2016 Grand Slam of Darts – Thursday Preview
Thursday night at the Grand Slam sees the remaining four of the first knockout round matches take place as eight players do battle to join van Gerwen, Taylor, Wright and Dolan in the quarter-finals.
It’s a very good night of darts in prospect and we could potentially see four tightly contested matches.
Here’s the updated tournament draw.
Next here are my previews for all of tonight’s matches.
- Hughes qualified for the knockout rounds by finishing top of a very tough group which contained James Wade, Dave Chisnall and James Wilson.
- He was beaten in his opening match by Wade having led 3-0 but bounced straight back in his next match where he averaged over 106 in defeating Chisnall 5-1. He had to ride his luck though in his last game against Wilson with his opponent missing match darts to eliminate him from the tournament, Hughes came from 4-1 down in that match to defeat Wilson 5-4.
- This is his first time at the Grand Slam so his first time in the knockout rounds.
- Of the 13 legs Hughes has won in the tournament so far 7 were won on his opponents throw.
- Dobey recovered from losing his opening match of the tournament 5-4 against van de Pas by defeating former world champions Adrian Lewis and Scott Mitchell to finish second in his group thus earning qualification.
- The finishing of Dobey has been consistently good in the tournament so far; in all 3 of his matches he has had a double success percentage of at least 44%.
- This is also his debut at the Grand Slam so he has never played in the knockout rounds here previously.
- This is the first time he has reached the last 16 of a TV tournament, though it is also only the 5th PDC TV tournament he has appeared in.
The bookies didn’t favour either Hughes or Dobey to progress from their groups but they overturned the odds and will both feel they have a good chance of reaching the quarter-finals. Comparing the two players’ performances in the group stage it was Hughes who produced the best display in a single match when he averaged 106 in his win against Chisnall but I believe Dobey was more consistent across his 3 matches. I have been very impressed with Dobey over the last year he has a good attitude and a very solid game, Hughes has shown ability by rising high in the BDO rankings and regularly reaching the later stages of tournaments. It’s a tough match to predict and I can make a strong case for either player to win and this could go all the way to the final leg. Over 16.5 legs in the match looks a good bet, also both players are capable of hitting a good number of 180s so that betting market might be worth exploring if considering a bet.
Benito van de Pas
- Van de Pas finished top of his group with 3 wins from 3 matches. He just edged out Dobey 5-4 in his opening match having seen a 4-0 lead disappear, the next two matches were more straightforward as he dropped just 3 legs overall in accounting for both Scott Mitchell and Adrian Lewis.
- He averaged over 100 in his win against Lewis and might also have done in his matches against Dobey and Mitchell but for scrappy final legs that dragged his average down. For instance against Mitchell he was averaging around a 108 after the penultimate leg but a 24 dart final leg brought his final average way down.
- Overall his doubling in the group matches was amongst the best of all players; his double success percentage of 53.57% was only bettered by van Barneveld and Noppert.
- Van de Pas will be aiming to qualify for his 4th TV quarter-final, most recently he appeared in the quarter-finals at the World Grand Prix and the World Series of Darts finals.
- Wade qualified in 2nd place from a tough group containing Dave Chisnall, James Wilson and Jamie Hughes. He had to come from behind in his first two matches before winning 5-3 in both (he was 3-0 behind before winning against Hughes and 2-0 behind before winning against Wilson). He lost his final group match against Chisnall in a good quality match, that defeat meant Wade had to settle for 2nd place in the group.
- In the group matches his match average increased with every game, going from 91.31 to 95.85 to 100.58. Ironically though the highest average was the match in which he lost.
- Wade is no stranger to the knockout stages of the Grand Slam having qualified 8 times previously from his group, his record at this stage of the tournament is not good however as he has only won 2 of his 8 games in the last 16 at the Grand Slam. The last 5 defeats for Wade in the last 16 came against van Barneveld, Bunting, Gary Anderson (twice) and Terry Jenkins.
- He reached the semi-finals at the European Championship only a matter of weeks ago, that was only second time he has made it through to a TV ranking quarter-final from the last 9 TV ranking tournaments.
This is the second televised meeting between van de Pas and Wade in November with van de Pas taking the honours in their recent encounter at the World Series of Darts finals, in that match Wade led 5-3 and missed match darts as van de Pas won 3 legs in a row to win 6-5. Although Wade leads their overall head to head record van de Pas has won 3 of their last 4 matches. Their only previous meeting in a TV ranking tournament came last November at the Players Championship finals when van de Pas won 10-3 in a match where Wade averaged 100 and van de Pas averaged 105.
Wade starts at the favourite which is no real surprise given his undoubted quality and pedigree but make no mistake van de Pas is a big threat, he has wins against Wade on the TV stage and is showing more composure on the big stage with each match. I think this could be 10-8 or 10-9 to either player. From a betting point of view I think over 16.5 legs in the match, Benito van de Pas +2.5 legs and a high checkout of over 128.5 are potential things to look at.
- Anderson won 3 out of 3 matches to finish top of his group to qualify for the knockout rounds. He won 5-4 in a very tough opener against Glen Durrant in which all 9 legs went with throw before beating Derry and Norris 5-0 and 5-2 respectively.
- His overall double success percentage is a respectable 41.67% but if you take his double attempts from his wins against Durrant and Norris alone he hit 10 out of 15 attempts (66.67% success). His overall percentage affected by lots of missed doubles when not under any real pressure against Derry in the match he won 5-0.
- Anderson has never failed to reach the knockout stages at the Grand Slam, so has featured in this round 9 times previously. He has exited the tournament in the last 16 in each of the last 4 years having not gone any further since 2011 which was the year he reached the final.
- Noppert finished 2nd in his group behind van Barneveld but ahead of the number 7 seed Mensur Suljovic. It was his opening match vs Suljovic that set up Noppert for qualification; he averaged over 101 and hit 5 of his 7 double attempts to defeat Suljovic 5-3. Against van Barneveld he lost 5-2 but averaged nearly 104. In his final match against Aspinall he won 5 straight legs from 2-0 down.
- Of the players who qualified from the group stage only van Barneveld and Wright had higher tournament averages than Noppert’s average of 98.08.
- His finishing throughout the tournament so far has been very impressive having needed just 20 darts to hit his 12 winning doubles giving him 60% success on overall attempts.
Gary Anderson is the second favourite with the bookies to win the tournament and a strong favourite to win this match but he will have to be on form tonight to get past a very tricky opponent in Danny Noppert. Noppert has performed well in his three matches so far and doesn’t look as though he will be daunted by facing the PDC World Champion on the TV stage. Anderson had a poor European Championships and World Series Finals but he is playing better in this tournament and his performances against Durrant and Norris were good. I think Anderson’s scoring will give him the edge in this match and help him create enough chances to pressure Noppert but I don’t expect it to be an easy evening. Noppert may be an appealing bet on the handicap.
Raymond van Barneveld
- Van Barneveld qualified as the winner of his group; he won all 3 of his matches against Aspinall, Noppert and Suljovic dropping only 6 legs in the process.
- No player registered a higher match average in the group stage than the 110.15 Barney managed against Aspinall in his opening match.
- Overall Barney averaged over 100 in all 3 matches and his tournament average of 104.51 was comfortably the best of any qualifier for the knockout stage.
- Not only did he have the highest tournament average after the group stage, he had the joint highest double success percentage and he also hit more 180s than any other player.
- Barney has won 4 and lost 3 of his matches in the last 16 at the Grand Slam, last year he defeated James Wade 10-7 at this stage of the tournament on his way to reaching the semi-finals.
- Durrant finished 2nd behind Gary Anderson to qualify from his group. After losing his opening match 5-4 to Anderson he dropped a total of just 1 leg in beating Norris and Derry.
- Although Durrant hasn’t yet had a match average of over 100 in the tournament so far, in both of his matches against Anderson and Derry he was averaging over 100 heading into the final leg.
- Durrant hasn’t had his throw broken in the tournament so far; he has played a total of 10 legs when throwing first and has won them all. Anderson and Derry both had a leg where they had a chance at double to break throw but failed to do so.
The last match of the round is a real mouth-watering prospect between an in-form Raymond van Barneveld and the BDO number one Glen Durrant. The performance levels of Barney so far in this tournament have been superb and if he keeps to that level he will take some stopping, he looks full of confidence and belief and has the game to compete with anyone when he is in that mood. Durrant has been consistently good so far and still hasn’t shown his best game yet this week, Durrant is confident in his ability and I expect him to fully rise to the challenge of facing Barney on the big stage. It’s just all set up for a cracking match, the way van Barneveld has been going about his business this week makes me believe he will again turn up playing a very high standard and I think he might just get the better of Durrant in a close game. From a betting point of view I think the 180 totals for both players and the overall 180s in the match are worth looking at, I also think that there is potential for a high checkout so overs on the highest checkout score is another option.