Phil Taylor began his Grand Slam of Darts defence in fine style on Saturday afternoon, whitewashing Martin Phillips 5-0 with a 102 average, but he was furious with comments made by Andy Fordham earlier in the week.
‘The Viking’ had praised Taylor’s ‘unbelievable’ achievements in Darts in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports on Tuesday, although he admitted that he ‘didn’t really like Phil’.
This provoked a strong response from the 16-Time World Champion. “I’m motivated. All these comments have motivated me. Keep commenting, keep running me down. That’s what I like, it’s given me the fuel back that I needed.”
“Do you know what I think. I think the BDO players should be thankful, they should be grateful that they’ve got a chance to play in a major TV tournament, because we don’t get a chance to play in theirs. So shut up, and put up,” Taylor added.
The full interview can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialPDC/videos/902542336459841/
‘The Power’ will take on Robbie Green tomorrow afternoon, as ‘Kong’ beat Rowby-John Rodriguez 5-3 in a high-quality opening game. Green led 4-1 but the Austrian showed tremendous character to fightback, although Green managed to clinch victory with a spectacular 133 checkout.
World Champion Gary Anderson began his quest for a maiden Grand Slam title in perfect fashion, as he whitewashed American veteran Larry Butler in Group E. Butler, who reached the Winmau World Masters final last month, struggled to replicate that form, averaging just 83 as the Flying Scotsman romped to victory with a 101 average.
Also in Group E, 2012 Grand Slam Champion Raymond van Barneveld began his tournament with a whitewash victory over ‘X-Factor’ Andy Boulton. Van Barneveld was in excellent form, averaging 99 to set up an enthralling clash with Anderson tomorrow afternoon.
The biggest shock of the tournament so far came in Group G, as Jonny Clayton, making his major TV debut, stunned 9-Time major finalist Terry Jenkins to claim a memorable 5-3 victory.
The Welshman, who sealed his Grand Slam spot through the PDC qualifier, led 4-2 and missed 6 match darts, allowing Jenkins back into the contest. Despite this, Clayton was unperturbed, hitting a brilliant 180 in the following leg to leave D20 after 12 darts. This time, he made no mistake, clinching the win with a 13-darter.
Group G also threw up another shock, as World Grand-Prix Champion Robert Thornton survived a major scare against BDO man Geert de Vos. De Vos led 2-0 after firing in checkouts of 95 and 118, but missed doubles proved crucial, as the Belgian lost four successive legs to leave Thornton on the brink of victory.
However, the 2015 World Trophy winner took out 102 to reduce the arrears to 4-3, before capitalising on two missed match-darts from Thornton to restore parity and regain the advantage of throw. However, the Scot edged through eventually, taking out 76 to set up a clash with Clayton on Sunday afternoon in Wolverhampton.
In Group F, James Wade cruised to a comfortable 5-2 win over BDO Dutch qualifier Michael van der Horst. The Dutchman broke throw in the opening leg, but the Machine was never seriously troubled and averaged 95 en route to a first win of the competition.
Wade will face fellow left-hander Mark Webster tomorrow, after the Welshman defeated last year’s quarter-finalist, Keegan Brown 5-3. Brown suffered a number of cruel fall-outs; whether it was an issue with his points not being sharpened, or whether the boards were at fault remains to be seen, but it cost him dearly in the early stages.
Webster stormed into a commanding 4-1 lead, but Brown showed tremendous character, fighting back to 4-3 after posting a superb 11-darter against the throw. Nevertheless, Webster fended off the comeback, securing victory with a superb 130 checkout.
SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts
Saturday November 7
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)
Groups E-H First Games
Rowby-John Rodriguez 3-5 Robbie Green (H)
Terry Jenkins 3-5 Jonny Clayton (G)
Robert Thornton 5-4 Geert De Vos (G)
James Wade 5-2 Michel van der Horst (F)
Keegan Brown 3-5 Mark Webster (F)
Gary Anderson 5-0 Larry Butler (E)
Phil Taylor 5-0 Martin Phillips (H)
Raymond van Barneveld 5-0 Andy Boulton (E)