JAMES WADE and Robert Thornton created history by BOTH hitting nine-darters at the partypoker.com World Grand Prix on Wednesday night, as Phil Taylor, Kevin Painter and Gary Anderson all came from behind to secure second round wins in Dublin.

Wade had been on the receiving end of the first-ever nine-dart finish in the double-start format when he took on Brendan Dolan in the 2011 World Grand Prix semi-finals.

The left-hander this time create his own slice of history as he opened the second set of their contest by scoring 160 and 180 before taking out 161 on the bullseye for a perfect leg.

Having been a set up at the time, Wade then took out 156 to lead 2-0 in the second set, only for Thornton to hit back and win the set 3-2 and repeat the scoreline in the third.

GRAND PRIX

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

The Scot then matched Wade’s earlier nine-darter in the second leg of set four, scoring 160, 180 and 161 himself to not only complete a perfect leg but also to ensure the game would go down in history as the first where both players have achieved the feat, even more remarkable given the double-start format.

Thornton, though, missed four match darts as Wade edged the fourth set 3-2 before winning the deciding set 3-1 to remain on course to win a third World Grand Prix title.

Thornton had competed in the event despite his mother passing away last week, and had flown back from Scotland on Wednesday afternoon following the funeral earlier in the day – and Wade admitted: “I can only congratulate Robert for what he’s achieved there.

“I’m really happy that I won, but to play Robert in the situation he did was so hard. I got a little bit excited with my nine-darter, and for Robert to do one as well was great.

“There was no nice way to play Robert tonight with what he’s gone through, and for him to do what he’s done shows that there’s nobody with any bigger heart than him.

“I’m just glad to get through because after playing a game like that it doesn’t get any harder. I’ll look forward to playing my next game and not having any emotional attachment to it.”

The excitement of that clash eclipsed the drama of the night’s opening second round game, as Kevin Painter came from two sets down to defeat Adrian Lewis 3-2 in a thrilling sudden-death leg.

Lewis had edged the opening two sets 3-2, hitting a superb 142 checkout to win the second, only for Painter to race through set three without reply to kick-start his challenge.

Painter then came from 2-1 down to win the fourth set in a deciding leg – after Lewis missed one match dart at the bull – before defying the Stoke ace’s fourth ton-plus finish by hitting his eighth 180 in the game’s deciding leg, as he moved into the quarter-finals.

Reigning champion Phil Taylor also found himself behind as newcomer Andrew Gilding took the first set of their clash 3-0 with a sensational opening three legs of 13, 14 and 14 darts.

Gilding also shared the opening four legs of the second set, but his opening doubles crucially deserted him in the decider as seven missed starting shots allowed Taylor to pull clear and level the game on double 16.

The 11-time World Grand Prix winner then hit back from a leg down to win the third set 3-1 and took the fourth without reply as he progressed to a quarter-final tie with Wade on Friday.

“It was a strange game but I’m glad to get through it,” said Taylor. “When I got ahead I hit him hard and managed to get the job done.

“In my mind I was hoping Andrew would start thinking about what he was doing, and his starting went a little bit astray. He’s a tremendous scorer and he finished well, and he’s one for the future – he’ll learn from that.”

World number six Gary Anderson also hit back from a set down as he ended the hopes of Northern Ireland’s Mickey Mansell with a 3-1 victory.

Mansell took the opening set 3-1 and also led in the second, but Anderson hit top gear to reel off nine successive legs – including key finishes of 100, 88 and 80 – as he moved into a tasty quarter-final with Painter.

“Mickey started well and is a tough opponent, so I’m glad I managed to pull it back,” said Anderson. “I never seem to make it easy for myself, but I’m happy with my game overall because I’m starting pretty well and scoring well.”

The second round concludes on Thursday with the remaining four games, including World Champion Michael van Gerwen – the 2012 partypoker.com World Grand Prix winner – taking on Dean Winstanley.

Two former Dublin finalists face off as Raymond van Barneveld meets Mervyn King, while two-time runner-up Terry Jenkins plays Richie Burnett and Peter Wright takes on Stephen Bunting.

partypoker.com World Grand Prix Results

Wednesday October 8
Second Round
Adrian Lewis 2-3 Kevin Painter (3-2, 3-2, 0-3, 2-3, 2-3)
James Wade 3-2 Robert Thornton (3-2, 2-3, 2-3, 3-2, 3-1 – both players hit nine-dart legs)
Phil Taylor 3-1 Andrew Gilding (0-3, 3-2, 3-1, 3-0)
Gary Anderson 3-1 Mickey Mansell (1-3, 3-1, 3-0, 3-0)

Thursday October 9 (7pm-11pm)
Second Round
Peter Wright v Stephen Bunting
Richie Burnett v Terry Jenkins
Michael van Gerwen v Dean Winstanley
Raymond van Barneveld v Mervyn King
Format
Second Round – Best of Five Sets
* All Sets are the best of five legs. There will be no tie-break in any set.
* All legs must begin and end with a double, meaning that a player must hit a double before he can begin scoring in each leg.

MATCH INFORMATION
Adrian Lewis 2-3 Kevin Painter
First Set 3-2 – Painter holds throw to win two of the first three legs with throw, with Lewis firing in a 180 in the second and another maximum in leg four, which he takes with a 106 checkout before breaking to win the set in the decider by landing double four.
Second Set 3-2 – The second set also goes all the way, with Lewis hitting a 180 and tops in the opener before Painter lands a maximum as he levels on double ten. Lewis kicks off the third with a 160 score before finishing another 106 checkout – only to miss nine starting doubles in the fourth as Painter posts tops to send the set into a fifth leg, only to be left waiting on 60 as Lewis follows a 180 by finishing 142 on double 11 to snatch the set from under his nose.
Third Set 0-3 – Painter sweeps through the third set in superb fashion, taking out double eight before hitting back-to-back 180s in the second as he broke throw, before finishing 100 to claim the set.
Fourth Set 2-3 – Painter takes the game into a deciding set by edging a thrilling fourth set, as Lewis pays for missing one match dart. Five missed doubles from Painter in the opening leg allow Lewis in on double eight, and after Painter levels the Stoke ace kicks off leg three with 160 and 140 to move 2-1 up despite a 180 from his opponent. Painter lands a 180 in the fourth leg, and when Lewis misses the bull for a 129 finish for the match, double four from Painter sends the set into a decider as the Rugby ace scores 152 and 180 to pull clear before finishing 84 on double 18 to level the game.
Fifth Set 2-3 – Lewis finishes 100 with two double tops to lead, before Painter finishes 107 to level and then capitalises when his opponent fails to give himself a dart at a double on 84, allowing the Rugby man in on tops for a 2-1 lead. Lewis finishes a 14-darter on tops to send the game into a sudden-death leg, but Painter lands his eighth maximum of the game to pull clear before finishing tops for a 15-darter to complete a brilliant comeback.

James Wade 3-2 Robert Thornton
First Set 3-2 – Thornton opens the game with a 160 score as he wins the opening leg, before Wade finishes 81 and 130 on the bull in the next two to move ahead. A 13-darter from Thornton sees him level, but Wade takes out double eight in the decider to move ahead.
Second Set 2-3 – JAMES WADE HITS A NINE-DARTER! Wade kicks off the set in historic fashion as he scores 160, 180 and then takes out 161 to complete only the second perfect leg in the history of the partypoker.com World Grand Prix. The two-time champion then takes out 156 to lead 2-0 in the set, only for Thornton to take out 101 and 61 before punishing two misses from the left-hander in the set’s deciding leg as he returns to the oche to level the contest.
Third Set 2-3 – Thornton’s 61 to lead is followed by finishes of tops and 81 from Wade as he moves 2-1 up – but Thornton follows a 160 opening score with a 106 finish to send a third successive set into a deciding leg, before hitting his third 180 of the game to set up a 71 checkout, which he pins on double 16 to claim the set and move ahead for the first time.
Fourth Set 3-2 – ROBERT THORNTON HITS A NINE-DARTER! Wade takes the fourth set’s opening leg in 14 darters, only to see Thornton create his own slice of history with a nine-darter of his own in leg two, matching Wade by pinning 160, 180 and 161 to mean the game is the first ever to see BOTH players achieve a perfect leg. Wade replied in style by finishing 146 on double 13 to lead 2-1, and though the Scot levels he then pays the price for missing four match darts as the number seven seed takes out double 13 again to send the game into a deciding set.
Fifth Set 3-1 – Wade takes the final set’s opening two legs, and though Thornton replies on tops – after his opponent misses a match dart at the same bed – Wade returns on double top to seal victory from an incredible contest.

Phil Taylor 3-1 Andrew Gilding
First Set 0-3 – Gilding makes a sensational start, winning the opening set without reply as he opens with a 13-darter, hits a 180 and a 71 finish in the second leg and then follows a Taylor 174 score with a 180 of his own before finishing a 14-darter on double 19 to take the set.
Second Set 3-2 – Taylor lands a 180 before hitting double ten to win his first leg, with Gilding defying another maximum from the reigning champion by taking out 100 to level. The next two legs were shared to send the set into a decider, with Gilding’s opening doubles deserting him as he misses seven darts to get away to give Taylor the cushion to finish double 16 to claim the set and level.
Third Set 3-1 – Gilding hits a 180 as he wins the opening leg – albeit on double one after Taylor missed the bull for a 164 finish to punish four earlier misses from the Suffolk ace, but the reigning champion hits back with three successive legs, hitting tops twice before defying a third 180 of the set from his opponent by landing double 16 to move 2-1 up in the contest.
Fourth Set 3-0 – Taylor lands a 180 and finishes double eight to win the opening leg, before winning the second – despite Gilding’s eighth maximum of the contest – with a third-dart double five followed in leg three by the world number two finishing the same bed to complete his comeback win.

Gary Anderson v Mickey Mansell
First Set 1-3 – Mansell starts the better, breaking throw in the opening leg by finishing 60 and landing double nine to move two legs up, with Anderson hitting back in the third only to see his opponent follow an opening 160 with a 71 finish to claim the set.
Second Set 3-1 – Mansell’s charge continues as he wins the second set’s opener, but Anderson finishes 76 on double four to level before hitting a 180 in the third and a 160 score in the fourth as he levels the game.
Third Set 3-0 – Anderson sweeps through the third set without reply, hitting two 180s in the process before finishing double ten for a 100 checkout to move 2-1 up in the contest.
Fourth Set 3-0 – Anderson finishes 88 on double seven and opens leg two with a 160 score before double four moves him a leg away from victory, which is sealed with the help of a 180 and an 80 finish.