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The great darting divide is breached for the only time on the current darts calendar when the ITV Grand Slam of Darts road show rolls into the Wolverhampton Civic Hall this weekend.

Ever since the great darts split of 1993 - which saw 16 of the world^s top players leave the ranks of the BDO to form what eventually became the PDC, the game of darts has been beset with internal wrangling and a bitter feud as the two factions fought for supremacy over the game. Although the 1997 Tomlin Order brought a legal ceasefire to what had become an increasingly expensive war, dart players were left with a straight choice of either the BDO or PDC as to where to ply their trade.

Since 2007, the GSOD (a PDC run competition) has been the only place where players from both codes could play in the same tournament, although an added spice was sprinkled into this darting dish recently when PDC Chairman Barry Hearn made an audacious £1 million bid to buy the BDO lock stock and barrel, commenting in an open letter : ^I would suggest that if the BDO really care about the sport of darts, then you should accept our offer and let us inject not just finance, but professional management to run darts in a modern and effective manner.^

Mr. Hearn^s offer was met with the dismissive response that it was ^Nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt^ by BDO head-honcho Olly Croft with current BDO World Champion Ted ^The Count^ Hankey also equally outspoken in his comments labeling the bid: ^a stupid offer^, also saying it will, ^never happen^ and adding, ^Hearn is just trying to wind a few people up before the World Championships^. Although unlike former BDO World Champion Martin Adams - who has repeatedly declined his invitation to the GSOD, Hankey has accepted his offer and will be taking his place at the tournament. With a £2,500 fee guaranteed just for turning up who could blame him.

With the appearance of ^The Count^ and PDC World Champion Phil Taylor also in the line-up, the GSOD is in many ways the unofficial World Championship of darts as it will see both World Champions - plus (Martin Adams aside) the winners of all the big televised darts tournaments of the last two years. It sets up an intriguing competition and could well be a real treat for darts fans that are denied from seeing all of the games top stars under one umbrella.

Only six of the 32 runner contest remains as officially registered BDO/WDF players: Darryl Fitton, Ted Hankey, and Tony O^Shea. Scott Waites, Brian Woods and current Women’s World Champion Francis Hoenselaar. Perhaps this tells its own story about where the darting elite now chooses to throw its ^arrers, although the only time both current World Champion^s met at the GSOD (in 2008) the then BDO Champion Mark Webster administered a 10 legs to 2 second round thrashing to his then PDC counterpart John Part.

With the imperious Phil Taylor looking nigh on unbeatable at present, it is difficult to see a similar scenario occurring this time around. Indeed short of making ^The Power^ play left-handed, whilst the tournament provides a unique opportunity to see all of the games top players - from both codes in action, the winning tournament result looks a formality. Perhaps that is the next quest for the administrators of both codes of the game of darts - finding a tournament format which allows the great Mr. Taylor to look like a mere mortal.

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Whilst the ITV Grand Slam of darts sees a unique round-robin format and is also the only time BDO/WDF, as well as PDC players compete in the same competition, the first two years of its existence ...

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