Lisa Ashton and Mikuru Suzuki are not the first women who take part in the Grand Slam. Before them Anastasia Dobromyslova, Francis Hoenselaar, Stacy Bromberg and Tricia Wright stood on the stage in Wolverhampton. Not at the same stage of course as Ashton and Suzuki as the Civic Hall still is renovated but in the same tournament. Anastasia Dobromyslova took part in 2008 and 2009 and almost defeated Wayne Mardle 2008. Not one of his fondest memories. One year later in 2009 she won against Vincent van der Voort in the group phase. Hoenselaar was also in Wolverhampton 2009 but she lost all her matches but loved the experience nevertheless. Stacy Bromberg and Tricia Wright took part in 2010 and lost all their matches as well. But as this year the crowd supported the women. I can't say whether the women this year play better then their predecessors but Anastasias Dobromyslova's 87.20 average against Vincent van der Voort 2009 till now none did exceed.
On the second day of the event again all participants of the event stood on stage. We had an afternoon - and an evening session and both times first the losers played the other losers and after that the winners the other winners. Of course that changed the group tables a lot and some players ar already out before the third match while others are already qualified for the knockout phase.
The Groups E-H played in the afternoon and first on stage were the PDC players Brendan Dolan, Danny Noppert and Jamie Hughes who all three rehabilitated at the expense of their BDO colleagues Richard Veenstra, Wayne Warren and Lisa Ashton. Veenstra, Warren and Ashton are all eliminated from the event after their 1:5 defeats. Dolan, Noppert and Hughes still have a chance to qualify. All three matches were rather one-sided - and I don't have match to tell. Only some words about Lisa Ashton - Ashton seemed to be even tenser in her second match as she had been in her first and she played worse as well. Might be tomorrow we'll have the chance to see the real Lisa Ashton.
The last losers match war Martin Schindler against Glen Durrant and Schindler played without luck. He already was 4:2 in the lead and looked like the winner. But he missed two matchdarts and Durrant used his chance and got the 3:4. Schindler looked shocked and due to the short format had no time to recover. Durrant won 5:4 and Schindler was out out the tournament.
In the next four matches we saw the winners of the Groups E-H on stage. Gabriel Clemens played a strong match against Daryl Gurney as well and won the close match in which Gurney had his chances. By this win Clemens is already qualified for the group phase. In his last group match he will play against Richard Veenstra. After what we did see from Veenstra so far one really can't imagine Clemens could lose against the Dutchman.
Peter Wright this time played a good match and Ryan Harrington had no chance against him. Wright is almost but not completely qualified.
The match of tournament so far followed next - Michael Smith showed a really outstanding performance and demolished Nathan Aspinall who had a 105 average. A fascinating match from Smith who played with 113.62 the so far third highest average in the history of the tournament. Smith was through to the last 16 and suddenly one of the favourites to win the tournament.
In the last match of the afternoon Rob Cross played against Dave Chisnall and Chisnall won 5:3. But after the great match before it was not really a captivating match. Chisnall is through to the knockout phase as well.
This time the break between the two sessions was shorter and soon with Steve Lennon and Wesley Harms the first losers of the Groups A-D came on stage. None of the players played well. In the end Lennon prevailed 5:4. Next were Darren Webster and Dave Parletti. Webster was just better and played solid darts. After his win Webster explained that this time he had paid extra attention when infusing the water.
After Parletti with Jim Williams the next BDO player came on stage. Against Ross Smith he played much better then in his first match and he won 5:1 - the only win of a BDO player so far. Ross Smith on his part will just have to accept that this year's Grand Slam is not his tournament - he never was in the match at all and is out after the tournament after his two defeats.
The last of the losers was Dimitri van den Bergh who played against Mikuru Suzuki and he played far better then in his first match after he had overcome his nerves. Already before the match he had told he felt a little bit unsure playing against a woman. Suzuki had almost the same average as in her first match but like Ashton looked not as determined and confident in her second match.
The winner's matches began with two really very close matches and two comeback wins. Gerwyn Price v Robert Thornton was on first and Thornton almost won - would he not have missed his two Matchdarts. So the 5:4 winner in the end was Gerwyn Price though he had been behind almost the complete match.
The second match between James Wade and Ian White was a similar affair. When he was 4:2 in the lead White missed two matchdarts and the match was over for him. Wade won the next three legs and left the stage as the winner.
Despite their wins Wade and Price are not yet quite qualified for the knockout phase - the third group match on Tuesday will be decisive. Not really qualified yet is in Group D Gary Anderson who won 5:3 over William O'Connor and was almost Gary Anderson at his best. Anderson has two wins as well and heads the group table but the last group match will decide whether he'll progress. Only Michael van Gerwen in Group A is already through after his win against Adrian Lewis. Van Gerwen played well and better then in his first match though Lewis played quite good as well. Van Gerwen heads the group table while Ross Smith is already out.
It was not as late as on Saturday and there were not as many fans who walked with me to the shuttle bus. But something hadn't changed...it still rained.