Grand Slam - Saturday evening round-up
PHIL TAYLOR began his defence of the SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts title with a superb 5-0 whitewash of Richie George at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Saturday night, as Stephen Bunting, Gary Anderson, Michael Smith and James Wade turned on the style.
Taylor, a five-time Grand Slam of Darts winner, was in clinical mood as he swept aside former Lakeside Championship semi-finalist George.
Taylor averaged 100.20 in the win and hit five doubles from seven attempts, with George missing with three darts at double top in the game's third leg - after he had landed a 180 in being first to a finish - in his best chance to get off the mark.
Taylor will now meet Holland's Christian Kist in Sunday's second Group E fixtures, after the 2012 Lakeside Champion was a 5-2 winner against Andy Hamilton in their first fixture.
"If you'd offered me a 5-0 win at the start of the night I'd have been a happy man and it's a good start for me," said Taylor. ""Richie's a better player than he showed tonight but you've got to take your chances.
"Christian's an ex World Champion and he's a good player so I know it won't be easy on Sunday, but I'll be ready for him."
Wolverhampton debutant Stephen Bunting enjoyed a memorable first appearance as he averaged almost 104 in a superb 5-1 Group H win over Wesley Harms, who was restricted to just two darts at a double in the contest.
"That's a really good win for me," said Bunting. "I was trying to prove a point and I'm happy to get the win because the first game is always the hardest. I was nervous so I'm glad to get it out of the way."
Gary Anderson set up a mouthwatering Group H clash with Bunting on Sunday night with an equally impressive 5-1 win over Dean Winstanley in their opening clash.
In-form James Wade - the 2010 Grand Slam of Darts runner-up - continued his strong recent form by hitting five doubles from six attempts in a superb 5-1 win over Jamie Caven.
Wade will now meet Mervyn King on Sunday night in a repeat of their clash in last week's Masters final in Edinburgh, after the latter edged out Tony O'Shea 5-4 in a tight clash.
Former World Youth Champion Michael Smith kicked off Group F with an outstanding comeback as he hit back from 2-0 down to win 5-2 against Simon Whitlock, with the St Helens youngster reeling off four 180s and averaging almost 105.
"At 2-0 down I was always confident that I could get back into the game, and Simon didn't have an answer to what I threw at him," said a bullish Smith. "I've come here believing I'm going to win the Grand Slam and this is a great start."
Smith now plays Peter Wright in his second Group F gae on Sunday, with the PDC world number four having defeated Brendan Dolan 5-2 in their opener.
Sunday's play sees all 32 players competing in their second Group Stage games, with Groups A-D in action in the afternoon session before Groups E-H returning to the Wolves Civic stage in the evening session.
SINGHA BEER GRAND SLAM OF DARTS
Saturday November 8
Groups A-D First Matches
Kim Huybrechts 5-2 Jan Dekker (A)
Scott Waites 2-5 Terry Jenkins (B)
Robert Thornton 2-5 Vincent van der Voort (D)
Alan Norris 5-2 Ronny Huybrechts (B)
Dave Chisnall 5-1 Keegan Brown (C)
Michael van Gerwen 5-4 Darren Webster (A)
Raymond van Barneveld 5-3 Robbie Green (D)
Adrian Lewis 2-5 Rowby-John Rodriguez (C)
Groups E-H First Matches
Andy Hamilton 2-5 Christian Kist (E)
Stephen Bunting 5-1 Wesley Harms (H)
Mervyn King 5-4 Tony O'Shea (G)
Peter Wright 5-2 Brendan Dolan (F)
Gary Anderson 5-1 Dean Winstanley (H)
Phil Taylor 5-0 Richie George (E)
Simon Whitlock 2-5 Michael Smith (F)
James Wade 5-1 Jamie Caven (G)
Sunday November 9
Afternoon Session (1.30pm-5.30pm)
Groups A-D Second Games
Scott Waites v Ronny Huybrechts (B)
Jan Dekker v Darren Webster (A)
Adrian Lewis v Keegan Brown (C)
Robert Thornton v Robbie Green (D)
Alan Norris v Terry Jenkins (B)
Michael van Gerwen v Kim Huybrechts (A)
Raymond van Barneveld v Vincent van der Voort (D)
Dave Chisnall v Rowby-John Rodriguez (C)
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Groups E-H Second Games
Dean Winstanley v Wesley Harms (H)
Andy Hamilton v Richie George (E)
Tony O'Shea v Jamie Caven (G)
Simon Whitlock v Brendan Dolan (F)
Peter Wright v Michael Smith (F)
Phil Taylor v Christian Kist (E)
Stephen Bunting v Gary Anderson (H)
James Wade v Mervyn King (G)
All games are the best of nine legs
Andy Hamilton v Christian Kist - Group E
1-0 - Hamilton finishes 96 on double 18 to win the opening leg.
1-1 - He pair trade 180s and Kist adds a 162 score before punishing misses from Hamilton at the bull and double eight by finishing tops to level.
1-2 - Both players miss their chance to move ahead before Kist returns on double one.
2-2 - Hamilton finishes 91 to level on double 16.
2-3 - Kist finishes a third-dart double 16 as he edges back in front.
2-4 - Hamilton misses the bull and two darts at double eight as Kist steps in to take out 64 on double eight.
2-5 - Hamilton misses darts at double 18 and nine, and Kist returns to claim the win on double four.
Stephen Bunting v Wesley Harms - Group H
1-0 - Tops gives Grand Slam debutant Bunting the opening leg.
1-1 - Harms takes out 106 on double eight to level.
2-1 - Bunting fires in a 177 to leave 16 as double eight moves him back ahead.
3-1 - The Lakeside Champion now lands a 180 and finishes 81 on double six for a two-leg lead.
4-1 - Harms misses double eight for another 106 checkout, and Bunting hits the same bed to win his fourth leg.
5-1 - Double 16 secures victory for Bunting with a 103.84 average.
Mervyn King v Tony O'Shea - Group G
0-1 - Double ten gives popular O'Shea the opening leg.
1-1 - O'Shea posts a maximum, but King levels by taking out 61 on double 18.
1-2 - O'Shea kicks off the leg with another 180 before taking out 104 on double 16 to move back ahead.
2-2 - O'Shea sees his chance to break go begging, and King lands double eight to level.
2-3 - Double eight sees O'Shea regain the advantage.
3-3 - King misses the bull for a 126 finish, but O'Shea fails to give himself a dart at a double when on 90, allowing his opponent back on double four.
3-4 - O'Shea fires in his third 180 of the game and takes out double eight to move a leg away from victory.
4-4 - O'Shea posts another maximum, but King replies with his first of the match before taking out 61 on double 18 again to force a deciding leg.
5-4 - King lands his second 180 of the match at the right time, pulling clear before returning from a miss at the bull to finish 161 to land double eight.
Peter Wright v Brendan Dolan - Group F
0-1 - Double ten edges Dolan into the lead.
1-1 - Wright finishes 60 on double ten to level.
2-1 - Double top moves Wright ahead.
3-1 - Dolan fires in a 180, but Wright lands double 16 to break and move two legs clear.
3-2 - Dolan misses two darts at double 12, but Wright is unable to finish the bull when needing 82, as the Northern Irish ace returns on double six.
4-2 - Wright takes out 105 on double 16 as he regains his edge.
5-2 - Wright lands his first maximum, and though he initially misses tops for the win, he returns to seal the two points.
Gary Anderson v Dean Winstanley - Group H
1-0 - Anderson kicks off the game with a superb 13-darter, hitting a 180 before posting double six.
1-1 - Anderson misses two darts at tops, allowing Winstanley in to finish 20 as he levels.
2-1 - Anderson takes out 44 on tops to regain the edge.
3-1 - Anderson kicks off the leg with 140 and 180 before breaking throw by finishing 76 on tops.
4-1 - The Scot moves a leg away from victory.
5-1 - Winstanley is punished for his missed doubles as Anderson returns to finish 57 on double ten to claim a comprehensive win.
Phil Taylor v Richie George - Group E
1-0 - Taylor takes out 70 on double eight to claim the opening leg.
2-0 - Taylor doubles his lead by finishing 50 on double 16,
3-0 - George lands a 180 but is punished for missing three darts at tops as Taylor takes out double three.
4-0 - Taylor finishes 65 on tops to win a fourth successive leg.
5-0 - Taylor seals a whitewash win by finishing 107 on double 16, ending the game with a 100.20 average.
Simon Whitlock v Michael Smith
1-0 - Whitlock makes a fine start, scoring 180 and 140 before taking out 76 for a 12-darter.
2-0 - Smith fires in scores of 180 and 165 to leave 40, only for Whitlock to hit tops and double his lead.
2-1 - Smith gets off the mark with a 13-darter.
2-2 - The former World Youth Champion levels matters.
2-3 - Smith scores 140 and 180 before adding double 12 once more to move ahead.
2-4 - Another maximum helps pull Smith clear before he finishes 60 on tops.
2-5 - Smith's charge continues as he scores 140 and 180 - his fourth - before taking out 60 on double ten to seal victory with an impressive 104.91 average.
James Wade v Jamie Caven
1-0 - Caven misses a single 11 to leave the bull when on 121, allowing Wade to take out 60 on tops.
2-0 - Wade finishes 108 for a break to double his lead.
3-0 - Wade lands tops again to move three legs clear.
3-1 - The pair trade 180s before Caven takes out double ten to win his first leg.
4-1 - Wade finishes tops once more to move to the brink of victory.
5-1 - Wade seals a clinical victory by taking out 76, naturally, on tops.