler 6-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode (2), Ross Smith 7-6 Martin Schindler (2), Callan Rydz 6-4 Mike de Decker (3), Nathan Rafferty 6-5 Rowby John Rodriguez (3)
PC6: Luke Humphries 6-4 Ross Smith (2), Dirk van Duijvenbode 7-6 Luke Humphries (2), Geert Nentjes 6-4 Ryan Meikle (3), Ricardo Pietreczko 6-1 Nathan Rafferty (3)
PC7: No games
PC8: Rowby John Rodriguez 6-2 Adam Gawlas (3)
PC9: Martin Schindler 6-3 Joe Cullen (2), Ricardo Pietreczko 6-5 Callan Rydz (3)
PC10: No games
PC11: No games
PC12: Kevin Doets 6-3 Ricardo Pietreczko (3)
PC13: No games
PC14: No games
PC15: Dave Chisnall 6-5 Joe Cullen (2), Luke Humphries 8-7 Dave Chisnall (2), Keane Barry 6-2 Callan Rydz (3), Callan Rydz 6-5 Ricardo Pietreczko (3)
PC16: Damon Heta 7-2 Joe Cullen (2)
PC17: No games
PC18: No games
PC19: Dave Chisnall 6-2 Joe Cullen (2)
PC20: Kevin Doets 6-3 Nathan Rafferty (3), Kevin Doets 7-5 Mike de Decker (3)
PC21: Luke Humphries 6-5 Martin Schindler (2), Danny Noppert 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode (2)
PC22: Kevin Doets 6-3 Keane Barry (3)
PC23: Dave Chisnall 8-3 Luke Humphries (2), Luke Humphries 6-4 Ross Smith (2)
PC24: No games
PC25: Rob Cross 6-5 Joe Cullen (2), Josh Rock 6-3 Rob Cross (2)
PC26: No games
PC27: No games
PC28: Damon Heta 6-3 Martin Schindler (2), Ross Smith 8-6 Damon Heta (2), Ricardo Pietreczko 6-3 Mike de Decker (3)
PC29: Dave Chisnall 7-5 Rob Cross (2), Mike de Decker 6-3 Keane Barry (3), Rowby John Rodriguez 6-3 Adam Gawlas (3)
PC30: No games

ET1: Dave Chisnall 6-4 Martin Schindler (2), Dave Chisnall 8-5 Luke Humphries (2), Martin Schindler 6-2 Damon Heta (2), Luke Humphries 6-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode (2)
ET2: Danny Noppert 6-1 Dave Chisnall (2), Dirk van Duijvenbode 7-6 Rob Cross (2), Ross Smith 6-4 Joe Cullen (2), Danny Noppert 6-4 Damon Heta (2), Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Josh Rock (2), Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Ross Smith (2), Ricardo Pietreczko 6-2 Geert Nentjes (3)
ET3: Rob Cross 6-3 Josh Rock (2), Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-4 Damon Heta (2), Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Danny Noppert (2), Mike de Decker 6-3 Callan Rydz (3)
ET4: Joe Cullen 6-5 Ross Smith (2), Joe Cullen 6-3 Luke Humphries (2), Damon Heta 6-3 Danny Noppert (2), Danny Noppert 6-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode (2)
ET5: Joe Cullen 6-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode (2), Ryan Meikle 6-3 Rowby John Rodriguez (3)
ET6: Dave Chisnall 6-3 Josh Rock (2), Dave Chisnall 8-5 Luke Humphries (2), Luke Humphries 7-3 Damon Heta (2), Luke Humphries 6-3 Ross Smith (2), Luke Humphries 6-5 Danny Noppert (2)
ET7: Josh Rock 6-4 Dave Chisnall (2), Luke Humphries 7-6 Dirk van Duijvenbode (2)
ET8: Dave Chisnall 7-4 Rob Cross (2), Luke Humphries 6-4 Ross Smith (2)
ET9: Rob Cross 7-4 Ross Smith (2), Rob Cross 8-6 Luke Humphries (2), Damon Heta 6-5 Joe Cullen (2), Luke Humphries 7-5 Damon Heta (2), Damon Heta 6-5 Martin Schindler (2)
ET10: Dirk van Duijvenbode 7-6 Joe Cullen (2), Luke Humphries 8-7 Dirk van Duijvenbode (2)
ET11: Josh Rock 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode (2)
ET12: Dave Chisnall 8-7 Luke Humphries (2), Luke Humphries 6-1 Martin Schinder (2)
ET13: Luke Humphries 6-4 Rob Cross (2)

UK Open: Luke Humphries 10-9 Damon Heta (2), Adam Gawlas 10-8 Kevin Doets (3), Nathan Rafferty 6-5 Ryan Meikle (3)
Matchplay: Damon Heta 10-5 Josh Rock (2), Luke Humphries 16-13 Damon Heta (2), Luke Humphries 14-12 Dirk van Duijvenbode (2), Danny Noppert 10-8 Martin Schindler (2)
Grand Prix: Joe Cullen 11-7 Ross Smith (2), Luke Humphries 12-5 Joe Cullen (2)
European: Danny Noppert 10-7 Rob Cross (2)
Grand Slam: Rob Cross 16-6 Damon Heta (2), Luke Humphries 16-8 Rob Cross (2), Luke Humphries 5-1 Dirk van Duijvenbode (2)
PC Finals: No games
Worlds: Luke Humphries 17-9 Dave Chisnall (2), Luke Humphries 19-17 Joe Cullen (2), Ricardo Pietreczko 12-6 Callan Rydz (3)