Gerwyn Price will begin the defence of his Grand Slam of Darts title against BDO women’s world champion Mikuru Suzuki, after the group stage draw for the cross-code event was made on Tuesday afternoon.
The 32-player tournament sees 24 PDC aces joined by eight BDO representatives to compete at Wolverhampton’s Aldersley Leisure Village from November 9-17. The opening four days feature a group stage with the 32 players drawn into eight groups of four, with the top two progressing to the knockout stages.
Price defeated Gary Anderson in last year’s infamous final to scoop his first major PDC title and the Welshman has been pitted against debutant Suzuki in his Group C opener – with the Japanese sensation one of two female players competing in this year’s event.
Price will also come up against reigning World Youth champion Dimitri Van den Bergh, who hit a nine-darter en route to reaching the quarter-finals 12 months ago, whilst 2013 finalist Robert Thornton returns to the event for the first time since 2016 after coming through qualification on Monday.
Top seed Michael van Gerwen will take on two-time world champion Adrian Lewis in Group A, with ‘Jackpot’ also coming through Monday night’s Tour Card qualifier.
‘The Green Machine’ will also face Ross Smith – the man who dumped Van Gerwen out in the first round of October’s European Championship. BDO World Trophy winner Jim Williams makes up Group A, with the Welshman making his second consecutive appearance in the event.
Last year’s finalist Gary Anderson will begin his campaign against BDO debutant Dave Parletti. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ has yet to lift this title despite being an ever-present since the tournament’s inception and he’s also been pitted against Darren Webster and World Cup finalist William O’Connor.
World Matchplay champion Rob Cross has been handed a tough assignment in Group E, where he will play three-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton on Saturday in Wolverhampton. ‘The Lancashire Rose’ – who featured in last year’s PDC World Championship, is making her Grand Slam bow in 2019.
Cross will lock horns with World Grand Prix finalist Dave Chisnall, who knocked out ‘Voltage’ at last weekend’s World Series of Darts Finals. Local lad Jamie Hughes makes up Group E, with the Tipton ace having to come through qualifying despite winning June’s Czech Darts Open.
Group H is arguably this year’s group of death, with third seed Michael Smith set to take on two former major champions. ‘Bully Boy’ is still searching for his elusive first televised title and he begins his bid for Grand Slam glory against Glen Durrant – the man he beat to reach the World Matchplay final.
Durrant has enjoyed a stunning start to life in the PDC but will represent the BDO in this year’s event as their reigning champion. Elsewhere, the pair will come up against UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall and World Cup star Martin Schindler – a finalist in last year’s World Youth Championship.
Sixth seed Daryl Gurney will face his World Cup partner Brendan Dolan in Group G. ‘The History-Maker’ has enjoyed a remarkable revival over recent months, winning two Players Championship titles to edge closer to a return to the world’s top 32.
Dolan and German Darts Masters finalist Gabriel Clemens both came through qualifying to seal their spots at the Aldersley Leisure Village, where they will also clash with BDO World Trophy finalist Richard Veenstra, who is set to make his debut in the cross-code competition.
Former finalist Peter Wright has been handed a relatively kind draw in Group F. ‘Snakebite’ will face World Series Finals runner-up Danny Noppert, BDO debutant Wayne Warren and qualifier Ryan Harrington – son of former World Matchplay champion Rod.
Two-time finalist James Wade headlines Group B and the nine-time major winner will face BDO number one Wesley Harms for the third time in the Grand Slam group stage. Wade also comes up against world no 10 Ian White and Steve Lennon – a World Cup finalist for Republic of Ireland in June.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
(1) Michael van Gerwen
(8) James Wade
(5) Gerwyn Price
Dimitri Van den Bergh
(4) Gary Anderson
(2) Rob Cross
(7) Peter Wright
(6) Daryl Gurney
(3) Michael Smith