Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld will collide in the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam of Darts, whilst James Wade and Chris Dobey also sealed their spots in the last eight on a dramatic night at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Thursday evening.
Anderson survived a major scare as he overcame BDO world number three Danny Noppert in a pulsating last-leg decider. In arguably the match of the tournament, Anderson averaged 101.12 to prevail, as Noppert agonisingly lost out despite averaging 100.1 and converting 69% of his attempts at double.
The first five legs all went with throw as ‘The Flying Scotsman’ headed into the first interval with a 3-2 advantage. Nevertheless, Noppert enjoyed an extraordinary purple patch after the break. He levelled up proceedings with a magnificent 10-darter, before securing the first break of throw with a stunning 164 kill.
‘Noppie’ maintained his impeccable success rate on the doubles as he won his third consecutive leg with a classy 13-darter, but Anderson stopped the rot with a 13-darter of his own. The world champion then missed the bull for a 12-darter as he attempted to break back, but Noppert cleaned up 42 in two-darts to restore his two-leg cushion.
Anderson managed to stay in touch by converting a nerveless 68 finish just after the break, before Noppert finally missed his first dart at double and the Scot capitalised. Ando fired in a brilliant 168 to set up D4 and he converted it at the first time of asking to restore parity at six apiece.
The interval certainly seemed to have shifted the momentum and Anderson won his third straight leg to regain the lead at 7-6. The world champion then fired in this third maximum and pinned D10 to move further ahead, after the Dutchman was unable to take out 64.
Anderson moved to within a leg of the quarter-finals by hitting a 14-darter for his fifth straight leg, but normal service was resumed for Noppert as he converted a clinical 107 on tops to remain in contention at 9-7.
This gave the 25-year-old renewed hope and he moved to within a solitary leg of Anderson with a cool 15-dart break of throw. Anderson fired in a spectacular 171 as he attempted to avoid the tension of a last-leg decider but Noppert was unfazed, pinning D12 to round off a fabulous 13-darter.
The world champion had the advantage of throw in the decider and he took full advantage by kicking off the leg with his fourth maximum. Noppert was unable to muster up sufficient scoring power to trouble the Scot, as Anderson clinically converted a 100 finish to round-off a 14-darter and seal his spot in the last eight.
Former Grand Slam winner Raymond van Barneveld saw off BDO world number one Glen Durrant in a high-quality contest to reach the last eight. The five-time world champion averaged 98.19, hit five maximums and converted 53% of his attempts at double to prevail 10-7.
Durrant acquitted himself superbly throughout the tournament and gave Van Barneveld a scare, but the Teesside star ultimately fell short; averaging 95.5, hitting five maximums and converting 41% of his doubles.
The contest got off to a rip-roaring start, with the pair trading maximums in the opening leg. Barney held throw with a clinical 70 checkout, before Durrant pegged him back with a 74 finish of his own. RvB regained the lead with a crucial 80 kill, before the next two legs went with throw, with Van Barneveld averaging 113 at the interval.
Van Barneveld capitalised on a sloppy start from ‘Duzza’ after the interval to claim a 5-2 advantage, but the BDO world number one fought back superbly, reeling off three successive legs to restore parity at five apiece with an average of over 101.
The eleventh leg was ultimately pivotal in the outcome. Barney missed three darts at his preferred D18, but Durrant missed two darts at double to win his fourth straight leg, allowing the legendary Dutchman to return and finally pin D18 to reclaim the initiative.
This gave Van Barneveld a timely boost and he duly exploited this reprieve. The 2012 Grand Slam winner took out 69 on tops to restore his two-leg cushion, before pinning D12 to round-off a 13-darter and move 8-5 ahead.
Durrant stopped the rot by hitting D16 to reduce the deficit to 8-6, but Van Barneveld moved to the cusp of victory with a clinical two-dart 68 kill. ‘Duzza’ remained in contention by winning a scrappy sixteenth leg, but Van Barneveld completed victory by hitting tops, to set up a highly-anticipated showdown with Gary Anderson.
Former finalist James Wade cruised through to the quarter-finals with a comprehensive 10-2 demolition of Benito van de Pas. ‘The Machine’ was hobbling throughout the game although he didn’t limp to victory, averaging 92.87, landing five maximums and converting 33% of his attempts at double to ease past an under-par ‘Big Ben’.
Wade made a very strong start to the contest, winning the opening session without reply after firing in three maximums and averaging over 103. The young Dutchman was desperately struggling for consistency and the left-hander compiled Benito’s misery by converting a majestic 160 checkout to seize an 8-0 lead.
Van de Pas managed to avoid the indignity of a whitewash by pinning tops in the ninth leg, but Wade continued the procession by taking out 90 to move within a leg of victory. Benito doubled his tally after a sloppy eleventh leg from Wade, but ‘The Machine’ eventually pinned D1 at the tenth attempt to round off a business-like performance.
Elsewhere, Chris Dobey survived a valiant fightback from Jamie Hughes to prevail in a thrilling topsy-turvy tussle to open the evening’s proceedings. Dobey led 9-5 but the partisan Wolverhampton crowd affected the 26-year-old as Hughes fought back to force a last-leg decider, only to spurn five match darts in a dramatic conclusion.
The opening four legs of the contest were shared, before Dobey reeled off successive legs to establish a 4-2 cushion. Hughes, ranked fourth in the BDO, then converted a clinical 116 finish to stay in touch, but Dobey’s impressive scoring power proved decisive and ‘Hollywood’ rounded off a stunning 10-dart leg to storm 9-5 ahead.
Nevertheless, Hughes’ partisan local support became far more involved as Dobey approached the finishing line and the BDO ace conjured up a nerveless 72 checkout to stay afloat at 9-6. Dobey then displayed some fragility on the doubles, missing six match darts across two legs as the Tipton ace reduced the deficit to just 9-8.
Hughes then fired in a 174 to break Dobey’s throw once more and force a dramatic last-leg shootout. The BDO star fired in three successive 140’s to leave 24 after just 12 darts, but the tables were turned as ‘Yozza’ squandered five match darts, allowing Dobey to follow up an inspired maximum by pinning D12 to reach his maiden TV quarter-final.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts
Thursday November 17
4x Second Round
Jamie Hughes 9-10 Chris Dobey
Benito van de Pas 2-10 James Wade
Gary Anderson 10-9 Danny Noppert
Raymond van Barneveld 10-7 Glen Durrant