By News Team
9th November 2021
We’re reaching the business end of the PDC and the World Championships are only a month away. Before we head to the Ally Pally, though, we head to Wolverhampton for the 14th staging of the Grand Slam of Darts.
32 players will begin in a group format before second-round matches commence on Wednesday. The final will take place on Sunday 21st, but who are we likely to see in it?
In this preview, we look at the market favourites for this year’s Grand Slam of Darts.
MVG aiming to head into the Worlds on a high
It’s no secret that Michael van Gerwen hasn’t been playing the standard of darts that many across the sport have come accustomed to. He still is, though, a force to be reckoned with and is unplayable on his day. He’s been playing great darts recently, picking up his first ranking title of the year when winning Players Championship 29, ensuring that he didn’t go 2021 without a ranking title for the first time in a decade. In the Super Series before this, he was beaten three times while throwing averages over 100, so it’s about time he got the rub of the green.
Mighty Mike is in Group G alongside Joe Cullen, John Henderson and the high-flying Lisa Ashton. He’s 4/9 to top his group and progress. MVG has a strong history in the competition, winning it three times on the bounce between 2015-2017. He’s not managed a final since but could change that this year and is 7/2 to be crowned champion a fourth time.
The Iceman looking for his third Grand Slam of Darts title
Gerwyn Price has enjoyed another fruitful year on the darting circuit taking home numerous titles and going deep in almost all tournaments he competes in. His last triumph was the Hungarian Darts Trophy back in September but is yet to add more silverware. He’ll want to head into December with another title to his tally and securing his third Grand Slam of Darts title would be the perfect way to go about it.
He was most recently knocked out of the World Series of Darts finals by the eventual winner Jonny Clayton. In the weeks after, Price vowed to bring back his more assertive darting nature to be the best he can be.
The world number one has been drawn in Group A against Krzysztof Ratajski, Martin Shindler and Nathan Raffety where he’s 4/7 to top the standings. He’s 7/2 joint-favourite alongside MVG to take this year’s title and add yet another accolade to his already outstanding resume.
The Ferret in the frame for another title
Jonny Clayton has arguably been the player of the year in 2021, bursting onto the scene and remaining a force throughout. October was a particular high for the Welshman, where he most recently won the World Series of Darts Finals – his fourth TV title of the year and his second in that month alone having won the World Grand Prix earlier.
He has been tipped by his fellow players as being the most in-form player on the circuit at the minute and seems to have a more than decent chance in every tournament he participates in. Placed in Group B with veteran Meryn King, reigning World Youth Champion Bradley Brooks and EU Development Tour Champion Rusty-Jake Rodriguez. It’s a tough group, with King throwing strong darts recently and Brooks being a strong up and coming talent. Clayton is 4/9 to top the group and is 5/1 to win his maiden Grand Slam of Darts title in what would see him become the second Welshman to win the title.
Snakebite in the frame
Fourth in the market sits former World Champion and world number two Peter Wright, who mentioned earlier in the year that he was going to win the ‘double’ – the World Matchplay and the World Championship. He delivered the Matchplay in fine style, so it’s eyes on the Worlds to see if he can do the second. First up though, it’s the Grand Slam and Snakebite is looking for his maiden title in the tournament. He’s managed two finals in the past, against MVG in 2017 and Gerwyn Price in 2019 but will be looking to finally get over the line over in the coming week.
His most recent solo success came in Players’ Championship 23 where he beat Jonny Clayton, but he also won the World Cup of Darts for Scotland alongside John Henderson. Most recently, results haven’t gone Wright’s way, going out in the second round of the World Series of Darts Finals to Kim Huybrechts and losing his opening games in both Players’ Championship 29 and 30.