Eight games from Groups A-D will help us firm up the Grand Slam of Darts picture heading into Monday.
For the first eight players competing in the evening, Grand Slam hopes will either be reborn or killed off. That’s certainly true for Steve Lennon and Wesley Harms. Both lost 5-2 on Saturday, so another comprehensive defeat would rule them out absolutely. It feels like Harms, who once again didn’t show his best on stage in his loss versus James Wade, is most at risk.
Dave Parletti won’t see defeat to Gary Anderson as a mark of shame, but may be concerned with his own performance. It wouldn’t be enough to beat Darren Webster, even if the Demolition Man is reeling from his own opening day defeat. Webster would’ve fancied his chances ahead of the Grand Slam, so this is an absolute must.
Round two for Mikuru
Jim Williams couldn’t even count on Michael van Gerwen’s cold lending him a hand. The Welshman was swept aside by the PDC’s top dog. That being said, there were moments where more ruthless finishing may have produced a different ending. Williams will feel he’s more than a match for Ross Smith, who lost to Adrian Lewis and will probably need to produce another giant-slaying against Michael van Gerwen to stay in the Grand Slam.
Mikuru Suzuki looked like she had a superb time up on the Wolverhampton stage. And it must be said that the reigning world champion pushed Gerwyn Price hard. She wouldn’t have pegged the defending champion as a vulnerable opponent, but Dimitri van den Bergh – a player blighted by inconsistency and dips in confidence at key moments – is susceptible over a best-of-nine format.
Thorn in Price’s side
Robert Thornton hasn’t been at his best in a long time. Yet on Saturday, we saw flashes of the treble 20-peppering excellence that made the diminutive Scot such a threat in his heyday. Gerwyn Price admitted he felt the pressure in his opener, but will now be focused on stamping his authority on Group C. Defeat could mean a very nervy final group match. He definitely can’t underestimate the Thorn, who loves the underdog role.
James Wade and Ian White made identical starts to their Grand Slam campaigns. Neither match was particularly noteworthy, other than Wade’s excellent 140 out shot. A quiet, unremarkable win would suit both here. Even the loser of this match will feel confident of beating Lennon or Harms, so this is more about identifying a likely group winner than anything. The smart money’s on a tight encounter.
Three world champs and a World Cup finalist
It turns out that William O’Connor’s a bit like a Gremlin. Throwing water into the equation has devastating results. The combustible Irishman was distracted but not deterred by a pre-game incident against Darren Webster. He’ll face Gary Anderson, who isn’t a fan of giving it large (no matter how much old footage of him indulging in the same is dredged up). The Scot will be hoping for another quiet night at the office.
Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis haven’t met at the Grand Slam for six years, though they’ve faced off many a time since. And recent form favours MVG. A run of seven straight wins gives him the edge over Jackpot – being on a hot streak helps too. This is likely to be a free-flowing encounter, with a lot of big scores and big licks given, which is an ideal way to end day two.
Grand Slam of Darts 2019, Day Two
Evening session schedule
19:00 Steve Lennon v Wesley Harms (B)
19:30 Darren Webster v Dave Parletti (D)
20:00 Ross Smith v Jim Williams (A)
20:30 Dimitri Van den Bergh v Mikuru Suzuki (C)
21:00 Gerwyn Price v Robert Thornton (C)
21:30 James Wade v Ian White (B)
22:00 Gary Anderson v William O’Connor (D)
22:30 Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis (A)
Author: Ed McCosh