Grand Slam of Darts Preview: PDC and BDO stars clash again at Wolverhampton event
The Grand Slam of Darts kicks off on Saturday on Sky Sports as the biggest names in both codes of darts clash.
Last Updated: 10/11/12 9:31pm
Reigning champion Phil Taylor and rival World Champions Adrian Lewis and Christian Kist battle for the £100,000 title during the nine-day event which sees 32 players initially split across eight groups of four for the round-robin stage.
Reigning champion Taylor, who defeated Gary Anderson last November to win the title for a fourth time, will kick off his challenge against Dutchman Co Stompe on Saturday night.
He is also drawn with 2010 Grand Slam winner Scott Waites - who Taylor defeated in the 2009 Wolverhampton final - and former World Champion Mark Webster in Group A.
The tournament is the only to see the stars of the PDC and BDO systems collide annually, and Taylor admitted: "There's a few different faces in there with the BDO players, and you don't get to play guys like Scott Waites very often so it's a different challenge.
"I'll play Scott again in the groups and he's done really well since we played a few years ago in the final, winning the Grand Slam and the World Masters, so I'll have to be on top of my game."
PDC World Champion Lewis was drawn out with former Premier League champion Gary Anderson, three-time World Champion John Part and two-time Lakeside finalist Tony O'Shea in Group E for the event.
He will kick off against O'Shea on Sunday afternoon, and is determined to challenge for the Grand Slam title after failing to reach the semi-finals of a televised major since February.
"I thrive on the big tournaments and I'm putting a lot of hours in practising," said the 27-year-old. "I've got to find a bit more consistency within games - it's no good nearly hitting a nine-darter in one leg and then kicking off the next with a 60."
Lewis could face rival World Champion Kist in the semi-finals should both progress to the last four, and he admits a potential showdown with the Dutchman would be an appealing prospect.
Two-time Lakeside Champion Ted Hankey, who was a quarter-finalist last year and moved onto the PDC circuit in January, meets UK Open champion Robert Thornton in their Group B opener.
Hankey, nicknamed 'The Count' has often been the boo-boy for fans but found himself being cheered during last year's tournament in Wolverhampton.
The Grand Slam of Darts will kick off on Saturday evening (7pm) with eight matches from Groups A-D, with the clash between reigning Players Championship Finals winner Kevin Painter and former Lakeside finalist Dean Winstanley kicking off the event.
Waites plays Webster before recent World Grand Prix finalist Mervyn King meets Dutchman Jan Dekker.
European Champion Simon Whitlock then faces World Youth Champion James Hubbard in Group C, while 2010 runner-up James Wade will end the opening night against Youth Tour Order of Merit winner Arron Monk.
The round-robin phase continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the top two players from each group progress to the knockout stages, with the second round being split across Thursday and Friday.
The quarter-finals will be held across two sessions next Saturday, with the semi-finals on Sunday afternoon and the final being played on Sunday evening.