Darts: Dean Winstanley to face Michael van Gerwen in World Grand Prix

Dean Winstanley. Photo: Peter Holczer.
Dean Winstanley. Photo: Peter Holczer.

Dean Winstanley must see off the challenge of World Champion Michael van Gerwen tonight to keep his World Grand Prix hopes alive in Dublin.

The Conisbrough thrower eased past Michael Smith on Tuesday night to set up a second round clash with the young Dutch ace.

Winstanley failed to qualify for the tournament last year and has already bettered his previous best in the double start competition by getting past the first round stage.

“Two years ago I missed two darts to win and blew it against Dave Chisnall and I wanted to prove a point to myself, so I’m ecstatic inside,” said Winstanley.

“I dug deep in the third set and held my nerve.

“My starting was good - there was only one leg where I didn’t hit my starting double in the first three darts - and this is the hardest format we play, but Michael gave me my breaks tonight.”

Swinton-born Winstanley eased to a 3-0 win in the opening set after opening with maximums off double 20 in two of the three legs.

Smith hit back after winning the deciding leg of the second set, punishing Winstanley’s failure to close out the match.

But Winstanley ran out a 3-1 winner in the third set to secure his place in the second round of the £400,000 tournament.

Also tonight at the World Grand Prix, former world champion Raymond van Barneveld takes on Mervyn King, Terry Jenkins meets Richie Burnett and Stephen Bunting plays Peter Wright.