Grand Slam of Darts: Rob Cross, Dave Chisnall and Peter Wright among Day One winners
By Paul Prenderville at Aldersley Leisure Village
Last Updated: 10/11/19 2:11pm
Rob Cross ended Lisa Ashton's hopes of a winning debut at the Grand Slam of Darts with a 5-2 victory over the four-time women's BDO world champion.
For the first time since 2010, female players are at the tournament, but Anastasia Dobromyslova's victory over Vincent van der Voort remains their only win so far.
Ashton, who took a set off Jan Dekker at Alexandra Palace last December, started well but dropped her level, allowing Cross' greater consistency and heavier scoring to get him to the finish line.
Ashton will return on Sunday to face Jamie Hughes, while Cross will meet fellow Group E winner Dave Chisnall, who accounted for Hughes earlier in the afternoon.
"There's no reason why women can't play as well as men," Cross told Sky Sports.
"Playing Lisa, though, it's probably the most nervous I've been. It takes me back to my first game ever. It was just a little bit different.
"She's a great player and I think tomorrow and later on this week she will relax and she will play the best darts that she can - she's fantastic.
"It's good to support Lisa and the women's game and give them a boost. She's one of the best women's players out there if not the best, she's a great person too. It was nice just to win."
Cross took the opener before Ashton responded with a brilliant 14-dart leg to level, only to see Voltage push on with a break in the fourth leg of the contest.
Ashton punished missed darts from Cross to take out double top to draw back within one, but the four-time BDO women's champion could not find another gear and it was the 2018 PDC men's champion who took out the next two legs with the minimum of fuss to start his campaign with a win.
Also in the group, in-form Chisnall continued where he left off with his recent TV form. The World Grand Prix runner-up is still chasing a major televised title, but has never been playing better and a 5-3 win over Hughes underlines that.
Saturday Afternoon's Results
|Group E||Dave Chisnall 5-3 Jamie Hughes|
|Rob Cross 5-2 Lisa Ashton|
|Group F||Danny Noppert 4-5 Ryan Harrington|
|Peter Wright 5-2 Wayne Warren|
|Group G||Brendan Dolan 1-5 Gabriel Clemens|
|Daryl Gurney 5-0 Richard Veenstra|
|Group H||Nathan Aspinall 5-0 Martin Schindler|
|Michael Smith 5-3 Glen Durrant|
As expected Michael Smith and Glen Durrant played out a cracker to bring the session to a close, the high-scoring, explosive Smith eventually did enough to prevail 5-3.
Leading 3-1, Smith went eight darts of the way towards the first televised nine-darter since Dimitri van den Bergh at this tournament last year.
However, Durrant stepped in to pinch the leg as Bully Boy frittered away his chance to move within one of an opening-day victory.
Smith returned to take out double top for a 4-2 lead and, while Durrant kept him honest by taking out the next, it was Bully Boy who powered home, finishing with the best average of the afternoon (99.28).
Sunday Afternoon's Fixtures
|Group E||Dave Chisnall v Rob Cross|
|Jamie Hughes v Lisa Ashton|
|Group F||Ryan Harrington v Peter Wright|
|Danny Noppert v Wayne Warren|
|Group G||Gabriel Clemens v Daryl Gurney|
|Brendan Dolan v Richard Veenstra|
|Group H||Nathan Aspinall v Michael Smith|
|Martin Schindler v Glen Durrant|
Major champions Nathan Aspinall, Daryl Gurney and Peter Wright made short work of their opponents, getting off to the perfect start with emphatic wins.
The Asp kicked off the event, three years after his only previous appearance in the Grand Slam, with a 5-0 demolition of World Youth Championship runner-up Martin Schindler to underline his status as a contender for the title, racking up a 98.88 average on his way to the win.
Gurney matched Aspinall's whitewash, beating the BDO's No 2 Richard Veenstra in a statement win that means he will face fellow Group G winner Gabriel Clemens, who dispatched Brendan Dolan 5-1.
'Snakebite' Wright completed a good afternoon's work for the trio, the 2017 runner-up, when the event was played at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, averaged just over 98 in sending the BDO's Wayne Warren packing with a dominant 5-2 win.
Moment of the afternoon
Ryan Harrington was one of the shock names to come through Monday's qualifier and the world No 95 made the most of his big chance.
I have never been so nervous watching my son, chuffed and so proud.— Rod Harrington (@rod180) November 9, 2019
The son of two-time Matchplay champion Rod Harrington beat Danny Noppert 5-4 and dedicated his win to his fiancee and his family - much to his dad's delight as well.
Coverage of the Grand Slam of Darts continues on Sunday with another double session, starting at 1pm on Sky Sports Action and 7pm on Sky Sports Arena