The Grand Slam of Darts will get underway this Saturday beginning with round robin matches in the group stages where two players must progress from each group to the last 16. Here Damien Morris predicts who he thinks will progress from each group.
Group A – Michael Van Gerwen, Kim Huybrechts, Jan Dekker, Darren Webster
Michael van Gerwen is in really inspiring form heading into this event. He ended up winning the World Grand Prix in the Citywest in Dublin by beating a resurgent James Wade 5-3 in sets in the final. He also managed to win the European Darts Championship in Germany by coasting past Terry Jenkins 11-4 in legs.
He will really fancy his chances of winning this title for the very first time. It looks like being a fight to see who will finish second behind Van Gerwen in Group A between Jan Dekker and Kim Huybrechts.
Huybrechts has struggled in the last couple of years to reproduce the form that he showed in 2012 in which he managed to go as far as the quarter-finals of the PDC World Championship in the Alexandra Palace. He has found it difficult to score and finish consistently well in order to challenge for more PDC titles.
Dekker on the other hand has been improving alot on the BDO circuit with great scoring and great finishing. Darren Webster just qualified for the event yesterday in the PDC qualifiers in Wigan. He will hope to cause a shock or two in the group. I feel Van Gerwen and Dekker will have way too much quality for Huybrechts and Webster.
- Winner: Michael Van Gerwen
- Runner-up: Jan Dekker
Group B – Alan Norris, Scott Waites, Terry Jenkins, Ronny Huybrechts
This will be an interesting group to look at in Wolverhampton. Alan Norris has had a really good 2014 so far in which he has won no fewer than six BDO titles. He also finished runner-up to Stephen Bunting in the BDO World Darts Championship as well in 2014.
Fellow BDO player Scott Waites won the Grand Slam of Darts in 2010 after he managed to beat James Wade 16-12 in legs in the final. He also won his first BDO World Darts Championship in 2013. He has since struggled for form in 2014 when he was knocked out of the first round of the 2014 edition of the BDO World Darts Championship.
Terry Jenkins has had an inspiring 2014 in which he has made it to both finals of the UK Open in Bolton and the European Darts Championship in Mulheim, Germany.
Ronny Huybrechts got his PDC Tour Card in 2013 and then managed to go as far as the semi-finals of the European Darts Championship in Mulheim. He has not been playing that well in 2014, in which his best result so far was making it to the last 32 in the UK Open in Bolton. Jenkins and Norris should progress to the knockout stages from this tight group.
- Winner: Terry Jenkins
- Runner-up: Alan Norris
Group C – Adrian Lewis, Dave Chisnall, Keegan Brown, Rowby-John Rodriguez
There is a great mixture of youth and experience in this group. Adrian Lewis will be looking to win another PDC ranking event this week to add to the previous four that he has managed to win so far in a glittering career.
He really knows how to score but his doubles have really let him down at times over the years in which it has stopped him from winning more PDC titles. Dave Chisnall has had a steady 2014 where he has made it to the quarter-finals of both the World Matchplay in Blackpool and the European Darts Championships in Mulheim, Germany.
He could also do with working on his finishing more so than on his scoring to be be able to get to the next level. Keegan Brown qualified for this event due to him winning the PDC World Youth Championship in 2014.
Rowby-John Rodriguez also qualified for this event when he was runner-up to Keegan Brown in the same championship. Both players will really need to bring their best games to the table if they want to progress to the knockout stages. Lewis and Chisnall should coast through to the knockout stages without any problems.
- Winner: Adrian Lewis
- Runner Up: Dave Chisnall
Group D – Raymond Van Barneveld, Robert Thornton, Vincent Van Der Voort, Robbie Green
This is a really interesting group where this writer thinks two out of three players can make it out of this group into the knockout stages. Raymond Van Barneveld has been in inspiring form this season after he won the Premier League Darts last May at the O2 Arena in Wembley.
He had a three dart average of over 100 in his 10-6 win over fellow compatriot Michael Van Gerwen in the final.He also made it to the the semi finals of the European Darts Championships in Mulheim over in Germany in which he ended up losing to Van Gerwen. He is definitely playing good enough to progress really far in this event.
Robert Thornton has managed to win just one PDC title since making the switch over from the BDO to the PDC. He ended up beating Phil Taylor 11-5 in legs in the final. He has since struggled to produce the form that he showed against Taylor.
Vincent Van Der Voort has struggled in the last few years in which he has not made it to the quarter-finals of a PDC event since the 2011 PDC World Darts Championship. His quick-fire style really lends itself to plenty of mistakes on his scoring and finishing on his doubles. Robbie Green has made steady progress in the last couple of years on the BDO circuit.
He went as far as the quarter-finals of the 2013 BDO World Darts Championship before going a step further to the semi-finals in the 2014 event. Barneveld should have too much scoring and finishing power for the opposition in his group. Thornton should just about edge second place in the group ahead of Van Der Voort and Green.
- Winner: Raymond Van Barneveld
- Runner-up: Robert Thornton
Damien Morris, Pundit Arena
Read More About: adrian lewis, alan norris, darren webster, Darts, darts news, dave chisnall, grand slam of darts, jan dekker, keegan brown, kim huybrechts, michael van gerwen, raymond van barneveld, robbie green, robert thornton, ronny huybrechts, rowby-john rodriquez, scott waites, terry jenkins, vincent van der voort