Michael van Gerwen will begin the defence of his Grand Slam of Darts title against legendary three-time Lakeside world champion Martin Adams, after the draw for this year’s event at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall was made on Monday afternoon.
Van Gerwen, who produced a staggering comeback to defeat Phil Taylor and win his maiden Grand Slam title twelve months ago, will face a stern test against the 60-year-old Adams, who thrived on his debut in Wolverhampton last year.
‘Wolfie’ won all three of his group games against Jelle Klaasen, Ian White & Steve Beaton respectively, before succumbing to Kim Huybrechts in a last-leg shootout in the last 16. MvG and Adams will also be joined in Group A by former World Grand Prix finalist Brendan Dolan, and World-Youth champion Max Hopp.
Six-time Grand Slam winner Phil Taylor has been handed a relatively kind draw. ‘The Power’ has been pitted with his fellow Stokie Ian White, Darren Webster and BDO veteran Darryl Fitton, who qualified for this year’s event by virtue of winning the 2016 World Trophy back in May.
World champion Gary Anderson will lock horns with BDO world number one Glen Durrant in a tasty looking Group E. Anderson reached the final in Wolverhampton back in 2011, whilst Durrant will be making his Grand Slam debut. They’ll be joined by German Darts Champion Alan Norris, and PDC qualifier Nathan Derry.
Former Grand Slam finalist James Wade has been drawn in this year’s ‘Group of Death’. Wade, seeded sixth this year, has been pitted in Group G alongside 2014 finalist Dave Chisnall, former BDO world number one James Wilson and current BDO world number four Jamie Hughes.
Two world champions will collide in Group H as Adrian Lewis locks horns with 2015 Lakeside world champion Scott Mitchell. Mitchell was knocked out in the group stages last year, although he’ll be hoping to improve on that showing, as the pair are also drawn alongside talented youngsters Benito van de Pas and Chris Dobey.
European Championship finalist Mensur Suljovic will meet five-time world champion and 2012 Grand Slam winner Raymond van Barneveld in Group F’s standout tie. Suljovic was seeded in pot one after jumping to a career high of seventh on the PDC Order of Merit following his run to last week’s European Championship final.
His reward is a tie against Van Barneveld, who is one of only four players to have ever won the Grand Slam crown. Suljovic and Barney will be joined in Group F by World Youth finalist Nathan Aspinall, and BDO world number three Danny Noppert.
Five-time major finalist Peter Wright has been handed a difficult group. Snakebite, who suffered World Series heartbreak against Michael van Gerwen on Sunday night, has been drawn with the in-form Simon Whitlock, 19-year-old PDC qualifier Ted Evetts, and 2016 Lakeside finalist Jeff Smith.
Former finalist and eighth seed Robert Thornton will do battle with reigning Lakeside champion Scott Waites in Group B. Waites won the Grand Slam back in 2010 by defeating James Wade in the final, and he’ll be hoping to repeat these heroics this time around.
Thornton, runner-up to Phil Taylor back in 2013, is desperately searching for form and he is joined in Group B by two-time Players Championship winner Gerwyn Price and Belgian hotshot Dimitri van den Bergh.
The opening stage of the event is a round-robin format, with all matches being contested over the best of 9 legs. The top two from each group will progress through to the last 16 knockout stage.
The tournament begins live on Sky Sports on Saturday November 12th, and the full schedule of play will be announced in the coming days.
SINGHA BEER GRAND SLAM OF DARTS
|(1) Michael van Gerwen|
|(8) Robert Thornton|
|Dimitri van den Bergh|
|(5) Peter Wright|
|(4) Phil Taylor|
|(2) Gary Anderson|
|(7) Mensur Suljovic|
|Raymond van Barneveld|
|(6) James Wade|
|(3) Adrian Lewis|
|Benito van de Pas|