Phil Taylor has been handed a difficult draw as he bids to win the Grand Slam for a fourth consecutive year!
And it means the Unicorn star will face a group stage showdown with former Lakeside World Champion Ted Hankey in a grudge match that everyone in the world of darts will want to witness.
Hankey had a love/hate relationship with the crowd in Wolverhampton on his Grand Slam debut last year and even though it’s only over nine legs, it promises to be something special.
12 months ago in Wolverhampton they were the respective PDC and BDO World Champions, but a head-to-head didn’t materialise…..there will fireworks that’s for sure when the pair clash at the Wolves Civic!
The top eight seeds were determined by performances over the last two years and Team Unicorn boasts five of those seeds – headed of course, by three times Grand Slam winner Taylor.
And as well as Hankey, Taylor must face Dutch youngster Michael van Gerwen and Unicorn stablemate Wes Newton in what will surely be labelled the Grand Slam ‘Group of Death’!
Newton is in the form of his life after winning through the Grand Slam qualifiers and then winning both Players Championship events at the weekend in Barnsley, which moved him up to a career high No.16 in the World rankings.
Newton’s first match will be against Hankey, while Taylor will take on Van Gerwen in his opening game.
And it looks an intriguing draw all round – especially for the rest of Team Unicorn.
James Wade is seeded No.2 and he will face Vincent van der Voort, BDO star Tony O’Shea and qualifier Justin Pipe.
Raymond van Barneveld is the 4th seed….he will face Unicorn’s top Ladies star Tricia Wright, Darryl Fitton and Colin Lloyd.
Adrian Lewis is seeded No.5 after reaching the final of the World Grand Prix. He will take on Co Stompe, Scott Waites and Martin Phillps.
Paul Nicholson’s terrific triumph to win the Players Championship Finals at the Circus Tavern, earned him the No.8 seeding…..and he must face young Unicorn ace Arron Monk, who of course, earned his Grand Slam Place by reaching the final of the PDC Unicorn Under 21 World Championship….also in that group are Ronnie Baxter and Steve Beaton.
Colin Osborne is in a tough group, with No.3 seed Simon Whitlock in a clash of the two darting Wizard’s! He will also face Robert Thornton and Lakeside runner-up Dave Chisnall.
Meanwhile Terry Jenkins, who has reached a Grand Slam Final, will take on Mervyn King, John Henderson and PDC Women’s World Champion Stacy Bromberg.
It looks like a terrific draw!
The draw in full (seeds in brackets):
Simon Whitlock (3)
Gary Anderson (6)
Mervyn King (7)
James Wade (2)
Vincent van der Voort
Adrian Lewis (5)
Raymond van Barneveld (4)
Paul Nicholson (8)
Phil Taylor (1)
Michael van Gerwen
The Grand Slam of Darts IV starts on Saturday November 13 on ITV4 and the final will be on Sunday November 21.
You’ll be able to follow all the action with regular daily updates right here on the Unicorn Darts website.
By STUART PYKE (Twitter @stuartpykesport)
Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC