Sunday 2 July 2023

Oh, Dirk

Damn, was really expecting that to be the event which Dirk made the breakthrough to the ET winner category. Not to be, and still somewhat glad to see Luke Humphries bink for the first time after god knows how many final mishaps this season. Also good to see Wade looking like he's continuing to return to form, with a really impressive semi final display in particular, and let's look at the newest FRH rankings:

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

Dirk's final gets him solidly ahead of Clayton for now, and he's actually closer to Aspinall, Heta moves ahead of Cullen despite Joe's semi, more down to his really solid PC runs since I last updated the rankings, while we get two new exciting players up into the top 20 for what I assume is the first time, dumping out de Sousa and Dobey.

One thing I have been thinking about over the last couple of days is this - what would happen if, rather than just having 16 Pro Tour spots for the Matchplay (obv with van Veen losing to Wade there were no shock changes to the field), what if some number of spots were shifted from the year long rolling Pro Tour rankings, and moved to calendar year Pro Tour rankings?

The rationale I have for this is to give new tour card holders in red hot form the ability to accelerate their development in the main order of merit, and give them a real fighting chance of being able to make it. It doesn't seem sensible to give this sort of concession for anything else - most other things don't use something where new card holders are so disadvantaged, and the only other event where there is a comparable qualifier is the Grand Prix, for which the vast, vast majority of the Pro Tour season is already in the books before the cutoff, so it doesn't seem an overly important issue for that event, despite the general fact of the fields between the Matchplay and Grand Prix usually only differing between each other by one or two players, if any at all.

So let's look at what difference this would make. Qualified for the Matchplay are:

OOM: M Smith, Wright, van Gerwen, Price, Cross, Humphries, Clayton, Noppert, Aspinall, van den Bergh, van Duijvenbode, Chisnall, Cullen, Heta, Searle, Wade
Pro Tour (1-8): Rock, Schindler, R Smith, Ratajski, de Sousa, Gilding, Anderson, Bunting
Pro Tour (9-16): Clemens, Dobey, van Barneveld, Gurney, de Decker, Beaton, Dolan, Huybrechts
Pro Tour (YTD exc lists 1/2): van Barneveld, Gurney, Clemens, Dolan, de Decker, Huybrechts, Dobey, Woodhouse

So the differences we would get based on what shifts we would make are pretty simple - if only one or two players are shifted out, it doesn't make a difference, but if we went from anywhere from three to eight players removed, Beaton drops out in favour of Luke Woodhouse.

I was looking at this thinking primarily with regards to Gian van Veen, but he is behind both Pietreczko and Whitlock even after Woodhouse, but if he had beaten Wade, he'd have been up ahead of Dobey in the list and got there. Maybe I go back and look at what would have happened last year as well, although I'm not sure how useful that would be just given the nature of the timings of events and that the obvious player to include (Rock) didn't have the greatest of starts.

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