Putting this up early in case theres any views from the regulars and I might not be around much anyway. This isn't sponsored by Starbets and certainly no spamming of any websites from these parts
Paul Nicholson v Steve Farmer: Opening match of the 2011 championships sees Special Agent Nicholson take on Steve Farmer. I thought Nicholson played really well at the World Cup but he has had a very indifferent year on the floor (So much so he isnt even going to defend his players championship title as he missed the top 32!). He takes on Farmer who I believe is making his debut here and is sitting at 55th on the Order of Merit list. Prices look about right to me and I'll be happy to watch and wait for far better chances later in the week. Recommendation: No Bet
Gary Mawson v Juanito Gionzon: First prelim of the tournament sees Mawson take on the unknown Gionzon. Mawson was a regular in the opening rounds but I think its an indication of his form and also the better strength in depth that hes now involved in the prelims. I confess to knowing absolutely nothing about his opponent and while Mawson should probably win I wouldn't rush to back him at 2/5 in a race to 6 given his year to date. Recommendation: No Bet
Steve Beaton v Mark Hylton: Beaton opens up his bid here against Hylton who sits at 90th on this years OOM. I've been very surprised by Beaton's last 12 months and he seems to have got some hunger and appetite for the game again. He says he's given up the **** and took up running and bizarre as it seems his game has improved as a result. He's also scoring a lot heavier than previous years and of the 3 figure prices in the outrights he is one of the livlier ones. His opponent Hylton came through qualifying and is making his tv debut. Judged on his year to date he's not been pulling up any trees on the floor either and I'd expect the Adonis to come through without too much trouble. 2/7 ain't my sort of price though and a watching brief is all I'll be having. Recommendation: No Bet
Mark Webster v Steve Maish: Interesting match up here between one of my favourite players Webster and one of my least favourite in Maish. Webby did a lot on here a favour when he won the lakeside (Cheers Callataxi ) and since then I've always had a soft spot for him. He's one of these players who you can tell losing actually hurts him and he's got a lot of talent in that left arm. He's also showing a lot better form based on his WC form and his run to the semis last year at this venue. Maish on the other hand is a player who seems to rate himself more than his results actually justify. He also seems to have so many excuses for every defeat and I really can't be bothered with any sportsman like that. Hoping that Webby can win this and have another good run but unfortunately he tends to make things difficult for himself all the time. Bet I actually like here is the maxes as Webster was battering them in the recent WC and if he's in half decent nick Maish can weigh in with 1 or 2 too. My thinking though is that I can see 4 sets or more here and as such the quote of 4.5 looks slightly on the low side. Recommendation: 1pt win over 4.5 maxes @ Evs (PP)
Phil Taylor v Mawson/Gionzon: Obviously no betting available until the opponent is known for Phil but either way I'd be very surprised if its not going to end in a comfy 3-0 win for him. I'm keen to oppose him in the outrights this year but I very much doubt this will be his banana skin of a match.
Summary: Just the 1 bet for the opening night and looking at the early matches this could be a common occurence. Think as the rounds progress the bets will definitely show up but the bookies are far more clued up on the early matches these days which means patience is the key
All views and opinions welcome as ever and hopefully this is the start of a great 4 weeks of darts and some cracking banter as always HH