Grand Slam of Darts Day 2 Review
As we reach the end of Day 2, we round up the action and bring you the interviews. With the groups finishing on Monday and Tuesday evening we look at who needs what to progress.
Raymond van Barneveld secured a sensational return to the knockout stages, with a fine performance to down an outstanding Gerwyn Price. A 12 darts opening break from Gezzy, suggested a game to follow the form book, however an immediate 14 dart break gave a hint of what was to come.
More breaks were exchanged to lead us to 4-4 where a 67 finish from Barneveld took the win. Ludicrously this 15 darter was the poorest winning leg of the match!
Dave Chisnall set up a straight shootout with Gerwyn Price with a comfortable 5-2 win over reigning youth champion Ted Evetts, firing in 4 maximums and finishing above the 50% mark.
Unfortunately Evetts could not find his scoring from yesterday, a 66% checkout rate coupled to an 87 average evidencing this. A solitary 140+ and 180 is not enough at this level. For Chisnall the scenario is clear tomorrow, for Evetts he will look for a morale boosting win over Barneveld to take into the Tour Card World Championship Qualifier.
Danny Noppert moved to the brink of qualification with a comfortable win over Simon Whitlock. Noppert included two 11 darters in stretching out to a 4-1 lead. A magnificent 142 finish kept the Wizard involved for one more leg but Noppert finished the job. He is not guaranteed qualification just yet but it is hard to see Mensur getting the win he needs with ‘The Freeze’ in such form.
Meanwhile, an emotional and expressive Suljovic found a much needed win against Christian Perez. He can think himself lucky that his opponent produced an example of how not to finish. Perez shelled multiple opportunities to let the Austrian back in.
Finishing at 18% was Perez undoing as Suljovic kept pace on scoring and found 50% of his doubles. His situation tomorrow is somewhat complicated, so to avoid any doubt or complication he needs to look for a convincing win. Perez is also alive with a win depending on other results.
Michael Smith hammered Joe Cullen to move to the brink of the last 16, pulling away from 1-1 to only allow his opponent 2 darts at a double in the rest of the match. Cullen simply never got going here, it was a TV performance of yester years as his scoring never clicked and Smith was given an easy afternoon.
Smith now needs just a win over Edhouse to secure qualification and in all likelihood Cullen faces the same scenario against Ashton. An Edhouse win would complicate the situation.
Edhouse kept himself in the mix with a convincing win over Lisa Ashton, who was kept alive in the competition by results elsewhere. It would take an almost inconceivable set of results to take her through.
Edhouse was able to take advantage of Ashton playing her best darts in very small patches, the scoring looks similar but all of Lisa’s came in two excellent winning legs. Edhouse’s greater consistency and excellent finishing (55%) seeing him over the line. Edhouse faces the same complicated situation as Ashton tomorrow where both a win or loss could be enough depending on what happens.
Dirk van Duijvenbode was the first man through to the knockouts with a convincing win over Rob Cross. Cross finished well at 60% but his sub 90 average showed the ongoing inconsistency in his game and a huge drop off from yesterday
Meanwhile, ‘The Aubergenius’ just keeps freewheeling and is so hard to beat right now, solid scoring and perfectly adequate finishing means he can enjoy his match up with Adam Gawlas.
Schindler moved into a shootout with Rob Cross by beating Czech youngster Gawlas 5-3 in a nip and tuck game decided by the doubling. Gawlas missed doubles in 4 of Martin’s 5 winning legs, most painfully in the 3rd leg where two misses were punished by a superb 150 finish.
Schindler will be delighted to be in a situation where a key game in a TV competition isn’t against Gerwyn Price. He can point to arguably more consistent form than Cross. Can he hold it together and take his place in the last 16 tomorrow night.
Nathan Aspinall ended Fallon Sherrock’s hopes of another dream run with a convincing 5-1 win on Sunday night, Fallon was not without opportunity but another desperate display on the outer ring left her with no chance of success here. 11% at the double is not what was required to be competitive and she looks desperately short of match practice. Nathan keeps himself alive but in all likelihood still needs a win over Peter Wright on Tuesday to get through.
Quite how Peter Wright won his game with Alan Soutar is anyone’s guess. Soutar allowed 6 match darts to pass him by before Wright pinned D8 in the decider to move to two wins from two. Soutar player better here than against Aspinall and did everything other than win. Peter needs a win against Aspinall to secure progression while Soutar needs a convincing win to be sure of progress against Sherrock, There is a strange situation where a narrow Aspinall win would send him and Wright through if Soutar does not produce enough.
Jonny Clayton eased into the last 16 with another whitewash win. His 5-0 victory over Jermaine Wattimena was far from convincing with just an 89 average, however his opponent was not in the game. Wattimena missed 5 at the double to leave himself with work to do against Leonard Gates on Tuesday. Clayton meanwhile will be looking for a 3rd win on the spin to secure top spot.
Damon Heta came back from the dead against Leonard Gates to keep his hopes alive. Gates missed 3 darts in the deciding leg but this was after an inexplicable miscount in leg 8 denied him a match dart, Gates having left 70 hitting 18 and D16 to leave 20 and let Heta in to take it to a deciding leg. Heta has work to do against the man with the perfect record in Clayton but can take some encouragement from the fact he still isn’t playing that well. Gates showed promise here and a big win over Wattimena could still see him through.
Ross Smith worked his way back into the group with a fine 5-2 win over Nathan Rafferty. Smith found 62.5% of his double in a resounding win which moves him second in the group for now. The key scoring stats look similar but digging deeper Rafferty was more wayward while Smith was finding 96 or 92 on the switch. Rafferty is still alive but barely, He needs a huge win over Woodhouse tomorrow and the other result to go his way too.
Michael van Gerwen all but secured a place in the last 16 with another convincing win 5-1 here. Woodhouse kicked off with a 129 finish but that was as good it got as the Dutchman proceeded to maul the Pro Tour qualifier. A barrage of 140’s restricting Luke to a solitary dart at a double in the remainder of the game. When MvG scores like this and finishes at 50% it takes something very special to beat him. Woodhouse could not live with this form but he knows a win over Rafferty will give him an excellent chance of progression.
Josh Rock left Scott Williams facing an uphill battle to progress following a workmanlike 5-4 win. The difference here was the 180 hitting as Rock pinned 4 to take the win with a 96+ average. Both doubled at 33%. Rock should have taken this one 5-2 but 8 misses on the double gave Williams chance to come back. Rock was able to compose himself and complete the win in the final leg. He still needs a win but finds himself in a better position than Williams who needs a huge win and favours.
Luke Humphries produced the performance of the tournament so far with a rampant 107+ average against Ryan Searle. Heavy Metal was blown away as Humphries zoned in for what seemed like the entire game. Such is laughable standard at times, Searle’s 103.59 average with 3 maximum’s saw him restricted to just 4 darts at the double. Cool Hand finding 4 maximums and 55.6% of his shots at the double to move to the brink of the last 16. Searle knows a win over Williams on Tuesday should be enough unless the result of Rock v Humphries really works against him.