PDC and BDO unite for Grand Slam of Darts Midlands showdown
It is not often that the two rival darting organisations, PDC and BDO, join together to enter players in one competition, but the Grand Slam of Darts is one of the very few events to showcase all of the world’s best players.
Unsurprisingly, defending champion Phil Taylor, one of PDC’s founding members since their split in 1993, has won five of the seven titles of the Wolverhampton tournament, and he is second-favourite at 5/2 for his sixth.
The Power has been drawn in Group E of the competition, along with Andy Hamilton and Christian Kist, and he is odds-on at 1/6 to finish top in the best of 19 legs matches. Taylor goes up first against BDO youngster George in the evening session, and is odds-on at 1/16 to beat him.
Grand Slam favourite Michael van Gerwen (15/8), meanwhile, takes on Darren Webster in his opening match earlier on in the day. The PDC Dutch world number one is in terrific form, having just won the European Championship, so is odds-on at 4/11 to beat journeyman Webster.
Mighty Mike has been pooled in tougher Group A, with the other two being his compatriot Jan Dekker and Belgian Kim Huybrechts. He is odds-on at 1/3 to finish top and qualify for the second round.
The Group of death is arguably F, with Peter Wright, Simon Whitlock, Michael Smith and Brendan Dolan are vying for the to qualifying places. They are 9/4, 9/4, 11/4 and 7/2 respectively to top their pool.
Runner-up in 2010 James Wade will face a rematch against Mervyn King, who he recent beat at the Masters in Edinburgh, in the only all-English group (G). Wade goes up against Jamie Caven, though, first and is odds-on at 2/5 to win. He is 10/11 to top the pool, while King is 5/2.
Steven Bunting qualifies for this event after winning the BDO World Championship, but recently switched over to the PDC, and has been placed in Group H with 2011 runner-up Gary Anderson, Dean Winstanley and Wesley Harms. The Bullet Bunting is a tempting 17/10 to top the pool and 20/1 to win the competition.
Alan Norris is the highest ranked BDO player (number two) in the tournament, and is second-favourite to finish first in Group B, that also includes Terry Jenkins, Scott Waites and Ronny Huybrechts.
The last two pools consist of Adrian Lewis, Dave Chisnall, Keegan Brown and Rowby-John Rodriguez in Group C, and 2012 winner Raymond van Barneveld, Robert Thornton, Vincent van der Voort and Robbie Green in Group D. Lewis is 12/1 to win the tournament, while Barney is a 25/1 chance.
The Grand Slam of Darts begins on Saturday November 8th, with group games being played until the 11th. Then, the knockout rounds are from the 12th until the 16th, when the semis and final take place.