World Grand Prix: Smudger shocks Rockstar

By Paul Woodage 04/10/2021

Whilst the location may have changed, the spirit of the World Grand Prix remained exciting and dramatic as the curtain opened in front of rapturous, colourfully dressed fans.

Leicester may be a bit of a trek from Dublin but for this year, the Morningside Arena plays host to the famous ‘double in’ start tournament.

As the World Grand Prix began, half of the 32 field were in action. Opening round means the punishing short format of a race to two sets. This is the non-forgiving event on the PDC calendar where seeds traditionally tumble early. Start poorly - you’re gone. And the big guns all know that.

Performance of the night has to go to reigning World Champion, Gerwyn Price. He Iceman averaged just north of 100 in defeating Bullyboy, Michael Smith.

Smith harbours no secret that he’s not a fan of this event. So he must have felt cursed to see the opening round draw. Nonetheless, it was a good performance from the St Helens man and would probably have been enough to see him over the line against most. 

Unfortunately for him, he ran into a rampant Welshman in great form looking to retain his World Grand Prix crown.

As always, Mervyn King was the first player to arrive at the venue and also the first name into round two as he defeated Dutchman, Martijn Kleermaker in straight sets. His reward - a tie against Gerwyn Price.

Liverpudlian, Stephen Bunting put in a magnificent display to overcome an under par Daryl Gurney. The Bullet fired his way into round two with a near faultless showing.

Next up for Bunting is James Wade. The Machine knows what it takes to win this tournament. He has done it twice. It should be a fascinating encounter when the two clash tomorrow night. 

Wade was pushed all the way by Aussie, Damon Heta but a brilliant 121 checkout to take the final leg of the match got the Aldershot man home.

Ryan Searle is making giant strides right now. The long-haired slinger took the scalp of Dimitri Van den Bergh in a high quality encounter.

Heavy Metal will now meet Luke Humphries in what looks a tasty second round clash after he beat Dirk van Duijvenbode. 

Last year’s beaten finalist had no answer against the 26-year old from Newbury who was making his tournament debut.

In the night’s other two opening round ties, Dave Chisnall saw off a resurgent Mensur Suljovic. The big Austrian has been away from the scene of late but made decent strides since returning to prominence.

However, it was Chizzy who took the deciding set to advance. He will now face Ross Smith who comfortably, yet impressively defeated Joe Cullen.

Unfortunately for the Rockstar, it’s just not happening at the moment. But Cullen has quality in abundance and his time will surely come. 

But for now, it was Ross Smith’s moment in the sun as he looked extremely solid on the World Grand Prix stage for the first time. Smudger’s next outing against Dave Chisnall certainly looks intriguing.

2021 BoyleSports World Grand Prix
Sunday October 3
First Round
Mervyn King 2-0 Martijn Kleermaker (3-2, 3-1)
Luke Humphries 2-0 Dirk van Duijvenbode (3-1, 3-2)
Stephen Bunting 2-0 Daryl Gurney (3-1, 3-1)
Ross Smith 2-0 Joe Cullen (3-0, 3-1)
Dave Chisnall 2-1 Mensur Suljovic (3-0, 2-3, 3-1)
James Wade 2-1 Damon Heta (3-2, 1-3, 3-2)
Gerwyn Price 2-0 Michael Smith (3-1, 3-2)
Ryan Searle 2-1

Lead Image: Lawrence Lustig (PDC) 


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