Tuesday 31 October 2023

It's the final countdown

OK, here we go, the back to back Pro Tours which will decide who's going to get to the biggest show in darts, who's going to have a Christmas off, and who might need to decamp to Wigan or wherever the fuck they're holding Q-School in January. The situation is this:

I think in all likelihood that the chances of enough players overhauling anyone from Zonneveld up is remote, but not unbelievable, so I'm going up as far as Ricky Evans - I had the cutoff at £25k tentatively, I'm just pushing it up slightly. Similarly, I'm not going below Suljovic, he already needs two board wins to stand a chance, anyone below needs even more, and given there's a clear £1k drop from Suljovic to Arron Monk, it seems pretty unlikely that unless someone goes on a Szaganski-esque miracle run, we're talking about seven from these twenty-one as to who's going to fill out the Pro Tour spots for Ally Pally. But the question is who are they going to be?

I think this is enormously form based, particularly short term form. As such, I'm going to give you two tables - one from the last twelve Pro Tours in terms of cash money won (so this is from those that started from late August on), and scoring from that same cutoff (which will include any European Tour events which have taken place, as well as anything like the Challenge Tour for the likes of Boulton etc who are eligible to play in non-Pro Tour events.

Let's look at the former first:

Obviously this looks good for Edhouse, seemingly only being outside on countback, and possibly good for Klose and van Dongen as well - but there's a difference between those, Daniel has got the neormous majority of his money from that one Pro Tour where he made the final, and that was moderately early in the sample, whereas van Dongen has been accumulating with just the one brick in the twelve events we're looking at. That's tough going - Kuivenhoven also has just the one first round exit, but ten second round exits, which if you follow expected trends is a bit of a problem for someone who's probably going to need to put on £4k if not more, chipping away £750 at a time isn't going to cut it. Who should be concerned are Brown and Brooks, both possibly hanging on by a thread at this stage.

But let's ignore results, what about how they are playing. As stated, we'll use a cutoff of 26/8/23 and see what we've got:

Here again it looks really good for van Dongen, while Boulton, very fresh off a Challenge Tour win, is likely the next best along with Suljovic. Again looking at what players are actually doing, it looks really bad for Brown and especially Brooks, neither of whom are throwing what they need to do right when they need to do it.

So who out of these 21 are grabbing the 7 spots? Let's go through it:

Evans - YES, appears to have enough of a combination of money in the bank, recent accumulation and decent recent play to be fairly sure.
van Dongen - YES, only 250 quid less than Evans in the bank and doing everything better.
Zonneveld - YES, is nowhere near as convincing as the two above, but points on the board is key and I can quite easily see him squeaking out the probable win or two he'll need to make himself absolutely safe.
Wattimena - NO, accumulation is not overly convincing, scoring the same, while it wouldn't surprise me if he sneaks in, I'm calling him just missing out.
Brown - NO, play has dropped off a cliff and looks like it needs a miraculous turn around to get there.
Brooks - NO, see Brown, but worse.
Kleermaker - YES, this might be a controversial call, but he seems up and down enough coupled with the quality he has in floor events that I think he scrapes the win or two to push himself above the few players immediately above him and just holds on.
Edhouse - YES, scoring is good, recent accumulation is very good, just continuing what he is doing ought to see him get there.
Hempel - YES, appears to be having an uptick in form, scoring appears to be there just about enough, I think he does just enough to get there.
Rodriguez - NO, numbers don't lie, he's been playing poorly all year, while he can turn it on if he needs to and it wouldn't surprise me for him to hit a quarter final from nowhere, it just seems unrealistic.
Boulton - YES, I can't discount the level of play he's been doing, peaking at the right time, and he has a winning mentality right now.
Meikle - NO, the peak game is clearly good enough to be able to force himself into the picture, but he's not shown it for too long and I doubt it happens this week.
Burton - NO, I fear he may be the last man out, he's been doing enough lately that he's certainly got a chance, but I think there's enough of a combination of being too far back and having enough competent players above him that he just falls short.
Hughes - NO, might have been a touch unlucky in terms of results, but the overall level of play just isn't there right now.
Soutar - NO, simply not able to get results, and the numbers he's putting up doesn't make me think it's a case of bad draws, the game's just not there at the moment.
Klose - NO, the metrics are good, don't get me wrong, but there's just too much of a gap. He has the game to get there, but the lack of consistent results makes me think that he could make a semi and give himself the chance on Wednesday then brick the first round on Thursday. Probably the best bet from relatively downtown, but still in the big ask stage.
Kuivenhoven - NO, can't recall really talking about him this year. Think it's another case where if we had six events left, he's doing enough to get there but there's not enough race to run at this stage.
Killington - NO, has shown some flashes but is likely too far behind. Recent results will give him confidence however so certainly wouldn't rule him out of winning a board on day one and giving himself a platform.
Landman - NO, he's really only in the equation due to a bit of a freak Pro Tour final, is not doing anywhere near enough however you look at it to be a realistic shot. But hey, if you've done it once...
Krcmar - NO, really struggling with results. Quality of play is not terrible, but it's basically asking him to produce the breakout performance we know is in there somewhere right where the pressure is highest. Which is a big ask.
Suljovic - NO, Mensur appears to be doing a bit better of late than he has been all year, but when back to back board wins would only give him a place on countback if nobody improves, it's just another case of being too far back.

So I'm going with everyone who currently has 25k in the bank upwards along with Kleermaker, Edhouse, Hempel and Boulton to get the job done and punch their Ally Pally tickets. Thoughts?

No comments:

Post a Comment