Wayne Mardle previews Saturday night's World Grand Prix Final between Daryl Gurney & Simon Whitlock and thinks it could be a very close encounter...
"The one thing that stats can't tell us though, is who has the best timing? The player who can produce the goods when he absolutely needs to will triumph. Both Daryl and Simon have hit amazing shots at extreme pressure times"
World Grand Prix Darts Final
Daryl Gurney v Simon Whitlock
Saturday 8 October, 20:20
TV - Live on Sky Sports Action/Main Event
Well, after a week of play we've reached the Final. In all honesty it's not the final most predicted but if you did, kudos.
It's been a week of drama for both and it's never easy reaching a major final.
Simon's route was a little scary, in the first round against Christian Kist he survived a match dart, before finishing on 108 to win. It was then a couple of routine wins against North and Van Der Pas, before getting involved in a slog against Suljovic last evening.
When Simon has hit the double in quickly he's then scored well, it seems to me that he's panicking a bit when not getting away, fair enough, it's such a hard format.
Daryl beat Whitlock 10-9 in the UK Open in March and I think this could go that close too. If it is a last leg decider it'd be a brilliant way to end what's been a fantastic tournament.
Daryl is improving fast. The way the Northern Irishman has grown into a world-class player over the last few years is testament to his belief and hard work.
Daryl beat the former world champion Adrian Lewis in the first round, then Joe Cullen, and was involved in a deciding leg shootout against the 2015 winner of this event, Robert Thornton. Against John Henderson last night it was much more routine.
The stats tell us that Daryl is starting on the double better, but Whitlock is scoring and finishing better. If those traits continue it'll be great watch.
Simon has thrown less wayward darts as a percentage and Daryl is far more adept at bullseye hitting than Simon, I was surprised by that stat, so if you fancy a massively high finish then Daryl is your man.
The 180s are never that free flowing in this event, due to the double start. Simon has just sixteen, with Daryl two less.
Given what we've seen since last Sunday, I don't see one of these guys playing bad enough to be routed, or well enough to inflict an annihilation.
The one thing that stats can't tell us though, is who has the best timing? The player who can produce the goods when he absolutely needs to will triumph. Both Daryl and Simon have hit amazing shots at extreme pressure times - Simon with his match saver 108 against Kist, and Daryl 146 start against Thornton in the last leg were stand out.