The Second Round action continues at the 2022 Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton on Thursday with a further four…
The Second Round action continues at the 2022 Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton on Thursday with a further four unmissable ties.
The Group Stage saw a number of star names suffer early exits at the Aldersley Leisure Village, but a host of heavy hitters remain in contention for the Eric Bristow Trophy.
The knock-out phase features a significant increase of format as the respective group winners and runners-up go head-to-head for a place in the Quarter-Finals.
The pick of Thursday’s matches sees three-time Grand Slam champion Michael van Gerwen take on emerging sensation Josh Rock for the first time in PDC competition.
Van Gerwen is vying for a first Grand Slam title since 2017 as he looks to add to his Premier League, World Matchplay and World Grand Prix triumphs this season.
The world number three narrowly claimed top spot in Group G by virtue of legs difference after winning his opening two games before being denied 5-4 by Ross Smith in an epic which saw both players average in excess of 104.
The Dutchman has not lost at this stage of the Grand Slam since 2013 and will look to utilise his vast experience over a player entering uncharted territory.
Rock has continued his remarkable rise in his debut season as a Tour Card holder, coming through a formidable Group H to reach the knock-phase at the first time of asking.
The 21-year-old, who has racked up five Development Tour titles and a Players Championship title this year, will be relishing the prospect of a first meeting with MVG as he eyes a place in a first televised Quarter-Final.
Another mouth-watering contest sees reigning European Champion Ross Smith take on four-time European Tour event winner Luke Humphries, with both making their first appearance in the knock-out phase.
Smith is targeting back-to-back major titles following his historic breakthrough triumph in Dortmund last month and he will be keen to pick up from where he left off on Tuesday evening.
The Kent ace registered the highest average of the tournament so far (107.92) and landed a group stage record nine 180s in his win over Van Gerwen to seal second spot.
Humphries prevailed 6-5 when the pair last met in a televised event at the Players Championship Finals 12 months ago, and like Smith, has gone on to enjoy the best season of his career so far.
As well as his quartet of Euro Tour titles, the world number eight has also claimed two ProTour triumphs in 2022 and is pushing for a place in next year’s Premier League.
Humphries finished top of Group H with four points despite losing his final fixture to Ryan Searle and is bidding to reach a second successive televised ranking Quarter-Final.
Seventh seed Jonny Clayton aims to end the debut run of Tour Card holder qualifier Alan Soutar when the pair go head-to-head.
Clayton, twice a Grand Slam quarter-finalist, came through Group F in top spot despite losing 5-2 to Damon Heta in his final fixture with an average of 85.
A four-time televised event winner in 2021, ‘The Ferret’ is vying to reach a first major Quarter-Final of the season following a string of recent early exits.
Soutar, on the other hand, is enjoying his best run since last December’s World Championship after missing out on a number of major events this term.
The Arbroath ace narrowly edged through his group in second spot by just one leg ahead of World Champion Peter Wright and now faces a tough test over the extended format as he eyes another upset.
The opening match of the night sees World Grand Prix finalist Nathan Aspinall take on a resurgent Jermaine Wattimena.
Aspinall progressed as Group E winner after recovering from losing his opening game to record back-to-back wins for a second successive Last 16 appearance in Aldersley.
Wattimena, meanwhile, defied the odds to take second spot in Group F at the expense of Damon Heta, defeating the Aussie in his opening game and going on to thrash Leonard Gates 5-1 in his final fixture.
The rapid-firing Dutchman came through last week’s Tour Card holder qualifier to seal his spot in the event and is looking to reach only a second televised ranking Quarter-Final – his first coming at the World Grand Prix in 2019.
The action gets under way from 7pm GMT, with Last 16 matches to be contested over the best of 19 legs.
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Grand Slam of Darts 2022 Day Six Schedule
Thursday November 17
7.15pm Nathan Aspinall v Jermaine Wattimena
8.15pm Jonny Clayton v Alan Soutar
9.15pm Michael van Gerwen v Josh Rock
10.15pm Luke Humphries v Ross Smith
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