The 2014 Grand Slam of Darts will take place in Wolverhampton this November with Phil Taylor looking to continue his fantastic record in the competition.
Victory over Robert Thornton in last year’s final was Taylor’s fifth success and he is unsurprisingly considered amongst the favourites again this season. Michael Van Gerwen, Adrian Lewis, James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld are also set to complete for the title and should all prove a stern test to The Power.
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Stephen Bunting will be making his debut in the tournament, meanwhile, after switching to the PDC from the BDO. The Lakeside Championship winner switched to the PDC circuit in January and reached the German Darts Masters semi-finals. He lost 6-3 to eventual winner Taylor, however, before the 29-year-old reached the 10th Players Championship final.
Bunting defeated World no.1 Van Gerwen on his way to the final but eventually lost 6-3 to Terry Jenkins. The Bullet also reached the final of the Sydney Darts Masters but again he could not overcome the Power and lost 11-3 in the final down under.
Other notable challengers to Taylor’s crown, meanwhile, include Andy Hamilton, Peter Wright and Simon Whitlock. While Bunting’s Lakeside semi-finalists Alan Norris, Robbie Green and Jan Dekker have also been invited to compete.
Keegan Brown has also been invited to compete in the competition. The 2014 PDC Under-21 World Championship winner reached the semi-finals of the 6th Players Championship this year, losing 6-1 to Dave Chisnell. And The Killer defeated Austria Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-4 at the O2 Arena to win the World Youth Championship In May. The Austrian runner-up, known as Little John, will also be at the Grand Slam of Darts after he too was invited to compete in the competition.
Former winners Scott Waites and van Barneveld will also be in action although Taylor will still remain confident of success. The 54-year-old has a terrific record against van Barneveld, winning 49 of the 65 meetings up to September 2014. He has endured a difficult 2014, however, struggling particularly during the first-half of the year, but he has rediscovered some of his better form recently.
The Power won his seventh consecutive World Matchplay title with a comfortable 18-9 victory over van Gerwen. Victory over his Dutch rival was achieved again during the Perth Masters, this time a closer 11-9 triumph. The Crew-born star then continued his good form with victory over Bunting in the Sydney Darts Masters and if he can continue his current form he will take some beating.
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