Following Gerwyn Price’s remarkable defence of the Grand Slam of Darts title, we examine the major talking points emanating from the week that was in Wolverhampton.
Wright falls at the final hurdle once more
Unfortunately, we have to keep talking about it (Peter Wright being beaten in the final).
He’s given himself opportunities and there’s got to be another win for him around the corner, somewhere? He’s won a UK Open so he’s actually got the monkey off his back.
Do you know what though? He’s walking into people who are playing absolutely relentless [darts] in the finals. He’s been walking into people that are really on their game.
This time around you can’t take anything away from Gerwyn Price – he was averaging around 113 at one point and there’s not a lot that you can do about that unless you are averaging 116/117.
Also, Wright had a real slug-fest of a battle in the semi-finals with Glen Durrant, who also had a good run, and I think that took a little bit more out of him than we first though.
Michael van Gerwen and Price’s semi-final was unbelievably brilliant but it seemed to go really quickly and I think that Gerwyn was a little bit fresher than Peter.
Peter is still a great player and I think that there is another big major in him somewhere. Colin Lloyd
Time for a rethink?
The Grand Slam brings together the best of the PDC and the best of the BDO and is always one of the most eagerly anticipated tournaments of the year.
However, in the build-up there were questions about the qualification process, with European Tour winners Joe Cullen, Krzystof Ratajski and Mensur Suljovic all missing out on an automatic place in Wolverhampton.
Should runners-up in events such as the non-ranked World Cup and the World Youth Championship, which happened last November, be given a higher value than tournament winners of ranked events?
The European Tour has exploded and perhaps the time has come for the parameters of qualification to be changed to move winners on the ET higher up the qualification exception list – the tournament would certainly have been richer with Cullen, Ratajski and Suljovic in town this week.
While we are at it, does the length of the matches from the quarter-final need to be rethought? Three successive races to 16, including the semi-final and final on Sunday, is hugely draining for the players.
Switching the second round to a race to 11 and then moving all four quarter-finals to one day in races to 13 would put more of a premium of the semi-final and final which could both be races to 16 – albeit at the expense of an afternoon session. Paul Prenderville
Price a growing threat to MVG
The Darts Show Podcast with Gerwyn Price & Barry Hearn
Peerless Price retains Grand Slam crown
Suzuki to make Ally Pally debut
Disappointing week for the BDO
Glen Durrant represented the BDO this week, qualifying as the reigning Lakeside champion. Duzza put in some eye-catching performances, beating Martin Schindler, Nathan Aspinall, Gabriel Clemens and Michael Smith en route to the last four. However, the semi-finalist has already made the switch over to the PDC, impressing on his debut season.
Barring the three-time world champ who is no longer a member of the organisation, it was an underwhelming week for the BDO contingent.
Jim Williams was the only other representative to pick up a win – a 5-1 group stage victory over Ross Smith. The Welshman exited after losses to Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis.
Elsewhere, Wesley Harms, Dave Parletti, Wayne Warren and Richard Veenstra boasted an unwelcome combined record of 0-12.
Two female players were also nominated to compete, with Lisa Ashton and Mikuru Suzuki making their debuts at the tournament.
The BDO will be hoping for a better showing in 2020, as the gap in standards appears to widen between the organisations. Brian Barry
A BDO representative has won the Grand Slam on just one occasion, when Scott Waites took the title back in 2010
Floors and ceilings
Dave Chisnall and Michael Smith are arguably the two best players not to win a televised major ranking title – and they will take that wait into the final two events of the year after coming up short.
Bully Boy was beaten by a belligerent Glen Durrant who continues to find a way to win even when not as his best, while Chizzy was beaten by a resurgent Peter Wright.
It’s fitting that they the pair would lose to Snakebite and Duzza as the pair are two of the PDC’s most relentless grinders, winning when not at their best and most crucially having a higher floor than most.
Smith and Chisnall have great highs and stunning bursts but maintaining that stunning level over a longer format is tough. As Wayne Mardle observed over a cappuccino this week, while ceilings may be higher, it’s the floor that can often be the difference over the long distance
Both men are good enough but the question for Smith and Chizzy is whether they raise their B games enough to support their outstanding natural talent. Paul Prenderville
The race for the Premier League hots up
Of course, the World Championships looming on the horizon will dominate the conversation in the coming weeks. But there’s also just over a month to go until the Premier League selection is confirmed.
Looking at the state of play right now, it seems that Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross, Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright, Gary Anderson, Michael Smith and Daryl Gurney are assured to retain their spots from last year.
However, from there it may get a bit more complicated.
Raymond van Barneveld’s retirement means there’s a spot up for grabs, and Nathan Aspinall’s 2019 World Championship semi-final run followed by a UK Open title means the young Englishman may get the nod.
Elsewhere, James Wade and Mensur Suljovic may need a big finish to the year if they are to retain their spots, as Glen Durrant and Dave Chisnall make strong cases for inclusion.