After Tuesday’s tungsten tussles, we’ll know the lineup for the Grand Slam knockout phase.
Thanks to the Monday darts, half of the draw is filled. Peter Wright will play Rob Cross, Dave Chisnall takes on Ryan Harrington, Gabriel Clemens pits his wits against Glen Durrant and Daryl Gurney faces off against Michael Smith. In the top half, only Michael van Gerwen is certain of Grand Slam progression. That makes Tuesday very interesting indeed.
If you’re unable to watch the games live, or have a couple of screens handy, our live score feature will give you a stat-filled guide through the final day of group stage play.
This will B good
We start in Group B, where BDO number one Wesley Harms needs a miracle. He sits bottom of the standings and yet, thanks to grabbing a few legs here and there, could still make it through. He needs to beat Ian White, concede new fewer than three legs, and hope James Wade beats Steve Lennon. Simple as that, eh? White will be furious at losing out to Wade on Sunday, and is out to prove that he can be ruthless when it counts.
James Wade, meanwhile, is sitting pretty. If he wins three legs against Steve Lennon, he goes through. Of course, five legs seals top spot, and avoids a likely second round showdown with Michael van Gerwen. Such are the fallacies of the Grand Slam bracket that it’s a brief reprieve anyway. Lennon, fresh off that magnificent 167 to do away with Harms, will need to keep a steady consistency against a man who’s famous for doing just that.
Must C games
Michael van Gerwen is rarely in a match that’s the footnote of a session, but here we are. Just a few weeks on from Ross Smith’s superb European Championship win over the world number one, the Kent star aims for another success – but this time, only bragging rights are at stake. MvG is through, Smith is out. Van Gerwen will want a win here to secure the 100 per cent group stage record that evaded him last year.
Robert Thornton’s bid to save his Tour Card, starting at the Grand Slam, is going swimmingly. In typical Thorn fashion, it hasn’t been straightforward. The Scot’s two games have both gone down to the wire. He beat Dimitri van den Bergh, but couldn’t repeat the trick against Gerwyn Price. He’ll want his game against Mikuru Suzuki to end much quicker. The women’s world champion wasn’t as competitive against van den Bergh as in the first game versus Price. Like Lisa Ashton, she’s produced some great moments – there might be more left in her.
Van Den Bergh will be keeping a very close eye on the fourth game of the session. Should Thornton win, the Belgian will be in a straight shootout with the defending champion. That’s particularly true if the Scot wins 5-0 or 5-1. In that case, it really would be the case of winner-goes-through. Price has a perfect record so far without playing anywhere near his best. It’s time to turn it on, even if it means harnessing some of the aggression that the Iceman is trying to wean himself off of. Ultimately, that edge got him through tough moments in last year’s Grand Slam.
A-OK or D-saster
The two Group D games immediately follow the Group C ties, so the successful duo from Price, Thorton and van den Bergh will soon learn their knockout opponents. William O’Connor, despite dropping to third after defeat against an inspired Gary Anderson, is still well-placed. That’s because he takes on Dave Parletti, who has ended up being slightly overwhelmed on debut. There’s no shame in it, given the calibre of opponent. But Parletti will want to grab a win for himself and the BDO, even if his Grand Slam campaign ends tonight.
Gary Anderson is through if William O’Connor fails to win – and if the Irishman does, four legs would seal the deal. But Anderson, fresh off an outstanding win over O’Connor, won’t settle for less than top spot. Finishing first may – or should – delay a tasty rematch of the 2018 Grand Slam final against Gerwyn Price too. Darren Webster needs to make it through more than perhaps any player, other than Thornton. If he can find his magic touch here, Webster would save his Grand Slam and get his whole season back on track. That’s a lot of pressure for anyone. Playing an all-time great doesn’t help matters.
We finish in Group A, where the BDO could yet see one of their own go through. Let’s face it, Glen Durrant really doesn’t count. Of the current crop, none have shone at the Grand Slam. Assuming Harms and Parletti don’t complete amazing turnarounds, it’s all on Jim Williams. He has a chance as well; there’s no doubting the Welshman’s talent. But Adrian Lewis performed quite well against Michael van Gerwen, and wants to get himself back among the PDC’s elite. This could go all the way, and from there it’s down to fine margins. But who will blink first? We’ll have to wait and see.
Grand Slam of Darts 2019 schedule
19:10 Ian White v Wesley Harms (B)
19:40 James Wade v Steve Lennon (B)
20:10 Michael van Gerwen v Ross Smith (A)
20:40 Robert Thornton v Mikuru Suzuki (C)
21:10 Gerwyn Price v Dimitri Van den Bergh (C)
21:40 William O’Connor v Dave Parletti (D)
22:10 Gary Anderson v Darren Webster (D)
22:40 Adrian Lewis v Jim Williams (A)
Tags: BDO, PDC
Author: Ed McCosh