Middlesbrough’s Glen Durrant was the once again the main topic as ‘Duzza’ produced a rather sensational display as he stunned the recent European Championship finalist Simon Whitlock in a superb 5-1 victory for the back-to-back BDO World Champion. Durrant got off to a blistering start as he moved 2-0 ahead with legs of 14 and 15 darts. Whitlock did come back into the game as you’d expect, but he crucially missed two darts to level the match up at 2-2, as Durrant produced a solid 13-dart leg to break. Durrant was consistently good from start-to-finish as he wrapped things up with a fantastic 13-darter as he left ‘The Wizard’ stunned.
Earlier on in the afternoon, Max Hopp opened up the tournament with a 5-3 victory over Gravesend’s Josh Payne. It was a strange sort of game really, as Hopp controlled the game in the scoring stakes, but a few slip-ups on the doubles allowed Payne to move into a healthy 2-0 lead. But, Hopp continued to plug away as he broke straight back to level the match up at two-a-piece. Payne stepped things up a notch in he second part of the contest as he produced a solid 15-dart leg to regain the lead at 3-2. Leg seven was the most crucial leg of the contest, and it proved to be ever so critical. Payne missed four darts to hold throw for a 4-3 lead, and Hopp mopped things up as he took out D8 to break as he moved into a 4-3 lead, the German then went on to seal the deal with a 15-darter as he took out a 74 checkout with Payne waiting on tops.
Gerwyn Price got off to a winning start in Wolverhampton just hours after getting married, and it wasn’t so straight forward for Price as he faced a tough cookie in Andrew Gilding, but ‘The Iceman’ wrapped up a comfortable 5-2 win. Gilding enjoyed a spell of great finishing to keep him in the contest as he pulled out finishes of 110 and 93, but in the end, Price held his nerve to get the job done.
Stephen Bunting was very impressive in his slender 5-3 victory over the German no.2 Martin Schindler. ‘The Bullet’ fired in a stunning 170 finish along the way in what was a closely contested battle as the pair continued to trade sub-15 dart legs to hold throw, but a Bunting held throw for the fourth time to move 4-3 ahead, he backed it up with a splendid 14-dart leg to complete the win.
Dimitri van den Bergh danced his way through his match with Ryan Searle earlier on Saturday afternoon, Van den Bergh really had to produce some nerveless stuff when it was required. Searle, who makes his debut in the tournament got off to a perfect start as he produced a blockbusting 140 finish to open up the contest, but the Belgian produced three solid legs to move two legs clear of the Devon-based star. Van den Bergh used just 43 darts to win the trio of legs (15, 15 & 13) to move into a comfortable position in the contest. The World Youth Champion continued to produce some superb legs of darts as he produced a fantastic 82 checkout (50,32) to move within a leg of the match. Searle was poised to take the match to a deciding leg, but Van den Bergh provided an impressive 70 checkout to confirm the win.
Rob Cross got off to a winning start in Wolverhampton in what very much a below-par performance from the World Champion as he saw off Mark McGeeney 5-2, but the World Championship finalist McGeeney certainly had his chances. The ‘Gladiator’ missed ELEVEN darts to take the opening leg as he left 47 after just nine darts with Cross back on 400. It was plain sailing for Cross who never really came out of first gear. The highlight for the World Champion was a superb ten-dart leg in the penultimate leg. But, an 87.49 average is most definitely not up to Cross’ usually high standards.
Mensur Suljovic was another impressive performer in the opening session as he averaged 94.24 in a 5-2 victory over Scott Mitchell. The Austrian was in control of the match from dart one as he cruised into a 3-0 lead. But, Mitchell kept plugging away with two 15-dart legs, but from 4-2 behind, it was a tough ask for the former BDO World Champion to win three legs on-the-spin as Suljovic took out 48 to complete an assured 5-2 victory.
bwin Grand Slam of Darts – Afternoon Session RESULTS (E-G)
Max Hopp 5-3 Josh Payne (E)
Peter Wright 5-4 Jim Williams (E)
Gerwyn Price 5-2 Andrew Gilding (F)
Glen Durrant 5-1 Simon Whitlock (F)
Stephen Bunting 5-3 Martin Schindler (G)
Mensur Suljovic 5-2 Scott Mitchell (G)
Dimitri van den Bergh 5-3 Ryan Searle (H)
Rob Cross 5-2 Mark McGeeney (H)