James Wade and Simon Whitlock both claimed dramatic deciding leg victories in round one of of the World Grand Prix in Dublin, where Paul Nicholson produced one of the top performances of the opening night.
Two-time champion Wade and Australian star Whitlock were both taken to last-leg deciders by Steve Beaton and Michael Mansell respectively, with both surviving missed match-darts by their opponents before winning through to the second round.
van Gerwen claimed a commanding win against Mervyn King, Whitlock saw off Colin Lloyd and Thornton completed his first ever success over Raymond van Barneveld.
Dutch star van Gerwen was in imperious form in his 10-3 triumph over King.
The reigning Premier League champion took out four finishes of over 100 and averaged 105 as he set up a last eight tie against Jelle Klaasen.
“I’m really pleased with the win and the performance,” said van Gerwen, the world number two.
“I was glad to improve on yesterday but I had to against Mervyn.
“I hope I can take this form into tomorrow and it could turn out to be a very good day for me.”
Whitlock moved a step closer to a successful defence of his first major title with a 10-6 triumph over Lloyd, which included six 180s for the Australian.
‘The Wizard’, who won the tournament last year, will take on Jamie Caven in Sunday afternoon’s quarter-finals.
“I’m over the moon as I took the couple of chances I had there,” said Whitlock.
“I don’t want to let this title go. I’m like a dog with a bone.
“Colin played very well but I found the shots I needed when I needed them and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Thornton came out on top in an absolute thriller against ‘Barney’, with the Scotsman winning a dramatic last leg decider.
The Scotsman had looked in control when he led 9-7 but van Barneveld forced the last leg shootout, in which both players missed darts to win.
“I thought i had him when i went 9-7 up,” said former UK Open champion Thornton, who faces Ronny Huybrects in the last eight.
“I always do it the hard way but his comeback got into my head a bit so I’m delighted to be through.
“I’m happy going into Sunday after that and I’m looking forward to another great battle.”
James Wade missed out on a quarter-final spot after suffering defeat at the hands of Jamie Caven, while Paul Nicholson was beaten narrowly by Andy Hamilton.
Meanwhile, Huybrechts won through to meet Thornton after knocking out Phil Taylor in a shock victory for the Belgian.
Sunday sees the conclusion of the £200,000 tournament, with the quarter-finals being played out in the afternoon before the semi-finals and final take place in the evening.
By Chris Murphy
Bronze tickets are still available to see van Gerwen, Whitlock, Wade, van Barneveld, Priestley, Huybrechts and Winstanley at OVER THE TOP in Barnsley on September 27 – GET YOURS HERE
Fry, who is an avid darts fan, mentioned the event on his official twitter page in a huge boost for potential fundraising for the two charities it is being held in aid of – Bipolar UK and Bradbury Enhanced Care Service.
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) June 13, 2013
The fundraiser, which will take place on the evening of Friday 21 June, will see some of the world’s top professional darts players perform at Roffey Sports and Social Club, Horsham.
Premier League stars James Wade, Simon Whitlock, Michael van Gerwen and Robert Thornton are amongst a fantastic line-up for the event.
They will be joined by former Players Champion Paul Nicholson, former World Champions Mark Webster and Andy Fordham and the Dutch duo of Vincent van der Voort and Co Stompe.
Tickets are priced at £20 and are available from www.dartshop.tv / 08450 180 180
or 01403 210 223
All funds raised from the event will be split directly between the two charities.
Bipolar UK is the national charity dedicated to supporting individuals with the much misunderstood and devastating condition of Bipolar, while Bradbury Enhanced Care Service provides crucial support for young adults with complex health needs, physical disabilities and life limiting conditions.
Fry, the famous actor, comedian and presenter, has been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and is a patron of Bipolar UK.
His tweet is a huge boost for both charities as it raises awareness of the event to his millions of twitter followers.
Tickets are priced at £20 and are available here or by calling MODUS on 08450 180 180.
Attendees are reminded that all proceeds will be split between the two causes, with further fund-raising activities taking place on the evening.
Items have already been donated for auction by World Snooker, Matchroom Sport and Unicorn Darts.
Donations can also be made via this page for Bipolar UK or text the amount you would like to donate & Dart52 to 70070 OR click here for Bradbury Enhanced care or text the amount you would like to donate & Dart54 to 70070.
By Chris Murphy
The 24-year-old Dutch star, who was crowned as Premier League Darts Champion on Thursday, followed it up by claiming his eight PDC title of 2013.
‘Mighty Mike’ defeated Andre Welge, Wayne Jones, Terry Jenkins, Gary Anderson and Peter Wright to reach the final, where he saw off ‘The Wizard’ to clinch the £20,000 first prize.
“It’s been a brilliant few days,” van Gerwen told the PDC’s official website.
“I’m a bit tired at the moment but winning is the most important thing, and I’m very glad I saved my best game for the final.
“Simon beat me the last time we played in a final and I knew I needed to play a proper game to beat him, and I think I showed my class with a very good performance tonight.”
The highlight of Whitlock’s charge to the final was a dazzling display in his last eight triumph over Justin Pipe, when the Australian hit eight 180s and took out a 170 finish.
van Gerwen and Whitlock will join the likes of James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld in Dubai next week as the top eight player in world darts compete in the inaugural Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters.
By Chris Murphy
The stars, including five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, will compete at the Nissan Sports and Leisure complex on 15 June.
Dutch legend ‘Barney’ will be joined by Australian ace and European Champion Simon Whitlock, double World Champion Ted Hankey and James Wade, winner of seven major titles.
They will battle it out, alongside local qualifiers, in the type of thrilling tournament as seen on TV as high quality darts heads to Sunderland.
“This should be a great night,” said van Barneveld, who starred in the Premier League in Newcastle last week.
“I know that fans up there are very passionate about their darts. They were amazing on Thursday and I’m looking forward to meeting the guys in Sunderland.
“I’m sure there will be some good players from the local area, who will give us a run for our money.
“It is a brilliant line up and we will all be aiming to put on a show and, most importantly, win!”
Tickets for this exciting event are available online at www.dartshop.tv or by calling 08450 180 180.
Table-topping van Gerwen needs just a point from his match against Andy Hamilton after missing the chance to cement his place in the finals, which take place at London’s O2 in a fortnight, with defeat to Whitlock last week.
The 24-year-old Dutch ace bounced back to win his fifth UK Open qualifier from the series of eight events on Sunday, however, and is determined to take that form to Merseyside.
He told the PDC’s official website: “Winning on Sunday was good preparation for me because I’ve got a couple of tough weeks ahead in the Premier League.
“Last week was disappointing for me and I don’t like losing, but it’s part of the game and you can’t win for 14 weeks in a row. I missed too many doubles but it’s a new game this week and I’ve got to make sure I win against Andy.”
Thornton will need to complete a historic double over reigning champion Phil Taylor in order to stay in contention for a play-off spot.
‘The Scotsman’, whose victory over ‘The Power’ in Brighton was his third in their last four televised meetings, would be the first player in the Premier Leagues eight year history to defeat the 16-time World Champion twice in one season should he repeat the feat in Liverpool.
‘The Thorn’ conceded that Taylor, who is looking to cement his top four position, will be out for revenge.
He’ll be out for my blood!” said Thornton.
“I’m just going to go up on stage and do my best and enjoy myself, and whatever happens will happen.
“You’ve got to thrive playing against the best players and I’ve done that for most of this season. If you don’t play at your best then they’ll run riot against you.”
Wade will qualify for the play-offs if he wins both of his matches on Thursday, as he takes on Whitlock and Hamilton, who both need wins and other results to go their way to stay in with a chance of a place in the finals.
van Barneveld faces Adrian Lewis, the only player that is mathematically out of the running for a top four finish, with the Dutchman hoping to seal his play-off place after missing out last year.
By Chris Murphy
The field for the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix has been confirmed and includes nine MODUS associated players.
The line-up for the Dublin tournament, which takes place on October 8-14, has been finalised as current positions cannot be affected by the upcoming European Championships.
World number three James Wade, who has won the double-start tournament twice, qualifies as part of the top 16 in the PDC Order of Merit.
Simon Whitlock, Mark Webster, Raymond van Barneveld and Paul Nicholson all also gain entry through their ranking positions.
In-form Michael van Gerwen has booked his place at the Citywest Hotel as the highest ranked player in the ProTour order of merit, outside of the top 16.
Mervyn King, Vincent van der Voort and UK Open champion Robert Thornton will also compete for the £100,000 title, having qualified through the ProTour Order of Merit.
The top eight players from the PDC Order of Merit will be seeded for the first round draw, which is expected to be made on Sunday.
Webster and van Barneveld could move into top eight spots depending on results in Germany this weekend.
PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix Qualifiers – (MODUS associated players in bold)
Current PDC Top 16 from PDC Order of Merit
Phil Taylor (England)
Adrian Lewis (England)
James Wade (England)
Gary Anderson (Scotland)
Wes Newton (England)
Andy Hamilton (England)
Simon Whitlock (Australia)
Terry Jenkins (England)
Mark Webster (Wales)
Raymond van Barneveld (Netherlands)
Justin Pipe (England)
Kevin Painter (England)
Dave Chisnall (England)
Ronnie Baxter (England)
Mark Walsh (England)
Paul Nicholson (Australia)
Current Top 14 Non-Qualified Players from ProTour Order of Merit
Michael van Gerwen (Netherlands)
Ian White (England)
Kim Huybrechts (Belgium)
Colin Lloyd (England)
Richie Burnett (Wales)
Mervyn King (England)
Andy Smith (England)
Brendan Dolan (Northern Ireland)
Robert Thornton (Scotland)
Vincent van der Voort (Netherlands)
Michael Smith (England)
Colin Osborne (England)
Dean Winstanley (England)
Steve Beaton (England)
Top Two Non-Qualified Players from Ireland/Northern Ireland from ProTour Order of Merit
Michael Mansell (Northern Ireland)
William O’Connor (Ireland)
By Chris Murphy
Image courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Simon Whitlock took victory in Sunday’s Players Championship 12 at Barnsley Metrodome, defeating Andy Hamilton 6-4 in the final.
‘The Wizard’ finally got rewarded for his solid form this year, as he claimed his first ranking title since 2010.
“I’m delighted to get the win,” said Whitlock, who will now turn his attention to the televised European Championships next week.
“I’ve been putting the practise in and I’m looking forward to going to Germany now, with this win under my belt.”
The Australian star, who had reached the quarter-finals in Saturday’s event, began Sunday’s tournament with a 6-2 defeat of Tony Littleton.
He followed that up with wins over Scott Rand and Kim Huybrechts, before seeing off the challenge of Steve Maish in the quarter-finals.
‘The Wizard’ halted the charge of former World Champion Dennis Priestley in the last four, triumphing 6-2 over the Yorkshire-man before beating Hamilton to clinch the £6,000 title.
Whitlock trailed ‘The Hammer’ by two legs in the final but hit back to tie the match at 2-2.
The next four legs all went with the throw before Whitlock grabbed a crucial break, hitting double eight to take the lead before posting double 16 to triumph.
Michael van Gerwen, who won Saturday’s event, was denied the chance to make it a double success.
The Dutchman was defeated by Hamilton in the semi-finals, with ‘Mighty Mike’ missing double twelve for a nine-darter.
van Gerwen defeated Kevin McDine, Jamie Caven, Terry Jenkins and Prakash Jiwa en route to the last four.
By Chris Murphy
Images courtesy of Lawrenc Lustig/PDC