Michael van Gerwen lost out to a fantastic performance from recent European Championship winner Ross Smith, who included a staggering nine maximums in a 5-4 win. The Dutchman still finishes top of Group G after beating Luke Woodhouse and Nathan Rafferty over the weekend, with the Natural earning his first win of the group against Woody on Tuesday night.
Smudger averaged a staggering 107.92 missing just four darts at double in the match, despite MVG finding a fantastic 145 finish in the fifth leg for a break of throw. The Dutchman bounced back from an early 3-0 deficit, taking the lead in the seventh leg in Wolverhampton.
Smith showed why he is a TV major winner, breaking straight back in a leg he had to win, sending the match into a last leg decider that he would have the darts for. The Englishman found double eight to win 5-4, finishing second in the group despite beating van Gerwen after losing his opening match of the competition to Luke Woodhouse on Saturday.
Jonny Clayton also finished top of his group despite defeat, losing 5-2 to Australian World Cup winner Damon Heta who despite victory crashes out of this years Grand Slam. The Heat lost out to Jermaine Wattimena on Saturday and after the Dutchman beat Leonard Gates 5-1 in the opening match, he qualifies as the Runner Up with a better legs difference.
The Machine Gun included a 108 finish to seal his victory over the American debutant, with Gates losing all three Group F games including a heart-breaking last leg defeat to Heta on Sunday.
Luke Humphries lost out to a spirited Josh Rock in the final game of group stage action at Aldersley Leisure Village, as the Northern Irishman found double fourteen to complete a 124 checkout, earning a crucial third leg which secured his route out the group.
Rocky went on to claim a 5-3 victory over Cool Hand and sets up a Last 16 clash with Michael van Gerwen, a matchup which should be fast and high scoring with the youngster including a 121 average on the Pro Tour against Brendan Dolan.
Red Dragon star Humphries will face Ross Smith in Thursday’s evening session after finishing top of Group H with two victories, including a fantastic 107 average in beating Ryan Searle 5-1 on Sunday night.
Elsewhere, reigning World Champion Peter Wright lost out by a leg on legs difference to Alan Soutar in Group E, losing 5-2 to Nathan Aspinall who went on to win Group E in Wolverhampton.
Soots won just before Snakebite entered the oche, including two bullseyes and double sixteen to finish 132 in the sixth leg before sealing a 5-2 win over Fallon Sherrock.
The Scotsman who also works as a firefighter, makes it through to the Last 16 where he will face 2021 Premier League champion Jonny Clayton, with the Ferret still waiting to hit his first 180 despite playing three group stage matches.
Wednesday sees the start of the Last 16 with World Number 1 Gerwyn Price up against reigning UK Open champion Danny Noppert, whilst Raymond van Barneveld faces Australian World Cup winner Simon Whitlock in a clash that certainly rolls back the years.
By Harry Masterson
2022 Grand Slam of Darts Results:
Nathan Aspinall 5-2 Peter Wright (2)
Alan Soutar 5-2 Fallon Sherrock
- Nathan Aspinall: 4pts
- Alan Soutar: 4pts
- Peter Wright (2): 4pts
- Fallon Sherrock: 0pts
Damon Heta 5-2 Jonny Clayton (7)
Jermaine Wattimena 5-1 Leonard Gates
- Jonny Clayton (7): 4pts
- Jermaine Wattimena: 4pts
- Damon Heta: 4pts
- Leonard Gates: 0pts
Ross Smith 5-4 Michael van Gerwen (3)
Nathan Rafferty 5-4 Luke Woodhouse
- Michael van Gerwen (3): 4pts
- Ross Smith: 4pts
- Luke Woodhouse: 2pts
- Nathan Rafferty: 2pts
Josh Rock 5-3 Luke Humphries (6)
Scott Williams 5-3 Ryan Searle
- Luke Humphries (6): 4pts
- Josh Rock: 4pts
- Scott Williams: 2pts
- Ryan Searle: 2pts
Wednesday Order of Play: Last 16
Raymond van Barneveld v Simon Whitlock
Michael Smith (4) v Rob Cross (5)
Danny Noppert (8) v Gerwyn Price (1)
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Joe Cullen