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James Wade, Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld all got off to winning starts in the McCoy’s Premier League, while Robert Thornton and Michael van Gerwen both made impressive debuts at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena on Thursday evening.

Wade made Wes Newton pay for missed doubles as ‘The Machine’ took a commanding 7-4 triumph.

Whitlock’s superior finishing saw him defeat Adrian Lewis 7-3, while Thornton enjoyed a 7-5 win over Andy Hamilton.

van Barneveld posted the night’s highest average (102.02) in his 7-4 success over Gary Anderson.

van Gerwen looked like he might add his name to the winners list when he led Phil Taylor 6-4 but ‘The Power’ fought back to grab a draw.

Full reports available on the players’ official websites (click on names to be redirected).

By Chris Murphy