Both triumphed 3-0 in their first round matches at the Alexandra Palace, with Thornton defeating Magnus Caris before Nicholson saw off Co Stompe.
‘The Thorn’ opened the £1 million tournament in style, producing finishes of 130 and 150 twice to conquer Caris with a 99 average.
“It’s not easy to open the biggest tournament in the World,” said the Scotsman, who won the UK Open in June.
“There is more pressure to play well but I’m happy with how it went. I had a few loose darts but I’m pleased to go through.
“It could be anyone’s title this year. In fact, the last three years I’ve gone out to the winner so I’ll have to win it myself!”
Nicholson delivered an assured performance to progress, hitting a 106 in his victory over Stompe.
The Australian will meet Thornton on Friday December 21.
‘The Asset’ said: “I am relieved to be through and that was a big win for me.
“It is the fruit of the hard work I have been putting in but I am going to have to raise my game to beat Robert.
“He has looked increasingly good this year and deserves all the success he is getting.
“I have to go and work even harder now and hope that it pays off next Friday.”
Saturday sees PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion James Hubbard make his debut at the Ally Pally when he takes on Richie Burnett in the afternoon session.
By Chris Murphy
Images courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC
A fantastic night of top class professional darts took place on Saturday evening as The Money Shop Untouchables, in association with Choice Bet and Ace High, returned to the Portsmouth Pyramids Centre for the third time.
Around 750 fans packed out the Pyramids to see Michael van Gerwen edge out James Wade in the final to take the title on a wonderful evening of action.
van Gerwen began his run with a 4-1 defeat of local favourite Andy Jenkins in the quarter-finals, with Wade triumphing 4-0 against Co Stompe at that stage.
Simon Whitlock and Vincent van der Voort were the other quarter-final winners, with ‘The Wizard’ sneaking a last leg decider against Arron Monk, while van der Voort pipped Raymond van Barneveld, also winning 4-3.
‘Barney’ had kicked off the evening’s action with a victory against 16-year-old Harry Annals, who had won through the Petersfield Unicorn Under-18 academy to seal his place at the event.
van Gerwen and Wade then both claimed semi-final victories before the Dutchman clinched a 5-3 success in the final.
“It was a fantastic night and I would like to thank the fans,” said ‘Mighty Mike’.
“We all love to play in an event like this because it is almost like a TV tournament and that kind of preparation for the World Championships is great for us.
“The crowd were fantastic and it was good to meet a few of them before, during and after a brilliant event.”
The night started with a VIP reception, hosted by Sky Sports’ John Gwynne, the event’s MC, where he was joined by the players and special guest Rod Harrington, before moving through to the main event.
The action was presided over by PDC referee George Noble and the players were accompanied to the stage by the ever-popular walk-on girls Erica Wild and Sarah Tunnicliffe.
All at MODUS would like to extend a massive thank you to all the players, staff, guests, sponsors, and most importantly the fans for making the show a huge success once again.
By Chris Murphy
The draw has been made for the 2013 Ladbrokes World Darts Championship, with the top 32 players in the world rankings being drawn against unseeded qualifiers for the £1 million tournament, which kicks off on December 14 at London’s Alexandra Palace.
World number three James Wade kicks off his campaign against World Championship debutant Peter Hudson.
Reigning European Champion Simon Whitlock and World Grand Prix winner Michael van Gerwen have both been handed first round ties against winners of preliminary round matches.
Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld will take on Michael Smith, while UK Open winner Robert Thornton is up against Sweden’s Magnus Caris.
Paul Nicholson and Co Stompe will meet in the opening round, while Mark Webster faces Ian White.
Youth stars James Hubbard and Arron Monk have been drawn against Richie Burnett and Peter Wright respectively.
Andy Jenkins will face Justin Pipe on his return to Ally Pally after a two year absence, while Vincent van der Voort meets Stuart Kellet.
Mervyn King takes on Dean Winstanley in one of the picks of the first round draw.
First Round Draw & Draw Bracket
Phil Taylor (1) v Michael Mansell
Wayne Jones (32) v Jerry Hendriks
Paul Nicholson (16) v Co Stompe
Robert Thornton (17) v Magnus Caris
Andy Hamilton (8) v James Richardson
Richie Burnett (25) v James Hubbard
Terry Jenkins (9) v Steve Brown
John Part (24) v Joe Cullen
Simon Whitlock (5) v Muramatsu/Harrington
Colin Osborne (28) v Ilagan/Lewis
Dave Chisnall (12) v Shane Tichowitsch
Andy Smith (21) v Gurney/Marijanovic
Gary Anderson (4) v Komula/Haavisto
Jamie Caven (29) v Rodriguez/Bowles
Raymond van Barneveld (13) v Michael Smith
Brendan Dolan (20) v Mark Jones
Adrian Lewis (2) v Gino Vos
Denis Ovens (31) v Hopp/Pietersen
Kevin Painter (15) v Welge/Chun Nam
Ronnie Baxter (18) v Dennis Priestley
Michael van Gerwen (7) v Lim/Latif Sapup
Peter Wright (26) v Arron Monk
Mark Webster (10) v Ian White
Colin Lloyd (23) v Darin Young
Wes Newton (6) v Johnny Haines
Kim Huybrechts (27) v Scott Rand
Justin Pipe (11) v Andy Jenkins
Mark Walsh (22) v Darren Webster
James Wade (3) v Peter Hudson
Steve Beaton (30) v Kyle Anderson
Mervyn King (14) v Dean Winstanley
Vincent van der Voort (19) v Stuart Kellett
The fun, unique, and educational game Smart Darts 4 Kids is now available to buy from our online shop.
Ideal for a stocking filler this Christmas, Smart Darts 4 Kids in an enjoyable learning tool that provides a fun way of improving numeracy skills.
For just £19.99 plus postage Smart Darts 4 Kids includes a set of differentiated dart boards designed by teachers and maths experts to address the challenging demands of Primary Mathematics.
State of the art magnetic technology ensures ‘playability’ and durability.
Smart Darts 4 Kids provides a fun way of personalising and accelerating the acquisition, recall and application of number facts and enables children to develop numeracy skills at a rate suited to their educational needs.
Endorsed by 15-time World Champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, Smart Darts 4 Kids helps develop the learning relationship between parent and child with the sport element encouraging participation and involvement.
Taylor said: “Smart Darts 4 Kids makes learning fun. I learnt my maths by playing darts and it is a brilliant way to learn. You improve your counting and arithmetic without realising it and Smart Darts provides that enjoyable, exciting element.”
Whitlock, who recently won his first PDC major title at the European Championship, remains on course for his second televised triumph after seeing off Anderson in a thrilling encounter on Sunday afternoon.
The Australian made an explosive start to the match, leading 6-1, before his Scottish opponent launched an incredible fightback but ‘The Wizard’ held his nerve to complete a 10-8 success.
“It was a fantastic match,” said Whitlock, whose win will send him above Anderson into the top four in the PDC Order of Merit.
“Gary is a brilliant player and he pushed me all the way. I was nervous on the winning double and I wobbled that one in to be honest.
“I’m looking forward to tonight and I’ll go away and prepare now.
“I don’t mind who I play. I’m happy concentrating on my own game.”
‘The Wizard’ took out 52 to grab an immediate break of throw before posting a lovely 100 checkout to double his lead.
He followed that up with checkouts of 90 and 41 as he raced into a 4-0 lead.
Anderson pulled a leg back but Whitlock restored his four leg advantage with the aid of his first 180.
The Australian ace pegged double four to move further ahead but Anderson took out 99 to break his throw for the first time.
The Scotsman reduced Whitlock’s lead to 6-3 but ‘The Wizard’ conjured up a brilliant eleven dart leg to move four legs clear once again.
Anderson took the eleventh leg before Whitlock’s second maximum helped him close in on a semi-final spot.
Anderson threatened a remarkable comeback as he reeled off three straight legs, which included checkouts of 112 and 136, but Whitlock pinned double nine to stem the tide.
A fanastic 10 darter pulled Anderson to within a leg of the European Champion at 9-8 before ‘The Wizard’ sealed the win on double four.
Whitlock will take on Taylor in the last four after ‘The Power’ came back from 9-5 behind to defeat Andy Hamilton.
The winner will then take on either Kim Huybrechts or Justin Pipe, who face each other in the other semi-final after seeing off Peter Wright and Mervyn King respectively.
By Chris Murphy
‘The Wizard’ entertained a delighted crowd at Butlins, Minehead as he put on an exhibition of heavy scoring and fantastic finishing in his second round triumph on Saturday evening.
Whitlock averaged almost 110 and hit a magnificent 170 checkout as he moved into the quarter-finals.
“That’s my best performance on TV,” said Whitlock, who recently won his first PDC major title, the European Championship.
“I’d lost to Ronnie a couple of times on TV so I was very focused.
“I’ve been playing very well the last few months and been very solid so I’m feeling good and confidence is high.
“Winning the first major was massive for me and my belief.
“I’ve been putting a lot of practise in and it’s making all the difference.”
‘The Wizard’ got off the mark on double top before pegging double twelve for a break of throw.
Whitlock pinned tops for another break and his first 180 helped him race into a 4-0 lead.
Baxter pulled a leg back but the Australian brilliantly produced back to back eleven dart finishes to go 6-1 in front.
The number two seed pinned double eight to move further ahead before a fabulous 122 checkout on the bull gave him another break of throw.
‘The Wizard’ then produced a moment a pure magic with a sensational 170 checkout, which moved him within a leg of victory.
He wrapped up a wonderful win, hitting double six to set up a quarter-final tie with Gary Anderson.
Mervyn King also won his second round match, defeating Steve Beaton 10-7.
King faces Justin Pipe in the quarter-finals.
Robert Thornton and Michael van Gerwen were denied last eight places, however.
Thornton lost out to Anderson in an all Scottish affair while van Gerwen slipped to a 10-8 defeat at the hands of Andy Hamitlon.
Sunday sees the conclusion of the 2013 Players Championship Finals, with the quarter-finals taking place in the afternoon session before the semi-finals and final are played out in the evening.
By Chris Murphy
Image courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC
The trio, who have each won their first PDC major title this year, all moved a step closer to a second televised triumph with first round wins at Butlins, Minehead.
Whitlock won the last three legs of his contest against Jamie Caven to progress, finishing the match with a brilliant 111 checkout.
van Gerwen ended reigning champion Kevin Painter’s title defence with a 6-3 success, which included three 180s and a 123 finish from the in form Dutchman.
Thornton was particularly impressive as he swept past Mark Walsh with a 6-1 victory.
The Scotsman faces compatriot Gary Anderson in round two on Saturday afternoon.
Whitlock takes on Ronnie Baxter on Saturday evening, when van Gerwen will face Andy Hamilton for a place in the quarter-finals.
Paul Nicholson was unfortunate to miss out on a last 16 spot as ‘The Asset’ was edged out in a last leg decider by Baxter, while James Wade, Vincent van der Voort, Mark Webster and Raymond van Barneveld also suffered first round defeats.
Mervyn King came out on top in a tight encounter against Terry Jenkins, with ‘The King’ sneaking the last leg to set up a second round clash with van Barnveld’s conqueror Steve Beaton.
Saturday sees the second round action take place over two session before the tournament reaches its conclusion on Sunday.
By Chris Murphy
Image courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC