There is just no escaping the big darts tournaments at present and in the words of the late Sid Waddell ‘top class tungsten’ is guaranteed over the next 9 days. The Grand Slam is a PDC event but invitations are extended to the last five BDO World Champions and also the additional three semi finalists for the past two BDO World Championships. Martin Adams is not invited due to previous refusals to take part and this year there are five BDO players attending, Ted Hankey is qualified due to his BDO exploits but is, of course, a PDC player now. Scott Waites has shown that BDO players are far from out of their depth in this competition, in his four appearances at Wolverhampton, he has not only won the event in 2010, he was runner up in 2009 and also reached the quarter finals last year.
Last year, the tournament seemed to be destined to be won by Michael Van Gerwen as he raced through the knockout stages averaging over 100 in the last 16, last 8 and semi finals but was beaten by 16-14 Raymond Van Barneveld in a high quality final. The two players could meet again in the final as they are drawn in opposite halves but that is just the start of the story with this years draw. Phil Taylor, Michael Van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis are all in the groups A-D so in the top half of the draw along with James Wade, Gary Anderson and in form Kim Huybrechts. It is a top heavy draw and with Whitlock in patchy form, there is a big opportunity for a number of players in the bottom half of the draw if Barney fails to reproduce his form from last year, the question who will take that opportunity.
To cover the top half, clearly logic would suggest that one of MVG, Lewis and Taylor will progress from this half given their form levels of late. Taylor in particular seems to be back to that level of form where he is seemingly capable of sweeping all before him with little in the way of difficulty. Lewis’s performances last week were particularly impressive given the fever he was suffering and could be a big danger man this week. Of course, MVG is capable of brilliance of his own and is not one to write off. Wade looks one to swerve this week based on his ongoing erratic behaviour and antics, Huybrechts is in the form of his life but my eye is caught my Gary Anderson, quite simply he is due a big run in TV major and is capable of performances up there with the big three in this half.
As I have already mentioned, the bottom half could be wide open and there question marks over all four seeded players in this half. Defending champion, Raymond Van Barneveld will have solid claims if he has no issues with back to back TV majors which could be a doubt. Scott Waites has added another tournament win to this BDO World Championship this year but overall his form is probably below par. Hamilton is a consistent player and should go well but he has a tricky group to overcome, Whitlock is well below his best at the moment and may well not progress beyond the last 16. Chisnall and Pipe could well be players to note in this half but I think Wes Newton is the man to progress from this half, he played well against Taylor in Edinburgh despite losing heavily and has shown good form in the past three months.
- 2013 World Grand Prix Darts Preivew (carlothesportsman.wordpress.com)
- The Masters (Darts) Preview & Tips (carlothesportsman.wordpress.com)
- Barneveld drawn with O’Shea for Grand Slam (espn.co.uk)
- The PDC Masters Preview (thedartsheet.com)
- 2013 Grand Slam of Darts (en.wikipedia.org)