TAYLOR FACES TOUGH GROUP A AS BARNEY DRAWS BIG GUNS IN GRAND SLAM OF DARTS
PHIL TAYLOR has been drawn alongside Kevin Painter, Paul Nicholson and Stuart Kellett for the Group Stage of the Grand Slam of Darts, while Raymond van Barneveld kicks off the defence of his title against Mervyn King, Tony O’Shea and Ricky Evans.
PDC World Champion Taylor, a four-time Grand Slam of Darts winner, will head Group A for the 32-player event, which begins on Saturday in Wolverhampton, as he bids to follow up last weekend’s Coral Masters triumph with another major title.
Taylor is drawn in a tough Group A alongside former Players Championship Finals winners Kevin Painter and Paul Nicholson and Cheshire’s emerging star Stuart Kellett, who was of Monday’s four Wildcard Qualifiers for the event.
Reigning champion Raymond van Barneveld, who overcame Michael van Gerwen to enjoy a brilliant Grand Slam of Darts triumph in last year’s final, heads Group E alongside experienced pair Mervyn King and Tony O’Shea and World Youth Championship finalist Ricky Evans.
2010 Grand Slam of Darts champion Scott Waites, the reigning Lakeside Champion and number three seed, is drawn in Group H with World Grand Prix finalist Dave Chisnall, World Youth Champion Michael Smith and two-time Lakeside Champion Ted Hankey.
Number four seed Michael van Gerwen, the 2013 Premier League Darts champion, is drawn with Belgian ace Kim Huybrechts, Dean Winstanley and Dutch ace Vincent van der Voort in Group D.
European Champion Adrian Lewis, the number five seed, is paired with former Lakeside Champion Christian Kist, Belgium’s Ronny Huybrechts and youngster Richie George – a Lakeside Championship semi-finalist in January – in Group C.
Number six seed Simon Whitlock, the 2012 European Champion, faces world number eight Wes Newton, former Lakeside Champion Mark Webster and PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour winner Ross Smith in Group G.
UK Open finalist Andy Hamilton, the number seven seed, tops Group F alongside 2012 UK Open champion Robert Thornton, former Grand Slam semi-finalist Mark Walsh and Wildcard Qualifier Justin Pipe.
Seven-time major champion James Wade, the 2010 Grand Slam of Darts runner-up and number eight seed, is joined in Group B by former Wolves Civic finalist Gary Anderson, Dutchman Wesley Harms and Wildcard Qualifier Peter Wright.
Wright, Pipe, Kellett and van der Voort won through from over 170 players in Monday’s Wildcard Qualifier in Wigan, to complete the 32-player field which is comprised mainly of players who reach the finals of major TV tournaments over a two-year period.
The William Hill Grand Slam of Darts will be held fromNovember 9-17 at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, with the first four days seeing six sessions of Group Stage games.
The top two players from each group then progress to the Knockout Stage from the Last 16 onwards, with both the semi-finals and final being held on Sunday November 17.
The draw was made live on the Free Radio 80s Sports Phone-In with Tom Ross & former Aston Villa midfielder Ian Taylor on Monday night. The schedule of play is expected to be announced on Tuesday.
WILLIAM HILL GRAND SLAM OF DARTS
Phil Taylor (1)
James Wade (8)
Adrian Lewis (5)
Michael van Gerwen (4)
Vincent van der Voort
Raymond van Barneveld (2)
Andy Hamilton (7)
Simon Whitlock (6)
Scott Waites (3)