Michael Smith whitewashed Raymond van Barneveld 5-0 to dump the 2012 champion out of the Grand Slam of Darts, as Michael van Gerwen advanced to the knockout stages on another night of drama in Wolverhampton.
However, after Glen Durrant’s surprise exit on Monday night, Van Barneveld became the latest big name to depart the cross-code tournament, after losing out to an imperious ‘Bully Boy’ at the Aldersley Leisure Village.
The five-time world champion needed to beat Smith by a 5-3 scoreline or better to progress, but the World No 9 was in rampant mood; averaging 98.88 and converting 50% of his attempts at double to secure top spot in Group B, to set up a pulsating 16 showdown with Michael van Gerwen, in a repeat of this year’s Premier League Final.
Barney spurned two darts to hold throw in the opening leg, but these were the only opportunities the Dutchman was afforded, as Smith recorded legs of 17, 17, 15, 13 and 14 darts to condemn Van Barneveld to just his third group-stage exit since the tournament’s inception in 2007.
Elsewhere in Group B, Krzysztof Ratajski booked his place in the knockout phases with an impressive 5-1 victory over Adam Smith-Neale. ‘The Polish Eagle’ averaged 101.93, registered two maximums and converted 56% of his attempts at double to cap off a dominant display, having taken out finishes of 85, 92 and 84 en route.
Michael van Gerwen continued his bid for a fourth successive Grand Slam of Darts title with a comfortable 5-1 win over Joe Murnan. ‘The Green Machine’ suffered a shock defeat to Jonny Clayton in his second group game, but MvG knew victory over Murnan would seal his place in the knockout stages, and he made no mistake on this occasion.
The world number one wasn’t at his vintage best; averaging 97.33, landing two maximums and converting 42% of his attempts at a double. However, he cruised past an out-of-sorts Murnan, who conjured up a majestic 11-darter in the fifth leg out of nowhere, but still averaged a miserly 79.85.
However, Van Gerwen had to settle for second spot in Group A, after Jonny Clayton battled past Gary Robson to maintain his 100% record at this year’s event. ‘The Ferret’ led 4-1, only for ‘Robbo’ to fight back and threaten another heroic comeback, but the Welshman held his nerve to pin D10 and round-off a 5-3 win with an 87.37 average.
Two-time world champion Gary Anderson made it three wins from three in Group D with an emphatic win over Steve Hine, who picked up just four legs from his three matches. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ averaged 100.13, posted two maximums and converted 50% of his attempts at double to wrap up a 5-1 win over ‘The Muffin Man’.
Elsewhere in Group D, Michael Unterbuchner became the first BDO representative to reach the last 16, as he recorded a surprise 5-3 win over Ian White in a straight shootout for qualification. ‘The Diamond’ crashed in three maximums but spurned 16 darts at double, which enabled the BDO World Trophy finalist to record a surprise victory.
White kicked off proceedings with a clinical 104 kill, but Unterbuchner reeled off three legs on the spin to seal command; taking out a 94 finish in leg three after the Stoke star wasted seven darts at double. White restored parity at three apiece, but the BDO man held his nerve; recording legs of 15 and 14 darts to advance to round-two.
James Wade continued his magnificent form to top Group C, after recording a comprehensive 5-1 victory over Mark Webster in the evening’s curtain-raiser. Wade was already assured of his qualification prior to Tuesday’s clash, whilst Webster was simply playing for pride, but the Welshman was barely given a sniff by the imperious ‘Machine’.
Wade averaged 101.72, fired in two maximums and boasted an impressive 71% checkout success rate, converting finishes of 71, 107 and 70 to extend his winning run to 13 matches, as Webster was only afforded the solitary dart at a double.
Elsewhere in Group C, Wesley Harms edged out Keegan Brown in a nine-leg thriller to set up a last 16 showdown with Gary Anderson. Harms was whitewashed by James Wade in his opening fixture, but he completed a remarkable recovery by prevailing in a high-quality affair; averaging 103.98 to Brown’s 103.66, with both players posting five 180s.
Brown drew first blood with a 16-dart hold, but Harms levelled with a 12-darter. The former World Youth champion then won the next two legs in 12 and 11 darts to move 3-1 ahead, but the Dutchman restored parity at three apiece after winning the next two legs in just 26 darts.
The incredible standard continued as Brown converted a 71 checkout on the bull to move 4-3 ahead, but Harms fired in back-to-back maximums and sank a two-dart 96 combination to complete an 11-dart hold and force a decider. Brown had the throw, but missed D12 for a 138 match-clincher as ‘Sparky’ held his nerve to triumph on D10.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2018 bwin Grand Slam of Darts
Schedule of Play
Tuesday November 13 (1900 GMT)
James Wade 5-1 Mark Webster (C)
Gary Anderson 5-1 Steve Hine (D)
Michael Unterbuchner 5-3 Ian White (D)
Wesley Harms 5-4 Keegan Brown (C)
Michael van Gerwen 5-1 Joe Murnan (A)
Jonny Clayton 5-3 Gary Robson (A)
Krzysztof Ratajski 5-1 Adam Smith-Neale (B)
Michael Smith 5-0 Raymond van Barneveld (B)
Wednesday November 14 (1900 GMT)
Stephen Bunting v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Gerwyn Price v Josh Payne
Rob Cross v Mensur Suljovic
Peter Wright v Simon Whitlock
Thursday November 15 (1900 GMT)
Jonny Clayton v Krzysztof Ratajski
James Wade v Michael Unterbuchner
Gary Anderson v Wesley Harms
Michael Smith v Michael van Gerwen