Dark horses for the World Grand Prix title
The best darts players around will be bidding to halt Phil Taylor’s dominance at the World Grand Prix when the action starts on Monday.
Taylor has won the tournament a staggering 10 times since it began in 1998 and is hoping to claim back-to-back titles at Dublin’s Citywest Hotel.
Thirty one other players, though, will be out to stop The Power, including these five dark horses who are more than capable of stunning the big boys.
Terry Jenkins (England)
World ranking: 8
Renowned as a fighter, Jenkins has reached the final of the World Grand Prix in 2006 and 2007, and has also reached the semi-finals in 2008 and 2009.
It has so far been a good year for the part-time antiques dealer, with a semi-final at the World Matchplay and his first ProTour win for three years in the bag, but a first-round game against Mervyn King is too close to call.
Michael van Gerwen (Netherlands)
World ranking: 25
The former wonderkid has flattered to deceive since moving to the PDC in 2007, but this year, he has a hat-trick of ProTour events and his best ever run in a major under his belt.
The Dutchman has been unlucky not to go further in the majors so far in 2012, but a first-round victory here might get the ball rolling.
Raymond van Barneveld (Netherlands)
World ranking: 10
Normally, you would expect to find Barney in the list of main contenders, but such is the level of quality on the PDC circuit, the five-time world champion could be considered to be a dark horse.
Although he hasn’t got as far as he would like in the majors this year, he has won a few events away from the TV screens, and is a former finalist at the Citywest, so don’t be surprised if he wins his first individual major title for more than five years come October 14.
Justin Pipe (England)
World ranking: 11
Having risen into the top 16 earlier this year, the Taunton ace has hinted at showing the form from floor events on TV, with a quarter-final appearance at the World Matchplay to his name.
Despite the fact that he plays Simon Whitlock in the first round, the former cage fighter can’t be ruled out from having a big tilt at the £100,000 winner’s cheque.
Dave Chisnall (England)
World ranking: 13
St. Helens’ former Lakeside runner-up has had a big impact on the PDC since moving from the rival BDO back in January 2011, but he has risen 19 places in the Order of Merit thanks in no small part to four ProTour event wins this year.
The pressure is on Chisnall to do well here, as he is in pursuit of a spot at next year’s Premier League, and is known for missing a few doubles, but if he can get used to this format quickly, he’s a match for anyone.