Dave Chisnall kicked off the Betway Premier League season with a superb whitewash of Robert Thornton in Leeds on Thursday as reigning champion Gary Anderson missed the league’s opening night through illness.
World Champion Anderson was denied the chance to face Adrian Lewis on medical grounds after being laid low with a viral upper respiratory tract infection on Thursday.
His absence meant that debutant Michael Smith played twice on the evening - and the former World Youth Champion was given a tough induction to the Premier League stage with losses to Peter Wright and Adrian Lewis.
However, the night’s most eye-catching display came from Chisnall as he followed up a run to the final of last weekend’s Masters event by storming past Thornton 7-0.
He allowed his rival only one dart at a double during a ruthless performance as he averaged over 101 to kick off the season in style.
“It’s a dream,” said Chisnall, a semi-finalist last year. “Robert didn’t play as well as he can but I capitalised on his mistakes and hit my doubles well.
“It’s going to get harder because it’s only our second tournament back since the World Championship so everyone’s rusty and there’s more to come. Today was good for me.”
Meanwhile, 2014 champion Raymond van Barneveld also produced a brilliant display of finishing as he took out seven doubles from nine attempts as he swept past six-time Premier League winner Phil Taylor 7-2.
James Wade impressed with a superb comeback from 3-0 down to defeat Michael van Gerwen 7-4, with the Dutchman hitting a 167 checkout as he took an early lead only to be punished for missed doubles in four of the next five legs.
The Betway Premier League continues at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on Thursday.