Van Gerwen v Hankey: Clash of the egos
Two men who were not favourites to qualify from their group stages have defied the odds to reach the second round and both will now have their sights firmly set on a quarter-final berth and the cool £15,000 that goes with it.
Michael van Gerwen was thrown into a real minefield of a group against three much more experienced competitors, including the reigning champion Scott Waites, but wins over Waites and Tony O’Shea saw him top Group A and qualify for the knockout stages for the first time.
The young Dutchman showed in his last contest with O’Shea that he will be a match for anyone with stats like a 96 average and a checkout success rate of 83% - missing just one dart at a double.
As far as statistics go though, the Count has also been very impressive as he notched up a three-figure average in his hugely impressive win over Ian White on Tuesday night.
Arguably the star of the show so far, Hankey has been playing to the crowd, creating an unbelievable atmosphere, and also playing some great darts along the way.
These two faced off in the group stages last year and Hankey just pinched it by a single leg, only to then be knocked out in the second round by an in-form Steve Beaton. The two-time world champion will see his clash with Mighty Mike as an ideal opportunity to go one better though and reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
Van Gerwen has been throwing some excellent darts but Hankey was looking worryingly near his best on Tuesday night, and seems to be hitting form at just the right time. The bookies have him as favourite for the contest and I fully agree. I also think the Evens SkyBet are offering for the Count to win with a -1.5 handicap is a pretty good value bet.
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• Taylor v Lewis: Which Lewis will turn up?
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• Webster v Lewis: Spider to cast his web
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• Walsh v Hankey: Count on the experienced player
• Lewis v Part: Merciless Maple to punish any lapses
• Taylor v Newton: Phil to Power in the 180s
• Nicholson v Beaton: The Asset has the advantage
• Jenkins v Jones: The Bull is back
• Wade v Anderson: Back the consistent Machine
• Newton v Bates: More pain for Champagne
• Stompe v Phillips: Decider to go all the way
• Grand Slam Betting: Hankey v White
• Grand Slam Betting: OShea v Van Gerwen
• Grand Slam Betting: Pipe v Chisnall
• Grand Slam Betting: Taylor v Beaton
• Grand Slam Betting: Van der Voort v Phillips
• Grand Slam Betting: Webster v Part
• Grand Slam Betting: Newton v Nicholson
• Grand Slam Betting: Anderson v Dolan
• Grand Slam Betting: Wade v Pipe
• Grand Slam Betting: Chisnall v Jenkins
• Grand Slam Betting: King v Beaton
• Grand Slam Betting: Battle of the Dutch
• Grand Slam Betting: Wade v Chisnall
• Grand Slam Betting: Anderson v Heydon
• Grand Slam Betting: Waites v Van Gerwen
• Grand Slam Betting: Taylor v Hubbard
• Grand Slam Betting: Jenkins v Pipe
• Grand Slam Betting: Waites has Scott what it takes
• Grand Slam of Darts group stage betting
• Whitlock out of Grand Slam
• Caris & Heydon complete GSOD line-up