Our guide for Thursday's second-round action at the Boylesports Grand Slam of Darts includes the order of play, match-by-match predictions, Sky Bet odds and a suggested acca.
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The top half of the draw are involved in second-round action tonight, with Michael van Gerwen, James Wade, Gerwyn Price and Gary Anderson all favourites to reach the quarter-finals.
But it might not be as straight-forward as many think...
Grand Slam of Darts: Thursday November 14
- Lewis & White at 10/1
- Click here to build your acca at Sky Bet
- TV Coverage: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)
- Second round: Best of 19 legs
Group G Position: 1st Group B – 1st Group A
Head-to-head: 30-22 (3 draws)
2019 Meetings: 1-0
Titles this season: 5-1
Some will say watching James Wade take on Adrian Lewis in the advanced stages of a TV major is like being in a time warp but, come on, it’s hardly Phil Taylor v John Lowe.
That said, aside from the last of their many Premier League battles in 2017, they haven’t actually met in the last 16 or beyond of a televised tournament since the 2014 Masters quarter-finals so there is some degree of nostalgia to this fixture.
Hopefully this week will have given Lewis the shot in the arm he needs to continue his climb back up the rankings following a tough couple of seasons and runs such as this become the bare minimum again, because there’s doubt the presence of the old Jackpot has been missed.
He’s certainly been fired up during the group stages and while his performances won’t be striking any kind of fear into James Wade – not that any standard would to be fair – I fancy him to stand up to the challenge tonight and give his fellow Englishman a real battle.
The Machine may have been formidable on the Pro Tour with five titles this year but he’s not produced his best on the TV stage apart from reaching the Masters final at the top of 2019, so would you really be surprised to see a mini upset?
Group H Position: 1st Group C – 2nd Group D
2019 Meetings: 1-1
Titles this season: 3-0
Gerwyn Price looked strangely jittery during a group stage in which he won all three of his games but now we’re in the longer format, expect his A game to come to the fore.
After narrow victories over Mikuru Suzuki and Robert Thornton, the defending champion found himself in what was effectively a high pressurised decider with Dimitri van den Bergh.
Price got the job done 5-2 but his life was made easier by the young Belgian’s double troubles and he’ll be the first to admit he’ll need to up his game if he’s to get his hands on the trophy again on Sunday.
As far as tonight is concerned, he should have far too much in the locker for Darren Webster, who’ll need to play out of his skin or rely on his opponent to be off his game to pull off a shock.
Group E Position: 1st Group A – 2nd Group B
2019 Meetings: 3-1
Titles this season: 13-2
Ian White is venturing into new territory tonight having qualified for the Grand Slam of Darts knockout stages for the first time.
On paper he was meant to breeze through the group but, as usual when he tries to do something he’s not done before, he let nerves get the better of him against James Wade before just about holding them together against Wesley Harms in a deciding leg on Tuesday.
White, who has bafflingly never gone beyond the quarter-finals of a major, must now do something else he’s never done if he’s to reach the last eight – beat Michael van Gerwen on TV.
Diamond has managed six wins against him in their 24 encounters, with three of those coming on the stage environment of the European Tour including the final of the Dutch Darts Masters in a deciding leg.
That ended a run of three successive final defeat to the world number one and I felt the manner of that 8-7 victory back in May would break some real mental blocks for him when it came to TV tournaments but it hasn’t happened yet.
MVG was ruthless during his 100% group campaign and now the longer format makes him even more dangerous although has been shocked over this kind of distance on TV by Mervyn King (UK Open) and Glen Durrant (World Matchplay) this season.
I’m going to be bold and go for the upset that blows this tournament wide open and if MVG makes me look silly, well, it won’t be the first time.
Group G Position: 1st Group D – 2nd Group C
Head-to-head: 16-12 (1 draw)
2019 Meetings: 0-0
Individual Titles this season: 0-0
If Gerwyn Price has taken care of Darren Webster, then I’m not sure who wouldn’t be rooting for Gary Anderson to set up a rematch of last year’s final.
Robert Thornton’s family, friends and fanclub are three possible answers but even their good luck messages will probably be through gritted teeth.
The Thorn actually has a pretty good head-to-head record against the darting legend but virtually all of their meetings were 2016 and earlier when he was a genuine threat in the upper echelons of the game and part of the Premier League elite.
Without wanting to sound too patronising, Thornton will be pretty chuffed to be at this stage and while he'll obviously be fired up to go even further, he'll be relying on Anderson to give him chances.
Considering we have seen the Flying Scotsman average about 70 a couple of weeks ago at the World Series of Darts Finals, this isn't beyond the realms of possibility but he showed glimpses of his best during the group stages apart from losing what had turned out to be a dead rubber with Darren Webster.