Robert Thornton rekindled his love affair with the Speedy Services UK Open by taking victory in the fourth qualifier in Wigan, with victory over Jamie Caven in the final.

Thornton, who defied the odds to win the televised title in Bolton last June, took his first Pro Tour success of 2013 with an excellent run on Sunday.

‘The Thorn’ began his charge with victories over Mark Dudbridge, Mark Hylton and Ian White before seeing off Peter Hudson and John Part to reach the quarter-finals.

The Premier League star defeated Peter Wright in the last eight to set up a clash with Michael van Gerwen, who had won the previous three UK Open qualifiers.

But Thornton put an end to the Dutchman’s run by taking a 6-3 victory, before triumphing 6-4 against Caven to seal the £6,000 first prize.

“I’m chuffed to bits to get the win,” said Thornton, who will be appearing alongside van Gerwen in the Portsmouth International Masters in June.

“It’s about time Michael let somebody else win!

“In all seriousness though it’s so tough now.

“The standard is incredible and it’s a proud day when you win one of these.

“It’s harder than winning your Premier League match on a Thursday night and in an odd way, playing in that tournament has prepared me for this!”

The Scotsman will now to prepare to build on a great debut season in the McCoy’s Premier League when he faces Adrian Lewis in Cardiff on Thursday.

By Chris Murphy

Image courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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