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Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson got off to a flying start at the World Cup of Darts in Hamburg as the Australian pair qualified for the last 16 after winning their first game, while Mark Webster, Robert Thornton and the Dutch duo of Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld all enjoyed victories for their respective countries.

Whitlock and Nicholson were particularly impressive in their commanding 5-1 success over Croatia, which secured last years finalists a place in the knockout stage with a group game to spare.

Webster, partnered by Richie Burnett, helped Wales to a 5-2 win against Spain, while Thornton, alongside Gary Anderson, claimed victory over Canada for Scotland.

The Netherlands’ van Gerwen and van Barneveld saw off Poland with a 5-3 triumph on Friday evening.

The final group games will be played out on Saturday afternoon before the quarter-finalists are decided in the evening session.

By Chris Murphy

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