PDC World Championship: Brendan Dolan loses 3-1 to Robert Thornton in first round
Fermanagh man Brendan Dolan lost 3-1 to Robert Thornton in the first round of the PDC World Championship at Alexandra Palace on Saturday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, Dolan saw off Croatian Alan Ljubic 2-0 in the preliminary round at Alexandra Palace.
Daryl Gurney plays Belgian Ronny Huybrechts on Monday evening.
Londonderry man Gurney is ranked four in the world, thanks partly to his success in the World Grand Prix earlier this year.
Belcoo man Dolan has never been beyond the second round in nine previous appearances in the tournament.
Both Thornton and Dolan have slipped down the Order of Merit in recent times but produced some vintage darts in parts, with Thornton threatening a nine-dart finish and taking out a 144 finish.
In terms of legs won it finished level at 9-9, but in set play Thornton managed to win the important fifth legs while Dolan did his damage in a remarkable run which saw him hit his first six shots at a double and produce five ton-plus finishes - four of them coming in consecutive legs in a truly spellbinding run of darts.
A top-quality first set saw Dolan stick in his first ton-plus finish of 124 to go 2-1 up, only to watch Thornton hit a 13-darter and follow that up with an 11-darter thanks to a 180 and a 90 outshot on the bull.
Dolan started his mesmeric run in a blistering second set as he took all three legs courtesy of finishes of 126, 104 and 100 to level - before kicking off the third set with a 107 to make it four ton-plus checkouts in a row.
Thornton stopped the rot in style as he got in on the big finishing act with a 144 to make it five consecutive legs won by three-figure checkouts, before hitting two 13-darters to claim the set 3-2.
The Scot found an extra gear in the fourth set that Dolan was unable to match as he hit a 12-darter after back-to-back 180s, and although his double troubles let the Northern Irish ace back in, Thornton upped it again in the deciding leg with a 13-darter giving him the match.