Another cracking night at the WillHill Grand Slam of Darts
Rod Harrington rounds up Saturday night's action from the Civic Hall.
If I thought long and hard I possibly could think of a few nights that would match what I saw last night in the William Hill Grand Slam. However, to say there were better nights is very hard.
One of the best things for me was to see the performance of Raymond van Barneveld, it's the best I have seen his throw and attitude since he beat Taylor in the World Championship final many years ago. His relentless leg-on-leg pressure was just too much for his fellow Dutchman and BDO World Champion Kist.
I always say that 180s are great but it's the 140s that win you legs and matches and Barney's were up there with the best at 21 compared to Kist's 9. He also won the 180s at 12 to 10. All in all a brilliant performance from the five times World Champion.
The other game last night was without doubt the best game of the tournament so far when Michael van Gerwen defeated Scott Waites 16 legs to 12. Again the relentless pressure that Van Gerwen exerted on Waites was just too much for the highly ranked BDO star and another 100 plus average means for me that Mighty Mike will live up to his nickname and go on and lift the trophy.
The two other games saw Dean Winstanley beat Kevin Painter and Andy Hamilton beat John Part.
Sunday afternoon and it's semi final time and make or break for the four players as no one remembers the semi players.
First game up sees Andy Hamilton taking on Raymond van Barneveld and, although I am a big fan of the Hammer, I just can't see him beating Barney, if Barney turns up as he did last night. There is no question that Andy's grit and determination will always put him in with a shout, however I feel that he will have to hope that Barney is a bit tired and takes a while to get into his stride.
If that happens then Andy has got to grab the lead and hold on to his throw very strongly. Then, maybe - just maybe - there's a chance for the crowd's favourite, The Hammer, to get the win.
It's a Barney for me and at 1/2 I have to say get on big. Barney for the 180s is also get on big at 8/11. Also the bet I like for a bit of fun is the first leg over 40.5 checkout at 10/11.
The second semi is Dean Winstanley against the best player in the World at the moment Michael van Gerwen. Although Dean has played brilliantly this week I just feel that he will not have the consistency to hold the might of Mighty Mike.
Van Gerwen's scoring is phenomenal at the moment; he just plays the dartboard and does not care what his opponent is hitting. This asset is the sign of a man at the top of his form.
Winstanley himself scores brilliantly however, as he says himself, he misses doubles too often and here is where Van Gerwen will break the throw quite often and go on to win.
The odds for the Van Gerwen win at 2/9 are very short, however doubled up with Van Barneveld makes the bet look quite good.
If you don't fancy the double then Van Gerwen minus 5.5 at 10/11 may take your fancy better.
Highest shot out: I just have to go with Van Gerwen, however that is very short too so go for him to checkout over 127.5 at 5/6.
Another nice punt today is Van Gerwen or Barneveld to have a nine dart leg, this fun bet for me just might come up, or bet that it will be hit in the semis or final.
Thanks to Rod Harrington.