In part two of our series previewing the Grand Slam of Darts, Damien Morris takes us through groups E-H as well predicting who will come out on top.
Group E – Phil Taylor, Andy Hamilton, Christian Kist, Richie George
Phil Taylor will be looking to win his first televised title since he won the World Matchplay in Blackpool this year. He managed to beat Michael Van Gerwen 18-9 in legs in the final with a three dart average of 107. He will be looking to successfully defend his Grand Slam of Darts title this week after a recent run of poor form in which he was knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the World Grand Prix in Dublin by James Wade.
He was then beaten in the last 16 of the European Darts Championship in Mulheim, Germany by Liverpudlian Stephen Bunting and in the semi-finals of the Unibet Masters by Wade in Edinburgh.
Andy Hamilton will be hoping to do well in this event after some indifferent form early in 2014 in the TV events when he was beaten 4-1 in sets by former BDO World Champion Richie Burnett. He then got edged 13-10 by Dave Chisnall in the second round of the World Matchplay in Blackpool.
Christian Kist has struggled for form since he won the 2012 BDO World Darts Championship in Frimley Green when he beat the ever popular Tony O’Shea 7-5 in sets. He has failed to make it past the first round of the BDO World Darts Championship in both 2013 and 2014. He will do really well to progress from this group on the current form he is showing.
Richie George will be hoping for his best form to return this week in Wolverhampton. He has failed to replicate the form that he has shown in the 2013 BDO World Darts Championship when he made it to the semi-finals in which he managed to lose 6-1 in sets to Scott Waites. Phil Taylor and Andy Hamilton should easily progress from this group.
- Winner – Phil Taylor
- Runner-up – Andy Hamilton
Group F – Peter Wright, Simon Whitlock, Michael Smith, Brendan Dolan
This is the “Group of Death” in the Grand Slam of Darts this year. Peter Wright has been in inspiring form since making it to the final of the PDC World Darts Championship this year. He ended up losing 7-4 in sets to Michael Van Gerwen.
He made it into the field of the Premier League darts in which he just failed to finish in the top four of the league to make the play-offs. He has since managed to win the European Darts Open when he beat Simon Whitlock 6-2.
Simon Whitlock has had a steady year so far in which he made it to the quarter-finals of the PDC World Darts Championship when he eventually lost 6-2 in sets to Peter Wright. He had a tough season in the Premier League darts when he only managed to win one of his nine matches.
His form improved when he won the Players Championship after beating James Wade 6-3 in sets. He also showed great form in the World Matchplay in Blackpool when he went as far the semi-finals before eventually losing to Van Gerwen 17-13 in legs.
Michael Smith has shown glimpses of his great form when he beat Phil Taylor 4-3 in sets in the second round of the 2014 PDC World Darts Championship. He was beaten 4-3 in sets in the next round by Wright. He will be looking to cause plenty of problems for the rest of his opponents in this group.
Brendan Dolan will really need to start scoring and finishing much better than he has had in recent tournaments if he wants to make it through to the knockout stages of this event. He was knocked out early in the first round of the World Grand Prix by Gary Anderson 2-0 in sets. He was beaten by the same guy in the 2014 PDC World Darts Championship.
I think that Peter Wright and Simon Whitlock will make it through the “Group of Death”. They both really know how to perform when the pressure is on.
- Winner – Peter Wright
- Runner-up – Simon Whitlock
Group G – James Wade, Mervyn King, Tony O’Shea, Jamie Caven
James Wade is really back to his very best now after he made it to the final of the World Grand Prix in Dublin, which included a win over Phil Taylor in the quarter-finals. He was playing with much more purpose now. He showed that in abundance last Sunday in the final of the Unibet Masters when he beat Mervyn King 11-9 in legs after trailing 5-0 and 9-2 in legs to him during the match.
Mervyn King has had a really good year so far by making it to a final and two semi-finals. He has the game again to go far in this event. He was unlucky to lose 11-9 in legs to Wade in the final of the Unibet Masters after being 9-2 up. He should make it to at least the quarter-finals this week if he keeps up his great scoring and finishing of late.
Both Tony O’Shea and Jamie Caven will have their work cut out to progress to the knockout stages of this event. Tony O’Shea has struggled for form since making to the the final of the 2013 BDO World Darts Championship in which he lost to Scott Waites 7-1 in sets.
He lost in the first round of the same event to Martin Adams this year. He will really have to bring his “A” game to the table if he wants to make it to the knockout stages. Jamie Caven is another player that has struggled to go really far in tournaments since joining the PDC. The last quarter-final he appeared in was the European Championship in 2013.
The far superior scoring of Wade and King will enable them to make it through to the knockout stages.
- Winner – James Wade
- Runner-up – Mervyn King
Group H – Stephen Bunting, Gary Anderson, Dean Winstanley, Wesley Harms
Stephen Bunting is making a huge impression this year in the world of darts after he beat Alan Norris in the final of the BDO World Darts Championship. Since then he has moved over to the PDC after claiming a PDC tour card.
His best performance to date in the PDC was making it to the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix in Dublin. He beat Phil Taylor 10-9 in legs in a thrilling game in the European Championship in Mulheim, Germany with a three dart average of 102. He definitely has the game to go really far in this event.
Gary Anderson has had a really good year so far in the PDC. He has made it to two semi-finals which were in the World Matchplay in Blackpool and the World Grand Prix in Dublin. He is a really good scorer but his poor finishing on his doubles could stop him from winning this event.
Dean Winstanley has struggled so far for form this year. He has failed to make it past the last 16 of a TV event so far. He will really need to show plenty of Yorkshire grit and determination if he is to get out of this group.
Wesley Harms will do well to beat his effort of making it as far as the last 16 in the Grand Slam of Darts in 2012. He hasn’t been in a semi-final of a darting event since the 2012 BDO World Darts Championship. He will need to take his chances when it comes to him.
Bunting and Anderson should both progress comfortably to the knockout stages as they have way too much scoring and finishing power for both Winstanley and Harms.
- Winner – Stephen Bunting
- Runner-up – Gary Anderson
Damien Morris, Pundit Arena