MVG Picks Up 5th Word Grand Prix

Michael van Gerwen scooped his fifth title at the BoyleSports World Grand Prix in brilliant fashion by defeating Dave Chisnall 5-2 in Saturday’s final in Dublin.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
FINAL: MICHAEL VAN GERWEN V DAVE CHISNALL

Van Gerwen followed up his previous victories in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 by retaining the title in the double-start tournament at the Citywest Convention Centre for the first time to continue his dominance of the event.

The World Champion picked up £110,000 for the triumph as he condemned Chisnall to defeat in the final for a second time in six years, despite a plucky showing which included a dozen 180s.

However, after sharing the opening two sets, Van Gerwen showed his class in the deciding leg of the next two to pull clear before holding off Chisnall’s brief rally to close out a glorious triumph.

“It means a lot to me and I’m really pleased with this victory,” admitted Van Gerwen.

“It’s been a phenomenal week for me and I played really well, and it was a really good performance in the final because Dave put me under pressure. This was some of the best darts I’ve seen from Dave and he never gave in.

PIC: LAWRENCE LUSTIG
FINAL MICHAEL VAN GERWEN V DAVE CHISNALL MICHAEL VAN GERWEN WINS ANOTHER TITLE

“He had a great tournament and he played really well and pushed me, but every time in the important moments I did the right thing – and I think going 3-1 up was a big moment.

“I feel good and I want to keep this form going now into the big tournaments we have coming up.”

Van Gerwen dominated the early exchanges, winning the opening set 3-0 without allowing Chisnall a dart at a double.

The 2013 runner-up hit back well in the second, trading 13-darters with Van Gerwen before winning the set’s deciding leg with a 101 checkout on double 16.

The third set also went all the way as Van Gerwen came from 2-1 down to level with a 13-darter before taking out 111 to claim the set.

A 114 checkout moved the Dutchman 2-0 up in set four, only for Chisnall to land seven perfect darts in an 11-darter to respond before a 14-dart finish forced a decider.

However, Van Gerwen crucially stepped up once again, defying a 180 from his rival to land tops for a 13-darter and a 3-1 advantage in the final.

Van Gerwen then took set five by a 3-1 scoreline to continue his surge towards a fifth title, although the world number one could only watch as a brilliant 13-darter from Chisnall in the set six decider saw him hit back to 4-2.

Chisnall also shared the opening two legs of set seven, and the pair then traded 14-darters before another deciding leg went to Van Gerwen as double six sealed the title.

Chisnall had lost the 2013 final 6-0 to Phil Taylor in a game where he won just two legs, but remained in positive mood despite again having to settle for the runner-up prize at the Citywest Convention Centre.

“It’s been a positive week and I’ve played well so I’m proud,” said Chisnall. “When you go 4-1 down against Michael van Gerwen it’s going to be tough but I never gave in.

“It was a game of fine margins and I missed crucial doubles in a couple of legs, but that’s darts. He punished me and it’s my own fault, but I will work on it.

“I’ve had a great tournament and the atmosphere during the final was fantastic, the crowd gave us both great support. I did better than in 2013 and I’m proud of myself.”

BoyleSports World Grand Prix

Saturday, October 12

Final

Michael van Gerwen 5-2 Dave Chisnall

Set Scores: 3-0, 2-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-1, 2-3, 3-2

World Grand Prix – Semi-Finals.

Michael van Gerwen and Dave Chisnall will clash in the 2019 BoyleSports World Grand Prix final on Saturday following their big semi-final victories over Chris Dobey and Glen Durrant.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
SEMI-FINAL GLEN DURRANT V DAVE CHISNALL DAVE CHISNALL IN ACTION

Reigning champion Van Gerwen remains on course to retain the title for the first time following his imperious defeat of Dobey at Dublin’s Citywest Convention Centre.

The world number one punished three missed finishing doubles from Dobey in the opening leg, and asserted his dominance by taking the opening set 3-1.

Dobey – appearing in his first televised semi-final – hit back strongly to lead 2-0 in the second with legs of 13 and 14 darts, only to see Van Gerwen take the next two to level before a 156 checkout sealed the set for the Dutchman.

Van Gerwen also came from 1-0 and 2-1 behind to win the third set, hitting a 13-darter in the deciding leg, as he charged towards a victory which was sealed in ruthless fashion as he took the fourth set without reply.

“It feels phenomenal to be in the final,” said Van Gerwen. “I love this tournament and it’s a great feeling when you play well and reach the final.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
SEMI FINAL MICHAEL VAN GERWEN V CHRIS DOBEY CHRIS DOBEY IN ACTION

“Chris has done so well this week but I kept him under pressure. He had nothing to lose and has got a lot of talent, but it was difficult for him tonight.

“I think I did the right things at the right moments, like the 156 to win the second set. It wasn’t as easy as the score would say and I can improve, so I have to prepare myself right for the final.”

Chisnall, meanwhile, won through to his second World Grand Prix final at with a 4-1 defeat of Durrant, as he bids to erase the memory of a 6-0 whitewash to Phil Taylor in the 2013 showpiece.

The world number 11 was flawless in his finishing as he took the first set without reply, before Durrant took out 154 and 87 as he levelled in the same manner in set two.

Chisnall, though, landed the maximum 170 checkout as he came from a leg down to win the third set in a deciding leg, and the fourth went also all the way.

Durrant led 2-1 before Chisnall took out a 140 finish and then punished the Lakeside Champion’s miss at tops for the set in the deciding leg to open up a 3-1 lead in the match.

Chisnall moved to the brink of victory at 2-0 in set five, with Durrant then finishing 112 to save the game before landing double ten to level the set, only to see his rival take the deciding leg on top to seal the win.

“I enjoyed it and I’m over the moon to be in the final,” said Chisnall. “Glen’s such a good player and he made it tough for me. He’s a three-time World Champion and he never gave up.

“I scored well but my starting wasn’t brilliant and I struggled to hit tops tonight. Double 18 saved me a few times too and the 170 was special, but the fourth set was the crucial one.

“It was nip and tuck and Glen could have won that fourth set, so the 25 I took out was massive. I’m very happy to be through but I want to play better in the final.

“I was poor in the 2013 final and I only won two legs, but that’s gone now and I want to win the title this time.”

Van Gerwen has been installed as BoyleSports’ 2/9 favourite to take the £110,000 top prize on Saturday night, with Chisnall the 10/3 outsider as he chases his maiden televised title.

Those odds reflect Van Gerwen’s dominance in the pair’s career record, with the Dutchman unbeaten in 26 matches since 2016 against Chisnall, who last took victory in a televised tie between the pair in the 2013 World Grand Prix quarter-finals.

“My record against Dave is great but I still have to make sure I perform in the final,” added Van Gerwen. “I have to keep putting him under pressure to that he starts missing but he’s been brilliant in this tournament so far.”

Saturday’s decider will be preceded by the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay final between Keane Barry and Liam Gallagher, which will be televised live by Sky Sports from 1915.

The winner of top domestic honour will progress to compete in the William Hill World Darts Championship in December.

BoyleSports World Grand Prix

Friday October 11

Semi-Finals

Dave Chisnall 4-1 Glen Durrant (3-0, 0-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2)

Michael van Gerwen 4-0 Chris Dobey (3-1, 3-2, 3-2, 3-0)

Saturday October 12 (2000 BST start)

Final

Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall

Best of nine sets

Preceded by Tom Kirby Irish Matchplay final (1915 BST)

Liam Gallagher v Keane Barry

Best of 11 legs

ENDS

World Grand Prix Qtrs – Making it Chizzy!

Michael van Gerwen, Dave Chisnall, Glen Durrant and Chris Dobey will star in the semi-finals of the 2019 BoyleSports World Grand Prix after coming through their quarter-final ties in Dublin on Thursday.

BOYLE SPORTS WORLD GRAND PRIX CITY WEST CONVENTION CENTRE, CITY WEST, DUBLIN.IRELAND PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG QUARTER FINAL DAVE CHISNALL V NATHAN ASPINALL DAVE CHISNALL IN ACTION

A thrilling night of darts at the Citywest Convention Centre saw reigning champion Van Gerwen continue his bid to retain the title for the first time with a hard-fought 3-1 win against Mervyn King, and he will now face Dobey, who continued his dream debut with a 3-2 triumph over Ian White.

Chisnall overcame Nathan Aspinall 3-1 in a high-quality affair to set up a meeting with Glen Durrant after the World Matchplay semi-finalist edged out Jermaine Wattimena 3-2 to book a spot in Friday’s last four.

The repeat of the 2012 final between Van Gerwen and King was the star attraction on Day Five of the double-start event at the Citywest Convention Centre, with King pushing four-time champion Van Gerwen to produce some of his best darts.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
QUARTER FINAL MICHAEL VAN GERWEN IN ACTION

Van Gerwen took a 1-0 lead after two set darts went begging for King, who then matched the Dutchman’s 170 checkout with the maximum finish himself to level at 1-1 in sets.

The third set went the way of Van Gerwen 3-1, but King’s reply was immediate in the opening leg four as he raised the roof with a 132 checkout.

With King 2-1 up in the fourth, he then missed a dart at double 18 to take the match to a deciding set and Van Gerwen took full advantage, pinning double eight to make it 2-2 before outscoring King in the set five decider, sealing victory on double top.

“I think it was a phenomenal game from both of us, but I proved why you should never write off MvG,” said Van Gerwen.

“He pushed me through the roof, he never gave up and I think we saw Mervyn at his best tonight. He’s a top class player with an incredible talent.

“Now I will have a good night’s rest and I will be ready for tomorrow. I think the longer format will favour me in my game with Chris.”


Van Gerwen’s next test will come from rising star Dobey, who continued his sensational impact in his first World Grand Prix appearance with five ton-plus checkouts in a win over White.

A rampant start from Dobey saw him whitewash White in the first set, sealing it with a 132 checkout, before a strong response from White saw him take the second set 3-1.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG QUARTER FINAL IAN WHITE V CHRIS DOBEY CHRIS DOBEY IN ACTION


It was White’s turn for a whitewash in the third to go 2-1 ahead in sets, but Dobey fired back with finishes of 120 and 100 to take the fourth 3-1.

A stunning 156 finish from Dobey put him within a leg of the semi-finals, and the Geordie sealed his place in the final four with another 100 checkout in the next leg to secure his first PDC televised semi-final berth.

“It’s great to go out there and show what I can do. I felt great up there, I was a bit patchy at times but I finished well,” said Dobey.

“It’s put me into my first semi-final and to beat the number ten in the world is great, especially after beating Gary [Anderson] too.

“I’ve got all the belief in the world and I’m playing well enough to go all the way but I’ll just focus on the semis now, whoever I play. I will never look past my next game and I will prepare myself like I would for any other game.”

2013 runner-up Chisnall produced a strong display, hitting doubles at crucial moments to get the better of UK Open champion Aspinall.

Chisnall looked to be running away with the game as he took the opening two sets, despite Aspinall missing two darts for the first.

The third set went to a deciding leg, and after Chisnall missed darts at double top and double ten to close out victory, Aspinall stepped in to pin double ten and keep his hopes of a dream Dublin debut alive.

Undeterred by his missed chances to seal the deal, Chisnall continued his heavy scoring in the fourth set, winning it 3-1 to reach the semi-finals for the second time in four years.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG QUARTER FINAL DAVE CHISNALL V NATHAN ASPINALL Dave CHISNALL IN ACTION

“I’m over the moon, I’m much happier with how I played tonight compared with my last game,” said Chisnall, the 2013 World Grand Prix finalist.

“Nathan is a top player; I felt like I’d won the lottery to be 2-0 up against him – that’s how good he is.

“But I dug in and I managed to get one over him today and now I’m feeling good about my game heading into Friday.”

Three-time Lakeside Champion Durrant completed the semi-final line-up with a hard-fought win over Wattimena to continue his dream first year on the PDC circuit.

Another slow start from Durrant saw him whitewashed by Wattimena in set one, with the Dutchman nailing a 154 checkout in leg three.

Despite once again failing to produce his best darts, Durrant stuck to his task and won six of the next eight legs to take a 2-1 lead in sets.

Wattimena, who took the scalps of Adrian Lewis and Peter Wright to reach the last eight, fought back to win the fourth set 3-1 and take the tie to a decider.

Dutch number two Wattimena edged closer to the biggest win of his career by taking the opening leg, but Durrant held firm, winning three legs in succession to book a place in his second televised PDC semi-final.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG QUARTER FINAL GLEN DURRANT V JERMAINE WATTIMENA GLEN DURRANT IN ACTION

“It’s crazy that I’m in the semi-finals,” Durrant admitted. “I’ve got that will to win inside me and I somehow managed to find the knockout blow. I’ve got that fight and a will to win.

“I honestly don’t know how I’m winning, I don’t know where my scoring’s gone.

“Hopefully on Friday I can settle, maybe winning the first set will help my performance so I’m not constantly battling to stay in it.”

Durrant and Chisnall will star in Friday’s opening semi-final at the Citywest Convention Centre from 1900 BST, with Van Gerwen then taking on Dobey in the second contest of the evening.

BoyleSports World Grand Prix
Thursday October 10

Quarter-Finals
Chris Dobey 3-2 Ian White (3-1, 1-3, 0-3, 3-1, 3-0)
Dave Chisnall 3-1 Nathan Aspinall (3-2, 3-1, 2-3, 3-1)
Michael van Gerwen 3-1 Mervyn King (3-2, 1-3, 3-1, 3-2)
Glen Durrant 3-2 Jermaine Wattimena (0-3, 3-0, 3-2, 1-3, 3-1)

Friday October 11 (1900 BST start)
Semi-Finals
Glen Durrant v Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen v Chris Dobey

Saturday October 12 (2000 BST start)
Final
Van Gerwen/Dobey v Durrant/Chisnall
Preceded by Tom Kirby Irish Matchplay final between Liam Gallagher & Keane Barry

ENDS

WGP – Day Four – Cross gets Duzza’d!

Glen Durrant, Nathan Aspinall, Dave Chisnall and Jermaine Wattimena were all victorious in Dublin on Wednesday to complete the quarter-final line-up at the 2019 BoyleSports World Grand Prix.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
ROUND 2 ROB CROSS V GLEN DURRANT GLEN DURRANT IN ACTION

Day Four of the double-start event saw the final four last 16 ties take place at the Citywest Convention Centre as three players won through to the quarter-finals for the first time.

Durrant and Wattimena will meet in Thursday’s quarter-finals after the Lakeside Champion performed under pressure in a five-set thriller with Rob Cross and the Dutchman knocked out Peter Wright.

After a staccato start, the first ever meeting between former World Champion Cross and Lakeside Champion Durrant blossomed into one of the most memorable matches of the tournament so far this year.

The opening set’s decider was won by debutant Durrant, before the second set saw Cross land finishes of 144 and 134 to level with a 3-0 scoreline.

With Durrant being outscored, he relied on missed finishing doubles from Cross to stay ahead in the third set before a 109 checkout saw him regain his one-set lead.

Set four went to a deciding leg, but after Durrant took eight darts to get away, Cross landed a 138 checkout to keep his hopes alive at two-all in sets.

The deciding set began with both players hitting their stride as they exchanged 180s before Durrant found double 16 with his last dart in hand to go 1-0 up.

The third leg saw Cross miss three darts at double, before Durrant found double five to go within a leg of the match once again and this time he drove home the advantage, kicking off with a 152 and taking out 54 to bring the curtain down on a dramatic affair.

“I wish I could stand here being really happy but there’s something not quite right with the way I’m playing at the moment,” Durrant admitted.

“One thing I don’t lack is bottle and that’s what got me through tonight. I’ve come through a really tough section of the draw without playing well.

“I know I need to up my game in the next round if I’m to progress and that’s what I’m working towards now.”

Meanwhile, Wattimena was left in tears after beating Wright 3-1 to reach his first individual televised quarter-final – following June’s run to the World Cup semi-finals for the Netherlands.

Wright followed up an earlier 111 finish by taking out 148 in the set one decider, but Wattimena was not disheartened and replied by taking set two 3-0.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
ROUND 2 PETER WRIGHT V JERMAINE WATTIMENA JERMAINE WATTIMENA IN ACTION

The third set also went to a fifth leg and after Wright missed three darts to regain his one-set lead, Wattimena pinned two double tops to take out 100 and deal a body blow to the World Cup-winning Scot.

Having gone two legs down in the fourth set, Wright fought back to 2-2, only for Wattimena to show great composure, hitting a huge 145 score and then making no mistake on double 12 to seal a memorable victory.

“I’m really happy with this win, now I have shown that I can play on stage,” said an emotional Wattimena.

“I am over the moon but I can’t get too carried away because now I have a huge game with Glen tomorrow – he is a great player and I think it will be a good match.”

UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall will face 2013 World Grand Prix finalist Dave Chisnall in the quarter-finals after Dublin debutant Aspinall twice came from behind to claim a 3-2 win over Danny Noppert.

Dutchman Noppert, who knocked out 2017 champion Daryl Gurney in round one, got off to the worst possible start, taking 17 darts to land a starting double in the opening leg.

However, Noppert recovered and after Aspinall missed three darts at double top to take the set, he found double five to go 1-0 up in the contest.

Aspinall stormed back, taking the second set 3-0, but found himself behind once again as Noppert took the third set 3-1.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
ROUND 2 NATHAN ASPINALL V DANNY NOPPERT NATHAN ASPINALL IN ACTION



An 88 checkout on the bullseye saw Aspinall win the fourth set 3-1 – a fourth consecutive set won against throw – to take the match to a decider.

After Aspinall held throw in leg one, the US Darts Masters champion showed his class, firing in a 180 followed by a 92 checkout to break throw, before wrapping up the win in the next leg.

It was a simpler passage into the last eight for Chisnall, who won in straight sets against Stephen Bunting.

After Bunting surrendered a 2-0 advantage to lose the first set 3-2, Chisnall seized the initiative and failed to drop another leg in a one-sided contest.

Doubling-in proved to be the main stumbling block for Bunting, who missed 43 darts at starting doubles to Chisnall’s 22.

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ROUND 2 STEPHEN BUNTING V DAVE CHISNALL DAVE CHISNALL IN ACTION

Thursday’s quarter-finals will begin with the tie between Ian White and Chris Dobey, while reigning champion Michael van Gerwen continues his bid to win a fifth Dublin title against Mervyn King in a repeat of the 2012 decider.

BoyleSports World Grand Prix
Wednesday October 9

Second Round
Nathan Aspinall 3-2 Danny Noppert
Dave Chisnall 3-0 Stephen Bunting
Glen Durrant 3-2 Rob Cross
Jermaine Wattimena 3-1 Peter Wright

Thursday October 10 (1900 BST start)
Quarter-Finals
Ian White v Chris Dobey
Dave Chisnall v Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen v Mervyn King
Glen Durrant v Jermaine Wattimena

Friday October 11 (1900 BST start)
Semi-Finals
Van Gerwen/King v White/Dobey
Durrant/Wattimena v Chisnall/Aspinall

Saturday October 12 (2000 BST start)
Final
Preceded by Tom Kirby Irish Matchplay final between Liam Gallagher & Keane Barry

ENDS

Day Three Review – World Grand Prix

Van Gerwen Powers Past De Zwaan In BoyleSports World Grand Prix

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
ROUND 2 MICHAEL VAN GERWEN V JEFFREY DE ZWAAN MICHAEL VAN GERWEN IN ACTION

Michael van Gerwen stormed into the BoyleSports World Grand Prix quarter-finals with an imperious 3-0 defeat of Dutch rival Jeffrey de Zwaan in Dublin on Tuesday night.

The reigning champion in the double-start event had endured some nervous moments during Sunday’s first round win over Jamie Hughes, but produced the highest average of the tournament so far at 94.79 as he powered past De Zwaan.

The youngster had defeated Van Gerwen in both the UK Open and World Matchplay in 2018, but was restricted to just three darts at a finishing double during a one-sided contest.

Four-time champion Van Gerwen raced through the first set in little over four minutes, landing two 12-darters and finishing 134 as he asserted his dominance.

De Zwaan took out a 120 finish in the second, only for Van Gerwen to double his advantage with a 3-1 scoreline before repeating that in the third to complete the win.

“I know what I’m capable of and I think played really well,” said Van Gerwen. “I had to because Jeffrey is a good guy and a phenomenally talented player, so you have to put him under pressure to make sure you keep on top of him.

“I’m very confident and I feel really good. With my scoring power and my finishing, I can’t really complain.”

Van Gerwen will now meet Mervyn King in Thursday’s quarter-finals in a repeat of the 2012 World Grand Prix final, which the Dutchman had won to claim his maiden PDC televised title.

“I’ve got Mervyn next and I want to play exactly the same against him,” said the World Champion.

“Of course I fancy my chances but Mervyn is playing really well again and I need to make sure I’m sharp.”

King reached his second successive televised quarter-final as he came from a set down to defeat two-time World Grand Prix champion James Wade 3-1.

Wade, the 2007 and 2010 winner at the Citywest Convention Centre, had claimed the opening set 3-2 as he chased a spot in the quarter-finals.

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ROUND 2 JAMES WADE V MERVYN KING MERVYN KING IN ACTION

However, the left-hander paid for failing to close out set two as King levelled the tie in a dramatic deciding leg.

The 2012 finalist then landed a ten-darter in taking set three 3-2 before sweeping through the next without reply to book a last-eight place, following up July’s run to the same stage at the World Matchplay.

“I’m so pleased to be through,” said King, who last reached the quarter-finals in Dublin in 2014.

“James is a classic double top and double ten hitter, but I was a little bit more consistent than him.

“I don’t think I played that badly in the first set but I missed a couple of things and he punished me, and I had to dig in just to get back level, but from the third set I started firing.

“I’m not here to make the numbers up – I’m here to win the title and I’ve always said that if Mervyn King turns up, Mervyn King stands a good chance of winning.”

Ian White won through to his first World Grand Prix quarter-final since 2015 with a 3-1 win over Michael Smith, who continued his record of failing to win past the last 16 in Dublin.

White led 2-1 early on, only to miss his chance to close out the set as Smith capitalised on two missed doubles with a 14-darter before winning the deciding leg on double ten.

White, though, opened set two with a 12-darter to spark a run of seven successive legs as he moved into a 2-1 lead in the game and also took the advantage in set four.

Smith hit back to win two of the next three as he saved the set, but the fightback was brief as tops sealed White’s spot in the last eight.

“I’m delighted to win but it was hard work,” said White. “Michael’s my practice partner and a close friend so it’s hard playing someone you know so well.

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ROUND 2 IAN WHITE V MICHAEL SMITH IAN WHITE IN ACTION

“I thought I could have won the first set, but I kept myself focused and not many players win seven legs in a row against Michael Smith.

“I wanted to get towards the latter stages to give myself a chance and I’m glad I’m still going. It’s coming up to the end of the year so every major tournament is big and I want to prove to everyone that I can play up there.”

White will now play Chris Dobey, who reached his third televised quarter-final with a superb 3-1 victory over two-time World Champion Gary Anderson.

The Scot, a former Dublin finalist, defied a showpiece 134 checkout from Dobey to claim the opening set 3-2, only to see the Newcastle youngster come from 2-1 down to level in the second.

Dobey then finished 90, 60 and 110 to win the third without reply, before securing his last eight place by claiming set four with a 3-1 scoreline.

“I think my overall performance was pretty good and I’m delighted to have won,” said Dobey. “I knew I had the game to beat Gary and I had to keep my cool, and it’s up there with my best performances on stage.

“It means a lot to me. This is a great competition to be in and I like the double-start format – I think it suits my game. I’m not here to make the numbers up, I’m in it to win it but I’m not going to look any further forward than the next game.”

The second round concludes on Wednesday with the remaining four matches, headlined by the clash between World Matchplay champion Rob Cross and reigning Lakeside Champion Glen Durrant.

Former World Grand Prix finalists Dave Chisnall and Peter Wright will play Stephen Bunting and Jermaine Wattimena respectively, while UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall is up against Danny Noppert.

2019 BoyleSports World Grand Prix

Tuesday October 8

Second Round x4

Mervyn King 3-1 James Wade (2-3, 3-2, 3-1, 3-0)

Ian White 3-1 Michael Smith (2-3, 3-0, 3-0, 3-2)

Michael van Gerwen 3-0 Jeffrey de Zwaan (3-0, 3-1, 3-1)

Chris Dobey 3-1 Gary Anderson (2-3, 3-2, 3-0, 3-1)

Wednesday October 9 (1900 start)

Second Round x4

Danny Noppert v Nathan Aspinall

Dave Chisnall v Stephen Bunting

Rob Cross v Glen Durrant

Peter Wright v Jermaine Wattimena

Format

Second Round – best of five sets, best of five legs per set. All legs must begin and end with a double.

ENDS

BoyleSports World Grand Prix Begins – MVG Through After Scare.

Michael van Gerwen has stated his intent to retain the BoyleSports World Grand Prix title after avoiding a scare against Jamie Hughes as the double-start tournament began on Sunday night in Dublin.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
ROUND1 MICHAEL VAN GERWEN v JAMIE HUGHES

World Champion Van Gerwen had to come from a set down against debutant Hughes before progressing to the second round of the £450,000 event with a 2-1 triumph.

A dramatic deciding set saw Hughes lead 1-0, only to miss two darts in leg two as Van Gerwen levelled – and a key third leg saw the Tipton thrower open with 160 and 180 before adding a seventh perfect dart.

However, he was unable to close out a perfect leg, and could only watch on after a missed double as Van Gerwen powered home a pivotal 135 checkout on the bull.

It proved a decisive blow as Van Gerwen moved 2-1 up, and the four-time champion landed a 180 and double 18 to avoid a second first round exit in three years at the Citywest Convention Centre.

“I feel really good,” said Van Gerwen, the winner in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018. “I didn’t really perform but I did some phenomenal things in patches and that made me win this game – the 135 hurt him so much.

“Jamie played well, especially for his first time in this event. I was struggling at times and I can do a lot better than this, but it’s a short format so it’s difficult.

“I will win back-to-back this year – simple.”

Tournament favourite Van Gerwen now faces a second round tie on Tuesday against Dutch prospect Jeffrey de Zwaan, who dropped only one leg as he swept aside Steve Beaton in straight sets to race into the last 16 for a second successive year.

Beaton shared the opening two legs of the contest, but De Zwaan followed double 11 with a 14-darter to wrap up the first set before winning the second without reply to progress.

“I thought I played really well and I felt good, but Steve didn’t play his game,” said De Zwaan. “I saw Steve struggling a little bit, but it’s always been a tough game against him in the past.

“I can look forward to the next game now because you just want to get through. I like this format but it’s also tough and anything can happen.”

Two-time World Grand Prix champion James Wade won his first game in the event for five years with a 2-1 defeat of John Henderson.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG ROUND1
JAMES WADE IN ACTION

The 2007 and 2010 winner showed glimpses of his best form by finishing 8/13 doubles, including a superb 142 checkout to secure the opening set 3-1.

Henderson finished 100 with two double tops as he moved 2-0 up in the second set, with Wade levelling only for a timely 180 to help the Scot secure the deciding leg on double six.

Wade, though, raced through the third set without reply as he moved through to face Mervyn King in Tuesday’s second round.

“John played far better than I thought he would but I did enough at the right times,” said Wade. “I finished well and it’s a relief.

“I’ve had no result for the last four years so tonight was a massive thing for me.”

2012 finalist King hit back from the brink of defeat to overcome Dimitri Van den Bergh in a sudden-death leg at the end of their see-saw tie.

Van den Bergh came from 2-1 down to claim the opening set, following an earlier 112 finish with a superb 105 checkout in the decider as King paid for missing four set darts.

King then came from a leg down to take set two by a 3-1 scoreline, inspired by a 112 finish, only to find himself 2-0 down in set three.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG ROUND1
MERVYN KING IN ACTION

However, a timely 180 set up tops as he kept his hopes alive in leg three, a superb 133 checkout levelled and forced a deciding leg which the 53-year-old won on double 16.

“I made hard work of it but it was nice to come back and get over the line,” said King.

“The first set should have been mine but I let it go and it was very frustrating. I shouldn’t have been behind but my form appeared at the right time and hopefully, that will continue.

“It would have only taken a couple of different darts from Dimitri and I would have been on my way home but I got through it and you feel like you’re in the competition now.”

Michael Smith won past the first round for only the second time in seven World Grand Prix appearances, despite staring defeat in the face in a three-set thriller against Simon Whitlock.

2017 finalist Whitlock came from a leg down to win the opening set 3-1 and moved 2-1 up in the second with the aid of 120 checkout, only to see Smith produce a huge 128 finish to save the set before double top levelled the match.

Smith then took out a huge 155 checkout – with the Australian waiting on a double – to open the third set, and the St Helens man also led 2-0 before Whitlock hit back to force a deciding leg, punishing two missed match darts from the World Championship finalist.

However, Whitlock missed six starting doubles in the final leg, with Smith pulling clear before pinning double 16 at the first time of asking to grab a hard-fought victory.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
ROUND1 MICHAEL SMITH

“My scoring wasn’t quite there but I got the win and I’m happy,” said Smith. “The 128 was a big shot and it saved the match, and I knew that hurt him and then the 155 killed him.”

Ian White produced a superb comeback from a set and two legs down against Joe Cullen to book his last 16 spot with a 2-1 victory over the Bradford ace.

Cullen raced through the first set without reply and also moved two legs up in the second after restricting White to a solitary dart at the bullseye.

However, back-to-back 82 checkouts ignited the Stoke star’s challenge, with double 16 securing set two to level the tie before he claimed the decider without reply to progress.

“I’m so relieved but I dug in and got there in the end,” said White. “I’ve got mixed emotions because I’ve been on the end of that before and missed doubles.

“I had to play my own game in the end because I think I was playing too fast at the start. It just wasn’t going for me in the first set but I started finding double top and I persevered with it.

“I had nothing to lose and I could have been out of the tournament, but now I’ve got a chance.”

2016 finalist Gary Anderson raced to a straight-sets victory over Keegan Brown, dropping just two legs as he moved through to the last 16.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
ROUND1 GARY ANDERSON V KEEGAN BROWN

The Scot sped through the opening set without reply, with Brown sharing the first four legs of the second only for a clinical 13-darter to book Anderson’s passage to a second-round tie with Chris Dobey on Tuesday.

“The first round is very hard and a it’s the only time we play double start, so it’s very hard to get into,” said Anderson. “I’m playing with some new darts and they’re going well, so there are some good signs.

“My game isn’t 100 percent but it’s getting there and I’m happy with the way the lighter darts are going. I’m struggling to get the hunger back but when I get up there I want to play, so we’ll see what happens.”

Dobey enjoyed a winning debut at the World Grand Prix, dropping just two legs as he overcame Ricky Evans in straight sets, proving too clinical on his starting doubles with 8/12 attempts to his rival’s 8/28.

Dobey came from a leg down to take the opener 3-1, finishing 90, then double eight to break and double 16 to secure the set.

Evans levelled in set two with a 13-darter, but Dobey restored his advantage with a 14-darter after the pair traded maximums, before tops moved the youngster into round two.

“I’m delighted to get the win,” said Dobey. “For my debut, I think a 90 average is decent and my doubles went in well.

“This is a competition I’ve watched on TV and everyone wants to play in it to test themselves. I even went back to my local leagues to practice, and it’s paid off.”

The first round concludes on Monday with the remaining eight matches, headlined by the clash between World Matchplay champion Rob Cross and three-time Dublin semi-finalist Mensur Suljovic.

2019 BoyleSports World Grand Prix

Sunday October 6

First Round x8

Chris Dobey 2-0 Ricky Evans (3-1, 3-1)

Mervyn King 2-1 Dimitri Van den Bergh (2-3, 3-1, 3-2)

Ian White 2-1 Joe Cullen (0-3, 3-2, 3-0)

Jeffrey de Zwaan 2-0 Steve Beaton (3-1, 3-0)

James Wade 2-1 John Henderson (3-1, 2-3, 3-0)

Michael Smith 2-1 Simon Whitlock (1-3, 3-2, 3-2)

Michael van Gerwen 2-1 Jamie Hughes (2-3, 3-1, 3-1)

Gary Anderson 2-0 Keegan Brown (3-0, 3-2)

Monday October 7 (1900)

First Round x8

Stephen Bunting v Jonny Clayton

Vincent van der Voort v Nathan Aspinall

Adrian Lewis v Jermaine Wattimena

Glen Durrant v Krzysztof Ratajski

Daryl Gurney v Danny Noppert

Gerwyn Price v Dave Chisnall

Rob Cross v Mensur Suljovic

Peter Wright v Max Hopp

ENDS

World Grand Prix : Preview, Schedule and Bracket

The 2019 BoyleSports World Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday at the Citywest Convention Centre in Dublin, as Michael van Gerwen begins his title defence against Jamie Hughes on the opening night.

UNIBET GRAND PRIX 2018 CONVENTION CENTRE, CITY WEST HOTEL, DUBLIN IRELAND
PIC; LAWRENCE LUSTIG PETER WRIGHT RUNNER UP.

Seven nights of action will take place from October 6-12, broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

The first round of the PDC’s only double-start event will be staged across the opening two nights on Sunday and Monday.

Reigning champion Van Gerwen faces an opening test against Hughes, whose impressive first year as a PDC Tour Card Holder saw him win a European Tour event winner in Prague in June.

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG.
2018 FINAL MICHAEL VAN GERWEN WINS

The tournament holds special memories for Van Gerwen who lifted his first televised PDC title at the 2012 World Grand Prix, but the four-time winner isn’t putting any pressure on himself to retain the title for the first time in his career.

“It would be nice to defend the title but it’s not something I will focus on too much,” said Van Gerwen, who has won the Premier League and The Masters since winning his third World Championship title in January.

“I believe I can win any match and any tournament I play in. I focus on each one of them at a time and the record books will take care of themselves.

“The World Grand Prix is a huge tournament which I enjoy and I feel confident about to going all the way next week.”

Daryl Gurney famously won the event in 2017, and two years on the Northern Irishman still holds great memories of the night that changed his life.

“It really was a dream come true, it was a night that I will never forget,” said Gurney, who begins his bid for a second Dublin crown against Dutchman Danny Noppert on Monday.

“The next morning I woke up I remember thinking ‘who owns this trophy beside me?’ It still felt like some kind of dream.

“But I’m probably a better player now than I was then so hopefully I can enjoy another dream and wake up with the trophy again.”

Alongside Van Gerwen and Gurney, James Wade is the only other previous winner in the 32-player field and is also the only player in this year’s event to have hit a nine-dart finish in the double-start format.

James Wade will be looking to get back to his best.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Making his 15th World Grand Prix appearance, 2007 and 2010 champion Wade will take on former semi-finalist John Henderson on Sunday night.

Last year’s runner-up Peter Wright believes a return to the darts he used at the 2018 tournament could help him go one better this time around.

Wright was left devastated after his 5-2 defeat to Van Gerwen in his first World Grand Prix final, having previously never made it past the quarter-finals stage of the double-start event.

A winner of the World Cup and German Darts Masters so far in 2019, Wright will begin his bid for a first title on the Emerald Isle against German number one Max Hopp on Monday, with the Scot in buoyant mood.

“To be honest it doesn’t help me changing darts all the time but I’m going to use the darts I got to the final of the World Grand Prix with last year,” said Wright.

“I believe I can go and win all the tournaments coming up but there’s some quality players out there in my way. If you don’t believe you can win then you shouldn’t be playing in my opinion.

“I’ve got good memories from Dublin last year when I beat Mensur [Suljovic] in the semis. This year I’ve got Max [Hopp] first up, he’s a fantastic player but in my mind I’m playing better than anyone so it doesn’t bother me who I play.”

UNIBET GRAND PRIX 2018 – Gary Anderson will hope to reassert himself in the top echelon.
PIC; LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Former finalist Gary Anderson begins his quest for a first World Grand Prix title against Keegan Brown, who is making his first appearance since 2015.

Steve Beaton will make his 16th World Grand Prix appearance, having made his debut in 2001, and he takes on rising Dutch star Jeffrey de Zwaan in his opener.

A semi-finalist in three of the last four years in Dublin, Mensur Suljovic will play World Matchplay champion Rob Cross in one of the stand-out ties in round one.

Hughes will be joined by five other players in making their debuts at the £450,000 event: UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall, Gibraltar Darts Trophy winner Krzysztof Ratajski, two-time Players Championship event winner Glen Durrant, Danish Darts Open finalist Chris Dobey and reigning World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh.

The players in the top half of the draw will play their first round ties on Sunday, with the bottom half of the draw in action on Monday evening.

Sunday’s winners will compete in Tuesday’s second round ties, with Monday’s winners returning to the stage on Wednesday.

The quarter-finals will then be held on Thursday night, with the semi-finals on Friday ahead of Saturday’s final, which will be preceded by the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay final between Keane Barry and Liam Gallagher.

2019 BoyleSports World Grand Prix
Draw Bracket
(1) Michael van Gerwen v Jamie Hughes
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Steve Beaton
(8) James Wade v John Henderson
Mervyn King v Dimitri Van den Bergh
(5) Michael Smith v Simon Whitlock
Joe Cullen v Ian White
(4) Gary Anderson v Keegan Brown
Ricky Evans v Chris Dobey
(2) Rob Cross v Mensur Suljovic
Glen Durrant v Krzysztof Ratajski
(7) Peter Wright v Max Hopp
Adrian Lewis v Jermaine Wattimena
(6) Gerwyn Price v Dave Chisnall
Stephen Bunting v Jonny Clayton
(3) Daryl Gurney v Danny Noppert
Vincent van der Voort v Nathan Aspinall

Schedule of PlaySunday October 6 (1900)
First Round x8
Ricky Evans v Chris Dobey
Mervyn King v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Joe Cullen v Ian White
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Steve Beaton
James Wade v John Henderson
Michael Smith v Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen v Jamie Hughes
Gary Anderson v Keegan Brown

Monday October 7 (1900)
First Round x8
Stephen Bunting v Jonny Clayton
Vincent van der Voort v Nathan Aspinall
Adrian Lewis v Jermaine Wattimena
Glen Durrant v Krzysztof Ratajski
Daryl Gurney v Danny Noppert
Gerwyn Price v Dave Chisnall
Rob Cross v Mensur Suljovic
Peter Wright v Max Hopp

Tuesday October 8 (1900)
Second Round x4
Wade/Henderson v King/Van den Bergh
Smith/Whitlock v Cullen/White
Van Gerwen/Hughes v De Zwaan/Beaton
Anderson/Brown v Evans/Dobey

Wednesday October 9 (1900)Second Round x4
Gurney/Noppert v Van der Voort/Aspinall
Price/Chisnall v Bunting/Clayton
Cross/Suljovic v Durrant/Ratajski
Wright/Hopp v Lewis/Wattimena

Thursday October 10 (1900)
Quarter-Finals

Friday October 11 (1900)Semi-Finals

Saturday October 12 (2000)Final
Preceded by Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay Final (1900 BST)
Liam Gallagher v Keane Barry
Best of 11 legs

Format
First Round – Best of three sets
Second Round – Best of five sets
Quarter-Finals – Best of five sets
Semi-Finals – Best of seven sets
Final – Best of nine sets
All sets are the best of five legs. All legs must begin and end with a double.

Prize fund
Winner – £110,000
Runner-up – £50,000
Semi-finalists – £25,000
Quarter-finalists – £16,000
Second round – £10,000
First round – £6,000

BoyleSports World Grand Prix OddsOutright Winner
7/4 Michael van Gerwen
8/1 Peter Wright
9/1 Gary Anderson
10/1 Rob Cross
12/1 Gerwyn Price
14/1 Daryl Gurney
18/1 Nathan Aspinall
20/1 Michael Smith, Mensur Suljovic
22/1 James Wade, Glen Durrant
28/1 Ian White
33/1 Dave Chisnall
50/1 Krzysztof Ratajski
66/1 Adrian Lewis, Jamie Hughes, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Jeffrey de Zwaan
100/1 Chris Dobey, Joe Cullen, Jonny Clayton
125/1 Simon Whitlock, Stephen Bunting, Max Hopp
150/1 Keegan Brown
175/1 Vincent van der Voort
200/1 Steve Beaton, Danny Noppert, John Henderson, Ricky Evans, Jermaine Wattimena
250/1 Mervyn King

Odds courtesy www.boylesports.com and correct at time of writing. Subject to fluctuation.

ENDS

Written by Josh Phillips

VAN GERWEN SET FOR HUGHES TEST IN BOYLESPORTS WORLD GRAND PRIX

Michael van Gerwen will open his bid for a fifth title at the BoyleSports World Grand Prix against Jamie Hughes on Sunday, October 16, with the draw for the Dublin event also pitting Rob Cross against Mensur Suljovic.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
JAMIE HUGHES WILL MAKE HIS BOW vs MVG.

World number one Van Gerwen picked up his fourth World Grand Prix win in 2018, having also been victorious at the Citywest Convention Centre in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

The World Champion and 13/8 pre-tournament favourite with sponsors BoyleSports has picked up a tough opener in this year’s 32-player event, drawing Jamie Hughes.

Tipton ace Hughes will be making his World Grand Prix debut when this year’s tournament is held from October 6-12, having impressed by winning the Czech Darts Open in June.

Two-time World Grand Prix champion James Wade – 22/1 chance to secure a hat-trick of titles – will face John Henderson, who was a semi-finalist two years ago after opening the event with a defeat of Van Gerwen.

MVG will start as the 13/8 favourite.

Number two seed and 10/1 chance Rob Cross, the 2019 World Matchplay winner, has drawn world number nine Mensur Suljovic in another tasty first-round tie, while 2017 World Grand Prix winner Daryl Gurney plays Dutchman Danny Noppert.

Third favourite Gary Anderson, who is 9/1 with BoyleSports, plays former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown, while world number five Michael Smith has drawn Simon Whitlock, the 2017 Dublin runner-up.

Reigning Grand Slam of Darts champion Gerwyn Price, the sixth seed, plays Dave Chisnall, while seventh seed Peter Wright – the 8/1 second-favourite – will take on another former World Youth Champion, Germany’s Max Hopp.

Glen Durrant’s debut in the double-start event will see him come up against Polish number one Krzysztof Ratajski, while reigning World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh drew 2012 World Grand Prix finalist Mervyn King.

Steve Beaton – a semi-finalist in Dublin 15 years ago – will meet Dutch youngster Jeffrey de Zwaan, while two 2019 European Tour event winners, Ian White and Joe Cullen, also face off.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
NATHAN ASPINALL IN ACTION

2010 Dublin finalist Adrian Lewis plays Jermaine Wattimena, UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall opens up against Vincent van der Voort, Stephen Bunting plays Wales’ Jonny Clayton and Ricky Evans meets Chris Dobey.

The players in the top half of the draw will play their first-round ties on Sunday, with the bottom half of the draw in action on Monday evening at the Citywest Convention Centre.

Sunday’s winners will compete in Tuesday’s second-round ties, with Monday’s winners returning to the stage on Wednesday.

The quarter-finals will then be held on Thursday night, with the semi-finals on Friday ahead of Saturday’s final, which will be preceded by the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay final between Keane Barry and Liam Gallagher.

The double-start tournament will return to the Citywest Convention Centre from October 6-12, with tickets still available through ticketmaster.ie.

2019 BoyleSports World Grand Prix

Draw Bracket

(1) Michael van Gerwen v Jamie Hughes

Jeffrey de Zwaan v Steve Beaton

(8) James Wade v John Henderson

Mervyn King v Dimitri Van den Bergh

(5) Michael Smith v Simon Whitlock

Joe Cullen v Ian White

(4) Gary Anderson v Keegan Brown

Ricky Evans v Chris Dobey

(2) Rob Cross v Mensur Suljovic

Glen Durrant v Krzysztof Ratajski

(7) Peter Wright v Max Hopp

Adrian Lewis v Jermaine Wattimena

(6) Gerwyn Price v Dave Chisnall

Stephen Bunting v Jonny Clayton

(3) Daryl Gurney v Danny Noppert

Vincent van der Voort v Nathan Aspinall

Schedule of Play

Sunday October 6 (1900)

First Round x8

Ricky Evans v Chris Dobey

Mervyn King v Dimitri Van den Bergh

Joe Cullen v Ian White

Jeffrey de Zwaan v Steve Beaton

James Wade v John Henderson

Michael Smith v Simon Whitlock

Michael van Gerwen v Jamie Hughes

Gary Anderson v Keegan Brown

Monday October 7 (1900)

First Round x8

Stephen Bunting v Jonny Clayton

Vincent van der Voort v Nathan Aspinall

Adrian Lewis v Jermaine Wattimena

Glen Durrant v Krzysztof Ratajski

Daryl Gurney v Danny Noppert

Gerwyn Price v Dave Chisnall

Rob Cross v Mensur Suljovic

Peter Wright v Max Hopp

Tuesday October 8 (1900)

Second Round x4

Wade/Henderson v King/Van den Bergh

Smith/Whitlock v Cullen/White

Van Gerwen/Hughes v De Zwaan/Beaton

Anderson/Brown v Evans/Dobey

Wednesday October 9 (1900)

Second Round x4

Gurney/Noppert v Van der Voort/Aspinall

Price/Chisnall v Bunting/Clayton

Cross/Suljovic v Durrant/Ratajski

Wright/Hopp v Lewis/Wattimena

Thursday October 10 (1900)

Quarter-Finals

Friday October 11 (1900)

Semi-Finals

Saturday October 12 (2000)

Final

Preceded by Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay Final (1900)

Liam Gallagher v Keane Barry

Best of 11 legs

BoyleSports World Grand Prix Odds

Outright Winner

13/8 Michael van Gerwen

8/1 Peter Wright

9/1 Gary Anderson

10/1 Rob Cross

12/1 Gerwyn Price

14/1 Daryl Gurney

20/1 Michael Smith, Nathan Aspinall, Glen Durrant, Mensur Suljovic

22/1 James Wade

28/1 Ian White

40/1 Dave Chisnall

66/1 Adrian Lewis, Jamie Hughes, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Jeffrey de Zwaan

80/1 Krzysztof Ratajski

100/1 Chris Dobey, Joe Cullen, Jonny Clayton

125/1 Simon Whitlock, Stephen Bunting, Max Hopp

150/1 Keegan Brown

175/1 Vincent van der Voort

200/1 Steve Beaton, Danny Noppert, John Henderson, Ricky Evans, Jermaine Wattimena

250/1 Mervyn King

Odds courtesy www.boylesports.com and correct at time of writing. Subject to fluctuation.

ENDS

Phil Taylor Trophy Introduced For BetVictor World Matchplay

Hunting the Big Five – A Decade of Darting Excellence.

In any professional sport, a small group of events emerge as the ‘Majors’ or Grand Slam titles. Often in different environments, conditions or host nations.

The true greats of any sport, or era, collect multiples of these titles as if they were any other. Professional darts is no different.

Phil Taylor Trophy Introduced For BetVictor World Matchplay
The World Matchplay Seems to be the Toughest Big5 event to win.
Phil Taylor. Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

The last decade has been remarkable for the game of darts. From a playing perspective, we have seen dominance and mastery of Phil Taylor, followed by the MVG era, with the emergence of many other talents, and characters, along the way. The game itself has gone from strength to strength with ever-increasing popularity, financial clout and now a truly global reach. The PDC, together with broadcasting companies have built upon a solid base of TV majors. By adding various non-ranking series and one-off events, held in different nations, in every timezone, they have ensured massive exposure. Despite the proliferation of events, most darts players (and fans) accept that there are five titles that currently carry that extra something that qualifies them as Majors.

The Big5 of the darts has The World Championships as its crown jewel. Held at the Alexandra Palace running from December of one year into the early days of the next. It uses a sets format and increases in match length over the rounds. However, the large and diverse field means early matches can be one-sided and draw sections can vary enormously in difficulty. Thus in many ways, the World Championships is a test of a players ability to adapt to the circumstances, retain consistency and improve through the two weeks.

The UK Open is second in the calendar, now held in February/March every year. It is open to a wider range of players and, like the FA Cup, each round is drawn after the previous one is completed. ‘The Open’ is therefore prone to drama and shocks and often produces great runs from lesser ranked and even amateur players. Rob Cross’s journey started with his qualification for this event via an amateur event in Norwich.

The World Matchplay, held in July at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, is, in many ways, the opposite of the UK Open. The Top 16 are joined by the top 16 on that year’s form. The Matchplay is pro darts in its purest form. No sets, no short format rounds and even a demand that a player wins by two clear legs. Only four players have won the Matchplay since 2008, all are World Champions and all significant players in darting history.

The fourth Big5 event of the year is held in Dublin, Ireland and has the unique feature of each leg starting on a double. The World Grand Prix is a fan favourite, perhaps due to its differences. The early stages have quite a short format and often produce shocks or near misses. Oddly, despite many shock results over the years, only Daryl Gurney in 2017 could be classed as a genuine surprise winner.

Grand Slam of Darts- incredibly the last time Raymond van Barneveld tasted victory in a PDC major event.

The Grand Slam of Darts provides the fifth of the biggest titles available to PDC players (and in this case others) each year. Again, a variation from the standard format is used. This time a group stage is included. Short format games, and even a nine-dart shoot-out, are used to whittle down the field from 48 to 16. After the group stage longer formats are introduced increasing in length until the final. The GSoD, therefore, has a non-knockout phase and two different formats in the same event. As a final twist is that a number of the players are from different systems or codes than the PDC. This introduces a whole host of different rivalries and variables. The GSoD’s traditional home, Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall, produces a loud and raucous atmosphere that adds an edge like no other venue.

These five events have been ever-present during darts latest glory age. Despite a few tweaks over the years (e.g. GSoD is now ranked) they remained essentially the same throughout and have developed their own unique histories and characters. Each is open to qualification by ranking as well as via other routes. Each carries enough prize money to make significant changes to the orders of merit. Each is desired by most, if not all, players for their career CV and each has its own chapter in the darting history books. Many new or up and coming players are happy to first qualify for all these events let alone win them!

Big5 Trophy Hunters

From the start of 2008 to the close of 2018 there have been fifty-five Big5 events. It is safe to say that two main bags of trophies have been collected. Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor collected over 40% of the total with 23 titles. Second, in terms of total titles is MVG with 13 event wins. Gary Anderson has pocketed 4, with Adrian Lewis and James Wade claiming 3 apiece and the Robs, Cross and Thornton, have 2 each. The remaining 5 have fallen to John Part, Gerwyn Price, Daryl Gurney, Scott Waites and Raymond Van Barneveld. Shockingly RVB gained only the 2012 GSoD in the eleven years covered.

Wade has collected three out of the Big5. The World Championship and the Grand Slam would complete the set.
BETFRED WORLD MATCHPLAY 2019 WINTER GARDENS, BLACKPOOL PIC; LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Career Big5 Slams.

To claim all of the Big5 is a serious achievement. Five different formats against the best of your era on any given day, week and year is remarkable. A clue lies in those who have not managed it. No Grand Slam for Dennis Priestley or Raymond Barneveld despite RVB’s peak years coming whilst all five were available to him. Gary Anderson is still missing both the WGP and Grand Slam titles whilst Adrian Lewis has only two of the five in his title bank. James Wade is the closest non-World Champion, having won three and reached the final of another.

MVG became a career winner of the Big 5 in during a phenomenal spell in 2015. He added three of the five in a single summer. The UK Open, World Matchplay and Grand Slam were added to his 2012 World Grand Prix and 2014 World Championship. Micheal has also claimed the Big5 ‘Season Slam’ Starting with the 2016 UK Open and concluding with the 2017 World Championships he claimed all five titles in succession within one rankings season. Strangely he has not yet claimed the ‘calendar year’ Big5.

The other of the Big5 bagmen has an even more impressive record when it comes to ‘Slams. Phil Taylor claimed all five of the Big5 events completed in 2009. In addition, he also won the last three completed in 2008 and the first three in 2010. Thus ‘The Power’ completed the ‘Season’ Slam and the ‘Calendar Year’ Slam between 2009 and 2010. He also produced a run of eleven consecutive Big5 wins. No one else has claimed both slams and no other player has won more than five in a row. Just to demonstrate that it was not a fluke, Taylor completed the ‘Calendar Slam’ again in 2013.

More in the Mix?

It is often claimed that the game has moved from one period of darting domination, under Taylor, to another, under MVG. Looking at the Big5 adds a bit of depth to that thought. In the four years between 2008 and 2011, inclusive, Taylor did indeed dominate, winning fourteen from twenty available titles. Yet, four different players won Big5 events and there were three different World Champions.

The four seasons between 2012 and 2015 divided the Big5 titles between six players, an increase of 33% and there were four different World Champions. Four players claimed more than one title and Taylor and MVG bagged the majority with eight and six respectively.

A little over three and half seasons have been completed between 2016 and 2019. But yet again there are four different World Champions. Eight players have already claimed a Big5 title (two more to play) with Anderson claiming three, despite a serious injury, and MVG on eight so far.

Nathan Aspinall became the latest to claim a Big5 title at the 2019 UK Open.
Pic: PDC

Big5 Glory Proving Tougher?

With the expansion of the global game, it may well be that players can no longer count on winning so many of the biggest TV titles. Already we see that the number of competitions played, and the clashing of tournaments, is leading to players missing certain events. This opens up the field to others. In turn, of course, this increases the other players’ confidence and experience, not to mention their bank balances. The introduction of the European Tour had a huge effect which is being magnified by the addition of other stage/screened events, be they regional, invitational or promotional.

We have many more hitting their very best at the same time and this may increase. Of the eight Big5 winners, from the last 4 seasons, seven are still playing and at least five could be considered to be in their prime. Hunting the Big5 looks likely to get tougher and tougher. But professional darts appear to be in a very strong place going forward. The variety of player styles, ages and personalities claiming Big5 titles is growing and will spawn.

MVG sits 2nd in the Big5 list with 13+ titles. But its getting tougher to claim them. ‘The Power’s 52+ Big5 wins may prove unassailable.
Pic: PDC

Perhaps the question that will run for the longest is;

“Will MVG match or surpass Phil Taylor’s total of 52 Big5 trophies?”

Micheal is currently on 13 Big5 titles but is more than twenty years younger than when Phil claimed his final title……………

HappyBet European Darts Trophy - Second Round Round-Up

HappyBet European Darts Trophy – Second Round Round-Up

HappyBet European Darts Trophy - Second Round Round-Up
Photo; PDC

ANDY BOULTON condemned new World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney to a shock exit at the HappyBet European Darts Trophy with a stunning victory on Saturday, as five seeded players crashed out in the second round at the Lokhalle in Gottingen.

Boulton, who lost out to Gurney in a Players Championship semi-final earlier this year, gained revenge with a brilliant display, resulting in a 6-3 victory.

The Scotland-based Englishman raced into a three-leg lead to take control of the contest and maintained his exceptional level of performance, posting a 103.25 average – the highest of the tournament so far.

“That was my best performance ever on the stage,” said Boulton, after ending the hopes of the number five seed.

“Daryl is such a good player and will be on a high after winning the World Grand Prix so I’m really pleased. I haven’t always turned up on the European Tour and if you don’t play your best you go home. I hope I can repeat it on Sunday.”

Boulton will take on Vincent van der Voort in the last 16 after the Dutchman defeated number 12 seed Ian White in a last-leg decider.

Former Austrian Darts Open winner Van der Voort started the match in style, completing a 120 checkout with two bullseyes before going on to defy a 99.46 average from White.

World number one Michael van Gerwen marked his return to action, following his first round defeat at the World Grand Prix, with a 6-3 victory against Austria’s Zoran Lerchbacher.

The World Champion took the opening leg with a 114 checkout but saw Lerchbacher respond by landing the bullseye to finish 84.

Van Gerwen won the following three legs before a spectacular bull-19-bull combination checkout of 119 moved him into a 5-1 lead.

Lerchbacher, who reached his first ProTour final earlier this year, staged a mini-fightback but a 180 in the ninth leg helped number one seed Van Gerwen seal the win.

“The 119 was a nice checkout,” said the Dutch ace, who is chasing a sixth European Tour title of 2017.

“Apart from that, I didn’t play my best but there is a long way to go here. I feel fine and will get better. I am ready to win this tournament.”

Peter Wright, who has also picked up five European Tour titles this year, survived a scare against Germany’s Martin Schindler.

Host nation favourite Schindler fired in a 180 with his opening throw but Wright took the first leg and went on to open up a 4-2 lead to take control of the tie.

Schindler hit back with a 117 checkout to break the Scotsman but Wright, who has recently moved up to a career-high second in the PDC Order of Merit, won the next two legs to progress to round three.

“Martin is an amazing player for his age,” said Wright, who faces Kim Huybrechts on Sunday.

“He scares me to death but he’s great for German darts and he will be around for a long time, when I’m retired and watching on television.

“It has been hard work to get to number two but it is an aim I had and now I am there. It feels good and it is all down to my family and the team behind me.”

Huybrechts won five of the last six legs to deny Nathan Aspinall a second scalp of the weekend, after the former PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship runner-up had defeated James Wade in round one.

The Belgian ace hit three 180s and a checkout of 104 on the way to a 6-3 defeat of Aspinall, whose highlight of the match was a 130 finish.

Former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown claimed the most convincing win of day two as he thrashed 11th seed Benito van de Pas 6-0.

Brown hit six out of seven attempts at doubles and fired in finishes of 124 and 109 as he breezed past his Dutch opponent with a memorable display.

Jan Dekker made it 12 legs won out of 13 played in the year’s final European Tour event, as he followed up Friday’s whitewash over Christian Kist with a 6-1 success against number 13 seed Mervyn King.

World Grand Prix runner-up Simon Whitlock claimed a 6-4 win against Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski, who missed four darts to force a deciding leg before the Australian landed double ten to set up a meeting with Dekker on Sunday.

Rob Cross was taken all the way to a 11th leg in his win against Jamie Caven, before showing the class that has helped him win four Players Championship titles in 2017 as he won the decider in 12 darts with a 116 checkout.

Stephen Bunting also showed his class to fend off Germany’s Rene Eidams, who levelled up at four legs apiece before the former Lakeside Champion closed out a 6-4 success.

Jonny Clayton, who picked up his first PDC ProTour title on Wednesday, continued his fantastic form with a victory over fellow Welshman Gerwyn Price, the number 14 seed.

Jelle Klaasen claimed a comfortable victory, as he defeated Chris Dobey 6-1, while Joe Cullen breezed past Steve West 6-2.

There were also victories for former European Tour winners Dave Chisnall, Michael Smith and Alan Norris.

Chisnall defeated James Wilson 6-4 despite a 156 finish from the Yorkshireman in the opening leg.

Smith, who is carrying a foot injury, battled through the pain barrier to beat Jermaine Wattimena 6-3.

Norris, who won last year’s final European Tour event, hit five 180s in his 6-4 victory against James Richardson.

The HappyBet European Darts Trophy concludes on Sunday, with the afternoon session’s third round followed in the decisive evening session by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

The HappyBet European Darts Trophy can be watched worldwide by PDCTV-HD Subscribers, and is also available live through a series of bookmakers’ websites listed below.

HappyBet European Darts Trophy
Saturday October 14
Second Round
Afternoon Session
Keegan Brown 6-0 Benito van de Pas
Alan Norris 6-4 James Richardson
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Michael Smith 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Dave Chisnall 6-4 James Wilson
Joe Cullen 6-2 Steve West
Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Ian White
Stephen Bunting 6-4 Rene Eidams

Evening Session
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Jelle Klaasen 6-1 Chris Dobey
Rob Cross 6-5 Jamie Caven
Peter Wright 6-4 Martin Schindler
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Zoran Lerchbacher
Jan Dekker 6-1 Mervyn King
Andy Boulton 6-3 Daryl Gurney

Sunday October 15
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Michael Smith v Jonny Clayton
Rob Cross v Keegan Brown
Dave Chisnall v Jelle Klaasen
Peter Wright v Kim Huybrechts
Simon Whitlock v Jan Dekker
Andy Boulton v Vincent van der Voort
Alan Norris v Joe Cullen
Michael van Gerwen v Stephen Bunting

Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
Quarter-Finals
Semi-Finals
Final

All games are the best of 11 legs. Sunday’s games played in Draw Bracket order.