First televised event since World Grand Prix set to start made its first inroads into the growing “pub sport” of darts last month with the sponsorship of the World Darts Grand Prix, eventually won by the world number three James Wade. Obviously the favourite for this, and all other darts events, is Phil “The Power” Taylor, and the best part about darts players is that they look like they’d enjoy gamblin’ drinkin’ and carryin’ on by the bucket load.

The Grand Slam of Darts, starting this weekend, kicks off the festive season of darts action which will culminate in December’s World Championship when Taylor will be going for an unprecedented 14th world title – and his third in a row at Alexandra Palace.

Taylor is as short as 1/2, with Stan James, to retain his title at the first televised event since the World Grand Prix, and you feel those odds may even be a bit too long.

Head of PR at Stan James, Charlie McCann, explained: “The Power will face a serious test in the group stages with Wes Newton in the form of his life, having won back-to-back on the floor in Barnsley last weekend. Michael van Gerwen has yet to fulfill his undoubted potential but did reach the final of the World Under-21 Final last weekend and the quartet is completed by dual Lakeside winner Ted Hankey.

He continued: “Taylor was beaten in the semi finals of the World Grand Prix in Dublin in the last televised event and will be keen to return to winning ways in the Black Country.”