Monday, 12 March 2018

Gary Anderson - what form is he in?

In ranked events so far this season, Gary Anderson's played eight tournaments and won four of them, including the only major to date, only being stopped by Corey Cadby (a loss which he of course avenged in style in the UK Open), Benito van de Pas (er, I guess that's a thing?), Danny Noppert and Adam Hunt. He's raked in over a hundred grand in prize money during that period, but exactly how good is he playing? Let's take a look, but first, a quiz question - which former major finalist, on his way back from an event this weekend, opted not to park at the airport, get a cab or even take the train, but took the same bus as me? Answers on a postcard to FRH Towers, reveal next post.

The raw figures of legs won is 233-125 for a solid 65% win rate. In comparison, Michael van Gerwen is not up at 70%, Cadby is down at 63%, Cross is even lower at 58%, Wright is down further still. Michael Smith's the only other player above 60%. That's five of your top ten, for bonus points, guess the other five (assume a minimum of 30 legs won, although everyone in the list has 100+ legs won so it's not some obscure random that won some early rounds of UK Open qualifiers 6-0 and then went out 6-5 or similar). Answers at the end of the post.

How quickly is he winning the legs? Pretty fast. 15.88% of those legs won have been in four visits or better. That said, it's not hugely quicker than what he was doing throughout last season, and of those with a decent sample size of legs won it's not even top five - Cross leads the way just breaking 20%, but van Gerwen, Smith, van den Bergh, Gurney and Cadby are all ahead of him on that count.

That's your explosive scoring, but what of the bread and butter, getting your legs in fifteen to force the opponent to do something special to break, and limiting his margin for error if he wants to hold? He's just a fraction of a percentage point under two thirds, indeed if he wins his next leg in fifteen darts or better it will be precisely a two out of three ratio. But again, it's not even top five - van Gerwen leads the way being the only player to break 75%, while Cross is at 73% and Gurney is over 70% by the tiniest of margins. van den Bergh, Goldie and White are all also above Anderson. If we look further and consider the overall points per turn when you're winning legs, Anderson barely breaks the top ten with a 95.14 average. van Gerwen and Cross are ahead in the 98 bracket, Gurney and van den Bergh are on 96 and change, while Smith, White, Goldie and Wright are all ahead by fractions. Cadby only trails by 0.04 points per turn.

So, you might ask, what happens if Anderson was allowed to convert more chances? What about when he's losing legs? Here he's nearly top, with Cross ahead by less than 0.2 points per turn, and van Gerwen so close behind that less than a quarter of a point separates them all in the mid-93's. Only fourteen players with a decent sample (Suljovic is there but has barely played) even break the 90 barrier here, it's a tricky one to do - of the top 32, Klaasen, Reyes and Norris are below 85, van de Pas is sub-80.

It'd be interesting to see what'd have happened if the legs were allowed to be played out and how Anderson would have converted them? As stated earlier, there's 125 legs lost, so let's have a look at what he had left.

There's only actually five occasions where he was denied a possible twelve dart leg, and only eight legs where he wasn't allowed a fourth visit to the board. On three occasions he wasn't on a finish, and where he was on a finish there wasn't too much easy left, only being left sitting on a two darter once, the rest being big three darters where as a minimum you need either two trebles or need to use the bull, so if we're kind then maybe he hits one of those?

The biggest chunk were where Gary had four visits to the board. Now here, there's 55 legs, of which six weren't an outshot, but there were quite a lot better opportunities here. Nine times he was left sitting on a double, another seven times he only needed a single for a double, there's another ten legs where he's on a two darter needing a treble, but can get there with two singles if he misses, and then another twelve legs where he just needs one treble as a part of a three dart combination.

Now we get to the legs where Anderson's already had five visits to the board, so isn't going to be improving his stats that much. Oddly, it's more or less a 50/50 split where Anderson's had five visits and lost. Seventeen of these legs were real bad ones where he'd used six or more visits (four of these he'd had seven visits and still not checked out), on all but four occasions he was on a double, the others being either pulling a previous attempt into an odd number (double fives, bull etc) and one rogue leg where he was left on 64. You'd think the vase majority of those disappear next visit, but you never know. The legs where he'd had five visits look mostly similar, but not quite so clear - of 45 legs, 30 saw him waiting on a single darter (excluding a couple where he'd left 50, because he's not Royden Lam), and another ten were sub-100 asks. As all he's been denied was a six visit leg, it's not the greatest deal in the world.

In overview, Anderson's playing a solid game, but it's kind of what we would expect him to do anyway - that he's managed to win some titles, three of which van Gerwen didn't even enter, is perhaps overstating his current level of play.

Re: the fifteen dart leg kill stats. You were looking for Ratajski, Stevenson, Joyce, Clemens and Beaton. Bet that surprised you?

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