The field for the Grand Slam of Darts has been finalised.
All eight groups have now been drawn as well for the next major on the PDC calendar. 32 players are in with a shout of Grand Slam glory. That includes eight BDO players, and a whole host of debutants. In a frantic final qualifier on Monday, just one of the pre-tournament seeds made it through. It means that some big-name players won’t be in Wolverhampton – including the following five.
It has become hard to envision a big tournament that doesn’t feature Daryl Gurney. That said, he has only made one previous Grand Slam appearance. That was last year, when he battled to the quarter-finals before a loss to Phil Taylor. The Power said at the time that Gurney didn’t seem like the future of darts, but in reality he is. That makes it all the more surprising that he hasn’t made it this year. Gurney had to rely on the PDC qualifier to earn a spot, but lost to Jan Dekker in the last 64.
As the world number five, Superchin is the highest-ranking absentee.
Dave Chisnall’s game has improved in recent times. After a drop in form, Chizzy has started to find the same consistency that had originally seen him fly up the rankings. Now in a real battle for the world number eight spot with Michael Smith, Chisnall will miss out on vital Grand Slam money. Jeffrey de Zwaan ended the St Helens man’s chances in the last 32 of the PDC qualifier.
Despite a real upturn in form, Adrian Lewis misses out on a second Grand Slam in a row. The two-time semi-finalist and double world champion has reached one final this season, in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy, but couldn’t take the title. That would’ve seen him through to Wolverhampton but it wasn’t to be, and Andrew Gilding thrashed Jackpot in the PDC qualifier.
Another top player who couldn’t claim a Grand Slam spot in Wigan was Darren Webster. The Demolition Man was knocked out by Ryan Searle in his board semi-final. Talk of Webster crashing the Premier League party has snowballed in recent months. But he needs a strong major performance to present a concrete bid; missing out on the Grand Slam will hurt his chances.
Joe Cullen is also worth a mention as a big absentee, along with the likes of Jelle Klaasen, Kim Huybrechts and Kyle Anderson.
A controversial one, this. The BDO selected their eight entrants but opted not to include women’s Lakeside champion Lisa Ashton. The decision prompted a furious response from Bobby George, as well as Ashton herself. As a world champion, it is widely felt that Ashton had the right to follow in the footsteps of Francis Hoenselaar and Anastasia Dobromyslova. But she was snubbed in favour of high-ranking male players.
On the men’s side, Scott Waites is a high-profile omission. The only BDO representative to win the Grand Slam didn’t do enough to qualify.Tags: Grand Slam of Darts 2018 | PDC
Author: Ed McCosh