Raymond van Barneveld survived a minor scare against veteran Larry Butler, as he progressed through to the knock-out stages of the Grand Slam Darts; setting up a last 16 clash with James Wade on Wednesday night.
van Barneveld needed to beat Butler to secure his last 16 spot, but he was given a stern examination by the 1994 World Matchplay Champion, with Barney winning an enthralling contest 5-3.
The Five-Time World Champion made a perfect start, hitting a maximum with his first three darts and claiming the opening leg in 14 darts. He then doubled his lead moments later courtesy of D3 for a 15-darter and a crucial break.
However, Raymond then produced an uncharacteristically sloppy scoring leg on throw, enabling Butler to convert 72 for an instant break. The American then restored parity in the fourth leg, taking out 100 for a 12-darter, with van Barneveld sat on 41 after 9.
Butler was scoring superbly well and fashioned out another break opportunity in leg five, but his decision to hit a 180 when poised on 201 proved costly, as he missed two darts at double, enabling Barney to hit D20 to regain the lead.
Butler held throw in the sixth leg, before missing one dart at D20 for a 4-3 lead and a precious break. Nevertheless, van Barneveld demonstrated why he’s won five world-titles, nervelessly taking out 84 to move one leg away from the knock-out stages.
Butler hit a sumptuous 174 and this match appeared destined for a last-leg decider, but van Barneveld posted a timely 139 and after Larry failed to take out 107, Raymond demonstrated admirable composure, taking out 70 on D4 to seal a hugely important win.
van Barneveld will face ‘The Machine’ James Wade in the last 16 on Tuesday, after Wade secured top spot with a 5-2 victory over Keegan Brown. Brown needed to win to have any chance of progressing, but Wade was ruthless. Keegan missed 3 crucial darts for a 3-2 advantage and was ruthlessly punished by the clinical Aldershot ace.
Wade’s victory also sealed Mark Webster’s last 16 spot, after the Welshman came through a hard-fought tussle against BDO Dutch qualifier Michael van der Horst. The Dutchman led 2-0 and 3-2 at one stage, but Webster showed his class, reeling off three successive legs with some impressive clutch-doubling.
Webster will face World Champion Gary Anderson in Wednesday’s last 16. Anderson consolidated top spot in Group E with a comprehensive 5-1 victory over Andy Boulton.
‘The X-Factor’ converted a classy 101 checkout for his solitary leg, but the Scot was again in imperious form, averaging 101.92 and taking out 121 on the bull to clinch the triumph. Webster will have to be at his very best to topple the Flying Scotsman.
Terry Jenkins secured his qualification to the last 16, but he missed a golden opportunity to top the group and avoid Phil Taylor in the last 16. Jenkins needed just the solitary leg to qualify, but after establishing a 4-2 lead, he missed 5 match darts, including four in the deciding leg, to top the group.
However, the performance of the night undoubtedly was undoubtedly produced by the BDO’s Geert de Vos, who produced the second highest average in Grand Slam history as he whitewashed Jonny Clayton in rapid time. However, after losses in his first two matches, De Vos was cruelly dumped out on legs difference.
De Vos averaged an incredible 113.86, hitting 71% on the doubles to stun a helpless Clayton, who averaged a very creditable 98 himself. The Belgian was on course for a televised world record at one stage, but he’ll take solace from an exquisite performance and the highest average of his career.
He was virtually out of the tournament before proceedings kicked off, but this whitewash win kept his slender hopes alive. However, he was reliant on Thornton whitewashing Jenkins, which obviously did not come to fruition.
Robbie Green made it through to the last 16 of the Grand Slam for the second year in succession, after thrashing former BDO World Masters winner Martin Phillips 5-1 earlier in the evening.
Green was professional if not spectacular, averaging 94.5 and sealing the win with an eye-catching 11-darter. Phillips is a fine player, but didn’t perform to his true capability throughout the event as he leaves Wolverhampton with no points to his name.
Elsewhere, Phil Taylor ended Rowby-John Rodriguez’s hopes of qualifying, as the Power defeated the enigmatic Austrian 5-2, to send Green through in second place in Group H.
Rodriguez posted four maximums and had chances at double in six out of seven legs, but in typical Taylor fashion, the 16-Time World Champion was ruthlessly proficient, punishing the Austrian’s profligacy to maintain his 100% record in this year’s competition.
Robbie Green will take on Robert Thornton in the last 16 on Wednesday, whilst Terry Jenkins and Phil Taylor will also renew their iconic rivalry at the Wolverhampton Civic in two days time.
Tomorrow night, BDO boys Martin Adams and Andy Fordham will be hoping to seal progression to the last 16, whilst Adrian Lewis, Peter Wright and Jelle Klaasen all face a major battle to progress. It is poised to be a fascinating night of action!
SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts
Monday November 9 (7pm-11pm)
Groups E-H Final Games
Jonny Clayton 0-5 Geert De Vos (G)
Robbie Green 5-1 Martin Phillips (H)
Mark Webster 5-3 Michel van der Horst (F)
Gary Anderson 5-1 Andy Boulton (E)
Robert Thornton 5-4 Terry Jenkins (G)
Phil Taylor 5-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez (H)
James Wade 5-2 Keegan Brown (F)
Raymond van Barneveld 5-3 Larry Butler (E)
Second Round Fixtures
Gary Anderson v Mark Webster
James Wade v Raymond van Barneveld
Robert Thornton v Robbie Green
Phil Taylor v Terry Jenkins
Wednesday’s order of play TBC
|Raymond van Barneveld||3||2||1||+5||4|
|Michel van der Horst||3||0||3||-6||0|
|Geert De Vos||3||1||2||-1||2|