Former finalist Robert Thornton, two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis and local star Jamie Hughes headlined the eight qualifiers for the 2019 Grand Slam of Darts on Monday night.
Thornton was the 2013 runner-up to Phil Taylor in Wolverhampton, and will make his first appearance in the cross-code tournament since 2016 after a superb showing to qualify.
The Scot averaged 106 to defeat Max Hopp in his opening game, before then defeating Spain’s Cristo Reyes and Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena to secure his place in next week’s event.
Stoke star Lewis, a big-stage winner in the UK Open, European Championship and World Cup alongside his double Alexandra Palace triumph, will make his first Grand Slam appearance for three years after winning through the qualifier.
After picking up wins over Madars Razma and Terry Temple, Lewis averaged 100 as he overcame Steve West 5-3 in their decider.
Brendan Dolan will also play in his first Grand Slam of Darts since 2016 as he continued his return to form by following up two Players Championship wins this year by qualifying.
The Northern Irish ace saw off Dirk van Duijvenbode, Devon Petersen and Joe Cullen before averaging a huge 112 in a 5-1 win over Arron Monk in their decider.
Tipton’s Jamie Hughes will follow up his 2016 and 2017 appearances in the event with a third tilt at glory in front of his home fans at the Aldersley Leisure Village.
Hughes saw off Vincent van der Meer, Benito van de Pas, Alan Tabern and Darius Labanauskas to qualify, losing just six legs across his four matches.
Ross Smith – who recently defeated Michael van Gerwen in the European Championship – averaged over 100 in wins over Stephen Bunting and Niels Zonneveld as he secured a first Grand Slam appearance since 2013.
German Darts Masters finalist Gabriel Clemens will make his Wolverhampton debut after also averaging over 100 on two occasions, against Harry Ward and Jonny Clayton, before seeing off Ricky Evans 5-3 in their decider.
Darren Webster overcame Justin Pipe and Matt Clark in deciding legs as he qualified for the first time in two years in an encouraging return to form after dropping out of the world’s top 16 during an injury-hit year.
Ryan Harrington will make his Grand Slam of Darts debut after a 12-darter in the deciding leg of his tie with James Wilson earned him a spot in Wolverhampton.
The son of former World Matchplay champion Rod, the 29-year-old is a four-time UK Open qualifier who made two European Tour appearances during 2019.
The draw for the 2019 Grand Slam of Darts will be made on Tuesday lunchtime, with the 32 players being drawn into eight groups of four for the round-robin phase.
The Grand Slam of Darts will be held from November 9-17 at the Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton. For tickets, please see ticketmaster.co.uk and pdc.seetickets.com.
2019 Grand Slam of Darts
PDC Tour Card Holder’s Qualifier
Gabriel Clemens 5-3 Ricky Evans
Ryan Harrington 5-4 James Wilson
Robert Thornton 5-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Brendan Dolan 5-1 Arron Monk
Jamie Hughes 5-3 Darius Labanauskas
Darren Webster 5-4 Matt Clark
Ross Smith 5-0 Niels Zonneveld
Adrian Lewis 5-3 Steve West
Full results can be seen in the Match Centre at https://www.pdc.tv/tournament/2019-grand-slam-darts-qualifier