Classy Cullen shines in Dublin

Joe Cullen produced a terrific display on a dramatic opening night at the World Grand Prix.

Defending champion and World No.1 Michael van Gerwen was stunned by John Henderson, who beat the World Champion by two sets to one at the City West Hotel. 

And after the withdrawal of Team Unicorn's expectant Dad Gary Anderson, the tournament is now wide open.

Cullen was terrific as he gets better and better every time he steps on the stage at a TV 'Major'. He came from a set down to beat Darren Webster with some scintillating darts. 

"It was a case of believing in my ability," he said. "Last year I remember about 10 players went out in the 1st Round after losing the opening set. I was one of them! I knew I had the game and getting away at the start of the legs was crucial for me."

Cullen plays Daryl Gurney in round two after the Irishman beat Adrian Lewis. 

Webster raced through the opening set but Cullen wasn't to be denied. He came from 2 legs to 1 down to take the second set and took his 180 tally to six as the match went to a last leg decider. Joe started with a brilliant 152 and finished superbly to go through. 

Kim Huybrechts will be bitterly disappointed as he threw away a great chance and lost to Robert Thornton. The Belgian raced through the opening set with some superb darts.

But crucially, the Unicorn man missed three darts at D6 to break the Scot at the start of the second set and Thornton took full advantage. Finishes of 64 and 157 gave the 2015 WGP winner the advantage in the decider, but Huybrechts battled back to force a deciding leg.

Unfortunately Kim took seven darts to get away and was also distracted by a shout out from the crowd and despite a 5th maximum from the Belgian, Thornton hit 'tops' to pinch the win. 

And there was defeat for Kyle Anderson as he went down 2-0 to Raymond van Barneveld. The Aussie started superbly with a 103 finish and went two legs clear in the opening set but ended up losing it and Barney went on to take the match in another deciding leg with a 100 check-out. 

Sunday results:

Alan Norris 2-1 Justin Pipe

JOE CULLEN 2-1 Darren Webster

Steve Beaton 2-0 Rob Cross

Robert Thornton 2-1 KIM HUYBRECHTS 

Raymond van Barneveld 2-0 KYLE ANDERSON 

Adrian Lewis 1-2 Daryl Gurney

Michael van Gerwen 1-2 John Henderson 

Dave Chisnall 2-0 Jelle Klaasen

From STUART PYKE at the City West Hotel

Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC