It’s that time again when PDC Darts return to Sky Sports screens. Next month brings one of the most intriguing tournaments on the circuit in Ireland, where legs have to be started on a double.
Frustrating for players but certainly enthralling for viewers. It’s bound to separate the most dedicated players from the slackers with doubles needed to be hit on a regular basis. This unique competition brings the best players to the fore, so expect the big guns of the darting world to excel.
In normal events, finishing is vital. No matter how well you throw, scoring wise, you have to back it up with consistent checkouts. However, in this competition, players have to start on a double to ensure they can finish on a double.
Phil Taylor, the greatest ever Darts thrower, is certainly going to be the favourite to win the £100k prize. Who else? Taylor prides himself on his finishing which should stand him in good stead in Dublin. It’s the toughest competition on the circuit and a tournament that Taylor relishes.
He does have a handful of players breathing down his neck. Last year, the 13th Grand Prix, Taylor was defeated in the semi-finals by World Champion Adrian Lewis, who no longer fears the Power. Jackpot has advanced his game over the last 12 months, coming of age in the process, and is a real threat.
As is James Wade, the defending champion. Those looking at free bets note how the Machine saw off Lewis in last year’s final to record another major win and, in current form, is a force to be reckoned with. Wade, after getting his form back following a few personal problems, is the closest challenge to Taylor and will want to retain his crown.
Premier League champion Gary Anderson, triumphant at the recent Players Championship, has thrusted himself into the top five players after a consistent year but will need to ensure his finishing is consistent enough to go all the way, while Raymond Van Barneveld, who won his first Players Championship for three years recently, looks to be getting back to top form after a dismal couple of years.
Simon Whitlock prides himself on his finishing and, after showing signs in the past, may well hold his own in Ireland and Wes Newton, the form player, is aiming to continue his successful 18 months and will be a huge threat.
Mark Webster and Terry Jenkins are likely to be in the quarter-finals but, if they don’t find the doubles to activate their legs, they are likely to fall at one of the first hurdles. Paul Nicholson, continuing to make headlines in the sport, is a dangerous operator and, like he has shown in the past, can beat anyone on his day.
Best of the rest include Andy Hamilton, who had an impressive World Matchplay in Blackpool, John Part, Co Stompe and Mervyn King, who all need impressive tournaments to send out a message to other emerging players.
In reality, it looks like the winner will be one of Taylor, Wade, Anderson or Lewis; the four best players in the world at this moment in time because the nature of the tournaments suggests the most consistent players succeed. So place your free bet now!