Former champions Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld kicked off their Grand Slam campaigns with comprehensive 5-1 victories, as BDO world champion Glen Durrant produced the performance of the opening day to stun second seed Peter Wright in a dramatic double-session at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall.
Michael van Gerwen began the defence of his Grand Slam title with a comprehensive 5-1 win over BDO veteran Ross Montgomery. The scoreline didn’t tell the whole story however. The Scottish debutant had darts at double in four of the six legs and averaged 97.24, but some clinical finishing from the world number one proved decisive.
‘The Green Machine’ kicked off proceedings with a sublime 11-darter, before storming into a 4-0 lead as Montgomery spurned darts at double in each of the next three legs. The Scot averted the whitewash with a brilliant 11-darter of his own, but Van Gerwen replied with a fine 12-darter to wrap up the win.
Van Gerwen will face Rob Cross in the pick of Sunday’s matches, as ‘Voltage’ produced an imperious display on his Grand Slam debut. The former electrician stormed to victory over fellow debutant Joe Murnan; averaging 103.87, piling in two maximums and converting 63% of his attempts at double to triumph 5-1.
Phil Taylor kicked off his assault for a seventh Grand Slam title with an emphatic 5-1 win over BDO World Trophy winner Peter Machin. ‘The Power’, making his final Wolverhampton appearance ahead of his impending retirement, averaged 99.13 and converted 39% of his attempts at double to close out a convincing win.
Taylor will face Robbie Green on Sunday evening, after ‘Kong’ thrashed an off-colour James Wade 5-1 in the other Group C clash. ‘The Machine’, who reached last year’s final, averaged a miserly 83.74 and Green capitalised; averaging 88.42, landed two maximums and dispatched 33% of his attempts at double to kick off his campaign in style.
Raymond van Barneveld began his assault for a second Grand Slam title with an impressive 5-1 win against local favourite Jamie Hughes. The Tipton ace reached the last 16 on his debut last year, but he struggled to make an impression against the five-time world champion, who reeled off five straight legs to ease to his opening group stage win.
The BDO star stole the opening leg after RvB missed three darts at double, but the 2012 Grand Slam champion responded superbly. He converted clinical 76 and 71 combinations to take the lead and ‘Yozza’ was unable to respond, as Van Barneveld rounded off a 5-1 win with a 98.77 average and a 45% checkout conversion rate.
Van Barneveld will take on UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price on Sunday, after Price recorded his highest televised average to defeat Irish qualifier Steve Lennon in a high-quality contest to kick off the evening session. Lennon acquitted himself impressively; averaging 96.90 and hitting three of his six attempts at double.
‘The Iceman’ stormed into an early 3-0 lead and although Lennon reduced the arrears to 3-1, the Welshman instantly restored his three-leg cushion. The Irishman then sealed successive legs to cut the deficit to 4-3, but Price eased any fears of a capitulation to close out an impressive win with a 102.83 average and three maximums.
World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney marked his Grand Slam debut with an impressive 5-1 win over Lakeside finalist Danny Noppert. ‘Super-Chin’, seeded fourth in Wolverhampton, averaged 97.50 and converted 63% of his attempts at double to ease past the Dutchman, who struggled to produce his explosive best.
Mark Webster marked his return to form with a hard-fought win over his namesake Darren earlier in the evening. The Welshman averaged 90.51 and dispatched 39% of his attempts at a double, to punish a profligate display from ‘The Demolition Man’, who despite taking out a stunning 156, hit just three of his thirteen attempts at a double.
Earlier in the afternoon, BDO world champion Glen Durrant produced the performance of the opening day to defeat second seed Peter Wright 5-2. ‘Duzza’ averaged 106.05, landed three maximums and converted 45% of his attempts at double to send a message out to the rest of the field.
Wright drew first blood with an exhibition tops-tops finish, before Durrant responded with clinical 127 and 76 finishes, before following it up with a 14-darter for his third straight leg. Wright cut the deficit to 3-2, but Durrant piled in a 12-darter to move to the cusp of victory, which he duly sealed on D4 after overcoming some finishing-line nerves.
Durrant will meet Alan Norris on Sunday, after ‘Chuck’ fended off a valiant late fightback from Corey Cadby to triumph in a decider. Norris took out two ton-plus checkouts to lead 4-1, but the World-Youth champion reeled off three straight legs to force a decider, only for Norris to survive a match dart and prevail with a fine 13-darter.
Two-time world champion Gary Anderson kicked off his campaign with an entertaining 5-3 win over BDO debutant Cameron Menzies in a battle of the Scots. Menzies relished his Wolverhampton debut, landing two maximums and taking out a stunning 134 finish, but Anderson prevailed in a breathless contest with a solid 96.55 average.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ will now take on Berry van Peer on Sunday afternoon, after the World Youth finalist overcame struggles with dartitis to register a shock win over World Grand Prix finalist Simon Whitlock.
‘The Wizard’ appeared frustrated with the length of time it took Van Peer to release his first dart, but he only had himself to blame; converting just four of his 22 darts at double. The Dutchman continued to toil and held his nerve admirably; surviving six match darts to triumph 5-4 with an 87 average and four maximums.
The St Helen’s duo of Dave Chisnall and Stephen Bunting will meet on Sunday afternoon, after they both registered wins in their opening group games. Chisnall, seeded seventh in Wolverhampton, defied a ton-plus average from 2015 Lakeside world champion Scott Mitchell to register a 5-2 win.
‘Chizzy’ averaged 93.30 to Mitchell’s 100.02, but the 2014 Grand Slam finalist was clinical; crashing in three maximums and converting 42% of his attempts at double. Meanwhile, Bunting survived three match darts to edge past Dutch qualifier Jeffrey de Zwaan, after ‘The Black Cobra’ had fought back from 4-1 down to force a decider.
Elsewhere, Champions League of Darts winner Mensur Suljovic eased past BDO number one Mark McGeeney to kick off his campaign in style. McGeeney secured an early 2-1 advantage but spurned chances to lead 3-1, as Suljovic reeled off four consecutive legs and piled in a stunning 161 checkout to seal victory with a 93.83 average.
Suljovic will take on 2015 semi-finalist Michael Smith in an eye-catching clash on Sunday afternoon, after ‘Bully-Boy’ edged out James Wilson in the opening match of the tournament. Wilson crashed in six maximums in just nine legs of darts, but he missed 14 darts at double as Smith prevailed 5-3 with a solid 97 average.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
bwin Grand Slam of Darts
Saturday November 11
Afternoon Session (1pm)
8x E-H Group Matches
Michael Smith 5-3 James Wilson (G)
Stephen Bunting 5-4 Jeffrey de Zwaan (F)
Berry van Peer 5-4 Simon Whitlock (H)
Alan Norris 5-4 Corey Cadby (E)
Dave Chisnall 5-2 Scott Mitchell (F)
Mensur Suljovic 5-2 Mark McGeeney (G)
Gary Anderson 5-3 Cameron Menzies (H)
Glen Durrant 5-2 Peter Wright (E)
Evening Session (8pm)
8x A-D Group Matches
Gerwyn Price 5-3 Steve Lennon (B)
Robbie Green 5-1 James Wade (C)
Mark Webster 5-3 Darren Webster (D)
Rob Cross 5-1 Joe Murnan (A)
Phil Taylor 5-1 Peter Machin (C)
Michael van Gerwen 5-1 Ross Montgomery (A)
Raymond van Barneveld 5-1 Jamie Hughes (B)
Daryl Gurney 5-1 Danny Noppert (D)
Bwin Grand Slam Group Tables
|1||Michael van Gerwen||1||1||0||5||1||2||+4|
|1||Raymond van Barneveld||1||1||0||5||1||2||+4|
|3||Jeffrey de Zwaan||1||0||1||4||5||0||-1|
|2||Berry van Peer||1||1||0||5||4||2||+1|