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Norris rips up script to shoot down Thornton

By Robert Jones

Published 22/12/2015

Pointing the way: Alan Norris on his way to victory over Robert Thornton
Pointing the way: Alan Norris on his way to victory over Robert Thornton

World Grand Prix Champion Robert Thornton suffered a shock loss at the William Hill World Darts Championship as Alan Norris grabbed the headlines.

Norris produced a sublime performance on his Alexandra Palace debut to rock number six seed Thornton.

Day five of the tournament served up more drama as Grand Slam of Darts semi-finalist Michael Smith claimed a sudden-death victory against Jeffrey De Zwaan.

In a less competitive battle, three-time semi-finalist James Wade was too hot for Greek thrower John Michael.

Michael, the 13-time Greek National Champion, hit a 161 finish in his 2-0 preliminary round win against South Africa's Warrick Scheffer but Wade was too formidable an opponent.

A comprehensive 3-0 triumph booked Wade, who boasted an average of 95, a clash against either Wes Newton or Cristo Reyes.

The man they call The Machine was ruthlessly efficient.

Norris was the star performer at the Ally Pally, thrashing Thornton 3-0.

After losing the first set 3-0, Thornton threatened a fightback in the second but lost out 3-2 and Norris claimed the third set 3-1, completing an impressive victory on double eight.

Smith held his nerve to take a fifth set against De Zwaan 6-5, sealing a 3-2 victory.

After Smith's third 180 helped him take the first leg, De Zwaan took out 62.

Smith responded with a 93 finish on the bull but the Dutchman cleaned up 56 to take the match to a tie-break, with a winning margin of two legs required.

The pair then shared four legs, the last of which ended with a sensational 128 finish from De Zwann, and the next two legs also went with the throw to force this year's first sudden death leg.

Smith won the bull to throw first and kicked off with 125,131 and 134 - punishing his opponent for starting the leg by scoring 29 - before nailing double four to move into round two.

Londonderry man Daryl Gurney faces a Boxing Day encounter with World champion Gary Anderson.

The Waterside man is looking forward to tackling the Scot, saying: "As long as I prepare myself right I'm happy to take on anyone."

Gurney, who beat Jamie Lewis 3-1 in his first round match, defeated Anderson 10-4 the last time the players met at last month's Players Championship Finals.

"If I play like I can in the next game then I'm confident it will be good enough to go further," added the 29-year-old.

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