Our guide for Saturday's quarter-final action at the Boylesports Grand Slam of Darts includes match-by-match predictions, Sky Bet odds and a suggested acca.
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It’s the second night of quarter-final action with two blockbusters to look forward to, as defending champion Gerwyn Price meets Gary Anderson in a repeat of ‘that’ final while Michael van Gerwen takes on a resurgent Adrian Lewis.
Grand Slam of Darts: Saturday November 16
- Price (-1.5 legs) and over 25.5 legs in MVG v Lewis at 3/1
- Click here to build your acca at Sky Bet
- TV Coverage: Sky Sports (2000 GMT)
- Quarter-finals: Best of 31 legs
Group Position: 1st Group C – 1st Group D
Last 16: Darren Webster 10-1 – beat Robert Thornton 10-8
2019 meetings: 1-0 (TV: 1-0)
Titles this season: 4-0
As soon as the draw was made, the first instinct of most fans would have been to work out when Gerwyn Price and Gary Anderson could meet.
Regardless of what you made of the defending champion's behaviour or resulting punishment, ‘that’ final had everything. The sky-high standard, drama, passion and controversy stoked the fires of everyone watching and if your heart wasn’t racing by the end of it then you aren’t human. Or, you don’t like darts and had just accidentally switched onto it. But if that’s the case I have no idea why you’re reading this.
Darts has always been blessed with characters and rivalries down the years and while there will always be debate as to what constitutes crossing the line, battles like these help make sport the greatest escapism of them all.
With both players so aware of the hype about this rematch, I can’t imagine there will be the same level of histrionics as 12 months ago but that’s not to say there be won’t signs of needle, especially if it gets ridiculously close again.
This isn’t the first time they’ve met since the 2018 final, with Price getting the upper hand in the US Darts Masters during a period in the season in which Anderson was still well below par following his injury problems that ruled him out of the Premier League.
That was a pretty tame setting – yet ideal one – to get them back on the oche together again but tonight the vociferous Wolverhampton crowd will obviously be firmly in Anderson’s camp as he bids for revenge.
The Flying Scotsman, whose only title this year has been the World Cup, has been struggling for consistency all year and even this week he’s shown flashes of brilliance in one match, then looked well short of his best in another.
Price, by contrast, has been one of the most prolific performers in 2019 with and while he’s yet to win a TV title since his success here, the Welshman has won four events and challenged at the business end of many others, including the majors.
He was 100% in the group stage – albeit not in particularly devastating form – and even his ruthless 10-1 destruction of a very poor Darren Webster wasn’t vintage Price as he averaged less than a 100 despite brilliant ruthless finishing.
Longer formats do clearly suit the most consistent form players and at this moment in time, that’s Price…but you could have said that about Anderson 12 months ago.
I’m going with the Iceman but Anderson backers will feel their man is a great price as the underdog.
Group Position: 1st Group A – 2nd Group A
Last 16: Ian White 10-7 – James Wade 10-9
Head-to-head: 40-14 (3 draws)
2019 Meetings: 1-0
Titles this season: 13-1
These two great rivals meet once again – but it’s their first in a televised major quarter-final or beyond since the last four of the 2017 Masters.
This is not much of a surprise given Lewis' last venture this far on TV was in the same year when reaching the World Grand Prix semis but hopefully he won’t have to wait this long again as he strives to climb back up the rankings.
His thrilling comeback against another one of his old foes James Wade – well, old in the loosest sense of the word – was one of the most gripping of the tournament so far and reminded us just why a battling, brilliant Jackpot is fantastic for darts.
Clearly in this day and age, with so many great players and plenty others on the right path to earning such status, the sport doesn’t necessarily ‘need’ him, or indeed anyone else specifically, but his absence at the top table has been felt.
Sporting fairytales are often written, so to speak, about fallen legends who climb their way back to the very top after troubled times and maybe we’re now reading the chapters of ascent about Lewis as he renews a potentially blockbuster quarter-final at the Grand Slam of Darts.
Considering MVG is a man very much in his prime and, most crucially, in form having won three of the last four televised titles, I think the best Lewis can realistically hope for is to run him close enough to build his confidence and belief further ahead of the World Championship and next season.
The world champion was given a scare in the second round by Ian White, who blew a golden opportunity to go 7-5 up, but trying to do the same over a format as long as best of 31 legs is almost another challenge entirely.
I assume Jackpot’s team will be giving him a better motivational pep talk than that but deep down if he walks off the stage after a defeat by just a handful of legs, he’ll be made to feel proud by his efforts.