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Darts stars assemble for unique World Grand Prix double format

After a whole month of no darting TV action in the UK, the sport is back with a bang in Dublin for one of the premier events of the year, the World Grand Prix, from October 4th-10th.

This competition is unique in the way that each player must must begin and finish their leg on a double (or bullseye), but that has not deterred some of the top names in the game.

Double champion Michael van Gerwen is aiming to defend his title, after he saw off James Wade in the 2014 final, and he is the 2/1 tournament favourite with Coral.

Mighty Mike (odds-on at 1/7 for a first round victory), however, has been given a tough opening tie with young pretender Keegan Brown (9/2). On top of that, he has been drawn in the same half as stars such as Kim Huybrechts, Adrian Lewis, Raymond van Barneveld, Stephen Bunting, Peter Wright and Dave Chisnall.

van gerwen 2

That might mean that 11-time champion of this event Phil Taylor can claim back the title, after having a terrific trophy-laden summer, and his outright odds of 5/2 are highly tempting.

The Power has never gone two years without winning the World Grand Prix, since he triumphed in its inaugural year in 1998 when it was held at the Casino Rooms in Kent.

Taylor (1/6 match favourite) too faces a tough first test against Dutchman Vincent van der Voort (4/1), who on his day can beat the best in the world. But from then on Gary Anderson and James Wade should be his only challengers to the final.

This year’s draw will see two almighty crunch clashes in the first round, with former finalists and darting greats Van Barneveld and Lewis locking horns.

Darts - 2014 William Hill World Darts Championship - Day Ten - Alexandra Palace

It is the Dutchman that has been hindered by his low world ranking, but Jackpot would have not been pleased with this tie either. Lewis (4/6 favourite) has been the more consistent this year, though, and won the last televised event at the Auckland Masters, beating Barney (6/5) in the process.

Elsewhere in the same top half of the draw, two of the game’s nearly men Wright (11/10) and Chisnall (8/11) clash. Despite reaching multiple finals and the latter stages of many events, neither player has tasted major glory.

Could this be one of the duo’s tournament? Chizzy, runner-up here in 2013, is an 18/1 shout, while Snakebite is just behind him in the betting at 25/1.

Darts - 2014 William Hill World Darts Championship - Day Eleven - Alexandra Palace

In the bottom half of the draw, second seed and current world and Premier League champion Anderson (13/2 title chance) is involved in an all-Scottish battle with John Henderson.

The Flying Scotsman will be hoping to better his best effort here of reaching the semis, and is odds-on at 1/5 to see off The Highlander (7/2).

James Wade (3/10 match favourite), champion in 2007 and 2010, meanwhile, takes on the unpredictable Austrian Mensur Suljovic (5/2) up first. The Machine, who reached the 2015 World Matchplay final, is 14/1 to claim his third title here.

There is one other intriguing duel in the bottom half of the draw, as veteran duo and former finalists here Terry Jenkins (8/11) and Mervyn King (11/10) go head-to-head.

World Grand Prix first round draw
Sunday
William O’Connor v Jamie Lewis
Mark Webster v Stephen Bunting
Kim Huybrechts v Benito van de Pas
Michael Smith v Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright v Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen v Keegan Brown
Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld
Jelle Klaasen v Brendan Dolan

Monday
Andrew Gilding v Simon Whitlock
Justin Pipe v Steve Beaton
Mervyn King v Terry Jenkins
James Wade v Mensur Suljovic
Ian White v Jamie Caven
Phil Taylor v Vincent van der Voort
Gary Anderson v John Henderson
Robert Thornton v Daryl Gurney