Darts returns to Wolverhampton on the 7th of November, for the 9th staging of the Grand Slam. 32 players will compete over nine days, with eight representatives from the BDO. Phil Taylor has dominated this event in the past, winning on six occasions. Raymond Van Barneveld and Scott Waites are also previous winners of the trophy.
Michael Van Gerwen
PDC world number one Michael Van Gerwen will start as favourite to top the group. Kim Huybrechts will be expected to join MVG in the last 16, the Belgian ace proved what he is capable of in this event last year, where he reached the semi-finals, defeating MVG along the way. Steve West came through the PDC qualifiers to reach this stage. He has experience on the big stage, so he can’t be ruled out of springing a surprise. Dutchman Mark Oosterhuis qualified through the BDO qualifiers, and will find it difficult to progress from this group.
Three-time BDO world champion Martin Adams makes his debut in the Grand Slam. How far can the former three times BDO world champion go? He faces a tough task if he is to make the last 16. Ian White is seeded number eight for this tournament, and he is one of the form players currently in the PDC. As is former BDO world champion Jelle Klaasen. Both will expect to advance to the knockout stages. Steve Beaton is also a dangerous player, who has the ability to beat anyone on his day. All four players have a realistic chance of making the last 16.
Adrian Lewis is capable of winning any tournament, at any time. Michael Smith has the potential to be one of the best players in the world. Both should breeze through this group. The danger is that one, or both of them may become complacent. If that happens, then Wayne Jones could take full advantage. Jones was one of the top players in the PDC several years ago, and is now coming back into form. I’m not sure what to expect of Andy Fordham, it will be fantastic to see him back on the big stage, and I hope he can do himself justice.
This is the ‘group of death’. Made up of three of the PDC’s top 16, and the reigning BDO world champion. Peter Wright is playing great, and he will be favourite to top the group. Dave Chisnall made the final of this event just 12 months ago, if he brings his A game, he could repeat that feat. Both Mervyn King and Scott Mitchell are world class players, and could make it through to the last 16. Mitchell will have a lot of pressure on him, as the current BDO world champion. Can he handle the expectation?
Raymond Van Barneveld
Reigning PDC world champion Gary Anderson should make it out of this group. He will be determined to win this competition for the first time. He is currently one of the best two players in the world, along with MVG. Raymond Van Barneveld has previously won this trophy, and can do it again this year. But which RVB will turn up? Andy Boulton qualified through the PDC qualifiers, and he will be looking to cause an upset. Larry Butler has a vast amount of experience. The former world matchplay winner is rejuvenated after his heroics at this year’s world masters.
Michael Van Der Hoorst
James Wade is almost back to his brilliant best, and is capable of winning majors once again. He should advance from this group. Keegan Brown is one of the most promising youngsters on the PDC circuit. He was incredible at last year’s Grand Slam. Mark Webster is also showing signs of rediscovering his best form. If he can produce it in Wolverhampton, then he has a excellent chance of finishing in the top two of this group. Michael Van Der Hoorst is another Dutch player, who has qualified from the BDO.
Geert De Vos
Robert Thornton is a man in form. Winner of the World Grand Prix just last month, he will expect to get out of this group. Terry Jenkins is also playing well. If he is at his best, then he should also make the last 16. Welshman Jonny Clayton is a qualifier from the PDC. Can he produce an upset against any of the more established players? Geert De Vos is one of the top players in the BDO. Current world darts trophy champion, he will be looking to show what he is capable of against two of the PDC’s top stars.
Phil Taylor will be the overwhelming favourite to top this group. He is playing good, but recently he just can’t seem to win a major. Can he defend his crown that he won 12 months ago? The other three players will all think that they are in with a chance of making it through. Rowby-John Rodriguez is a huge talent, but can be very inconsistent. Robbie Green has struggled since he switched to the PDC. If he hits top form, he could progress from this group. Martin Phillips is one of the most experienced players in the BDO, and shouldn’t be ruled out.
It promises to be a fantastic nine days of darts in Wolverhampton. The best players in the world will battle it out to see who will be crowned Grand Slam of Darts Champion. A whole host of players will believe that they can win the trophy. But who will walk away with the cheque for £100,000 on the final day?