William Hill Grand Slam of DartsThe draw for the first round group stage of the 2012 William Hill Grand Slam of Darts has been made and it has thrown up some intriguing groups.

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REIGNING William Hill Grand Slam of Darts champion Phil Taylor will face 2010 winner Scott Waites in the group stage of this year’s event, while Adrian Lewis will meet Gary Anderson and John Part in Wolverhampton and Christian Kist will take on Raymond van Barneveld.

Taylor, the four-time Grand Slam of Darts winner and 15-time World Champion, has been drawn with Waites, former Lakeside Champion Mark Webster and Holland’s World Cup of Darts champion Co Stompe in Group A of the event.

Taylor will open up against Co Stompe in his first match, while Waites and Webster will clash in the first of their three group games at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Taylor. “It’s a hard group because all the guys have had success during their careers, but every group is tough and I’ll just prepare myself to face Co and then concentrate on the other games.

“The Grand Slam’s a brilliant tournament because it’s all the champions together and I’m practising really hard.”

Reigning PDC World Champion Adrian Lewis heads a tough group alongside 2011 Premier League champion Gary Anderson, three-time World Champion John Part and two-time Lakeside Championship finalist Tony O’Shea for the round-robin stage of the event.

“I can’t wait to get going next weekend,” said Lewis, a semi-finalist in Wolverhampton 12 months ago. “I love the tournament and it’s close to home for me with being from Stoke, and the fans are great.

“I really enjoyed it last year and probably played my best darts since winning my first World Championship in Wolverhampton. Hopefully I can do the same again because my game’s coming good again at the moment.”

Current BDO Lakeside Champion Kist will make his Grand Slam debut against Wolverhampton’s Wayne Jones and has also been drawn with his fellow countryman, five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld and last year’s Grand Slam semi-finalist Mark Walsh in Group H.

2010 Grand Slam runner-up James Wade, a seven-time major winner and the PDC world number three, faces former World Youth Champion Arron Monk in his opener, with Dutchman Jan Dekker and World Grand Prix finalist Mervyn King completing Group D.

European Champion Simon Whitlock meets World Youth Champion James Hubbard in his Group C opener, with Players Championship Finals winner Kevin Painter and former Lakeside Championship finalist Dean Winstanley also drawn in another tough group.

Number six seed Wes Newton, the European Championship and UK Open finalist, is drawn in Group G alongside 2008 Grand Slam finalist Terry Jenkins, Dutchman Wesley Harms and Welshman Martin Phillips.

PDC World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton heads Group F alongside Paul Nicholson, Brendan Dolan and Barrie Bates, who will take on the Stoke ace in their opener.

In-form Michael van Gerwen, the number eight seed, heads Group B but was drawn against UK Open champion Robert Thornton, two-time Lakeside Champion Ted Hankey and another former World Champion, Steve Beaton.

The William Hill Grand Slam of Darts will be held from November 10-18 at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, with the top two players from each group following the round-robin phase progressing to compete in the knockout stage from the last 16 onwards, with a £100,000 first prize on offer for the eventual champion.

Tickets for the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts are still available from the Wolves Civic Box Office on 0870 320 7000 or via www.wolvescivic.co.uk.

The draw was made by former Aston Villa footballer Ian Taylor on the Free Radio 80s Sports Bar show on Monday night, and will be available to listen again to via www.freeradio.co.uk/80s in the Listen Again section.

Phil Taylor (1)
Scott Waites
Mark Webster
Co Stompe

Michael van Gerwen (8)
Robert Thornton
Ted Hankey
Steve Beaton

Simon Whitlock (5)
Kevin Painter
Dean Winstanley
James Hubbard

James Wade (4)
Jan Dekker
Mervyn King
Arron Monk

Adrian Lewis (2)
Gary Anderson
John Part
Tony O’Shea

Andy Hamilton (7)
Paul Nicholson
Brendan Dolan
Barrie Bates

Wes Newton (6)
Terry Jenkins
Wesley Harms
Martin Phillips

Christian Kist (3)
Raymond van Barneveld
Mark Walsh
Wayne Jones

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