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The Grand Slam is on the horizon, here is our preview!

Grand Slam of Darts Preview

Posted: 06.11.12 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

The Grand Slam is on the horizon, here is our preview!

 
 
 

 

This is the third Grand Slam darts tournament we have covered with our darts blogs, time flies! For the past two years I have scratched my head as the qualification criteria is tweaked and changed. In the first year we covered the event for example two women players took part. This was not repeated this year or last. Why not?

On the face of it there is no reason why women can’t compete against men at darts. Upper body strength can be an advantage in some sports and generally speaking most people would agree that men would hold an advantage in that aspect. However, this is not true of darts. The women's game is moving forward rapidly and does have some fantastic role models. But, these players need to be seen in order to encourage more women players to take up the sport.

Women's football has been through a similar transition. It has moved from being the butt of male chauvinist “humour” to a game played to a high standard with professional coaches and technically correct footballers. Women's darts is capable of shadowing the success of football, but it needs the tangible support of the Governing Bodies!

There is actually an excellent explanation of how the qualification criteria works (for this year anyway) on the PDC site. The Grand Slam, to me anyway, still has the air of one of those fantasy football competitions about it. You know the story. You get 50 million pounds to put your dream team together and your players gain points if they score goals, save penalties or avoid being remanded in custody over the length of a season (I made the last bit up). You spend the majority of your cash and have a team of world beaters until it dawns on you that you have only selected 10 players. You have about £30 left and have no choice but to select Titus Bramble at the heart of your defence!

If you didn’t know better you could imagine this is how the Grand Slam field were selected such is the difference in current playing form of all those taking part. But, this diverse group of players makes a pleasant change to the “usual suspects” and of course adding the BDO players to the mix increases the sense of diversity and their addition always makes for a fascinating tournament.

Another area of interest is of course Phil Taylor. “The Power” has been written off several times before and usually comes roaring back. His most recent results though demonstrate the roar is not as loud as it once was: Taylor reached the ¼ finals of the European Championships, the last 16 of the World Grand Prix and the ¼ final of the Dutch Masters. He did win the absurd internet only tournament, The Championship of Darts at the beginning of November so some signs of the real Taylor there!

James Wade is back too after his distressing exit from The World Grand Prix. Save an official statement from The Machine’s official website, news of his recovery has been sparse. He is down to play so I guess we must assume he is feeling fit enough to compete. That is good news! The tournament starts with a “round robin” event with eight groups and four players in each group:

Group A: Taylor, Waites, Stompe, Webster Group B: Van Gerwen, Thornton, Hankey, Beaton

Group C: Whitlock, Painter, Winstanley, Hubbard Group D: Wade, Dekker, King, Monk

Group E: Lewis, Anderson, Part, O’Shea Group F: Hamilton, Nicholson, Dolan, Bates

Group G: Newton, Jenkins, Harms, Phillips Group H: Kist, Barneveld. Walsh, Jones

We will take a look at the odds for the matches and tournament winner later in the week!

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The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an on-line coaching manual. There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience! Membership is just £25.00 per annum

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )