The Grand Slam of Darts kicks off this afternoon at the Wolves Civic. 32 stars from the PDC and BDO clash, with a cool £450,000 on offer to the winner.
In the afternoon session on day one of the Grand Slam, the second and third seeds from Groups E-H face off. After that, the top seeds from the same group take on their BDO opponents, who are the fourth seeds.
The eight ties feature a clash between a defending world champion and the second seed, and a current world number one against one of 2017’s breakout stars.
Michael Smith vs James Wilson: 2015 semi-finalist Michael Smith starts his Group G campaign against James Wilson. ‘Bully Boy’ is the only player to have qualified due only to victory on the European Tour. ‘Jammie’ has not yet got through the group stage, and will be looking for a win in his first major meeting with Smith to get off to the right start.
Stephen Bunting vs Jeffrey de Zwaan: Group F kicks off with a meeting between two players who reached the Grand Slam through the PDC Qualifier earlier this month. 2014 quarter-finalist Stephen Bunting will fancy his chances after failing to reach the tournament last year, but first he must overcome debutant Jeffrey de Zwaan.
Simon Whitlock vs Berry van Peer: One of the more uneven-looking contests of the session pits World Grand Prix finalist Simon Whitlock against Berry van Peer, the 2016 World Youth Championship runner-up. Whitlock, who was eliminated after a shock defeat to Jeff Smith last year, will need to be wary of the 21 year-old Dutchman. This Group H game sees the youngest Grand Slam participant taking on one of the PDC’s more experienced figures, but the short format may balance the scales.
Alan Norris vs Corey Cadby: Group E has been billed ‘the Group of Death’, and it kicks off with a game that could go either way. Alan Norris and Corey Cadby are closely matched, as big-mouthed big scorers with a point to prove. Norris will want to do better than last year, when he finished bottom of his group after three defeats. Cadby has a burgeoning reputation to develop, and is a dark horse with some punters.
Dave Chisnall vs Scott Mitchell: Dave Chisnall is not in the most scintillating form, and Group E features plenty of banana skins for the world number eight. Former BDO world champion Scott Mitchell thrashed Adrian Lewis in last year’s Grand Slam. Could ‘Scotty Dog’ sink his teeth into another seeded player?
Mensur Suljovic vs Mark McGeeney: In one of the more intriguing ties of the afternoon, rising PDC star Mensur Suljovic battles BDO world number one Mark McGeeney. The Austrian has staged some impressive tournament runs this year, but was knocked out by BDO star Danny Noppert last year. McGeeney will fancy his chances in Group G, should he win this one.
Gary Anderson vs Cameron Menzies: World Series of Darts finalist Gary Anderson continues his comeback to big-stage action as he takes on fellow Scot Cameron Menzies. The BDO world number six, the first native to win the Scottish Open since Anderson did a decade ago, will be after taking a major scalp. Anderson reached the semi-finals last year, and a win in his Group H opener would help him on the way to going one better.
Peter Wright vs Glen Durrant: The most mouth-watering tie of the afternoon comes at the very end, as PDC world number two Peter Wright takes on BDO world champion Glen Durrant. ‘Duzza’ came through a group featuring then-second seed Gary Anderson in 2016, and is relishing the chance to take on Wright, Corey Cadby and Alan Norris in Group E.
The afternoon’s action kicks off at 1pm GMT.


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Author: Ed McCosh