Irish debutant Connie Finnan stunned two-time finalist Terry Jenkins with a thrilling 2-0 World Grand Prix victory on Monday night, as former champions Phil Taylor and James Wade joined the Limerick ace in round two of the double-start event.

2013 World Grand Prix

Finnan – Lawrence Lustig/PDC

World number 74 Finnan, from Garryowen, produced the performance of his life in front of his home crowd at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin.

The 51-year-old came from a leg down to win the opening set 3-1, and though Jenkins kicked off the second set with a 152 finish, Finnan took the next two to move to the brink of victory.

Jenkins hit back to take the set into a deciding leg with a 14-darter, but Finnan was first to a finish as he landed double eight to complete the biggest triumph of his career.

“I can’t believe it – to win in front of the home crowd was absolutely unbelievable and I can do back to Limerick now with my head held high,” said Finnan, who was cheered on by his wife, daughter and six sisters!

“The support of the crowd was fantastic and I was over the moon with how I played. To be just in the same practice room as these players is unreal for me and it’s a dream come true to beat Terry.

Finnan, who is already guaranteed to be back at the Citywest Hotel on Sunday nigh when he competes for the leading domestic honour in the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay final against Colin McGarry, will now take on two-time World Grand Prix champion in Wednesday’s second round.

However, he revealed the he will have to ask for time off from his day job in a factory in Shannon making plastic bag closures to return to Dublin for his last 16 contest.

“I’m travelling back to Limerick on Tuesday and I’ll be in work on Wednesday morning, but I need to ask for the afternoon off to come back for the second round,” he said.

“I hadn’t booked the time off in advance so I’ll be trying to finish early, about 12 o’clock, to get back up here, and we’ll see what happens after that – it would be great to be in both finals next Sunday!”

Wade, the 2007 and 2010 World Grand Prix champion, came close to suffering a second successive first round exit before he edged out Steve Beaton in a dramatic deciding leg.

The world number five won the game’s opening set in a deciding leg with a brilliant 12-darter, only for Beaton to level by hitting a 120 finish in the fifth leg of the second.

The final set also went to the last leg, with Wade initially missing three match darts only to be given a reprieve when Beaton missed double 12 for a 101 finish, allowing the left-hander to peg double five to progress.

“I’m very happy with my game and I had to be well-prepared because Steve’s a great player,” said Wade, the number five seed. “This tournament’s got a lot of great memories for me, and I’m looking forward to my next game now.”

Australian star Simon Whitlock also came through a nerve-wracking decider as he sneaked past Northern Irish left-hander Michael Mansell, who came from a set down to level but missed three match darts in a dramatic sudden-death leg.

“I’m very relieved!” admitted Whitlock. “When someone has three darts in their hand to win the match, you don’t expect another shot but I got lucky and hit the double.

“Mickey’s a quality player and he had a chance to win there, but I’m going to move on from this and hopefully keep winning.

“I’ve got to improve for the second round and have a think about what my starting double should be. All I do in practice is doubles, so I don’t have a favourite and I’m still confused. I don’t know what to do, but I’ve got two days to decide!”

Ten-time champion Phil Taylor was another 2-1 winner as he overcame Jamie Caven, although the Stoke legend won both of his sets without reply with some scintillating darts.

Taylor kicked off the game with scores of 160 and 180 to set up a possible nine-darter, and although he missed out on that achievement the 53-year-old won the opening set 3-0 with a 115 average.

Caven hit back to win the second set 3-2, producing some fine darts, but was punished as Taylor found another gear to take the deciding set without reply as he moved through to a second round meeting with Paul Nicholson on Wednesday.

“I thought Jamie played superbly there,” said Taylor, who ended the game with a 99.94 average. “He was up for it and he produced some brilliant darts, and it was blow-for-blow – but the only thing he did wrong was to miss a double [to level at 1-1] in the last set.

“It was a great way to start the week and that should set me up for the tournament now. I’ve got Paul Nicholson next and the longer format means we can relax a little, we should both play well and it will be a cracking game.”

Caven admitted: “I’m pleased with how I played and in many ways it was easy to face Phil because you know what you’re going to get.

“This time last year I’d have been devastated to lose, but Phil was fabulous – it was amazing to watch him in that first set and I was just a spectator at times!”

Nicholson also averaged 99 in his impressive 2-1 comeback win over Robert Thornton, as the former Players Championship Finals winner hit 64 percent of his opening doubles and 57 percent of his finishing doubles in the game.

Thornton took the game’s first two legs and won the opening set 3-2, but Nicholson took the next six legs without reply to surge into the last 16.

“I’m very happy with that,” said Nicholson. “It was a very focused performance and a lot of thought went into the game, so to say that I’m happy is an understatement.

“Robert’s a very good friend of mine and I was very relaxed, and I treated the game as just a darts match. It was a fantastic game and I stuck to the task because I knew how tough it was going to be, and I had a plan that worked for me.

“I played really well in the first set but the comeback shows the character I’m trying to build. I was under pressure and it’s a hard format because the best of three sets is tough, but to beat Robert is a great privilege.”

Two-time champion Wade edged past Steve Beaton in a dramatic three-set thriller, with the former World Champion missing one dart to edge victory in a sudden-death leg – at double 12 for a 101 finish – before the world number five hit double five to progress.

“I’m very happy with my game and I had to be well-prepared because Steve’s a great player,” said Wade, the 2007 and 2010 champion. “This tournament’s got a lot of great memories for me, and I’m looking forward to my next game now.”

Number four seed Whitlock was another sudden-death leg winner, as he edged out Steve Beaton in a dramatic game which saw the former World Champion miss one match dart – at double 12 for a 101 finish – in the deciding leg of the final set before the Australian hit double eight to sneak the win.

“I’m very relieved!” admitted Whitlock. “When someone has three darts in their hand to win the match, you don’t expect another shot but I got lucky and hit the double.

“Mickey’s a quality player and he had a chance to win there, but I’m going to move on from this and hopefully keep winning.

“I’ve got to improve for the second round and have a think about what my starting double should be. All I do in practice is doubles, so I don’t have a favourite and I’m still confused. I don’t know what to do, but I’ve got two days to decide!”

Whitlock’s second round opponent will be Ronnie Baxter, who was a straight sets winner over 2004 champion Colin Lloyd in the night’s opening fixture.

“I’m delighted that I’m through,” said Baxter. “It’s a long time since I’ve won here in Dublin so it’s great for me, and though my average wasn’t brilliant, it’s good to get a ‘dirty’ win sometimes.

“I was hitting the treble pretty well and a win like that sets me up for the rest of the week now.”

Gary Anderson produced the performance of the night, averaging 104.86 in a two-set whitewash of Dutchman Jelle Klaasen which took just ten minutes.

The Scot was in scintillating form as he swept through the first set before finishing 84, 100 and a 12-darter in the second to complete his best-ever performance in the double-start format, without giving Klaasen a dart at a double.

“I’m really pleased with that,” said Anderson. “The last time I played Jelle, he absolutely hammered me so I know what he can do and I didn’t give him any chance.

“When my doubles go in, this is what my game’s like but it’s also nice to see my scoring back. It all came together and if my darts go alright, then I don’t care who I’m playing.

“I was getting to a stage where I was starting to dig a hole for myself by thinking what I was doing wrong, was it my darts or the way I was standing, but I’m going to just go up on stage and throw, and if they go in then so be it.”

The Scot now plays number eight seed Wes Newton, who defeated Peter Wright in straight sets with some clinical finishing to book his spot in the last 16.

“It might have looked easy but it wasn’t, and I was pretty nervous going into the game,” said Newton. “With it being such a short format, and playing a good player like Peter Wright, I put myself under pressure to win.

“I’m happy with that, it was a solid performance and though it was nothing too special, you can’t do much better than to win 2-0. I managed to kick on after losing the first set, and the pressure was on Peter after that.”

The first round concludes on Tuesday with the remaining eight games, including reigning champion Michael van Gerwen’s clash with three-time World Champion John Part.

Fellow Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld takes on debutant Stuart Kellett, while European Champion Adrian Lewis – the number three seed – faces 2011 runner-up Brendan Dolan, the Northern Irish favourite who also reached last year’s semi-finals.

Andy Hamilton faces Belgian Kim Huybrechts, Dave Chisnall meets Ian White, Justin Pipe takes on three-time quarter-finalist Andy Smith, Kevin Painter plays Richie Burnett and 2012 runner-up Mervyn King opens up against Wayne Jones.

Tickets are available from the Citywest Hotel by calling 01 401 0500 or in person from 6pm on each night of the event.

2013 World Grand Prix First Round Results

Monday October 7
First Round
Ronnie Baxter 2-0 Colin Lloyd
Wes Newton 2-0 Peter Wright
Paul Nicholson 2-1 Robert Thornton
Simon Whitlock 2-1 Michael Mansell
James Wade 2-1 Steve Beaton
Phil Taylor 2-1 Jamie Caven
Gary Anderson 2-0 Jelle Klaasen
Connie Finnan 2-0 Terry Jenkins

Tuesday October 8 (7pm)
First Round
Wayne Jones v Mervyn King
Justin Pipe v Andy Smith
Kevin Painter v Richie Burnett
Dave Chisnall v Ian White
Andy Hamilton v Kim Huybrechts
Stuart Kellett v Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen v John Part
Adrian Lewis v Brendan Dolan
Best of three sets, best of five legs per set, double-start.

Match Information
Ronnie Baxter 2-0 Colin Lloyd
First Set – 3-2 Baxter
Lloyd takes the opening leg on tops after two missed doubles from Baxter, who hits a 180 and double eight to level. Double eight moved Lloyd back ahead, but Baxter added another 180 as he took the fourth leg, and he was first to a finish against the throw in the deciding leg thanks to two 140s, before finishing a third-dart double three to edge the first set.
Second Set 3-2 – Baxter
Lloyd hits a 180 and double ten to break in the opening leg before going 2-0 up courtesy of double two – despite Baxter hitting a 180. The Blackpool ace hits another maximum as he wins the third on double five, before punishing two misses from Lloyd to level the set on double eight. The deciding leg was a nervy affair, with Baxter then missing double 16 for a 146 finish but returning when Lloyd is unable to take out 156, and he hits double 16 for his first victory in seven attempts in Dublin.

Wes Newton 2-0 Peter Wright
First Set – 3-2 Newton
Newton makes the better start, finishing 128 and double five to take the first two legs, but misses double 16 for the set as Wright htis back, finishing 40 in leg three and double 16 in the fourth leg. The Fleetwood ace, though, misses two more darts for the set in the decider, but has enough cushion to return and finish double five to move ahead.
Second Set – 3-1 Newton
Newton again wins the opening two legs, finishing 68 on double 16 before posting a 180 and tops to steal the second, as Wright is punished for missed doubles. The Lowestoft hit double 16 to hit back, but Newton finished double 14 to take the second and seal his last 16 spot.

Paul Nicholson 2-1 Robert Thornton
First Set – 2-3 Thornton
Thornton opens the game with a 160, and though Nicholson lands a 180 in reply, the Scot finishes double 18 for the opener and posts a maximum and finishes 78 to move 2-0 up. Nicholson took out 104 to get off the mark in the third leg, and scored 170 in setting up double ten to level to force a decider. Nicholson added another maximum in the fifth leg, but missed the bull for a 130 finish, and Thornton steps in to take out double nine for the set, after a 140 left 36.
Second Set – 3-0 Nicholson
Nicholson sweeps through the second set without reply, taking the opening leg on double 16, doubling his lead in the second and taking the set with a 14-darter, finishing double six for a 72 checkout.
Third Set – 3-0 Nicholson
Nicholson hits double 18 to lead and then finishes 75, on double three, for a superb 12-dart leg, before hitting a 174 in the third leg, with three missed doubles from Thornton allowing him back in to finish 75 again – this time on tops – to seal an impressive win with a 99.24 average.

Simon Whitlock 2-1 Michael Mansell
First Set – 3-1 Whitlock
Whitlock took the opening leg and then broke throw in the second, hitting a 180 and double nine, before Mansell won the third on tops after the Australian missed 13 opening doubles. Whitlock, though, reverted to tops as his opening double in leg four, leaving 24 after nine brilliant darts before finishing a 12-darter for the set.
Second Set – 2-3 Mansell
The pair traded 180s in the opening leg, which Mansell took on double 12 before he landed a 177 in the second, only to be punished for missed doubles as Whitlock levelled by taking out 64. The next two were shared to send the set into a decider, before the Northern Irish ace took out a superb 143 finish to level the contest.
Third Set – 3-2 Whitlock
The opening two legs of the set are shared on double four, before the pair trade 180s in the third, which Whitlock takes on double ten. Mansell hits back in the fourth, landing double ten to force a decider, which proves dramatic as Whitlock hits a 180 in being first to a double, only to miss the bull to take out 68, but the left-hander misses two darts at tops and one at double ten to steal victory, allowing Whitlock back to pin double eight.

James Wade 2-1 Steve Beaton
First Set – 3-2 Wade
Two-time champion Wade took the opening leg of the game before Beaton levelled on double two, with both getting underway in the third with 160 scores before Wade edged the leg by finishing 60. Beaton hit another 160 as he levelled, but Wade took the set in a deciding leg with a superb 12-darter, opening with a 160, hitting a 180 and landing tops to finish 61.
Second Set – 2-3 Beaton
Beaton took the opening leg despite a Wade 180, and finished double eight to move 2-0 up before missed doubles in the next two legs allowed Wade to level by hitting double seven and double six – but the former World Champion took the deciding leg in style, hitting a 180 and a 120 finish.
Third Set – 3-2 Wade
Beaton opens the final set with a 160 score, but misses two darts to break throw as Wade hits tops to move ahead, with Beaton levelling on double eight before the left-hander kicked off the third with 160 and 180, and though a possible nine-darter goes begging, he lands tops to move 2-1 up. Wade, though, missed the bull to finish 124 for the match in leg four, as Beaton forced a sudden-death leg by hitting tops – with Wade being first to a finish only to miss three match darts, but Beaton is unable to land double 12 for a 101 checkout to allow the two-time winner back in on double five for victory.

Phil Taylor 2-1 Jamie Caven
First Set – 3-0 Taylor
The ten-time champion storms through the first set without reply, averaging 115 for the three legs, after opening the game with a 160 and 180 in six perfect darts as he took out a 12-darter, punished three misses from Caven to break in the second and hit double 16 to win the third.
Second Set – 2-3 Caven
Caven takes the opening leg on double four, before Taylor finishes 71 to level, with the Derby ace hitting a 171 and double six to move 2-1 up. Taylor levelled the set with a superb 11-darter, but was left waiting on 16 in the decider as Caven followed an earlier 180 with double 16 to square the contest.
Third Set – Taylor 3-0
Taylor won the opening leg with throw, before misses from Caven at double top and ten allowed the World Champion in to finish 96 on double eight to move to the brink of victory, which he sealed on double eight.

Gary Anderson 2-0 Jelle Klaasen
First Set – 3-0 Anderson
Anderson hits a 168 score as he wins the opening leg, before taking the second on double 18, and he wraps up the set in style by hitting a 160 score to get off the mark in the leg and double ten to sweep into the lead.
Second Set – 3-0 Anderson
Anderson’s charge continues as he finishes 84 on the bull before taking out 100 on double ten to move a leg away from a whitewash. The Scot then hits a 180, before finishing 80 for a 12-darter which leaves Klaasen on 501 after nine missed opening doubles, to complete a brilliant performance, ending the game with a 104.86 average.

Connie Finnan 2-0 Terry Jenkins
First Set – 3-1 Finnan
Jenkins won the opening leg on double ten, but Finnan levelled by landing double three with his third dart, and punished two misses from his opponent, at double 19, to move ahead on double four. The Limerick ace then sealed the set on double ten in leg four.
Second Set – 3-2 Finnan
Jenkins made a superb start by finishing 152 for a 12-darter, before Finnan levelled again on double 18 and then stepped in to hit tops after the former finalist hit a 180 but failed to give himself a dart at a double when needing 60. Jenkins replied well to win leg four, hitting a 180 and finishing 70 for a 14-darter, but Finnan scored the better in the deciding leg and capitalised on double eight for a famous victory.

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