Berry van Peer remarkably overcame his dartitis demons to secure a place in the last 16 of the Grand Slam of Darts, as Peter Wright survived one match dart to sneak through on a dramatic night of action at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, which saw seven out of the eight matches go to deciding legs.
However, the story of the night was Van Peer’s emotionally-charged victory over BDO debutant Cameron Menzies. The effusive Scot spurned seven match darts in a nail-biting deciding leg, as Van Peer held his nerve and overcame his mental barriers to sink D10 and round-off an incredible triumph.
Menzies established an early 2-1 lead, before the Dutchman reeled off three straight legs to lead 4-2, but with the finishing line in sight his demons resurfaced. Menzies capitalised to level, only to then squander seven match darts in a remarkable finale which saw both men in tears on stage at the end.
Elsewhere in Group H, Gary Anderson maintained his 100% group record with an impressive 5-2 win over Simon Whitlock. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ was in sparkling form; averaging 104.73, landing five maximums and converting 71% of his attempts at double, to set up a last 16 tie against his close friend Michael Smith.
‘Bully-Boy’ sealed his spot in the knockout phases with a thrilling 5-4 win over BDO number one Mark McGeeney. McGeeney hadn’t done himself justice in his opening matches, but he produced an impressive display against the 2015 semi-finalist, who averaged 104.90, posted five 180’s and converted 83% of his attempts at double.
Smith stormed into a 4-1 advantage with an average of 112, but McGeeney conjured up brilliant finishes of 117, 124 and 99 to fight back and force a dramatic last-leg shootout. Smith had the advantage of throw, but with McGeeney poised on 67 after just 12 darts, the former World-Youth champion pegged an 87 kill on the bullseye to prevail.
Champions League of Darts winner Mensur Suljovic also survived a major scare to book his spot in the last 16. ‘The Gentle’ needed to win four legs against James Wilson to guarantee his qualification, despite having won his opening two group phase matches.
Wilson led 2-0 at one stage and then finished 124 and 60 to move 4-3 ahead. If Wilson had won 5-3, Suljovic and Smith would have had to contest a nine-dart shootout, but the Austrian followed an earlier 123 checkout with a nerveless 112 kill to force a decider, which he duly won via tops to triumph with a 98.48 average.
World number two Peter Wright survived one match dart as he sneaked through to the last 16. The UK Open champion was pushed all the way by Alan Norris, but he showed his class by producing some mesmeric darts in the final two legs to secure victory with a 98.68 average, three maximums and a 36% checkout success rate.
The first seven legs all went with throw, before ‘Snakebite’ fired in a stunning 170 finish to force a final leg. Norris had the advantage of throw, but Wright fired in his third maximum at the most opportune time to leave 36 after 12 darts. ‘Chuck’ wired tops for a 105 kill and the Scot returned to complete a 14-darter and seal his spot in the last 16.
In the other Group E tie, Corey Cadby defeated table-topper Glen Durrant in another last-leg thriller. The BDO world champion had already sealed his qualification with victories over Wright and Norris, but he was hampered by a bloodied finger during his tie against the World-Youth champion.
The Australian had struggled in his opening two matches and was unable to qualify, but he ended his Wolverhampton campaign on a high. ‘The King’ averaged 97.49, landed four maximums and conjured up a brilliant 12-dart leg to break Durrant’s throw in the final leg, but the BDO star still finished top of the group via legs difference.
Stephen Bunting maintained his 100% record in this year’s competition with an impressive 5-4 win over Scott Mitchell in a battle of the former Lakeside champions. Mitchell knew that a victory would seal him a spot in the knockout phases, after Jeffrey de Zwaan had beaten Dave Chisnall earlier in the evening.
‘Scotty-Dog’ stormed into an early 3-0 lead, but he was unable to complete the job against a spirited Bunting. ‘The Bullet’ averaged 97.28, registered two maximums and boasted a checkout conversion rate of 42% as he won five of the final six legs; punishing an abject final leg from Mitchell to book a last 16 showdown against Peter Wright.
Dave Chisnall was indebted to his St Helen’s counterpart Bunting after coming through Group G despite winning only one of his three matches. The 2014 finalist was beaten 5-4 by Dutch qualifier Jeffrey de Zwaan in an entertaining contest, with ‘The Black Cobra’ averaging 98.08 and dispatching 56% of his darts at double to sign off in style.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
bwin Grand Slam of Darts
Monday November 13 (7pm)
8x E-H Group Matches
Gary Anderson 5-2 Simon Whitlock – Gary Anderson qualifies from Group H
Berry van Peer 5-4 Cameron Menzies – Berry van Peer qualifies from Group H
Corey Cadby 5-4 Glen Durrant – Glen Durrant qualifies from Group E
Peter Wright 5-4 Alan Norris – Peter Wright qualifies from Group E
Michael Smith 5-4 Mark McGeeney – Michael Smith qualifies from Group G
Mensur Suljovic 5-4 James Wilson – Mensur Suljovic qualifies from Group G
Jeffrey de Zwaan 5-4 Dave Chisnall – Dave Chisnall qualifies from Group F
Stephen Bunting 5-4 Scott Mitchell – Stephen Bunting qualifies from Group F
Tuesday November 14 (7pm)
8x A-D Group Matches
Mark Webster v Danny Noppert
Daryl Gurney v Darren Webster
Michael van Gerwen v Joe Murnan
Rob Cross v Ross Montgomery
Robbie Green v Peter Machin
Phil Taylor v James Wade
Gerwyn Price v Jamie Hughes
Raymond van Barneveld v Steve Lennon
|Glen Durrant (Q)||3||2||1||+4||4|
|Corey Cadby (E)||3||1||2||-5||2|
|Jeffrey de Zwaan||3||1||2||-2||2|
|Gary Anderson (Q)||3||3||0||+9||6|
|Berry van Peer||3||2||1||-2||4|
|Simon Whitlock (E)||3||0||3||-7||0|