Van Gerwen to hit the Jackpot
With the only two men to have won the Grand Prix in the last seven years out of the competition before the quarter-final stage, excitement is building throughout the rest of the field as everyone left in Dublin will firmly believe they can claim the £100,000 winner’s cheque.
With Phil Taylor out of the reckoning, the world champ Adie Lewis is now favourite to lift the trophy and he is in the match of the night on Thursday as he faces the bang in form Michael van Gerwen. Both men justified their favourite tags in round one, but both had stern tests, Lewis against Richie Burnett and van Gerwen against Colin Lloyd, the fact they came through them will only further boost their confidence though and a high quality game should be in prospect in the last 16.
Jackpot is unsurprisingly the favourite, but based on current form and first round performance, then the Dutchman is the more likely winner. Mighty Mike averaged 88.8 against Lloyd compared to Lewis’ 79.7 against Burnett and Michael’s starting and finishing double ratios were much better than the double world champ’s. We all know that Lewis can blow people away if he is on song, but van Gerwen’s form can’t be ignored and he looks great value at 13/8.
First up on Thursday evening is an intriguing clash between Andy Hamilton and Steve Beaton, both who sailed through round one without dropping a set. The Hammer is a strong favourite, and given recent performances in major competition you can see why, but if the Adonis performs as he did against Andy Smith then he is unlikely to lose to anyone. An average of 94.4 in this format is seriously impressive and was 10 points better than Hamilton could manage against Mark Webster. The Hammer was doing more than enough to comfortably win the game though and he will step it up when he has to it seems. He has developed an ability to reach the latter stages of tournaments that he didn’t used to have and he should draw on it again against Beaton. He is best price 4/7 which isn’t great, but could be handy in an accumulator.
Another one that’s tough to call is Colin Osborne taking on Paul Nicholson, the bookies have Nicholson as almost a dead cert but after knocking out James Wade, it would be daft to say the least to rule out Osborne. Ozzy ruined a number of bets when he disposed of The Machine on Tuesday night and he had to play really well to do so, which makes the 13/8 on him look pretty generous to reach the last eight. Nicholson had a much less stringent test in Mickey Mansell who averaged under 65, but the impressive thing about the Asset’s performance was his finishing which saw him miss just one dart at an ending double in the contest. If he can keep that kind of performance up then he will beat anyone, but under a bit more pressure from an opponent we will see those stats go into decline. It is a real pick ‘em match that could go either way, so with that in mind, Ozzy is providing the value at 13/8.
Finally on Thursday we have Wes Newton taking on the conqueror of Raymond van Barneveld, Ian White in what could be yet another tight contest. Newton lived up to his nickname The Warrior on Tuesday coming back from the brink of defeat to beat Ronnie Baxter, and often when someone does that they go on to have quite a run in the competition, a la Adie Lewis at the World Championships. White cannot be discounted against anyone nowadays though as he has proved he is more than capable of becoming a top 16 player in recent months, his three ton-plus finishes against Barney further evidencing this. It’ll be a really close match, but the way the Warrior fought back against the Rocket just about puts him in the driving seat.
• Dutch invasion to topple King
• Expect an epic semi-final
• Warrior in for a battle
• Power to remove Thorn from side
• Lewis to start with a bang
• Unstoppable force meets immovable Wizard
• What a difference a weekend makes
• Taylor still the man to overpower