Aspinall & Cross crash out on World Grand Prix opening night
Nathan Aspinall and Rob Cross crashed out on the opening night of the BoyleSports World Grand Prix in Leicester on Monday.
Last year's runner-up Aspinall and eighth seed Cross were both beaten in dramatic last-leg deciders at the hands of Stephen Bunting and Andrew Gilding respectively, as the double-start event got underway with eight first round clashes at the Morningside Arena.
Bunting, a two-time World Grand Prix semi-finalist, produced a strong deciding leg against Aspinall to continue his impressive record in the event.
"Neither of us were at our best tonight but when you get through like that you don't really look at the performance," Bunting reflected.
"It was a very nervous game all the way through. I started really well but in the second set I lost a bit of composure.
"I was praying that I hit my starting double first dart in the decider; thankfully I did and now I'm looking forward to the next round.
"I think I'm playing the darts of my life at the moment so I'm full of confidence."
Bunting's second round assignment will see him take on Martin Schindler, after the German number two enjoyed a first World Grand Prix win over two-time runner-up Raymond van Barneveld.
UK Open champion Gilding overcame a slow start to claim a first World Grand Prix victory in nine years and make it a fifth first round exit in seven outings for Cross.
Gilding's victory sees him set up a round two meeting with Gary Anderson, as the resurgent Scot impressed in a 2-1 victory over Jose de Sousa.
"It was a hard one, that's the best I've seen Jose play for a while," said Anderson.
"I've got a lot of time for Jose, we spent a lot of time practicing together the last time we were both in the Premier League and I know how good he can be.
"I don't put any pressure on myself anymore, I'm just enjoying playing darts right now and I'll see where it takes me."
Gerwyn Price defeated world number nine Danny Noppert in straight sets, and the 2020 champion will now face Krzysztof Ratajski, who came from behind to knock out two-time winner James Wade.
Michael Smith produced the performance of the night, averaging 96.14 in a 2-0 defeat of Callan Rydz, and the top seed will now face 2011 runner-up Brendan Dolan, who took the scalp of Dirk van Duijvenbode.
The first round continues on Tuesday night, as Michael van Gerwen begins his bid for a seventh World Grand Prix title against debutant Josh Rock.
Former champions Jonny Clayton and Daryl Gurney are in action, along with world number three Peter Wright, two-time runner-up Dave Chisnall and fifth seed Luke Humphries.
|Ave||180s||Doubles Out||Player||v||Player ||Ave||180s||Doubles Out|
|84.93||2||4/5||v. Duijvenbode ||1:2||Dolan||84.60||0||6/16|
|95.17||2||5/10||de Sousa ||1:2||Anderson||95.41||6||8/19|