Michael van Gerwen kicked off the defence of his bwin Grand Slam of Darts crown as the World no.1 was in blistering form as he averaged a mind-blowing 112.66 average in a comfortable 5-1 victory over Gary Robson. Van Gerwen threatened to break the televised record of 123.4, a record which is held by the World no.1 as he cruised through the gears. Gary Robson was made to produce a 12-dart leg just in order to take a leg off the Dutchman. Van Gerwen will face Jonny Clayton on Sunday evening as the Welshman saw off Joe Murnan earlier today.
Over in group B, Michael Smith kicked off his campaign with a 5-3 victory over the BDO World Masters winner Adam Smith-Neale. In the early stages it was all Smith as the ‘Bully Boy’ cruised into a 4-0 lead, but the St Helens man went on to miss 15 match darts in total before seeing the match out. Smith-Neale gathered in confidence and momentum which included a fantastic 124 finish from the World Masters champ. But, Smith will be satiisfied that he got through that one. In the other game in group B, Krzyzstof Ratajski was mightily impressive on his Grand Slam of Darts debut as he saw off five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld in a 5-3 victory. It was close from start-to-finish, but the deciding moment came in the penultimate leg as the ‘Polish Eagle’ produced a 15-dart break of throw to edge clear of RVB.
Over in group C, Keegan Brown edged out Mark Webster in a real battle as both players gave each other opportunities over the nine legs, and Brown stepped up his game towards the end of the match. A superb 153 for Brown proved to be elusive as Webster was waiting on 62 hoping to break Brown, and that huge finish seemed to lift brown as he produced a 14-dart leg to take the decider.
James Wade produced a fantastic display himself as he sets up a clash with Keegan Brown tomorrow as ‘The Machine’ completed picked apart Wesley Harms in a 5-0 victory for the recent European Championship and World Series of Darts finals champ. Wade averaged 98.88 and fired in four maximums as he didn’t give Harms a sniff throughout the entirety of the match.
Group D is a group that has quality in abundance, and Ian White laid down a massive marker as Stoke’s no.1 recorded an average of 104.4 in a blistering 5-1 victory over Steve Hine. A victory for ‘The Diamond’ was never in doubt as he moved through the gears. White only allowed Hine two shots at a double in the six-leg assault as he gets off to a solid start in Wolverhampton.
Gary Anderson joined Ian White at the summit of group D as the World Matchplay champion ran out a comfortable 5-2 winner over the German debutant Michael Unterbuchner. Anderson got off to a slow start as he trailed 2-1 to the German whilst averaging in the low 80’s, but in true Gary Anderson style the Scot came fighting back to win five legs on-the-spin to set up a clash with his good pal Ian White tomrrow evening.
bwin Grand Slam of Darts – Day one evening session RESULTS
Jonny Clayton 5-2 Joe Murnan (A)
Michael van Gerwen 5-1 Gary Robson (A)
Michael Smith 5-3 Adam Smith-Neale (B)
Krzyzstof Ratajski 5-3 Raymond van Barneveld (B)
Keegan Brown 5-4 Mark Webster (C)
James Wade 5-0 Wesley Harms (C)
Ian White 5-1 Steve Hine (D)
Gary Anderson 5-2 Michael Unterbuchner (D)