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Ted Hankey is no stranger to fighting back when faced with adversity, and on Wednesday night he displayed the fighting spirit he has shown in his personal life during the past 12 months in his second-round Grand Slam of Darts tie with Simon Whitlock.
The Count has had rotten luck on the health front, suffering a mini-stroke in this very tournament last year, following which he was diagnosed with diabetes. He then incurred bad whiplash during a car accident in September.
The 45-year-old, to his great credit, has duly shaken off those afflictions and came back from a compromised position – 6-1 down in fact – to beat Whitlock 10-9 at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall last night.
It was akin to David slaying Goliath in terms of their respective positions in the outright Slam betting. Hankey is now a top-priced 55/1 with 888sport to go all the way in this competition.
There were no real surprises in the other three games on Wednesday, with Scott Waites, Tony O’Shea and Robert Thornton all progressing to the next phase. But will there be any shocks in this evening’s face-offs?
Phil Taylor v Gary Anderson
The world No 1 is firing on all cylinders and it’s hard to envisage anything bar a straightforward victory for the Power tonight – there’ll be no giant-slaying here.
Predictably, he is a very prohibitive price – 1/8 is just about the best in town – but if you’re looking for a value angle and don’t mind taking a bit of a flier, -5.5 about Taylor in the handicap betting at 6/5 (Bet Victor) is worth considering.
Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis
In the head-to-head between these heavyweights, Mighty Mike leads 10-8, but Jackpot has won five of their last seven clashes, and it would be no surprise if he was to do so again tonight.
In the two additional matches, James Wade is hot favourite to see off Paul Nicholson, while brotherly love will be cast aside when Ronny and Kim Huybrechts go toe-to-toe.
Kim is rightly a short-priced jolly and ought to emerge from this match with bragging rights over Ronny by winning decisively.