Former champions Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld all fought back from 4-2 down to triumph on a thrilling day of Grand Slam action at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Sunday evening.
Van Gerwen and Taylor both had to survive multiple match darts in their respective matches, whilst Van Barneveld battled back from 3-0 and 4-2 behind to defeat UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price in a thriller, as Gary Anderson and Glen Durrant also impressed to confirm their spots in the last 16.
However, the stand-out tie saw Van Gerwen survive two match darts as he edged out Rob Cross in one of the greatest games ever seen in the Grand Slam group phase. The pair- meeting for the third successive televised tournament in succession, both recorded ton-topping averages but it was the world number one who prevailed in a thriller.
Cross crashed in a majestic 170 finish to lead 4-2 and he appeared on the verge of ending Van Gerwen’s 16-game unbeaten run. However, ‘Voltage’ spurned two match darts for a 5-3 win and MvG capitalised on his good fortune and fired in a sensational 11-dart leg in the deciding leg to triumph with a 108.28 average and confirm his qualification.
Cross now faces a straight shootout with BDO veteran Ross Montgomery, who kept alive his qualification hopes with an impressive 5-3 win over Joe Murnan to kick off the evening session. The Scottish captain averaged 100.96, registered four maximums and converted 63% of his attempts at double to cap off a quality display.
Phil Taylor survived four match darts as he edged out Robbie Green in a thrilling last-leg decider. ‘The Power’ endured a nightmare in the finishing department early on and ‘Kong capitalised’. However, he was unable to round-off a victory that would have sealed his qualification to the knockout phases, as Taylor triumphed with a 99.39 average.
The Stoke star converted just one of his first 14 darts at double, but trailing 4-2, he took out a fine 93 kill to stay alive before squaring the match with a nerveless 105 outshot after Green spurned four match darts. The 16-time world champion had the advantage of throw in the decider and completed the comeback with a sublime 12-darter.
Elsewhere, two-time Grand Slam finalist James Wade recovered from his disappointing 5-1 defeat against Robbie Green by beating BDO World Trophy winner Peter Machin by the same scoreline. ‘The Machine’ averaged 91.47 and dispatched 45% of his attempts at double to triumph, but he may need to defeat Taylor in his final group game to qualify.
Raymond van Barneveld produced a stirring fightback to defeat UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price in an epic deciding-leg tussle in Group B. ‘The Iceman’ made a blistering start and stormed into a 3-0 lead with a double break of throw, but the 2012 Grand Slam champion won five of the remaining six legs to triumph with a 98.81 average.
With Price leading 3-0, Barney responded to cut the arrears to 3-2, only for Price to fire in a 12-darter to move to the cusp of victory. However, the five-time world champion sank a nerveless 104 finish to stay alive with the Welshman sat on tops for the match, before winning the remaining two legs in 15 and 13 darts to complete the comeback.
Also in Group B, Steve Lennon produced a stunning display to whitewash local favourite Jamie Hughes. The Irish qualifier averaged 100.20 and hit five of his nine attempts at double to punish an abject ‘Yozza’, who averaged just 74.29 and is now unable to qualify for the last 16.
Daryl Gurney maintained his 100% record in Group D with a hard-fought 5-3 win over Mark Webster. The World Grand Prix champion wasn’t at his explosive best but produced a clinical display of finishing to defeat the former Lakeside world champion; averaging 96.08 and boasting a checkout conversion rate of 71%.
In the other Group D clash, Darren Webster produced a classy display to defeat Lakeside finalist Danny Noppert in a high-quality affair. ‘The Demolition Man’ averaged 103.44 and converted 83% of his attempts at double in a clinical display, but he may need to defeat fourth seed Gurney in his final group tie to seal qualification.
Two-time world champion Gary Anderson booked his place in the last 16 after defeating Berry van Peer 5-1 in an emotionally charged contest. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ was sensational; averaging 111.79 and converting 71% of his attempts at double, but the result was almost secondary.
Van Peer endured obvious struggles with dartitis in his win against Simon Whitlock, but his woes deepened against the third seed. The young Dutchman broke down in tears at one stage, but Gary Anderson and Russ Bray consoled the brave 21-year-old in heart-warming scenes.
Van Peer faces a straight knockout against BDO star Cameron Menzies on Monday evening, after the Scottish Open winner recorded a surprise 5-2 win over Whitlock to condemn ‘The Wizard’ to a group stage exit. The exuberant Scot averaged 90.79, piled in two 180’s and capped off a fine victory with an unorthodox 116 finish (T20, T16, D4).
Peter Wright kept his hopes alive with a whitewash win over Corey Cadby. Snakebite was beaten 5-2 by an inspired Glen Durrant on Saturday afternoon, but he brushed aside the out-of-sorts World Youth champion, averaging 98.88, landing three maximums and converting 45% of his attempts at double to end the Australian’s Grand Slam dream.
Wright will now face a straight shoot-out with Alan Norris for a place in the last 16, after ‘Chuck’ was edged out 5-3 by Glen Durrant. The BDO world champion produced another imperious display; averaging 103.50, firing in the solitary maximum and converting 63% of his attempts at double to guarantee his spot in the knockout phases.
Stephen Bunting continued his resurgence to ease past his fellow St Helen’s star Dave Chisnall. ‘Chizzy’ struggled throughout, averaging just 85 and uncharacteristically failing to post a maximum. He avoided the whitewash, but Bunting closed out a 5-2 triumph with a 90.55 average, three maximums and a 45% checkout conversion rate.
The other tie in that group saw 2015 Lakeside champion Scott Mitchell battle past Dutch qualifier Jeffrey de Zwaan. ‘The Black Cobra’ landed five maximums but converted just three of his sixteen attempts at double and Mitchell capitalised; prevailing 5-3 despite averaging a modest 86.95.
Nevertheless, all four players in Group F can still qualify for the knockout phases. De Zwaan must defeat Dave Chisnall in his final group game to have any chance of progressing, whilst table-topper Bunting takes on his former BDO colleague Mitchell in his last remaining group contest.
Mensur Suljovic edged out Michael Smith in an absorbing nine-leg tussle to put himself in pole position to qualify. ‘Bully Boy’ landed five maximums and averaged 100.79, but he was unable to break the clinical Austrian, who fired in a stunning 11-darter in the decider to triumph with an impressive 102.84 average, as all nine legs went with throw.
In the other Group G tussle, James Wilson reeled off five consecutive legs to defeat BDO number one Mark McGeeney. McGeeney started strongly but squandered eight of his ten darts at double, whereas ‘The Jammie Dodger’ was clinical. Wilson averaged 92.73 but crucially pinned five of his seven darts at double to keep his qualifying hopes alive.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
bwin Grand Slam of Darts
Sunday November 12
Afternoon Session (1pm)
8x E-H Group Matches
Scott Mitchell 5-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan
James Wilson 5-2 Mark McGeeney
Peter Wright 5-0 Corey Cadby
Cameron Menzies 5-2 Simon Whitlock
Mensur Suljovic 5-4 Michael Smith
Gary Anderson 5-1 Berry van Peer
Glen Durrant 5-3 Alan Norris
Stephen Bunting 5-2 Dave Chisnall
Evening Session (7pm)
8x A-D Group Matches
Ross Montgomery 5-3 Joe Murnan
Darren Webster 5-2 Danny Noppert
Steve Lennon 5-0 Jamie Hughes
James Wade 5-1 Peter Machin
Daryl Gurney 5-3 Mark Webster
Phil Taylor 5-4 Robbie Green
Michael van Gerwen 5-4 Rob Cross
Raymond van Barneveld 5-4 Gerwyn Price
Bwin Grand Slam Group Tables
|1||Michael van Gerwen (Q)||2||2||0||10||5||4||+5|
|1||Raymond van Barneveld||2||2||0||10||5||4||+5|
|1||Glen Durrant (Q)||2||2||0||10||5||4||+5|
|4||Jeffrey de Zwaan||2||0||2||7||10||0||-3|
|1||Gary Anderson (Q)||2||2||0||10||4||4||+6|
|3||Berry van Peer||2||1||1||6||9||2||-3|