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2016 World Grand Prix round 1: Title holder Thornton handed tough start

Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | September 30, 2016

2016 World Grand Prix

  • First round
  • Sunday, October 2nd and Monday, October 3rd
  • First session starts: 19:00 BST
  • Citywest Hotel, Dublin
  • Live on Sky Sports 1 and 3

Expect the unexpected in Dublin once more

The uniquely brilliant World Grand Prix returns to our screens on Sunday evening, with 32 of the world’s top arrowsmith’s in action across the first two days as they battle it out for the coveted trophy and £100k prize.

Robert Thornton is the defending champion, and due to the tournament’s ‘double in, double out’ format, expect a few more surprise results this year two.

This event has provided some of the most memorable moments in darting history since its inception in 1998 when Phil Taylor won his first of 11 titles, including three thrilling nine-darters from The Thorn, James Wade and Brendan Dolan. Another perfect leg to occur is priced at 7/2.

So, with more exciting action and plenty of twists and turns promised throughout the week, Coral preview the all 16 of the first round fixtures…

Sunday fixtures – in order of play

Kyle Anderson v Cristo Reyes

The Original looks a tasty bet to beat Reyes in 3 sets.

The Original looks a tasty bet to beat Reyes in 3 sets.

Aussie Anderson (1/2 match favourite) is perhaps one of the most determined and driven players on tour, and will be raring to go against fellow World Grand Prix debutant Reyes (13/8), who he’s narrowly beaten in both previous meetings.

Therefore, back The Original at a tasty 9/4 price defeat the Spaniard again, this time with a 2-1 sets scoreline.

Ian White v Kim Huybrechts

These two are next to each other in the PDC world rankings, with White just ahead of Huybrechts in 11th, though the latter is the slight 4/5 odds-on favourite due to his better head-to-head record of 7-4.

Last year’s quarter-finalist Diamond did resist the Hurricane last time out, however, so is an even-money shout, but a price of 5/6 says this can go the distance in sets.

James Wade (6) v Terry Jenkins

Two-time Grand Prix champion Wade is in fine form and should have no trouble beating Jenkins.

Two-time Grand Prix champion Wade is in fine form and should have no trouble beating Jenkins.

Double World Grand Prix champion Wade perfectly suits this competition, being one of the best finishers of the game with his favoured double 10 and 20, so it is no surprise that he is odds-on at 1/3 to beat veteran Jenkins for the sixth time in succession.

The Bull (9/4) is a two-time runner-up here, though, including once against The Machine in 2007, but is 11/10 to lose in straight sets.

Wade is a brilliant shout at 13/5 to win the fourth quarter of the draw, 13/2 to reach the final and 18/1 to lift his third title here after showing great form last time recently in the inaugural Champions League of Darts.

Gerwyn Price v Benito van de Pas

Two exciting rising stars in the game lock horns next up, and Van de Pas is 8/11 to belie his 3-1 losing record against Welshman Price (11/10).

Neither player has got past the first round here before, so no doubt there will be some nerves. But former rugby professional The Iceman is 11/4 to take down Big Ben in three sets.

Adrian Lewis (3) v Jelle Klaasen

One of many tasty and intriguing first round duels, an upset is certainly on the cards here as Dutchman Klaasen (6/4) is on a run of four straight wins against 2010 runner-up Lewis (8/15), who disappointed in the Champions League of Darts.

The Cobra is 10/3 to claim a 2-1 victory and extend his 12-9 winning record over Englishman Jackpot.

Robert Thornton (7) v Stephen Bunting

Thornton has been handed a tough start to his title defence against Bunting.

Thornton has been handed a tough start to his title defence against Bunting.

Thornton (evens) takes his place on the World Grand Prix oche for the first time since beating Michael van Gerwen in an exhilarating final last year, and the number seven seed is not even favourite to beat 2014 semi-finalist Bunting (4/5).

The duo have a win apiece against each other, but The Thorn, who is usually highly confident on hitting his favourite double 20, is 13/5 to come through in three sets.

You can also back the Scotsman at a hugely tempting 80/1 to defend his title, or 14/1 just to win the third quarter.

Gary Anderson (2) v Jamie Caven

Reigning world champion Anderson has surprisingly never really impressed at this event, despite a semi-final appearance in 2014, and the Scot could be the subject of a shock early in the competition this year.

The Flying Scotsman (1/7) is lucky that he goes up against Caven (9/2) first – a player who’s yet to get past the first round after five attempts – which is why he is so is heavily odds-on to triumph.

If you fancy this match to go the distance, then you can take a price of 9/5.

Mervyn King v Raymond van Barneveld

Barney will be hoping to rise back up the rankings with a good run at the World Grand Prix.

Barney will be hoping to rise back up the rankings with a good run at the World Grand Prix.

This should be another interesting encounter, with two former World Grand Prix runners-up going head-to-head, though five-time world champion Barney (4/9) should have enough quality to down the King.

The pair have faced each other a whopping four times at this event, with Van Barneveld winning three of them, although he did lose to The King last time out and in their most recent battle in Barnsley in September too.

But there is no doubt Dutch great Barney has been practising his favoured double 18, and his omission from the Champions League of Darts will have hurt him. He is 7/5 to defeat King 2-0 this time and 4/1 to win his quarter.

Monday fixtures – in order of play

Dave Chisnall v Robbie Green

Chizzy is a former runner-up here and can topple fellow Merseyside arrowsmith Green.

Chizzy is a former runner-up here and can topple fellow Merseyside arrowsmith Green.

Merseyside duo Chisnall (3/10) and Green (5/2) open the session on day two of the event, and 2013 runner-up Chizzy will certainly fancy his chances.

Mick McGowan v James Wilson

Arguably the lowest profile first round clash this year is between Irish qualifier McGowan (2/1) and Yorkshire’s two-time BDO major champion Wilson (2/5).

But it could also be one of the most interesting, with The Magnet in front of his home Dublin crowd and aiming to make it fourth time lucky progressing past this stage. Odds of 11/10 say this match will be over 2.5 sets.

Mensur Suljovic v Daryl Gurney

Suljovic's form and ability to hit double 14 with ease make him a genuine title dark horse.

Suljovic’s form and ability to hit double 14 with ease make him a genuine title dark horse.

Another home hope features straight after, but Gurney (7/4) may find it difficult against in-form Suljovic (4/9), who reached two finals and won the International Darts Open all in September.

The unorthodox Austrian is a real dark horse for this event too, thanks to his high percentage of hitting double 14 and reaching the semis here last year.

Take odds of 7/5 for The Gentle to beat Northern Irishman SuperChin 2-0, while he is also 10/1 to win quarter two and 33/1 to reach his first major televised final.

Michael Smith (8) v Alan Norris

Yet another tasty battle sees Smith (4/6) and Norris (6/5) duel, and all signs point towards the latter causing an upset.

Bully Boy is noticeably out of touch, as his showing at the Champions League proved, while he has lost all four meetings with Chuck.

Joe Cullen v Simon Whitlock

Whitlock (8/11) can really use his experience against tournament debutant Cullen (11/10) in this match-up, and 2013 quarter-finalist The Wizard is 21/10 to conjure up a 2-0 win.

Phil Taylor (4) v Steve West

Taylor will be in high confidence following his Champions League of Darts triumph.

Taylor will be in high confidence following his Champions League of Darts triumph.

The Power finally looks back to his best, after finally claiming a televised title for the first time since 2014 by being the first person to lift the Champions League of Darts title.

Taylor (1/10) takes on West (6/1) first up, and only a miracle can stop him from beating him for the fifth time in succession.

The 11-time Grand Prix champion is 9/2 third-favourite to follow up his recent triumph in Wales’ capital city Cardiff by going all the way in Dublin too.

Michael van Gerwen (1) v Steve Beaton

It’s difficult to know how Van Gerwen (1/14) will react to losing to Taylor twice in the Champions League last time out, but usually it means he bites back will all guns blazing.

Beaton (7/1) is his unlucky first challenger and, having lost each of his last nine meetings with Mighty Mike, it doesn’t look too promising for the 2004 Grand Prix semi-finalist and 1996 BDO world champion.

The deadly Dutchman will also be hoping to reclaim the title, having won in 2012 and 2014, and is the even-money favourite to do so.

Peter Wright (5) v Brendan Dolan

Dolan can give the Irish crowd something to cheer about by upsetting Wright in the final match of the first round.

Dolan can give the Irish crowd something to cheer about by upsetting Wright in the final match of the first round.

Finally, the Irish crowd will be treated to another of their own on the stage for the last tie of the first round, and what a battle it looks to be as Wright (2/9) and Dolan (10/3) take to the oche.

The History Maker was given his nickname after this very event in 2011 after becoming the first person to throw a nine-darter in this format of the game live on television.

Northern Irishman Dolan surprisingly reached the final that year (250/1 to do so again), while Snakebite has only got as far as the second round here. Back Dolan to win 2-1 at 6/1.

2016 World Grand Prix schedule

Sunday, October 2nd (19:00)

First round – bets of 3 sets

Kyle Anderson v Cristo Reyes
Ian White v Kim Huybrechts
James Wade (6) v Terry Jenkins
Gerwyn Price v Benito van de Pas
Adrian Lewis (3) v Jelle Klaasen
Robert Thornton (7) v Stephen Bunting
Gary Anderson (2) v Jamie Caven
Mervyn King v Raymond van Barneveld

Monday, October 3rd (19:00)

First round – best of 3 sets

Dave Chisnall v Robbie Green
Mick McGowan v James Wilson
Mensur Suljovic v Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith (8) v Alan Norris
Joe Cullen v Simon Whitlock
Phil Taylor (4) v Steve West
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Steve Beaton
Peter Wright (5) v Brendan Dolan

Tuesday October 4th (19:00)

Second round – best of 5 sets

Wade/Jenkins v Price/van de Pas
Thornton/Bunting v White/Huybrechts
G Anderson/Caven v K Anderson/Reyes
Lewis/Klaasen v King/van Barneveld

Wednesday October 5th (19:00)

Second round – best of 5 sets

Smith/Norris v Cullen/Whitlock
Wright/Dolan v Chisnall/Green
Taylor/West v Suljovic/Gurney
van Gerwen/Beaton v McGowan/Wilson

Thursday October 6th (19:00)

Quarter-finals – best of 5 sets

Friday October 7th (19:00)

Semi-finals – best of 7 sets

Saturday October 8th (20:30)

Final – best of 9 sets

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