The 14th edition of the Boyle Sports Grand Slam of Darts was kicked off at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Monday. For the first time ever, the event does not take place in Wolverhampton due to the current situation, but without a live audience in Coventry. Five different champions have won the Grand Slam title so far: Record world champion Phil “The Power” Taylor took home the trophy six times, Michael van Gerwen four times, Raymond van Barneveld and Scott Waites once each. This year, the “Iceman” Gerwyn Price is the defending champion, having won the last two Grand Slams. In eight groups of four players each, a group phase will be played until Thursday. The two top-placed players in each group then qualify for the round of the last sixteen
Already in the afternoon session, TV viewers were present at a historic moment when Dimitri Van den Bergh set a new record average for the Grand Slam of Darts. In his 5:1 victory over Ricky Evans, the current World Matchplay Champion scored 114.85 points on average and was thus exactly 0.2 points better than Phil Taylor who had set the previous record six years ago.
“I am totally surprised, I really didn’t expect that. I didn’t feel too good when I was warming up, but of course I am very happy about the record”, said the young Belgian after the match.
Gabriel Clemens was also happy, as he started the Grand Slam with a commanding 5:2 victory over Joe Cullen. With 99.91 points, the Saarlander missed an average of over 100 points by a hair’s breadth and was particularly convincing when it came to his finishing. The double percentage of over 60% made things very difficult for Cullen, who himself played a very decent game.
Defending champion Gerwyn Price got away with murder in his opening game! The Iceman had a hard time against the BDO Women’s World Champion Mikuru Suzuki from Japan and never found his rhythm. This was also due to the fact that the 38-year-old kept hurting him in important moments, including finishes of 135 and 116. In the decisive leg, “Miracle” then wasted four match darts for the sensation before Price was able secure a 5:4 victory.
“I played terrible, it’s as simple as that. She took the chances I gave her very well,” said Gerwyn Price self-critically.
Two further games of the evening session were decided in the final leg. Krzysztof Ratajski and José de Sousa played a thrilling match and the last leg, in which three 180s were hit, was no exception. De Sousa’s two maxima were then enough to defeat the Pole.
Dirk van Duijvenbode provided a little surprise, when he defeated world champion Peter Wright by 5:4. With an average of 90, Wright remained far below his ability, but van Duijvenbode’s victory illustrates his positive development in recent months, during which he was able to reach the final of the World Grand Prix.
The number 1 of the world, Michael van Gerwen, was able to set down a marker in his first match. In 7 minutes and 53 seconds he demolished Adam Hunt by 5:0 with an average of over 105 points. After the difficulties of the last months, the three-time world champion seems to be slowly but surely getting back on track.
“I put a lot of energy into this match today. It would be too early to say that I’m back to my old self, but such matches do of course do good,” MVG said in an interview with Sky Sports.
The action will continue tomorrow live on Sky Sports, DAZN, Sport1 and RTL 7.
Boyle Sports Grand Slam of Darts 2020, Monday November 16, 16x 1st round
Rob Cross 5:1 Justin Pipe (D)
Dave Chisnall 5:4 Luke Humphries (D)
James Wade 5:2 Damon Heta (F)
Simon Whitlock 5:3 Ryan Searle (B)
Jermaine Wattimena 5:1 Glen Durrant (F)
Nathan Aspinall 5:0 Wayne Warren (H)
Dimitri Van den Bergh 5:1 Ricky Evans (H)
Gary Anderson 5:3 Adam Gawlas (B)
Jonny Clayton 5:4 Ryan Joyce (G)
Gabriel Clemens 5:2 Joe Cullen (A)
José de Sousa 5:4 Krzysztof Ratajski (C)
Michael Smith 5:1 Lisa Ashton (C)
Michael van Gerwen 5:0 Adam Hunt (A)
Gerwyn Price 5:4 Mikuru Suzuki (G)
Peter Wright 4:5 Dirk van Duijvenbode (E)
Devon Petersen 5:2 Ian White (E)
On Tuesday, the two winners and the two losers of the first day of action will face eachother (the order of play may still vary):
Afternoon session, 8x 1st round
Ricky Evans – Wayne Warren (H)
Luke Humphries – Justin Pipe (D)
Ryan Searle – Adam Gawlas (B)
Glen Durrant – Damon Heta (F)
Gary Anderson – Simon Whitlock (B)
James Wade – Jermaine Wattimena (F)
Rob Cross – Dave Chisnall (D)
Nathan Aspinall – Dimitri Van den Bergh (H)
Evening session, 8x 1st round
Jonny Clayton – Gerwyn Price (G)
Ryan Joyce – Mikuru Suzuki (G)
Gabriel Clemens – Michael van Gerwen (A)
Joe Cullen – Adam Hunt (A)
José de Sousa – Michael Smith (C)
Krzysztof Ratajski – Lisa Ashton (C)
Dirk van Duijvenbode – Devon Petersen (E)
Peter Wright – Ian White (E)