Grand Slam of arts Tips: Polish Eagle to progress

Ratajski darts
Ratajski hoping to reach round two for the second time

Day three of the Grand Slam of Darts sees the conclusion of the group stage for the top half of the draw and Abigail Davies is backing Ratajski to be among those who progress with ease.

"Stephen Bunting was unlucky to be defeated on the opening day with the fourth highest losing average in the history of the Grand Slam but more clinical on his doubles, he came through a tough contest with Dobey and The Bullet is looking dangerous in this tournament."

Gerwyn Price and Michael van Green are now joint favourite to lift the Eric Bristow trophy next weekend at 3/1, with The Green Machine's odds shortening after his scintillating performance and 115 average in beating Joe Cullen on Sunday night.

There is no disputing that the youngsters have made their mark in Wolverhampton, with Rusty-Jake Rodriguez showing glimpses of what he can do and World Youth Champion Bradley Brooks giving the in-form player of 2021 Jonny Clayton a scare, it's quite clear that the future of darts is in a healthy place.

Rafferty taking it all in his stride

Another young player to impress in round one was Nathan Rafferty. He missed a match dart against World Champion Gerwyn Price in his opening match, playing with supreme confidence and an action that is very easy on the eye.

A common theme amongst the younger players that we've seen is a fearlessness and belief in their ability that has meant they've not wilted under the pressure, they've thrived.

It was unsurprising, despite Martin Schindler's recent upturn in form, to see the 21-year-old take maximum points from his second match. Despite averaging below 90, it was an impressive display from the youngster who settled with a 112 out shot in the opening leg.

Next up for the Northern Irishman is Krzysztof Ratajski.

Out of sorts against Gerwyn Price but there was no danger of his uncharacteristic performance dragging the world number one down, he maintained his magnificent high standard to put down a marker, with four 15-dart legs, he allowed Ratajski just a single dart at double, which he missed.

The Polish Eagle was made to look ordinary by Price on Sunday afternoon but I can't imagine he'll put in such a lacklustre display with a spot in round two on the line.

I think the Pole will get the job done and make it through to the last 16 for the second time in his career. He is 1/3 to beat Rafferty.

The other bet I like the look of in Group A is Price to beat Schindler with a handicap of -1.5 at 2/5.

Bird is still the word

Bunting Getty.jpg

Before a dart was thrown, I thought Chris Dobey was good value to come through his group. Whilst that's no longer possible for Hollywood, the player who beat him on day two is looking very good to go on a deep run this week.

Stephen Bunting was unlucky to be defeated on the opening day with the fourth highest losing average in the history of the Grand Slam but more clinical on his doubles, he came through a tough contest with Dobey and The Bullet is looking dangerous in this tournament.

The man from St Helens will be hoping to book his place in round two with a win over Rowby-John Rodriguez, a player he has beaten five out of the last six times they have met.

Bunting has produced some top quality darts this year and I fancy him to hit the most 180s and win the match at 8/5.

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