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REIGNING William Hill World Darts Champion Gary Anderson eased through to the second round at Alexandra Palace with a straight sets victory over Andy Boulton, while Peter Wright and Daryl Gurney also progressed with opening night wins.

Anderson showed no sign of the nerves he admitted he felt on his first return to the Alexandra Palace stage since lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy almost 12 months ago as he began the defence of his title with a commanding display.

The Scotsman kicked off the match with back-to-back 11-darters and won seven straight legs before Boulton got off the mark with successive legs, but the world number two eventually edged the third set 3-2.

Boulton had earlier come back from two legs down in the deciding set of his preliminary round clash against Denmark^s Per Laursen, but was unable to upset the odds as the reigning champion moved into the last 32.

"All I wanted to do was get through the first round and I did that despite the nerves," said Anderson, who averaged 99.55 in the triumph. "It^s been terrible the last couple of days anticipating something I^ve never experienced before.

"I didn^t want to go out in the first round after winning the trophy last year but I don^t have to worry about that, I^m through and I^m here to win."

Anderson will take on Gurney in round two after the Northern Irish ace defeated Jamie Lewis in four sets in their opener.

Gurney, who defeated Anderson in last month^s Players Championship Finals, hit five 180s in an impressive triumph and won three straight legs in a dominant first set before Lewis took the second 3-1.

Gurney edged the third 3-2 before taking the fourth 3-1 to finish the job.

"I played well in the first set but then I went off my game a little bit," said Gurney who reached the semi-finals at Minehead last month. "I could^ve easily lost that game and been out so I was pleased to get over the line.

"If I play like I can in the next game then I^m confident it will be good enough to go further."

2014 finalist Wright progressed into the second round after a straight sets victory against former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown.

Wright took the first six legs without reply to open up a two set lead before Brown finally got off the mark with a break of throw.

Wright broke back immediately with a brilliant 116 checkout and after the next two legs were shared, the world number four produced a fabulous finish of 131 to complete a commanding victory.

"Keegan is a better player than that," said Wright, who has reached the finals of the UK Open and World Series in 2015. "He didn^t hit his doubles. If he had hit them it would^ve been a much better game than it was but I got away with it and I took it so all I can say is thank you very much.

"It wasn^t pretty but it is a win and that^s what is important. I can go away and enjoy Christmas now and come back stronger."

Wright will take on Ronny Huybrechts or Dean Winstanley in the next round, with that pair in action on Tuesday.

Friday will see the first double session of this year^s tournament with two-time semi-finalist Mark Webster in action in the afternoon before world number one Michael van Gerwen enters the fray in the evening, which also features a clash between Brendan Dolan and Kyle Anderson.

William Hill World Darts Championship
Thursday December 17
Andy Boulton 2-1 Per Laursen (P)
Jamie Lewis 1-3 Daryl Gurney
Peter Wright 3-0 Keegan Brown
Gary Anderson 3-0 Andy Boulton

Friday December 18
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)
Qiang Sun v Mick McGowan (P)
John Henderson v Darren Webster
Justin Pipe v Christian Kist
Mark Webster v Sun/McGowan

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Thanawat Gaweenuntawong v Rene Eidams (P)
Brendan Dolan v Kyle Anderson
Kim Huybrechts v David Pallett
Michael van Gerwen v Gaweenuntawong/Eidams

Preliminary Round - best of three sets
First Round - best of five sets

Andy Boulton 2-1 Per Laursen (Preliminary Round)
SET ONE: 2-3
All five legs went with the throw as Laursen took an early advantage by pegging double ten twice before pinning tops to take the set.

SET TWO: 3-1
Boulton levelled the tie by dominating the second set with finishes of 24, 82 and 40.

Laursen fired in the first 180 of the tournament and took out 80 to edge ahead.
The Dane then punished his opponent for missing five darts to level by landing double four to break but Boulton kept the match alive by eventually bedding double two after the pair struggled to close out the leg.
He then forced a last-leg decider by taking out 83 on the bull. And he completed the comeback by sinking double 16 to reach the first round proper.

Jamie Lewis 1-3 Daryl Gurney
SET ONE: 0-3
Gurney made an incredible start, averaging 110 in a first set whitewash in which he hit two 180s.

SET TWO: 3-1
Lewis upped his game and landed double nine to get off the mark. Gurney levelled after the Welshman missed double 15 for a 150 finish but Lewis took out 78 and tops to take the set.

Lewis broke immediately but a 180 followed by a 76 finish saw Gurney reply in kind.
The next two legs went with the throw before the Northern Irishman pegged a crucial double eleven to restore a one set lead.

Gurney kicked off what proved to be the final set with a break of throw and doubled his advantage by landing double 16.
Lewis pulled a leg back but Gurney hit double nine to complete a leg which saw the pair exchange 180s as he became the first player to reach the second round.

Peter Wright 3-0 Keegan Brown
SET ONE: 3-0
Wright landed double eight to take the first leg before the pair exchanged 180s in the second, which saw the Scotsman break Brown^s throw by taking out 61. Both players scored maximums again in leg three as Wright wrapped up a comfortable opening set.

SET TWO: 3-0
Wright continued his dominance by taking all three legs thanks to two breaks of throw despite Brown increasing his 180 tally to three.

Brown finally took a leg by breaking Wright^s throw but the world number four^s response was to hit back with a 116 finish. He then bedded double 16 to move within a leg of victory but Brown levelled the set by pinning double four in a leg which saw both players score 180s. Wright saved his best finish until the end, though, taking out 131 to seal his second round spot.

Gary Anderson v Andy Boulton
SET ONE: 3-0
Anderson teased the crowd with five perfect darts before eventually finishing 44 on tops to take the first leg. He then broke Boulton^s throw with a brilliant 11-dart-leg before his second 180 helped the defending champion complete an opening set whitewash.

SET TWO: 3-0
Anderson fired in his third maximum before pegging double ten to break. A 78 checkout followed and the Scotsman then landed double five to double his lead in the match.

Boulton missed his first attempt at a double in the match and Anderson capitalised by landing double ten. Boulton finally got a leg on the board thanks to a 62 finish before the world number two edged back ahead. Boulton took out 80 to keep the match alive but Anderson completed a solid victory with a 62 checkout.

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