James Wade defeated an off-colour Phil Taylor to book his spot in knockout phases of the Grand Slam of Darts, as Darren Webster edged out his namesake Mark Webster in a dramatic nine-dart shoot-out to seal his spot in the last 16 at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Tuesday evening.
However, the story of the night saw two-time Grand Slam finalist James Wade secure qualification from Group C alongside Phil Taylor, after he recorded a 5-3 win over the 16-time world champion in a scrappy affair. The six-time Grand Slam winner was decidedly off-colour, averaging just 84.88 and converting 21% of his attempts at double.
‘The Power’ claimed the opening leg, but Wade punished a spate of missed doubles from the Stoke-on-Trent veteran to lead 4-2. Taylor reduced the arrears to 4-3 to ensure he would top the group, but ‘The Machine’ produced a magnificent 12-darter out of nowhere to seal victory with a 90.84 average.
Wade knew victory over Taylor would be sufficient to seal qualification, after Robbie Green was beaten by BDO World Trophy winner Peter Machin. ‘Kong’ endured a nightmare evening in Wolverhampton; averaging just 79.06 and hitting just three of his 15 darts at a double, as Machin exited the tournament with a consolation win.
Defending champion Michael van Gerwen clinched top spot in Group A with an imperious 5-2 victory over Joe Murnan. ‘The Green Machine’ secured his third successive win with a dominant display; averaging 108.29, registering two maximums and dispatching 45% of his darts at a double.
Murnan landed a classy 119 finish as he shared the opening four legs with the world number one, but the turning point came in the fifth leg. Van Gerwen took out a stunning 135 outshot for a 12-darter, before exploiting two missed doubles from ‘Shaggy’ in leg six as he raced to a 5-2 triumph.
Rob Cross secured qualification alongside Van Gerwen in Group A, as he defeated BDO star Ross Montgomery 5-2 in their decisive clash. ‘Voltage’ was magnificent; averaging 105.76, landing three maximums and converting 36% of his attempts at double to secure a spot in the knockout phases on his Wolverhampton debut.
Montgomery kicked off proceedings with a stunning 125 finish (25, T20, D20) and the scores were locked at two apiece at one stage. However, Cross fired in an 11-darter to move 3-2 ahead, took out a two-dart 88 combination to move to the cusp of victory, before crashing in an inspired 164 checkout to seal his progression in style.
Cross will now play Raymond van Barneveld for a place in the quarter-finals, after the five-time world champion recorded a convincing 5-2 win over Irish qualifier Steve Lennon to make it three wins from three in Group B.
Van Barneveld and Lennon were battling it out for top spot in the final match of the evening, after Jamie Hughes’ emphatic 5-1 win over Gerwyn Price ensured the pair were through without throwing a dart. However, the legendary Dutchman was in clinical mood to dispatch the Grand Slam debutant.
The decisive moment of the contest came in the third leg, as Lennon spurned two darts at tops for a break of throw. Then, with the scores poised at 2-2, Van Barneveld conjured up a majestic 160 finish which kicked off a sequence of three straight legs, as he wrapped up victory with a 98.37 average, three 180’s and a perfect 100% on the doubles.
As aforementioned, UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price bowed out of the competition after being thrashed 5-1 by BDO star Jamie Hughes. The Tipton ace was unable to qualify for the knockout stages, but he signed off from Wolverhampton in style; averaging 92.34, posting three maximums and converting 42% of his attempts at double.
Elsewhere, World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney clinched top spot in Group D with a comprehensive 5-1 win over Darren Webster. The Northern Irishman averaged 98.80, piled in four maximums and converted 63% of his attempts at a double to maintain his 100% record in this year’s competition, as he prepares to face Wade in the last 16.
However, in the other Group D tie, last year’s Lakeside finalist Danny Noppert eased past Mark Webster. The Dutchman needed to win by at least a 5-1 scoreline to stand any chance of progressing from Group D and although he fell just short, he claimed a consolation win after averaging 90.08 and taking out finishes of 72, 74 and 83.
Nevertheless, as a result, Darren and Mark Webster were both locked on two points with the same legs difference, which saw them contest a dramatic nine-dart shootout to close the evening’s proceedings.
The Welshman threw first and scored a very respectable 298 after 9 darts, but ‘The Demolition Man’ triumphed in dramatic fashion. Requiring 77 with his final three darts, he kicked off with a single 20 and a treble one, before finding a treble 19 with his final dart to set up a last 16 showdown against Phil Taylor.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Tuesday November 14 (7pm)
8x A-D Group Matches
Danny Noppert 5-2 Mark Webster
Daryl Gurney 5-1 Darren Webster
Michael van Gerwen 5-2 Joe Murnan
Rob Cross 5-2 Ross Montgomery
Peter Machin 5-3 Robbie Green
James Wade 5-3 Phil Taylor
Jamie Hughes 5-1 Gerwyn Price
Raymond van Barneveld 5-2 Steve Lennon
|Michael van Gerwen (Q)||3||3||0||+8||6|
|Rob Cross (Q)||3||2||1||+6||4|
|Raymond van Barneveld (Q)||3||3||0||+8||6|
|Steve Lennon (Q)||3||1||2||0||2|
|Phil Taylor (Q)||3||2||1||+3||4|
|James Wade (Q)||3||2||1||+2||4|
|Daryl Gurney (Q)||3||3||0||+10||6|
|Darren Webster (Q)||3||1||2||-3||2|