Sky Sports News Reporter/Presenter @MissEmmaPaton
Michael van Gerwen and Fallon Sherrock to face each other on opening Saturday at Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton; Gerywn Price is a three-time winner and Michael Smith is defending champion; watch live from November 11-19 on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 10/11/23 12:49pm
Can Gerwyn Price enjoy more success at the Grand Slam of Darts? Will the ‘girl power’ of Fallon Sherrock and Beau Greaves impress? Could a surprise package prevail? Emma Paton looks ahead to an exciting event in Wolverhampton..
What makes the Grand Slam so special?
I have to say, this is always one of the most enjoyable tournaments on the calendar. The countdown to the World Championship is well and truly on, by the time the Grand Slam starts we will be 34 days away.
The Slam is the only ranking tournament of the year which has a group stage to kick things off and with the short-format nature it really lends itself to drama and big names being in jeopardy early on. With that in mind, it also means a defeat in the group stage is not fatal. We are basically guaranteed drama at every turn.
The unique qualifying criteria makes it interesting too, with big names in, some big names out, but also a host of debutants and two women in the line-up, it really is a tournament like no other.
So, who wins?
I’ve tipped Gerwyn Price for every major event this year so why change now?
This is an event he absolutely loves, the former world champion has won it three times in 2018, 2019 and 2021 and has already been posting on social media how excited he is to get up and running in Wolverhampton.
I think he will be fairly happy with his group, which includes Ryan Searle, Gian van Veen and Nathan Rafferty, and should come through it comfortably.
With no major titles this year – a World Cup crown, two European Tour titles and four on the ProTour – I think a big end to 2023 is pending for Price.
Girl Power at the Grand Slam
We all know how it went for Fallon Sherrock at this event two years ago. A run all the way to the quarter-finals which saw her become the first woman to reach the knockout stages of this event, and a run that surpassed her famous World Championship run.
So can she do it again? Well it’s unlikely, especially in a group including Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross and Martijn Kleermaker, but she certainly won’t be afraid of any of those players and we know she will have the crowd behind her. She’s been in great form in recent months, winning four of the last five Women’s Series and we all know what she can produce on a big stage.
What about Beau Greaves? The 19-year-old makes her Grand Slam debut having won the Women’s World Matchplay and topping the Women’s Series Order of Merit and despite this being her first appearance here, I think we all expect her to take it in her stride.
Her group is pretty tough to say the least, with World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall in it, plus Australia’s number one Damon Heta and German hotshot Ricardo Pietreczko, but all three know what Greaves can produce!
Live Grand Slam of Darts
November 11, 2023, 1:00pm
What about the debutants?
Well that hotshot from Germany is definitely one to watch. The 29-year-old – known as Pikachu – makes his debut here. He qualified having won the final European Tour event of the year where he beat Michael van Gerwen and then Peter Wright in the final. Oh, and if you missed it, he nailed all eight of his double attempts.
Since then he’s made the last 16 of the European Championship, beating Ross Smith in his opener, and no doubt he will put on a show on Saturday at the Slam.
Van Veen, 21, is another to watch this weekend, having made the semi-finals on his debut in Dortmund, what can he do on his first time here?
Maybe one of the lesser known names is Stowe Buntz, who qualified through the CDC Tour. He faces Peter Wright in his opener, I’m not sure he will match him in term of his darts but he certainly could for colourfulness. Roll on Wolverhampton!
Watch the Grand Slam of Darts from November 11-19 at the Aldersley Leisure Village live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Saturday from 1pm on Sky Sports Arena, with an evening session then live from 7pm. Stream your favourite sports and more with NOW