Lets Play Darts Ones to Watch in 2012 - 5 Months later!
At the start of January we at let’s Play Knockout Darts offered a few names that would provide interest and entertainment as they made their way in the PDC.
Forgoing the easy options of Chizzy and Kim Huybrechts et al. We chose instead to look for those who could be described as under the radar, over the hill and various other remarks and comments that we have had back.
So who amongst our nominees is on course to achieve what we predicted for them and who is over achieving?
Do we have any strugglers or have we made any glaring errors?
At the point of final qualification for the first major event of the 2012 season it seems a good time to have a review of our intrepid bunch.
Ian “Diamond” White
Ian is indeed rocketing up the charts and has recently entered the top 50 in the main order of merit. He has qualified in the top 32 group for the later stages of The UK Open and is currently in a qualifying position for every major event other than the Grand Slam. This comes from a semi final in weekend one and a final a few weeks ago, Ian acquitted himself well in both and I am sure it is will not be long before a maiden victory comes along.
As we said in the predictions, this may well be the result of finally being able to play with far less everyday pressure.
Ian’s strong finish to last year earned him respite from financial and other pressures.
Thus with good money earned early this year the pressure is not as suffocating.
This allows Ian to play the remorseless rythmic darts that at times are almost unstoppable.
In addition to all his success so far Ian also hit the 1st 9 darter of the 2012 season against practice partner “Mile High” in Benidorm on day 1 round 1!
No need to alter our prediction here Diamond is well ahead of schedule to achieve all he wants this year.
After settling in well toward the end of 2011 Mickey has had a good start to 2012, a creditable performance at The World Cup was followed by good runs in the Pro Tour Events. Mickey is steadily picking up and has again qualified for The UK Open, last year James Wade proved too strong but not before Mickey had shown the superb natural throw and relaxed manner that may prove his best asset.
Again no need to alter our thoughts on Mickey, steady as she goes seems to be the path!
Nigel has had a slower start than we would have predicted but he is part of a good set up with Scott Rand and Kim Huybrechts, recent new sponsorship deals and a few other changes see Nigel settling well again. He has again qualified for the Open making it 3 in a row as a PDC player. He has previously reached the Last 16 so don’t be surprised if The Undertaker chooses this event to come to life.
Despite a steady start our faith in Nigel is strong and he will come through strongly as in previous years.
Tremendous start for the world Youth Champ this season, wins on the youth tour and some good runs in the Pro Tour, again Aaron has qualified for the UK Open and it will be interesting to see if his new found maturity and experience as a player will result in good progress this time.
It may be at least as good a 2012 for Aarron as we thought, more chances to come at both youth and major levels.
Until the latest events it was looking like Mark was not quite on target with the prediction we had made, however some good wins when not playing well and then a great final Open weekend mean that Mark is in almost the same place as last year and we know how that resulted! With more swings in the orders of merit it is likely that Marks upturn in form has arrived at the perfect time.
As we predicted the questions out weigh the answers so far this season. How high will Mark climb and which events will prove his favorites this year?
Another name that provoked some dissent when included on the list. However our belief that, for some, experience and attitude would prove highly valuable. Smiffy again proved his has both in reaching a Pro Tour Final for a second time in 18 months. Again Highly placed for the Open, Dennis will appear in the last 64 stage and be a serious opponent for anyone. He is also well placed to make more major events which will see him stabilise and improve his ranking. It will not phase Dennis and he will continue to re assert himself in a effort to regain the position he feels he deserves.
Dennis is slightly ahead of our prediction target and will do at least as well as expected.
Q School Newcomer
In the original article we selected two names that, following years of watching Opens etc., we were sure would make an impact in the PDC. In addition we picked a wild card who we now has real ability and hoped would get a good start. Amazingly we have been proved startlingly correct and very quickly. Johnny Haines hit the ground running early and caught a few names napping. Claiming runs to the Qtrs and last 16 very early in his season. Andrew Gilding has, as usual, taken time to assess his situation and now begun to settle. His fantastic weekend in Birmingham reaching Qtr and last 16 and removing a host of start names ( unfortunately including our own Mile High!) should not have come as a surprise to anyone. Pete Hughes is yet to catch fire and has been beset by both illness and misfortune. However Pete is very much a work in progress and I am sure he will live to fight another day.
So there you have it 4 established Pro’s, 1 Youth and 3 newcomers. All have done well in parts and many have really kicked on or gotten back to winning ways. Although prediction is always a risky business, we did not select the obvious choices and still seem to have spotted some great progress and thoroughly enjoy checking in on the guys. We also tried to select great people who any of you would find approachable and entertaining should you follow or bump into them. We look forward to their watching their progress as the season hots up, and we arrive at the business end.