Reigning champion Gerwyn Price continued his Grand Slam of Darts title defence with victory over Dimitri Van den Bergh on Tuesday night at the Aldersley Leisure Village, whilst Gary Anderson, James Wade and Adrian Lewis also progressed as the group stage drew to a close in Wolverhampton.
Michael van Gerwen was the only man assured of qualification heading into Tuesday’s action, although ‘The Green Machine’ was joined by Anderson, Price, Wade, Lewis, Ian White, Darren Webster and Robert Thornton in coming through in the top half of the draw.
Defending champion Price maintained his 100% record in this year’s competition with a 5-2 win over World Youth champion Van den Bergh – which saw the Belgian eliminated at the expense of 2013 finalist Robert Thornton.
Price stormed into a seemingly unassailable 4-0 lead before spurning match darts as Van den Bergh reduced the arrears to 4-2. However, with ‘The Dream Maker’ threatening an unlikely comeback, Price sank a nerveless 97 kill to prevail with a 97.14, three 180’s and a 50% conversion rate.
His victory sealed Thornton’s progression and the two-time PDC major winner will now face fellow countryman Anderson for a place in the quarter-finals. ‘The Thorn’ was given a thorough examination by women’s world champion Mikuru Suzuki, eventually running out a 5-3 winner.
The opening six legs all went with throw as Suzuki defied a barrage of maximum hitting from the Scot, but Thornton’s experience paid dividends in the closing stages, as he won the remaining two legs to triumph with a 94.25 average, four maximums and a 42% checkout success rate.
Gary Anderson progressed through to the last 16 as Group D winner, despite losing out to Darren Webster, who qualifies as runner-up. Anderson won his opening two group games and was assured of qualification before toeing the oche, after Dave Parletti overcame William O’Connor.
Anderson seemed destined to make it three successive wins after racing into an early 3-1 lead, but Webster converted clinical 113 and 110 finishes to level up proceedings and ‘The Demolition Man’ closed out a fine 5-4 success with a 100.86 average and a 63% checkout success rate.
Webster required just two legs against ‘The Flying Scotsman’ after BDO star Parletti secured a consolation win against O’Connor to leave Wolverhampton with a morale-boosting win. ‘The Magpie’ was profligate in the finishing department and Parletti duly profited to prevail 5-2.
James Wade secured top spot in Group B despite slipping to a 5-4 defeat against Steve Lennon, who failed to qualify despite winning two of his three group games. Wade established a commanding 3-0 cushion but completely lost his way, as Lennon capitalised to prevail with a 91.73 and four 180’s.
Wade will renew his rivalry with two-time world champion Lewis in the last 16, after ‘Jackpot’ rolled back the years to recover from 3-1 down and defeat BDO World Trophy winner Jim Williams in a straight shootout in Group A.
Williams capitalised on some profligate doubling from Lewis to establish a 3-1 lead, but the 34-year-old fought back magnificently, firing in four maximums in three legs to turn the match on its head, before sealing his progression with a nerveless 113 checkout to spark jubilant celebrations.
Ian White progressed to the knockout phases for the first time in four attempts after defying a spirited fightback from BDO No 1 Wesley Harms to prevail in a hard-fought last-leg shootout. Harms averaged 97.66 and crashed in three maximums, but it wasn’t enough to defeat ‘The Diamond’.
White cruised into an early 3-0 lead before the Dutchman reeled off three on the spin to restore parity, but two 14-dart holds saw the Stoke star progress as runner-up in Group B on head-to-head record, as Wade and White both finished on four points with a +3 leg difference.
White’s reward is a last 16 showdown against top seed Michael van Gerwen, who posted the ninth highest average in Grand Slam history to confirm top spot in Group A. Smith was the last person to defeat MvG at the European Championship, but Van Gerwen gained retribution in emphatic fashion.
‘The Green Machine’ was threatening a world record average at one stage, averaging 123 after the opening three legs. However, the three-time Grand Slam champion had to settle for a 111.38 average, with legs of 12, 13, 12, 12 and 12 darts en route to victory.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts
Tuesday November 12 (1900 GMT)
Groups A-D Final Matches
Ian White 5-4 Wesley Harms (B)
Steve Lennon 5-4 James Wade (B)
Michael van Gerwen 5-2 Ross Smith (A)
Robert Thornton 5-3 Mikuru Suzuki (C)
Gerwyn Price 5-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh (C)
Dave Parletti 5-2 William O’Connor (D)
Darren Webster 5-4 Gary Anderson (D)
Adrian Lewis 5-3 Jim Williams (A)
Wednesday November 13 (1900 GMT)
Second Round x4
Dave Chisnall v Ryan Harrington
Gabriel Clemens v Glen Durrant
Michael Smith v Daryl Gurney
Peter Wright v Rob Cross
Thursday November 14 (1900 GMT)
Second Round x4
Groups A-D Qualifiers – Order TBC
Michael van Gerwen v Ian White
James Wade v Adrian Lewis
Gerwyn Price v Darren Webster
Gary Anderson v Robert Thornton