This weekends Danish Darts Open, from Copenhagen, proved an entertaining spectacle with plenty of shocks, a popular winner and some insights into the future;
Rise of the Second Rank.
Normally ‘Second Rank’ can be used as an insult to those not quite good enough for the very top. In the PDC however, it is no insult whatsoever. There is a very strong group of players who cannot, yet, be classed as the elite, but who can defeat any other top player on their day. In addition to their single match potential, they are capable of claiming events if those at the very top slip up even slightly.
Dave Chisnall and Ian White perhaps sum this group up. Both have claimed multiple titles on this seasons tour, both are just outside the Premier League (top 8) rankings and both are not yet claiming multiple major titles. Johnny Clayton, Nathan Aspinall and Mensur seem to fit in here as well.
De Sousa Could Go Further.
Jose De Sousa is beginning to look comfortable with playing serious darts at the highest level. His efforts on the Pro Tour have not gone unnoticed and he has a winning pedigree from his soft-tip days. He is beginning to back that up with strong performances on stage. Jose turned those good performances into wins in Denmark and may have crossed a bridge. It is never easy for those based away from the UK but the European Tour has made it more likely that players based elsewhere will prosper.
Wattimena Exploits World Cup Gains.
It cannot have been easy to both partner the world number-one and step into the shoes of a Dutch legend in RVB. Yet, Jermaine did so and played some great stuff during the World Cup of Darts. He seemed to take advantage, of a newfound status and delivered strongly when defeating Ian White. It will be interesting to see whether this boost continues in the longer run.
Shepherd Continues His Quiet Return.
I have been discreetly following the efforts of the 2007 World Championship finalist for quite a while. He seems much more at peace with himself and has been returning to his old self. He has qualified for many of the European Tour evens and has been steadily improving. Defeating Rob Cross in Rd 2 will give him some extra confidence and the financial rewards will be welcome. Kirk is an irrepressible character who would, benefit the game and, provide a great story if he were to reach the higher echelons again. Don’t write off the possibility, he has proven before that he has the game to defeat anyone who takes him lightly.
World Cup Hangovers?
Holding this event within a week of the World Cup of Darts is far from ideal. However, it gives other players a chance to shine. Some high profile names did not take part and others seemed to be weary. None of the semi-finalists had gotten past round one in the World Cup and the two that made it underperformed, for Wales and thus had a point to prove. Could it be that the World Cup should move to a less crowded time on the calendar? Or perhaps it is better to have some up and coming venues and events that allow a variety of names to come through?
All in all the Danish Darts Open was a great success in 2019 and it should go from strength to strength. The Danes have been strong darts fans for quite a while and seem to be getting even more enthused. Perhaps next years event will be rescheduled in its favour?
Credit: Featured Pic: Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe