Durrant aims to reach the knock-out phase for the third time (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
The battle to reach the knock-out phase of the 2019 Grand Slam reaches its climax in Groups E-H on Monday with a clutch of big names aiming to secure their progression.
Four players have already booked their place in the Last 16 with a game to spare, while a further quartet have been eliminated prior to their final group fixture.
After a frenetic opening weekend at the Aldersley Leisure Village, it’s back to single sessions in midweek, with Monday playing host to the final ties in Groups E-H before Groups A-D conclude on Tuesday.
A straight shoot-out in Group E sees reigning World Matchplay and European Champion Rob Cross take on local hero Jamie Hughes for the right to join Dave Chisnall in progressing.
Cross was a 5-2 winner over Lisa Ashton in his opener before going down 5-3 to Chisnall, while Tipton ace Hughes was beaten 5-3 by Chizzy before thrashing Ashton 5-1.
World number two Cross has reached the knock-out stages in both of his previous Boylesports Grand Slam appearances, while Hughes last made the Second Round three years ago.
Form horse Chisnall looks to rubber-stamp top spot and the £3,500 group winner’s bonus by subjecting women’s world number one Ashton, his former Lancashire County team-mate, to a third straight defeat in her debut campaign.
A similar equation applies in Group G as Northern Ireland World Cup team-mates Daryl Gurney and Brendan Dolan go head-to-head in an effective knock-out tie.
Players Champion Gurney whitewashed Richard Veenstra before suffering a 5-4 defeat to Gabriel Clemens despite a 100 average on Sunday, while Tour Card Qualifier Dolan suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat to Clemens before reversing that scoreline against Veenstra.
Gurney has won seven of their nine previous meetings and is out to reaching the knock-out phase for the second time in as many Grand Slam appearances.
Dark horse Clemens can wrap up top spot if he can inflict a third straight defeat on fellow debutant Veenstra in the opening match of the night.
German qualifier Clemens has a tournament average of 98 and is already assured of a place in the Last 16, while BDO star Veenstra has just one leg to show for his efforts so far and is yet to average above 79.
Another unmissable play-off tie sees UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall and three-time Lakeside Champion Glen Durrant face off in Group H.
Aspinall, making his second Grand Slam appearance, whitewashed Martin Schindler in his opener before being thrashed 5-1 by a red hot Michael Smith – who averaged 113.6 to his 104.6 in an epic.
It could have been oh so different for Durrant – who survived match darts from Schindler in overturning a 4-2 deficit to edge a decider after losing 5-3 to Smith on Saturday.
Durrant is flying the flag for the BDO as their reigning World Champion despite now being a PDC Tour Card Holder, and is bidding to reach the knock-out stage for the third time in four attempts.
Smith, the stand-out performer in the tournament so far, can cement top spot in the ‘Group of Death’ if he can defeat 2018 World Youth finalist Schindler – who is already eliminated and will be playing without pressure.
Group F is the only group of Monday’s quartet in which three players are still in the running for the two available knock-out spots.
Peter Wright, the 2017 runner-up, is in the box seat with four points from four and would progress in top spot with victory over World Series Finals runner-up Danny Noppert.
Noppert occupies second spot heading into the evening, with a legs difference of five better off than Ryan Harrington – who also has two points to his name.
The Dutchman can also secure a knock-out place with a win, which would leave ‘Snakebite’ waiting on the result between Harrington and the eliminated Wayne Warren.
A win for debuant qualifier Harrington and a defeat for Noppert would see him through, but a defeat would mean he is eliminated regardless.
The action gets underway from 7pm GMT, with group matches to be contested over the best of nine legs.
Grand Slam of Darts 2019 Day Three preview and order of play: Groups E-H draw to a close
The battle to reach the knock-out phase of the 2019 Grand Slam reaches its climax in Groups E-H on Monday…
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