World number one Michael van Gerwen will face the legendary Steve Beaton in the first-round of the World Grand-Prix, whilst reigning champion Robert Thornton will begin the defence of his title against Stephen Bunting at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin, next week.
The draw for the 2016 World Grand-Prix, which begins on Sunday October 2nd, was made live on the PDC’s official Facebook page, ahead of the final day of Champions League of Darts action.
Van Gerwen will take on 1996 Lakeside world champion Steve Beaton in round-one. Beaton has enjoyed a mini-resurgence this year, reaching the quarter-finals of the recent World Matchplay. However, ‘The Green Machine’ will be hoping to clinch a third World Grand-Prix title.
Robert Thornton, who defeated Van Gerwen in a thrilling final last year, takes on another former Lakeside champion Stephen Bunting. ‘The Thorn’ has endured a slump in form since winning his second major title last year, but he’ll be hoping that a return to Irish soil will have a galvanising effect on his fortunes.
Phil Taylor will go in search of an unprecedented twelfth World Grand-Prix crown against debutant Steve West. West secured his spot for this event by virtue of reaching the final of Players Championship 16 in Barnsley last week, which saw Vincent van der Voort miss out on qualification.
World champion Gary Anderson takes on seven-time ranking winner Jamie Caven, and ‘The Flying Scotsman’ will be hoping to end his Dublin hoodoo, having failed to reach the final in any of his previous attempts.
One of the ties of the round sees two-time world champion Adrian Lewis pitted against in-form Dutchman Jelle Klaasen, who has recently broken into the world’s top ten. Another intriguing battle sees 2012 finalist Mervyn King take on five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld.
Two-time winner James Wade begins his assault for a third Dublin title against nine-time major finalist Terry Jenkins, in a repeat of the 2007 final at the Citywest. In addition, last year’s semi-finalist Mensur Suljovic takes on Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney, who is still recovering from an injury on his throwing hand.
World number five Peter Wright will lock horns with home favourite Brendan Dolan, a finalist here five years ago, whilst another former finalist, Dave Chisnall, takes on tournament debutant Robbie Green. Elsewhere, two further debutants will collide, as Kyle Anderson faces Spanish star Cristo Reyes.
World number eight Michael Smith begins his campaign against former Lakeside finalist Alan Norris, whilst Republic of Ireland star Mick McGowan makes his return to the Citywest stage against former BDO number one James Wilson. Another exciting tie sees last year’s quarter-finalist Ian White takes on Belgian star Kim Huybrechts.
Former world finalist Simon Whitlock will take on Yorkshire star Joe Cullen, whilst Welsh number one Gerwyn Price takes on the emerging Dutchman Benito van de Pas. ‘Big Ben’ will be aiming to record his first ever win at the Grand-Prix, having suffered a first-round defeat on his debut twelve months ago.
The schedule for the World Grand-Prix will be announced and published on Josh’s Dartistry in the coming days.
2016 Unibet World Grand Prix Draw
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Steve Beaton
Mick McGowan v James Wilson
Michael Smith (8) v Alan Norris
Joe Cullen v Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright (5) v Brendan Dolan
Dave Chisnall v Robbie Green
Phil Taylor (4) v Steve West
Mensur Suljovic v Daryl Gurney
Gary Anderson (2) v Jamie Caven
Kyle Anderson v Cristo Reyes
Robert Thornton (7) v Stephen Bunting
Ian White v Kim Huybrechts
James Wade (6) v Terry Jenkins
Gerwyn Price v Benito van de Pas
Adrian Lewis (3) v Jelle Klaasen
Mervyn King v Raymond van Barneveld
Live on Sky Sports, October 2-8, Citywest Hotel, Dublin