After the success of the PDC World Cup of Darts last week the top players in the world remain in Europe this weekend for the Gibraltar Darts Trophy, the latest event in the European Tour and one which should be hugely competitive.
This is the seventh tournament of the 13 that make up the European Tour so chances are beginning to run out to qualify for the European Championship later in the year. With that in mind so many could do with a big weekend. One man who is safe enough is Michael Smith and he’s the defending champion.
2017 – Michael Smith
2016 – Michael van Gerwen
2015 – Michael van Gerwen
2014 – James Wade
2013 – Phil Taylor
It has been a couple of weeks since we have had a European Tour event so for those who have forgotten the format it is quite simple. The 16 seeds each face one of the qualifiers in the last 32 over two sessions of play on Saturday. The last 16 takes place on Sunday afternoon with the rest of the competition playing out on Sunday evening.
The last 32 through to the quarter finals sees the tournament played over the best of 11 legs with the two semi-finals being the best of 13 and then we will find out who the champion for the weekend is over the best of 15 legs.
It is the world number one Michael van Gerwen who is the top seed this weekend and as such he is in the top half of the draw. He will be expected to cruise through but the likes of Daryl Gurney and Rob Cross will be out to deny him. The other seeds looking to do damage are Stephen Bunting, Jonny Clayton, Ian White, Darren Webster and Simon Whitlock.
There are some pretty big names in terms of the qualifiers who are in this section. Vincent van der Voort is probably the biggest of them although Max Hopp isn’t far behind these days. Andy Boulton, Hannes Schnier, Brendan Dolan, Steve West, Adam Huckvale and the Spanish World Cup star Cristo Reyes make up the top half.
It is the defending champion Michael Smith who is the highest seed in the bottom half with Peter Wright not far behind him. That could be a tasty semi-final match if both can make it that far. Gerwyn Price, Joe Cullen, Dave Chisnall, Mensur Suljovic, James Wade and Mervyn King are the other seeds who will be out to stop that match from taking place.
Adrian Lewis is without a doubt the biggest name among the qualifiers in this bottom half. Chris Dobey had a good win on Friday to take his place here while Paul Nicholson will get some good stage time too. Jermaine Wattimena, Mike De Decker, Darius Labanauskas, Ross Smith and Michael Barnard complete the field.
I’ll go with one outright this week in the hope that Dave Chisnall takes advantage of not being in Michael van Gerwen’s half of the draw for once. Nearly every European Tour event this season Chisnall has been in the wrong half of the draw so he has a massive opportunity to go deep this weekend with MVG not an obstacle until the final.
Chisnall has a decent enough record here. He was a finalist to van Gerwen in 2016 and lost in the semi-final in 2013 when Phil Taylor got the better of him. Although 2018 hasn’t been a vintage year for Chisnall, much of which has been down to draws going against him, he has still made a final and two semis in the Players Championship events and a quarter final in a European Tour event where you know who beat him. His form might not be as bad as the results and at 66/1 I’ll take him to go deep this weekend.
Back D.Chisnall to win Gibraltar Darts Trophy (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 67.00 with Bet365