mardle’s-grand-slam-of-darts-predictions

Mardle’s Grand Slam of Darts predictions

Wayne Mardle takes us through who he thinks can rise to the top at this year’s Grand Slam of Darts with all the big names back in action along with Fallon Sherrock and Lisa Ashton; Will Jose de Sousa hang on to his crown at the Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton?

Last Updated: 12/11/21 3:38pm

    Wayne Mardle runs the rule on this year's Grand Slam of Darts

    Wayne Mardle runs the rule on this year’s Grand Slam of Darts

    All eyes turn to the highly-anticipated Grand Slam of Darts at Wolverhampton’s Aldersley Leisure Village. There are many questions, so who better to ask them to than our very own Wayne ‘Hawaii 501’ Mardle.

    Jose de Sousa will be defending his crown in Wolverhampton from November 13-21 and you can watch all the action live on Sky Sports.

    It certainly won’t be an easy ride if ‘The Special One’ is to retain his title, however, with a stacked field also chasing The Eric Bristow Trophy.

    Jose de Sousa described winning the Grand Slam of Darts as 'a dream come true' after beating James Wade 16-12 in last year's final

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    Jose de Sousa described winning the Grand Slam of Darts as ‘a dream come true’ after beating James Wade 16-12 in last year’s final

    Jose de Sousa described winning the Grand Slam of Darts as ‘a dream come true’ after beating James Wade 16-12 in last year’s final

    So, without further ado, here’s our man Wayne Mardle to talk us through what to expect over the next nine days of tungsten action.

    De Sousa provided us with one of the moments of the season with three darts at tops for a jaw-dropping 120 checkout in the Premier League

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    De Sousa provided us with one of the moments of the season with three darts at tops for a jaw-dropping 120 checkout in the Premier League

    De Sousa provided us with one of the moments of the season with three darts at tops for a jaw-dropping 120 checkout in the Premier League

    Will the standard be better than ever?

    Rusty-Jake Rodriguez can mix it with the very best in world darts

    Rusty-Jake Rodriguez can mix it with the very best in world darts

    “Rusty-Jake Rodriguez has had a couple of 110 averages recently and you’re talking about a format in the groups which is the best-of-nine legs. Every single player in this event can play to a hundred average over nine legs. It’s absolute fact. It must be daunting for the established/seeded players.

    “I think they’re all tough groups. Boris Krcmar and Jim Williams can live with the best of them, but there are those who will like their groups.”

    And this year’s Group of Death is?

    Gary Anderson has never failed to get out the group stage at the Grand Slam of Darts

    Gary Anderson has never failed to get out the group stage at the Grand Slam of Darts

    “The group that I think will be so dodgy is Gary Anderson’s with Michael Smith, Raymond van Barneveld and Joe Davis. Anderson has never failed to get out of his group and this will be his 15th year. He’s played every single year but he could fail to get out of this group.

    “Whilst I expect Joe to possibly get beat more often than not, I think if he can take legs at the right time he could scupper someone’s chances there.

    “This is now a proper Grand Slam. No disrespect to those who did well last year, but this is different. The audience will know so-and-so has got to win by 5-3 or they only need four legs. When you’re doing it on your own you’re thinking of it as just as you doing it. But when everyone is on your case or even supporting you, it makes it even more important and it’s very important this event.”

    Can Barney turn back the clock?

    Take a look at how Raymond van Barneveld won the Grand Slam of Darts in 2012

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    Take a look at how Raymond van Barneveld won the Grand Slam of Darts in 2012

    Take a look at how Raymond van Barneveld won the Grand Slam of Darts in 2012

    “He’s still producing some brilliant stuff and I really do believe this group phase could be so beneficial to him because it’s a short enough format where he can let rip – he can give it a proper rattle.

    “With Gary Anderson out of sorts, Michael Smith not used to winning on TV recently and Joe Davis in the group, he’s got a chance to come through that.

    “If he can play with freedom then we can see Barney back to the player that won it in 2012.”

    What about Van Gerwen’s chances?

    Michael van Gerwen won a hat-trick of titles in Wolverhampton between 2015-17

    Michael van Gerwen won a hat-trick of titles in Wolverhampton between 2015-17

    “I think he looks like a player that believes that he’s actually going to win. When he doesn’t win, he’s not becoming angry, he’s not becoming spiteful. He’s not being disliked in the background because he’s becoming aggressive after losing. He’s taking it on the chin.

    “I think because he knows that there’s good form there, and if he keeps playing this well, he will win.

    “In my opinion, when they all play well, he’s the best player on the planet. When Michael van Gerwen plays to his standard he doesn’t get beat.”

    Are Price and Clayton on another collision course?

    Will Jonny Clayton and world No 1 Gerwyn Price collide again?

    Will Jonny Clayton and world No 1 Gerwyn Price collide again?

    “Price is playing well but not really getting a lot of wins, whereas Jonny Clayton is on a crest of a wave. He’s playing the best darts he’s ever played and he’s winning.

    “I always think when will this purple patch end? Because it does end, I’m just not sure when.

    “When Price plays well he really does look like a champion. He acts like one, he walks like one, he talks like one and he plays like one.”

    Will there be a surprise name?

    Mardle is itching to see Rowby-John Rodriguez take on Rusty-Jake Rodriguez

    Mardle is itching to see Rowby-John Rodriguez take on Rusty-Jake Rodriguez

    “I think Michael Smith or even Raymond van Barneveld can reach the semi-finals. I even think Luke Humphries can reach the semi-finals.

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if Stephen Bunting went on another run. He seems to be so equipped these days. He seems to play better on television than he does on the tour.

    “I really want to see a semi-final at the top between Rusty-Jake taking on Rowby-John Rodriguez. What TV that would be and both entertain when they play.”

    And the winner is?

    Mardle is backing Van Gerwen for glory in Wolverhampton

    Mardle is backing Van Gerwen for glory in Wolverhampton

    “This tournament is so open, but while I don’t see a surprise winner, do I see a surprise finalist? Yes, maybe. I still think Van Gerwen and Price are the players to beat.

    “When Van Gerwen plays well, he wins. And I think he will play well.”

    Don’t miss a dart with all nine days of live Grand Slam of Darts action from Wolverhampton’s Aldersley Leisure Village getting underway on Saturday, November 13 – join us from 1pm on Sky Sports Arena. Check out daily Darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts