Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Watch the partypoker.com World Grand Prix Darts live on Sky Sports 1.
Ladies, a word to the wise: if your man is a darts fan, don’t expect him to be at all cooperative next week – and if he’s generally uncooperative, expect him to be even less cooperative.
And if you’re a fan of Corry or Eastenders, I strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with where the record button is on your Sky or Virgin box. Am I a chauvinistic pig or a macho man? Absolutely not. But the World Grand Prix is on, you see.
Think that’s unfair? Sorry, but your man will disagree – vehemently so, in fact. And don’t worry – he won’t even notice the glamour girls prancing around. He’s more interested in the excitement of the tournament, one which is unique in that every leg has to start and end with a double.
Ok, on to the serious stuff…
During a seven-day period commencing Monday, 32 of the sharpest shooters on the circuit will be doing battle for the £400,000 prize, including Phil Taylor who has made this famous tournament his own in recent years.
The Stoke man claimed his eleventh World Grand Prix title at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin 12 months ago, and The Power will kick-start his bid to follow up this year when squaring up against Steve Beaton in the first round on Monday night.
Now, Beaton is no mug and he goes into this competition in good nick, but he’ll have more chance of finding a mole in a coal-mine than beating Taylor. With the reigning champion predictably long odds in the match betting, it’s not a game to get financially involved in, mind.
The Artist can draw a line through Hamilton
Conversely, there are a couple of duels on the opening day that are worth a second look for punters, particularly Kevin Painter versus Andy Hamilton. Bookmakers make The Hammer favourite, but I recommend siding with Painter, who is 10/9 with Betfair at the time of writing.
The Essex man was knocked out of the first round of the European Grand Prix last month, but he was up against none other than James Wade and, to his credit, The Artist put up a good fight. I reckon he will have too much gusto for Hamilton.
Just can pipe up
Another thrower that could be in for a wee surprise is Scotsman Robert Thornton. He’s a strong odds on favourite to see off Justin Pipe in their first round clash, but I reckon The Force will have enough in the locker and rates a cracking bet at 13/10 with William Hill.
Don’t get me wrong, Thornton is a class act when on-song, but Pipe is on a high after reclaiming a place in the PDC’s top 15 list. He reached the quarterfinals of the European World Grand Prix last month, at which point he lost to eventual tournament winner Michael Smith, and I can see the 42-year-old going on a good run in Dublin.
World Grand Prix Darts: Day 1 betting advice:
Kevin Painter v Andy Hamilton
Back Kevin Painter @ 10/9 (Betfair)
Robert Thornton v Justin Pipe
Back Justin Pipe @ 13/10 (William Hill)