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Leisure centre transformed as Wolverhampton prepares for Grand Slam of Darts

By Pete Madeley | Wolverhampton | Wolverhampton entertainment | Published:

Darts fans are being called on to ‘get up for the arras’ as the Grand Slam of Darts returns to the Black Country tomorrow.

Crissie Rushton and Liz Grimshaw from Wolverhampton Council get ready for the Grand Slam of Darts

The 32-player tournament runs for nine days and is at Wolverhampton’s Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton this year while the Civic halls are refurbished.

Workers were today busy transforming the leisure centre ready for darts stars, fans and TV crews.

The Grand Slam of Darts signs were going up outside the venue as lighting rigs were hoisted into place inside.

A PDC lorry outside the leisure centre
Signs are installed at the centre

Huge screens, a main stage and bars will also be going in as thousands of fans are expected to flock to the event over the course of the tournament, which is televised on Sky Sports.

Heath Town councillor and former Mayor Milkinder Jaspal, said: “The darts has been a massive success since it came to Wolverhampton, and it is crucial that we retain it while work continues at the Civic halls.

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“This is a fantastic family event that is good for the economy.

“We must do all we can to make it a success.”

Tickets are available on tables and in tiered seats
Setting up the rigging at the centre

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Tory councillor Udey Singh, who represents Tettenhall Regis, added: “I am sure Aldersley Leisure Village will do a great job in hosting the event. I would urge everyone to get out and see some top quality sporting action.”

Wolverhampton Council has also issued a rallying cry for people to turn out and support the event in its temporary home as it revealed ticket sales were down so far.

A council spokesman said: “While overall sales are down, sales for some sessions are actually higher than 2017.”

Craig Johnson from Hull was among the team getting the stage ready
Liz Grimshaw shows one of the panels that have been used to cover the floor hall

But PDC chief executive Matthew Porter insisted it would still be a success.

He said: “We’re sure the bwin Grand Slam of Darts will prove as successful and popular at Aldersley Leisure Village as is was at the Civic Hall.”

Calm before the storm - Fran Large behind the bar

The Sky Sports-televised tournament features players from both the PDC and BDO systems, including reigning champion Michael van Gerwen, who is looking to maintain his impressive unbeaten record at this event dating back to 2014.

The Green Machine is odds on favourite for a fourth successive Grand Slam crown, which will see him face Jonny Clayton, Joe Murnan and Gary Robson in the group stage.

Gary Anderson, the 2018 UK Open champion, colourful Scotsman Peter Wright, and reigning World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh will also compete, alongside PDC World Champion Rob Cross and BDO Lakeside Champion Glen Durrant.

Setting up the sound system
Signs are installed on the outside of the building

The top two players from each group progress to the knockout phase from the second round onwards, before the tournament concludes with the semi-finals and final on November 18.

Return coach travel is available from Wolverhampton Civic Hall to Aldersley Leisure Village, costing £2 return with advance booking only.

Car parking costs £5 per session.

The event starts on November 10 and finishes on November 18
Tickets start at £29

Tickets are on sale at wolvescivic.co.uk and at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery box office in Lichfield Street.

Meanwhile comedians like Dave Gorman, Jason Manford, Joe Lycett – which has sold out – and Sarah Millican are all set to take the stage at Aldersley towards the end of the month in shows that would have otherwise been staged at the Civic Halls.

Tory councillor Udey Singh has raised questions in the council chamber over the revamp of the Civic halls, which has more than doubled in cost to £38 million and will not be finished until 2021 at the earliest.

But he said for now everyone should get behind the events at their temporary home in Aldersley.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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