Monday, 15 January 2018

FRH 2017 Year End Awards

With Glen Durrant surviving match darts in a final that was a lot, lot closer than everybody thought it would be, that's the end of the season, and it's time for the much hyped* FRH year end awards.

Note - only one individual award per person, and it's sorted by importance. The season for these purposes started after 2017 Lakeside, so is more or less a year from today. Number of nominees varies depending on how many people I think are worth a mention

* - not even hyped, let alone much hyped

Best single tournament performance

Nominees - Jamie Lewis, PDC World Championship, Rob Cross, PDC World Championship, John Henderson, World Grand Prix, Daryl Gurney, World Grand Prix, Krzysztof Ratajski, World Masters, Paul Hogan, UK Open

Winner - Phil Taylor, World Matchplay

Could only be one winner for this really, and it has to be Phil in his final season getting that one last major title that many thought was beyond him, and he had to do it the hard way as well - beating current Premier League player Gerwyn Price, old adversary Raymond van Barneveld, current world number one Michael van Gerwen, twice world champion Adrian Lewis and world number two Peter Wright - and not letting anyone outside of Lewis get beyond half way to victory (and Lewis only managed it by one leg). A truly staggering performance. Elsewhere, Hogan came through what'll always be tough pub qualifiers, but to beat Keegan Brown and Jamie Lewis in the opening rounds (results that look a hell of a lot better now than they did at the time) before taking out both Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis is an incredible run for the well respected veteran. Ratajski ran over both the BDO world finalists, a further quarter finalist and a Grand Slam competitor in a ballistic run to claim a first major title, Cross and Lewis's exploits have been well documented recently, while Gurney grabbing a major was a huge result, as was Henderson's run, not only beating van Gerwen but following it up with two great results over Norris and van Barneveld.

Match of the season

Nominees - Rob Cross v Michael Smith, PDC World Championship, Daryl Gurney v Simon Whitlock, World Grand Prix, Glen Durrant v Jim Williams, BDO World Championship, Kyle Anderson v Michael van Gerwen, European Championship, Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright, Premier League Final

Winner - Rob Cross v Michael van Gerwen, PDC World Championship

Again, another award that writes itself - what more could you ask for than arguably the best two players in the world today being inseparable for eight sets, it looking like Michael's won it, only for Rob to say no, dodge match darts and win in a deciding leg. Cross could easily have had more games in here, his match versus Smith being my pick being my pick for the mutual sheer quality, Gurney/Whitlock, van Gerwen/Wright and van Gerwen/Anderson were all high quality affairs that went the distance, while Durrant's match against Williams saw some of the best darts ever played on the Lakeside stage in order to come back from the brink.

Most disappointing season

Nominees - Kim Huybrechts, Chris Dobey, James Wade, Adrian Lewis, Max Hopp, Corey Cadby

Winner - Benito van de Pas

Benito really should have been in the Premier League last season and had to have been in the last one or two players to be chalked off the list, but this year's been a huge regression - many first round TV exits, entered into the world youth as the number 1 seed and lost in the first round, no ranking titles and only looking close once. Huybrechts was a little better on the floor but worse on TV, Dobey should have pushed on to the top 32 but nearly missed the worlds, Hopp did miss the worlds, while Wade and Lewis have plummeted down the rankings, Lewis having a good Matchplay run but nothing else while Wade didn't even have that. How Cadby didn't qualify for the worlds given the number of close to free shots he had at it, I have no idea.

Best young player

Nominees - Nico Blum, Alex Hughes, Dimitri van den Bergh, Luke Humphries, Martin Schindler

Winner - Justin van Tergouw

The Dutchman has managed to retain his BDO world youth title, and has started importantly to make strides in the senior game - only losing to Scott Mitchell in the Dutch Open last 16, qualifying for one of the European Tour events beating van der Voort and giving Kist a very good game, and only just losing to eventual PDC world youth finalist Josh Payne in their event. Blum won the World Youth Masters and has looked OK on the European Tour, what Hughes did in the Champion of Champions at his age is remarkable, Schindler's had a solid all round season on the main and European tours, while Humphries won the Development Tour and van den Bergh claimed the PDC youth title and looks to finally be getting it on the TV stage.

Most disappointing news of the season

Nominees - Deta Hedman not winning the worlds yet again, Glen Durrant not trying Q-School, Morihiro Hashimoto passing away, PDC world championship wildcard clusterfuck, Terry Jenkins mailing in the entire season and missing the worlds as a result

Winner - Phil Taylor still not getting it quietly

I'd have thought at his age he'd be above getting into pointless spats with van Gerwen and Gurney, oh well. Hashimoto hadn't appeared on our screens for some time, but 40 is no age, Durrant deciding to stick with the BDO when he'd clearly be good enough is a shame, and you've got to think that Hedman's chance at a world title has gone now. Elsewhere, the PDC's announcement of the Ratajski, Petersen etc picks was horribly timed and made little logical sense, and certainly rustled many players, and it's so sad that we missed one last appearance of the Bull when it'd have taken minimum effort to qualify.

Personal highlight of the season

Nominees - Peter Wright finally winning a major, Lisa Ashton attempting the Challenge Tour, Berry van Peer making it out of the Grand Slam groups, Paul Lim being Paul Lim

Winner - Mensur Suljovic wins the Champions League

Who can argue with Mensur? He's been good enough to be in the reckoning for quite some time now, and this is a real tricky one to win, there's no easy draws whatsoever and he was able to come through and claim the title. Peter Wright's major was also overdue and well deserved, what van Peer did showed an awful lot of courage, and it was great to see Ashton (and a few others) look to challenge in the men's game and step out of a comfort zone to try to see what they could really do. And Lim! Not just the worlds, the World Cup as well. If only he could have pinned that double 12.

Best new tour card holder

Nominees - Ryan Searle, Steve Lennon, Jamie Bain, Martin Schindler

Winner - Richard North

He's yet to show what he can do on TV, but North has had a fantastic debut season - making a final and doing enough to get into the worlds with ease, also managing to qualify for the Grand Prix. Lennon and Schindler had similar patterns, each managing to crack through to the worlds plus one major, while Searle's been very solid on the floor pushing through to board finals on a regular basis. Bain's been a bit more hit and miss, but his European record has been very good and his numbers are a lot better than his ranking suggests.

Most improved player

Nominees - Joe Cullen, Krzysztof Ratajski, Mark McGeeney, Jonny Clayton

Winner - Daryl Gurney

It is one hell of a jump to go from a marginal top 16 player who might threaten to make a deep run in a big event once in a while, to being a no brain Premier League selection, going deep in nearly every single major event, and actually winning one. Gurney's managed to do that, and a bunch of hard work over the last few years has paid off for him. Elsewhere, Cullen was showing a bit last year what he could do but has now broken through the ceiling and has won on the Pro Tour having been around for ever, he just needs to translate it to the TV more often, Ratajski's converted from someone who's just a name around the place to a feared competitor and major winner who's cleaning up everything in his neighbourhood, McGeeney showed a bit of what he can do yesterday against Durrant, pushing up from a low seed to the BDO number 1, while Clayton has cracked on, also broken a Pro Tour duck and is established in the top 32 and in what's a fascinating race to see who'll join Price as the other half of Wales' World Cup team.

Player of the year

Nominees - Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright, Glen Durrant, Daryl Gurney

Winner - Rob Cross

Who I thought I'd give this to changed a bunch over the course of the season. With Wright's start I was thinking it could have been him, and if he'd converted the Premier League or the Matchplay he'd probably have got it. Then his form dropped a bit, Gurney came through to win multiple titles including a major, van Gerwen looked invincible in the later majors, while on the other side of the divide Durrant has shown he's clearly the best there again, taking the BDO crown and putting in a great showing in the Grand Slam. It came down to who won that semi final for me, and hence it's got to be Cross - an incredible story that started from nothing and ended with a world title.

I will link this up on Reddit and add in some comments in a later post - next thing I'll probably do as Q-School fast approaches is the Premier League projections that I promised a while ago. I don't intend on covering the Masters, I'm away that weekend and it's a meaningless event.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

BDO final preview


Cool, the table widget thing that I used for the PDC final worked the first time, then I tried to centralise the text, it didn't work, and now on future tries it also didn't work, so a screengrab it is.

We've got the number 1 seed against the number 2 seed, something that hasn't happened in the BDO since 1999 when Raymond van Barneveld beat Ronnie Baxter 6-5. Will this be as close a game? I really can't see it. Durrant's played great throughout the tournament, only really being threatened against Jim Williams in the quarter finals where he had to rally from 4-1 down in sets, but that was an incredible push where he won twelve out of thirteen legs, denying Williams even the slightest chance of winning the match, slamming in four of his eight four visit legs in that spell. McGeeney in contrast has only really looked good in his win over Danny Noppert - Martin Adams really should have seen him off in the very first match of the entire tournament which went the distance, as stated the Noppert game was fine and the only match where he managed to win more than half his legs in fifteen darts, surprise package Wayne Warren had his chances in the quarter final, getting a good lead but not being able to kill 120 in the eighth and then faltering in extra time in the deciding set. Unterbuchner, another surprising player who you've got to think you'd see taking punts at the European Tour next year, also could have taken the semi final to a deciding set, but his scoring deserted him when offered six visits to break in the last leg of the tenth set.

Durrant wins this. He's been playing far, far superior darts to McGeeney across the whole week, and across the whole year really - dating back throughout the entirety of the stats I have in my database, including last year's Lakeside, McGeeney has won 100 legs, of which only six were in four visits, and just 42 in total were in five visits. He's also lost more legs than he's won in that sample, averaging just 85. So while McGeeney's numbers for this Lakeside look poor, they're actually a bit better than his historic numbers. The bookies have Durrant at 2/11, and this could end up being even more one sided than that, the score predictor I use thinking that 7-1 or 7-2 Durrant seems like the most likely set of outcomes. I'll probably watch it, because it ought to be quick. It's a shame that Durrant now looks like he's sticking with the BDO, he could have made a real splash in the PDC, but at the same time he seems that much better than everyone else that he may as well keep printing money and test himself in the Grand Slam, perhaps take a punt at the UK Open as well.

Coming soon will be the FRH year end awards, I might do them after the final.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

BDO last 16 thoughts

The final round 1 game has just finished, and outside of Jamie Hughes going out to German qualifier Michael Unterbuchner, there's been a shortage of real shocks - 11 of the other 14 seeds have made it through, and I don't think anyone would have been too stunned to see Whitehead over Menzies or Waites over Montgomery - the Warren over Harms result is a bit of a surprise I guess. So what about the last 16?

Durrant - Fitton: Fitton only managed 5/10 legs in fifteen darts, Durrant got 6/9 - Durrant's shown what he can do over the last twelve months, particularly recently at the Slam, while Fitton's never shown that he can put together a string of tidy legs that might trouble Glen over a seven set match.

Whitehead - Williams: Conan got 5/11 legs in par, Williams 4/13. This is a concern for the seed who didn't have anything like an easy game against Nilsson, Whitehead's scoring when losing was also over five points higher than Jim's was, so the seed could be in a spot of bother here. Pity I don't have any stats from the Zuiderduin to look at.

Waites - Reynolds: Dean got just 3/10 legs in par, but so did Waites. Reynolds is in a few stats over the whole database, both in BDO events and the UK Open, and this is his normal game it seems. Waites is a touch better on average, and can certainly hit a higher peak, if it gets into a longer game his experience and general better standard should show.

Mitchell - Baetens: I mentioned Scott's performance in the previous post which was clearly the best so far by some distance, Baetens pulled together a weak 4/12 legs in par and with nothing else to compare it to, I can't think of any reason not to think Scott advances here.

McGeeney - Noppert: Noppert's played the better in both his prelim and first round game, we've known this one for a while, at no point in any of my database has Mark put in a performance that makes me think he can beat Danny if he continues to play as he has been doing - only really the last Slam match looked OK but he was drawing very thin if not dead at that stage so there's not much to read into there.

Warren - Mandigers: Wayne had a great first round game to eliminate Harms, while Mandigers had an otherwise alright 5/9 par legs. Question is whether Warren can sustain that level over a longer game, looking at limited previous stats I'd think Willem could, if Warren could then I think we'd have seen more over the course of his career.

de Vos - Veenstra: Low country derby here, Geert wasn't too impressive in beating the Dutch qualifier Telnekes with 3/11 legs in par, whereas Veenstra clocked in 7/12 being pushed hard by Kyle McKinstry. Veenstra was similarly impressive last year before running into Danny Noppert, de Vos played much better than this last year. Geert will need to step his game up and if he doesn't he'll lose, but he's certainly capable and this could be a good one.

Unterbuchner - Phillips: Michael was pretty average in his qualifier with 4/12 legs in par, and only had a slightly better 6/15 ratio in beating Hughes, but he's quietly got three twelve dart legs, so is showing spurts of class, Phillips only got 2/11 legs in par earlier today in an awful match where only three of the twenty legs combined were able to be finished in fifteen darts, he can very occasionally turn it on (see some of the later World Trophy games), but is usually incredibly mediocre even by BDO standards and should lose this one.

Monday, 8 January 2018

People on Twitter writing cheques they probably can't cash

I'm going to put the under/over on the amount of cash this guy pays out at around £1.70, but let's see what happens




BDO - thoughts so far

So that preview didn't happen, there's simply so many players that I don't know about. That said, we've now got all the preliminaries out of the way, and are around half way through the first round proper, trimming the field down to the mid-20's from an initial starting number of 40. I'll have a quick look at who's played to date and is still in, and see what I think:

Durrant - seems fine, really had no trouble against Robson and slotted 6/9 legs in "par" of fifteen darts, keep that level up and it'll be hard to see who can stop him prior to the semi finals.

Thompson - got involved in a five set slugfest in his prelim, only managed 4/13 legs in par, was averaging under 80 in the legs Gilliland won, can't see that Fitton has too much trouble this evening.

Nilsson - we've seen him do well on the PDC European Tour, and while not showing those heights he was solid here, straight sets win with 4/9 par legs, would ideally like to put that up a bit against Williams in round two who's in form having finalled the Zuiderduin.

Waites - had a tough game against Montgomery and may well have been a bit fortunate, it was 10-9 in legs to Waites, only managing three in par (Montgomery managed four, although one of Waites' three par legs was a four visit kill), and averaging a mediocre 84 in the Montgomery winning legs. That may be enough in round 2, but after that, possibly not.

Harris - good god, he won 11 legs but only one was in fifteen darts. Only managed to average 72 in the legs the Turk won, whose numbers were even worse. Would think Reynolds will be far too strong third on tonight.

Mitchell - now here's the business. Had a tough opener against Labanauskas, but managed four twelve darters and a further five legs in five visits for 9/13 legs in par, and over 90 when losing. Labanauskas was equally solid, just a shame this was a first round match as by BDO standards this could easily have graced a semi final stage. Got to think Darius does go for the rumoured PDC switch now after this, but Mitchell on this form can bink Lakeside.

McGeeney - 3/13 legs in par? Sub-83 average when Adams was winning? If Adams could have even slightly pressured Mark (Martin averaged 76 when losing) then the BDO number 1 is out. Noppert should murder him if he doesn't pick his game up.

Noppert - has two games under his belt already, and has yet to drop a set. 5/9 legs in par in each round isn't really at the heights of last year, but you'd think he can pick this up, even so, if McGeeney doesn't increase his quality he likely won't need to.

Warren - apparently had seven perfect, and looked really good on the numbers - claiming nine legs, only one taking more than fifteen darts as he shrugged aside Wesley Harms. If he keeps playing like that then he could easily deal with Mandigers and give the Noppert/McGeeney winner issues.

Mandigers - whitewashed Kenny, hitting a just about respectable 5/9 legs in par, only the one real bad leg, but could certainly do with bringing an 81 average up when losing if he wants to put Warren under any pressure.

Telnekes - the relatively unknown Dutchman got through 3-0 yesterday, did stick in a four visit leg but only the two five visit legs to back it up. Did at least come through three deciding legs to show some clutchness, whatever that counts for, but losing those six legs with a sub 80 average isn't impressive and de Vos should get by tomorrow afternoon.

Unterbuchner - German qualifier who won through today against veteran Dave Cameron, 4/12 legs in par with a 77 average in the 11 legs he lost (actually better than Cameron's stat, believe it or not) should not trouble Hughes in the slightest.

Day - it is the same guy that made up the PDC numbers earlier in the decade, 4/9 par legs isn't too bad and he only lost the two legs all game, would have thought Caldwell could have pressed a bit more, I guess not.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Post WC thoughts, Premier League thoughts, year end FRH rankings

Wow, what a performance by Rob Cross that was. Simply didn't give Taylor any chance whatsoever. Pity Phil couldn't pin that nine darter, oh well. Think it's been a really interesting tournament to see a lot of newer names progressing, which has resulted in big churn in the Premier League. Can't argue with any of the selections and it's the ten that I would have chosen - they've got numbers 1-12 from the FRH rankings excluding Taylor and Chisnall, which seems fine to me. Would have been a bit too early for Lewis or van den Bergh, and could probably have done their careers more harm than good, nobody else was making a compelling case. Darren Webster maybe, but that's about it.

Season is now up and here's the season end FRH rankings - LY indicates the position the player was at in the previous season:

TYLYNameFRH Points
11Michael van Gerwen1.13m
2NRRob Cross598k
33Peter Wright516k
47Phil Taylor380k
518Daryl Gurney333k
62Gary Anderson285k
78Mensur Suljovic251k
816Simon Whitlock224k
95Dave Chisnall202k
1014Michael Smith194k
119Raymond van Barneveld188k
1219Gerwyn Price179k
1317Alan Norris171k
1413Ian White166k
154James Wade166k
1627Darren Webster161k
1711Benito van de Pas157k
1812Kim Huybrechts155k
1910Jelle Klaasen146k
2023Joe Cullen144k
2121Stephen Bunting127k
226Adrian Lewis126k
2322Mervyn King123k
2430Kyle Anderson122k
2526Steve Beaton121k
2634Jamie Lewis118k
2739John Henderson118k
2850Jonny Clayton115k
2928Justin Pipe108k
3033Cristo Reyes106k
3115Robert Thornton104k
3237Steve West103k
3331James Wilson94.4k
3429Vincent van der Voort89.5k
3548Dimitri van den Bergh82.6k
3640Christian Kist78.8k
3735Chris Dobey71.7k
3844Jermaine Wattimena71.6k
3924Mark Webster70.8k
4025Brendan Dolan65.9k
4160James Richardson65.1k
4247Ronny Huybrechts64.9k
4357Jan Dekker63.4k
44NRRichard North55.5k
4553Keegan Brown55.4k
4636Robbie Green51.5k
4778Zoran Lerchbacher50.5k
4846Kevin Painter48.6k
49NRSteve Lennon45.2k
50NRAntonio Alcinas41.0k
5185Willie O'Connor40.7k
5232Jamie Caven40.6k
53NRPeter Jacques39.3k
5420Terry Jenkins38.8k
5555Ron Meulenkamp38.5k
56NRMartin Schindler38.1k
5751Devon Petersen37.9k
5838Max Hopp35.4k
59NRKrzysztof Ratajski35.1k
6042Joe Murnan30.9k
6154Jeffrey de Graaf30.8k
6245Josh Payne29.9k
6341Andrew Gilding28.0k
64NRTed Evetts27.7k
6543Rowby John Rodriguez26.0k
6652Mick McGowan25.5k
6765John Michael25.0k
6882Nathan Aspinall24.9k
6968Jeffrey de Zwaan23.6k
7049Ricky Evans22.5k
71NRGlen Durrant22.5k
7269Kim Viljanen22.1k
7372Berry van Peer21.5k
74NRRyan Searle21.5k
7591Darren Johnson21.0k
7661Andy Boulton20.9k
7796Mike de Decker20.7k
7871Michael Mansell20.5k
79NRPete Hudson19.5k
8062Dirk van Duijvenbode19.5k
81NRChris Quantock19.3k
82NRKevin Munch18.9k
83NRPaul Lim18.5k
84NRRobert Owen18.3k
85NRPaul Nicholson17.3k
8663Andy Jenkins17.1k
87NRJimmy Hendriks16.8k
8858Dave Pallett16.5k
8966Simon Stevenson15.9k
90NRDiogo Portela15.7k
91NRSteve Hine15.7k
92NRKirk Shepherd15.2k
93NRJamie Bain15.1k
94NRJeff Smith15.0k
9556Andy Hamilton14.6k
96NRRichard Corner14.1k
97NRMarko Kantele13.5k
9870Mark Walsh13.2k
9995Matt Clark13.2k
10093Yordi Meeuwisse13.2k

In total, that's a churn of 24 players, the highest ranked player form last year not to reappear being last season's number 59 Mark Frost (although he wasn't far off). Obviously Rob Cross is the highest new entrant, but three other players managed to crack the top 50 from outside last year.

So what for the FRH Second Division Darts for this season? I'm going to score it a little differently this year - rather than just taking the first result between players, I'm going to add up all the legs won and work out the percentage each wins against the other. If you're 75% or over, that's the full two points, 25% or under, zilch, and progressing linearly between the two. Who will we invite?

Four highest active players not playing in the Premier League - Dave Chisnall, Alan Norris, Ian White, James Wade
FRH Wildcards - Kyle Anderson, Adrian Lewis, Joe Cullen, Darren Webster, Jamie Lewis, Dimitri van den Bergh

That seems like a good selection. I was tempted to say that if Durrant went deep at Lakeside, switched and won his tour card that I'd invite him straight in, but that's a big combination of if's. For those that are high up that missed out, van de Pas, Huybrechts and Klaasen have done little all year and all crashed out of the worlds at the first hurdle, Bunting's getting back there but hasn't shown quite enough yet. Lewis at least showed the quality in the Matchplay and is probably the biggest name not in the Premier League proper, Anderson's won on TV and the tour, Webster and Cullen have had great years on tour and Webster also had a solid worlds, while the other Lewis and Dimitri crashed the worlds and made huge breakthroughs that I think warrant entry into this. I just hope Adie plays enough that he can match up frequently with these, but being out of the top 16 basically forces him to. Once we're under way I'll make a spreadsheet and put up a link in the links bar rather than post updates in here.

I hope to get some brief BDO analysis up later in the week, I also intend to shove the Premier League players through the master computer and project what'll happen in the first nine weeks.