Wright, who needed to win just two legs against World Series Finals runner-up Danny Noppert to secure qualification, claimed a convincing 5-2 victory which saw him top Group F, meaning Ryan Harrington had to beat Wayne Warren to progress.
Harrington’s dream debut continued with a 5-1 demolition of the Welsh BDO veteran and the qualifier shared an emotional moment with his father – two-time World Matchplay champion Rod – on stage after the biggest win of his career.
“That’s got to be one of the hardest games I’ve ever played in my life,” admitted the 29-year-old.
“It was so scary tonight, I felt really nervous but it was fantastic playing in front of this amazing crowd again, I’m thankful for their support.
“I wouldn’t be up here trying to be a professional if I didn’t think I could achieve what my dad has on stage. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think I could beat the best.”
Proud father Rod revealed the stresses of watching from the sidelines, adding: “There was a little tear in my eye, I must admit.
“I’ve never been so nervous, much more so than when I was playing because then it’s in your own hands.
“Now I know what my wife and family went through all these years! Whatever Ryan achieves in this sport will mean more to me than anything I ever did.”
Harrington will now meet Dave Chisnall, who made it three wins from three with a comfortable 5-1 triumph over the eliminated Lisa Ashton to top Group F.
Daryl Gurney produced crucial checkouts of 101 and 161 in a 5-2 win over Northern Irish World Cup partner Brendan Dolan to take victory in their Group G shoot-out.
“It was a bit of a struggle, when I’m playing Brendan I find it hard to be aggressive which is my natural game,” Gurney admitted.
“A bit of patience got me through the game, my tons eventually turned into 140s and I hit some big shots at crucial moments.
“I’m just relieved to get over the line and now I can look ahead to the rest of the tournament.”
Gurney will now meet Michael Smith in the Last 16 after the World Championship runner-up came from 3-0 down to defeat the already-eliminated Martin Schindler to top Group H.
The final game of the night saw a Group H shoot-out between Glen Durrant and Nathan Aspinall, with ‘Duzza’ whitewashing the UK Open champion in a scrappy affair to progress alongside Smith.
“I’m standing here disappointed with a 5-0 win over one of the best players in the world,” said Durrant.
“An 86 average is nowhere near where I want to be, it’s nowhere near the level I’m practicing at and I know I’m much better than that.
“For a lot of the game I was thinking ‘maybe I should be out of the tournament already’ but I’ve somehow made it through and now I’ve got to take my chance.”
Durrant will now take on in-form German Gabriel Clemens, who averaged 110 in an outstanding 5-2 demolition of already-eliminated Dutchman Richard Veenstra to top Group G.
Tuesday will see the final group games in Groups A-D take place, with Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price and Gary Anderson among the players in action, while Adrian Lewis and Jim Williams face a winner-takes-all shoot-out in Group A.
Gurney, Cross and Durrant among big names to secure Grand Slam knock-out places
Daryl Gurney, Rob Cross and Glen Durrant were among five players to clinch places in the knock-out stages of the…
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