Grand Slam of Darts Tips | 11th-19th November 2017
Michael Day from The Cue View (www.thecueview.com) picks out who he expects to triumph.
The Grand Slam of Darts is one of the most unique events on the tungsten throwing calendar. It’s the annual opportunity where we get to see the best of the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) and the BDO (British Darts Organisation) compete against each other in the same tournament.
The format is a bit different too with it initially being played in Groups opposed to the traditional knockout system; this means players can recover from an opening loss.
As mentioned before, the 32 player event features marksmen from both sides of the great Darts divide. The PDC once again put out their olive branch invite, and this time the BDO have been allocated eight invitations – one per group. Each group is headed by a seeded PDC player and after the fixtures are completed the top two from each advance to the single elimination Last 16.
Although a ranking event, this is strictly invitational for players who have either reached a major final in the past year, finished high enough on the (BDO) ranking list or came through the qualifying event. This time around there is no room for Adrian Lewis or former winner Scott Waites.
Unsurprisingly Michael van Gerwen is the defending champion, he has won in Wolves the last two years.
Odds-on favourite before a dart being thrown, MVG is suited to the longer format knockout phase here where the Quarter-Finals onwards are the best of 31 legs. Very few, if any, are able to keep up with the ‘Green Machine’ and sustain a challenge against him over such a grueling distance.
The seeds are more likely to be vulnerable during the quick group stage fixtures where each match is only the first to 5. However, van Gerwen shouldn’t have too much trouble progressing from his section, and after a small blip in results from mid-summer, the World Champion has returned to form by securing back-to-back TV majors in the last two weekends at the European Championship and World Series Finals.
Gary Anderson and Peter Wright are next in the outright betting, although neither have won this before, or the World Matchplay, both of which have long distance legs formats in the latter stages. In a sets format (like at the World Championship) you can overcome a lull in form during a match, but in legs it can be more unforgiving.
Looking at consistency, van Gerwen’s biggest obstacle could again be Phil Taylor, who edges closer to his retirement from the sport at the end of the year.
The Power produced a vintage performance at the Matchplay in July to claim his 16th title on the Blackpool stage. Going off at a reasonably big price, he crushed the Dutchman 16-6 in the Quarter-Finals, also seeing off Raymond van Barneveld, Lewis and Wright on the way.
At 10/1, don’t put it past the six-time champion to pen another romantic page in his final chapter, he has had the better of van Gerwen on TV many times over the last year or so. Having said that, Michael will be chomping at the bit to put that record straight, and he did deny Phil here in the 2015 final.
Can any of the BDO boys make an impact? On the whole probably not, although Lakeside World Champion Glen Durrant is their best hope.
Last year on debut he got out of his group but then lost to van Barneveld (the only other winner of this event) in the Last 16.
I believe he can advance to the KOs again, although the bookies make young, brash Australian Corey Cadby more likely to qualify. Without doubt Cadby has talent, but I believe he is being slightly overrated at present.
In 2016, five BDO players made the Last 16. This was a very healthy return, although none of them made the Last 8. I’d be very surprised if that number was matched this year, but along with Durrant, Holland’s Danny Noppert can repeat his success 12 months ago and get through from Group D.
The final words must be on Van Gerwen, though, who I think will make it a hat-trick of GSOD titles. Taylor currently has the best tools to tackle him in a long race; the pair could be on course for a Semi-Final meeting.
Looking at what the other half has to offer, despite having reached the final just once in 10 attempts, Scotsman Anderson may be primed to repeat his 2011 feat.