ROBERT THORNTON will take on Michael van Gerwen on Wednesday evening for a place in the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam of Darts after coming through a dramatic nine-dart-shoot out to progress from his group on Tuesday.
Former runner-up Thornton had been sitting pretty at the top of Group B ahead of the final night of round robin action but it almost slipped away in a cruel and controversial twist.
The Scotsman lost his match against Gerwyn Price 5-3 in a game that finished with confusion as the referee made a scoring error, allowing Price to effectively take out the wrong match-winning finish.
However, ‘The Thorn’ had little time to dwell on the defeat as the outcome meant he was tied on points with and shared the same legs difference as Dimitri Van den Bergh, who he went on to face in a nine-dart shoot-out.
In the highest ever scoring shoot-out, Thornton amassed a points total of 345 with his nine arrows, just five more than his opponent thanks to a fearless final dart at 25.
His reward for progression is a clash with the world number one but Thornton believes he has nothing to fear.
“I think all the drama is out of the way now and I can just get on and play darts against Michael,” said the 2015 World Grand Prix winner, who beat van Gerwen to win that final.
“It was just one of those nights last night but I dug in and got through it. I know what to expect from Michael, we all know how good he is but he’ll be expecting a game from me and I intend to give him one.
“It’s straight knockout now. A winner and a loser. I think we all prefer that and I’m looking forward to what I expect will be fantastic game of darts.”