ROBERT THORNTON 6 – 2 Brendan Dolan

Robert Thornton battled through the pain barrier to see off Brendan Dolan in round one of the European Championship in Mulheim on Thursday evening.

The former UK Open champion, who was playing after pulling a muscle in his back, inflicted a 6-2 defeat on Dolan with a strong display in Germany.

“I got up this morning a pulled a muscle having a stretch and yawn,” said Thornton, the world number 12.

“It was difficult to practise and the pain was crippling on stage but I had a job to do up there and I did it.

“I’ll get it sorted before the next game but I’m delighted to have come through it against a top player.”

Thornton hit a 180 in the opening leg, which he won against the throw with a fine 78 checkout.

He doubled his lead by bedding double twelve for the second consecutive leg and then took out 80 to increase his advantage to 3-0.

The Scotsman pegged double nine to move four legs clear of his opponent but missed a dart for a 116 finish, allowing Dolan to get a leg on the board.

Thornton fired in another maximum and took out a clincal 100 checkout to move within a leg of victory.

Dolan grabbed a second leg but ‘The Thorn’ pinned double five to progress into round two, where he will meet either Raymond van Barneveld or Tomas Seyler on Saturday.

By Chris Murphy