Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld win at Grand Slam
Last Updated: 12/11/17 9:48am
Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld kicked off their Grand Slam of Darts campaigns with opening-night victories in Wolverhampton.
The three men, along with Scott Waites, are the only players to lift the Grand Slam title and between them lost just three legs on Saturday Night at the Civic Hall.
After a defeat for PDC world No 2 Peter Wright in the afternoon session, the big guns were on their guard and responded with a dominant showing in the evening.
Taylor was the first to take to the stage. The Power is playing in his 11th Grand Slam having won the title on five previous occasions and he was up against the BDO's Peter Machin.
The Aussie is a solid performer and winner of the BDO World Trophy this year but he was no match for Taylor who racked up an impressive 5-1 victory to ensure he kept up with Robbie Green, a surprise winner over James Wade in the opening game in Group C.
The Machine has been returning to form in recent weeks but six missed darts for the leg in the opener went begging for the seven-time major winner and he could not get back on track.
Green took full advantage to record a notable 5-1 success and Green will face Taylor on Sunday with Wade up against Machin.
Saturday Evening - Results
|Rob Cross||5-1||Joe Murnan|
|Michael van Gerwen||5-1||Ross Montgomery|
|Gerwyn Price||5-3||Steve Lennon|
|Raymond van Barneveld||5-1||Jamie Hughes|
|James Wade||1-5||Robbie Green|
|Phil Taylor||5-1||Peter Machin|
|Darren Webster||3-5||Mark Webster|
|Daryl Gurney||5-1||Danny Noppert|
Taylor is the only man to win this event three times in succession but that feat could be matched by Van Gerwen, who has won in each of the last two years.
He also arrives chasing a third televised title in succession following wins at the European Championship and World Series of Darts, and he underlined his move into ominous form at the business end of the season with a 5-1 demolition of Ross Montgomery.
With the big prizes being handed out, MVG recorded a 16th consecutive victory since his shock Grand Prix defeat to John Henderson and he will face Rob Cross on Sunday, after the former electrician produced a Grand Slam demolition with a 5-1 hammering of Joe Murnan.
Van Gerwen beat Cross in the final of the European Championship and the quarter-final of the World Series, and the winner of their match will all but seal a qualification spot from Group A. Montgomery and Murnan will face off in Sunday's other Group A contest.
Completing the trio of former winners all recording 5-1 victories was Van Barneveld, who recovered from losing the opening leg to defeat local hero Jamie Hughes.
Hughes, who hails from nearby Tiptree, took the opener and the crowd responded with a rendition of 'he's one of our own', but that was as good as it got as 2014 champion Barney went through the gears for an impressive success.
Also in Group B, Gerwyn Price opened the evening session with a 5-3 win over Steve Lennon, the Welshman's scoring and early doubling proved the difference against an impressive Lennon, who made his tournament debut.
And in Group D Mark Webster won the battle of the Websters, beating his namesake Darren 5-3 with a consistent display.
Darren's performance was a touch more erratic and despite a brilliant 156 finish, the Demolition Man was no match for the Spider whose victory means he will face Daryl Gurney on Sunday evening.
Superchin, who made his major breakthrough with a brilliant victory at the World Grand Prix a couple of months ago, was too strong for BDO World Championship runner-up Danny Noppert.
In what was billed as the match of the evening session, Gurney continued his brilliant season with a display of clinical finishing that was enough to beat the talented Noppert, who impressed on his debut at the Grand Slam last year.
Gurney's combination finishing proved to be the difference in a surprisingly one-sided 5-1 success.
The Grand Slam of Darts continues on Sky Sports throughout the week with another double session on Sunday as the best of the PDC compete against the best of the BDO.
Keep up to date with the news as the tungsten enters its busiest time of year with the PDC World Championships just around the corner get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts.