Fallon Sherrock beaten by Michael van Gerwen in Wolverhampton while there were wins for Michael Smith and American debutant Stowe Buntz; watch the 17th staging of the Grand Slam of Darts from November 11-19 at the WV Active Aldersley – live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 12/11/23 2:24am
Fallon Sherrock put on a resilient display but was eventually subdued by Michael van Gerwen as Michael Smith made a winning start to the defence of his Grand Slam of Darts title.
Despite three maximums from Sherrock, three-time former winner Van Gerwen ran away with a 5-1 success, while reigning champion Smith continued his incredible group-stage record at the event by seeing off Nathan Girvan 5-2.
American debutant Stowe Buntz caused the shock of the night, averaging 102.28 to defeat his darting idol Peter Wright 5-1.
Grand Slam of Darts: Groups A-C-E-G First Matches
|James Wade||4-5||Krzysztof Ratajski (A)|
|Michael Smith||5-2||Nathan Girvan (A)|
|Dirk van Duijvenbode||4-5||Gary Anderson (C)|
|Luke Humphries||5-2||Steve Lennon (C)|
|Dave Chisnall||4-5||Stephen Bunting (E)|
|Peter Wright||1-5||Stowe Buntz (E)|
|Rob Cross||5-4||Martijn Kleermaker (G)|
|Michael van Gerwen||5-1||Fallon Sherrock (G)|
Van Gerwen began his bid for a fourth Grand Slam crown by beating ‘Queen of the Palace’ Sherrock, averaging 101.30 to sink the 2021 quarter-finalist, who registered three 180s in defeat.
Smith, who defeated Nathan Aspinall to lift the Eric Bristow Trophy last year, averaged almost 99 to topple Scottish debutant Girvan and celebrate a 17th consecutive group-stage victory at the Grand Slam.
“I love this event – I owe a lot to the Grand Slam, and hopefully it keeps being kind to me,” said Smith, who is bidding to become the fourth player to retain the coveted title.
“I’m really happy to be back. It’s the first time I’ve had to defend a TV title so there were a few butterflies, but I’m happy with how I performed.
“My scoring was great and my finishing was there when I needed it. I’m aware of my record [in the group stage], but I’m only focused on trying to top the group.”
Buntz caused a huge upset, producing a stunning display to dispatch world No 2 Peter Wright on his televised bow.
Buntz, who sealed his Grand Slam qualification with victory in last month’s CDC Continental Cup, turned on the style in a colourful clash against European champion Wright to cap off a dream TV debut.
The unheralded American fired in a sensational tops-tops 137 finish and took out 116 to race into a three-leg lead, before wrapping up a landmark 5-1 victory with a 13-dart hold.
Live Grand Slam of Darts
November 12, 2023, 1:00pm
“I don’t know what to say,” admitted a shell-shocked Buntz, who averaged 102.28 to defeat ‘Snakebite’. “It is phenomenal – Peter Wright’s a two-time world champion. He is a big inspiration for me, hence the [colourful] attire.
“To play against one of my idols, it’s like playing against Michael Jordan if you’re a basketball fan. I’m sure my phone is going to be blowing up after this!”
Buntz will play a resurgent Stephen Bunting, who denied Dave Chisnall in another nine-leg affair, pinning five of his seven double attempts to defy a 99 average from the 2014 runner-up.
Luke Humphries and Gary Anderson will collide in a blockbuster tussle on Sunday evening, after overcoming Steve Lennon and Dirk van Duijvenbode in their respective Group C tussles.
World Grand Prix champion Humphries posted the first ton-plus average of the tournament in his 5-2 demolition of Lennon, with a 147 checkout in leg five the highlight of his victory.
Anderson, meanwhile, overcame a struggling Van Duijvenbode in a contest dominated by missed doubles, rallying from 4-2 down to triumph with finishes of 84, 74 and 76 in the latter stages.
Live Grand Slam of Darts
November 12, 2023, 7:00pm
Sunday’s double session will see Saturday’s winning players facing off and the losing players also meeting each other, as Smith continues his title challenge against Poland’s No 1 Krzysztof Ratajski.
Ratajski edged out three-time runner-up James Wade in Saturday evening’s opener, beginning the match with 112 and 120 outshots before firing in a sublime 11-darter to prevail in a high-quality last leg.
Van Gerwen will face Rob Cross in his next Group G clash, after the 2018 world champion recovered from 3-1 and 4-2 deficits to defeat Dutch debutant Martijn Kleermaker with a 96 average.
What happens next at the Grand Slam?
The group stage continues on Sunday, with Saturday’s winning players facing off and the losing players also meeting each other, before the final round-robin games take place across Monday and Tuesday.
Grand Slam of Darts: Groups B-D-F-H Second Matches
|Chris Dobey||vs||Berry van Peer (B)|
|Jonny Clayton||vs||Josh Rock (B)|
|Gian van Veen||vs||Nathan Rafferty (D)|
|Gerwyn Price||vs||Ryan Searle (D)|
|Brendan Dolan||vs||Haruki Muramatsu (F)|
|Danny Noppert||vs||Andrew Gilding (F)|
|Ricardo Pietreczko||vs||Beau Greaves (H)|
|Nathan Aspinall||vs||Damon Heta (H)|
The top two players from each group will progress to the knockout stage, with the last-16 action beginning on Wednesday and running through to the semi-finals and final on Sunday.
Grand Slam of Darts: Groups A-C-E-G Second Matches
|James Wade||vs||Nathan Girvan (A)|
|Michael Smith||vs||Krzysztof Ratajski(A)|
|Dirk van Duijvenbode||vs||Steve Lennon (C)|
|Luke Humphries||vs||Gary Anderson (C)|
|Peter Wright||vs||Dave Chisnall (E)|
|Stephen Bunting||vs||Stowe Buntz (E)|
|Martijn Kleermaker||vs||Fallon Sherrock (G)|
|Michael van Gerwen||vs||Rob Cross (G)|
Watch the 17th staging of the Grand Slam of Darts from November 11-19 at the Aldersley Leisure Village. Stream your favourite sports and more with NOW