Home Darts The 2017 Grand Slam of Darts – A Preview
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The 2017 Grand Slam of Darts – A Preview

The 2017 Grand Slam of Darts – A Preview
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It has been over two decades since the infamous split in darts, and the interest in “PDC Vs BDO darts” always remains an enticing subject for any darts fan. And with the Grand Slam of Darts just on the horizon, the Wolverhampton Civic Centre plays host to what is a fascinating insight into how the two organisations fare against one another. Here is all you need to know about the highest profile cross-code event of the year.

The Front Runners

Questions marks no longer remain over the mercurial Michael van Gerwen, who withdrew from the recent German Darts Masters just a few weeks ago with an ankle injury. Since then of course he has been back to his imperious self, sweeping all before him at the Euro Championship and the World Series Finals. With 17 titles to his name this year, he was won his last 14 matches on the Civic Centre stage in his previous two tournaments. It is impossible not to look past the two-time reigning champion.

Peter Wright took full advantage of van Gerwen’s absence at the German Darts Masters to scoop the £20k winners cheque. The Scotsman will perhaps be disappointed by two last eight appearances in the recent weeks. Fellow countryman Anderson reached the Final of the Grand Slam in 2011 and reached the last four twelve months ago. He has had a break however since the birth of his second child so will be chasing some further stage time ahead of the World Championships later in the year. Raymond Van Barneveld is a former winner at the Grand Slam clinching the title in 2012. Despite an early exit at the World Series, the ever popular Dutchman will surely remain one to watch as the tournament progresses.

Taylor’s Swansong

The evergreen Phil Taylor’s retirement year continues at apace and the 16 time champion of the world will surely receive a rapturous West Midlands reception when he is introduced at the Civic Hall. He has won this title six times but his last victory came in 2014. The 57 year-old will no doubt like to make it a seventh win to bow out in style.

The Chasing Pack

With familiar faces such as Adrian Lewis, Jelle Klaasen and Benito van de Pas not present at this year’s event, the ever improving chasing pack of players can surely now no longer be looked over. Daryl Gurney has risen the ranks to number four in the world after a terrific run of form this season including of course his World Gran Prix triumph last month. Champions League of Darts winner Mensur Suljovic is hoping for a good showing in Wolverhampton after a disappointing 1st round exit at the World Series, while Australian Simon Whitlock is up to 11th in the world with a Runners-Up finish at the World Gran Prix and a Quarter Final at the European Championship. Suljovic and Whitlock in particular will be hoping to banish memories of 12 months ago when neither made it through the group stage. Gurney meanwhile is in unknown territory as he makes his Grand Slam debut.

The Cross Factor

Rob Cross will always a special place in our hearts here at Rileys. Was it really just 18 months ago when the Hastings based former electrician qualified for the UK Open, winning through at our Norwich club. Since then, the 27 year old has enjoyed the most successful debut year on the Pro Tour of any player in PDC history, with four Pro Tour titles to his name this year and finishing runner-up at the European Championship In Belgium just two weeks ago to earn his place. The Voltage will certainly be one to watch not only in Wolverhampton but also for many years to come.

The Debuts

Steve Lennon, Joe Murnan and Jeffrey de Zwaan all secured their Grand Slam debuts on a competitive Monday night qualifier. Lennon and de Zwaan will be particularly buoyed by their efforts as they seek to retain their tour cards for 2018.

BDO Big Guns

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BDO fans will no doubt be buoyed knowing that half the BDO entrants will already have experience on the Wolverhampton stage from 12 months ago. Lakeside champion Glenn Durrant and Lakeside runner-up Danny Noppert are both rumoured to be making the switch to the PDC come January, which adds an extra element of spice to proceedings. The pair also made it out of their groups last year before bowing out to Raymond van Barneveld and Gary Anderson respectively in tight contests. Also returning are local boy Jamie Hughes, who’s victory over Dave Chisnall 12 months ago will no doubt give him confidence. 2015 Lakeside champion Scott Mitchell will also have fond memories of his 5-1 victory over Adrian Lewis last year, but will be hoping to progress further after failing to get out of his group. There is no place for the BDO’s only former winner of this tournament in the form of Scott Waites. BDO fans may have half an eye on former Lakeside favourites Robbie Green, James Wilson and 2014 Lakeside champion Stephen Bunting who all came through Monday night’s PDC qualifier.

BDO Debuts

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The BDO debutants are all intriguing in their own right. Mark McGeeney has propelled himself to top of the BDO rankings with ranking title victories at Dutch, Helvetica and Hal Opens. He also boasts a nine dart finish to his name this year at the Belgium Masters. The largely unheralded Peter Machin qualifies having won the World Trophy back in April. Machin also won the Australian Grand Masters and holds a win over the highly touted Corey Cadby who is also in the tournament as the World Youth Champion. Scotland’s Cameron Menzies has burst onto the scene in the BDO with wins at the Scottish Open and Scottish Classic. Fellow countryman Ross “The Boss” Montgomery will also make his debut and will likely be spurred on to prove the doubters wrong after some high profile comments on social media criticising his Lakeside record.

The Prize Money

A record £110,000 is available for the winner of the tournament with a minimum of £3,000 to those that finish last in the group.

Full breakdown:

Winner £110,000
Final £55,000
Semi Final £28,500
Quarter Final £16,000
Last 16 £10,000
Last 32 Group 3rd £5,000
Last 32 Group 4th £3,000
Group Winner Bonus £2,500

You can watch all the Grand Slam of Darts in Rileys Sports Bars between Saturday 11th November and Sunday 19th November.

Matthew Kiernan Multimedia Journalist. Passionate about darts.