WORLD CHAMPIONS TO CLASH IN GRAND SLAM OF DARTS
The Grand Slam of Darts returns to our screens this Saturday from Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton with the draw now confirmed for the 32 players looking to pick up the Eric Bristow trophy.
World Number 1 and defending champion Gerwyn Price will face Raymond van Barneveld after the pair were both drawn into Group A, with the five-time World Champion coming through his qualifier on Sunday having beat veteran Mervyn King 5-3.
The Iceman loves the Grand Slam with his first victory in the competition coming back in 2018 in what was a very controversial final with Gary Anderson in Wolverhampton. The Flying Scotsman appeared to be unhappy with the way the Welshman went about his business on the oche, with the back-to-back World Champion yet to win the Eric Bristow trophy.
Dave Chisnall and Ted Evetts join the World Champions in Group A, with Chizzy coming into the tournament on the back of a Players Championship win and victory in the Belgian Darts Open.
Reigning World Champion and World Number 2 Peter Wright faces Fallon Sherrock on the opening night, with the pair meeting in last years Quarter Final, a match in which the Red Dragon star won in Wolverhampton.
The Queen of the Palace has certainly gained crucial experience in playing the top players, appearing in numerous World Series Events staged in New York, Wollongong, etc throughout 2022.
Former UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall and debutant Alan Soutar join the pair in Group E, with Soots coming through the qualifier on Sunday to book his spot in the competition like van Barneveld.
Snakebite will need an improvement on his form shown in the recent Players Championship, having lost in the Second Round to Champion of Champions qualifier Connor Scutt in event 30 on Saturday. The Scotsman though comes into Wolverhampton as the third favourite with bookmakers behind Price and Michael van Gerwen.
You cannot rule Wright out because of his recent performances due to the fact when he hits top form, no player in the sport can deal with him. The Scotsman averaged over 104 in his recent World Championship Semi Final with Gary Anderson a match that lasted ten sets, an amazing achievement showing levels of consistency throughout.
Luke Humphries one of the most consistent players of the year is drawn into Group H of the Grand Slam with three winners on the Pro Tour in 2022. Cool Hand will face Ryan Searle, Josh Rock and Scott Williams in another difficult draw, with youngster Rock coming into form at the right time of the year having performed well at the recent European Championship Finals in Dortmund.
Newbury born darting star Humphries has won four Euro Tour titles as well as the very first Pro Tour of the year back in February, where he beat Heavy Metal in the Final at the Barnsley Metrodome.
The form shown by the 27-year-old has been nothing short of exceptional, and a TV major title is surely on the horizon with the Englishman missing out last year in the UK Open Final to James Wade, his only televised final so far.
Jonny Clayton faces a difficult prospect in recent Gibraltar Darts Trophy champion Damon Heta in Group F, with Jermaine Wattimena and Leonard Gates also in the mix.
The Ferret having won numerous titles last year, has struggled in 2022 to find trophies losing in the Semi Finals of the Premier League and the First Round of the World Matchplay. The Pontyberem born darting star finished top of the Premier League table for the first time in his career, becoming the only player in the competition to win four nights out of the sixteen played.
The Red Dragon star has also won on the World Series stage, beating James Wade to win the New South Wales Darts Masters in Australia. Clayton will certainly be wary of the threat of the Heat having lost to the Australian in the World Cup of Darts Final alongside Gerwyn Price back in June.
The competition starts on Saturday from 1pm in the afternoon live on Sky Sports from Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton.
By Harry Masterson
2022 Grand Slam of Darts Draw: