The European Tour returns to the darts scene this weekend when the show heads to Hungary for the Hungarian Darts Trophy, the fourth to last tournament on the circuit which means we are closing in on finalising the qualifiers for the European Championship.
Gerwyn Price was due to defend the title he won last year this week but he pulled out in the lead up to it and with this being just the second time the tournament has been played we are guaranteed a new winner of it.
2021 – Gerwyn Price
We might not have had many European Tour events last year but the format for these tournaments remains the same as before, which means that the last 32 of the tournament is played over two sessions of action on Saturday, with the last 16 on Sunday afternoon and the quarter finals on Sunday night. They are all the best-of-11 legs with the semi-finals also on Sunday evening. They are the best-of-13 and then the final in the same session is the best-of-15 legs. The draw has been pre-determined and is played in a straight knockout format.
The draw is reversed this weekend so the second seed Luke Humphries is the main seed in the top half of the bracket. He was seeded to meet Gerwyn Price who was in the draw before he pulled out. That leaves us with six other seeds in this part of the draw. They are the world champion Peter Wright, Masters winner Joe Cullen, UK Open champion Danny Noppert, Damon Heta, Dirk van Duijvenbode and Jonny Clayton so there is certainly no lack of quality in this half.
There are some big names among the qualifiers in this half of the draw with the former world finalist Jim Williams one of them. Martin Lukeman has already made the final of a European Tour event this season and he’ll try and reach another from this half. Madars Razma isn’t just in this half of the draw but he’s in the last 16 after Price’s withdrawal. Rusty-Jake Rodriguez, Josh Rock, Chris Dobey, Boris Krcmar and Dave Chisnall complete this half of the draw.
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Michael van Gerwen remains the standout fixture in darts after he won the Premier League and the World Matchplay and he’ll look to win the title from this half of the draw. He is seeded to meet the world finalist Michael Smith in the semi-final which would be a cracking contest. The other six seeds in this half of the draw are Rob Cross, Jose de Sousa, Michael Smith, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Ryan Searle, Nathan Aspinall and Krzysztof Ratajski.
There are plenty of big names in the qualifiers list in this half of the draw as well. The biggest of them is Raymond van Barneveld while Daryl Gurney isn’t too far behind. The other six players in this section of the bracket are Jeffrey de Zwaan, Ireland World Cup star William O’Connor, the Czech ace Karel Sedlacek, former world champion Stephen Bunting, World Cup champion Simon Whitlock and the former development star Ryan Meikle.
It will be interesting to see where the balance of power lies this week. Will the big hitters who have spent the last month touring Australia and New Zealand be tired and not quite up to it or will the competitive reps they have had in that time fire them on and give them an advantage over the rest of the field? My hunch is that it will be the former so I’m prepared to take them on and go with a man who really should have been on the World Series tour in Australia in Danny Noppert.
I was a couple of wins away from collecting on Noppert in the World Matchplay a couple of months ago but unfortunately he ran into a Gerwyn Price who nobody was beating on the evening. He won’t have that problem here because Price has pulled out and Noppert was meant to collide with the Welshman in the last 16. That means Noppert won’t face a seed until at least the quarter final here and it might be that the draw opens up further before then. Noppert has been one of the form men of the year and I think the 16/1 on him winning this tournament is a shade too big.
Back D.Noppert to win Hungarian Darts Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 17.00 with Betway (1/2 1-2)