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Robert Thornton will start the defence of the Unibet World Grand Prix title against former world champion Stephen Bunting next month.

The Scot beat Michael van Gerwen in a thrilling final to claim last year’s title in the double-start tournament, which begins in Dublin next Sunday.

Elsewhere in the draw, two-time Grand Prix winner van Gerwen takes on Steve Beaton, while 11-time champion Phil Taylor plays debutant Steve West.

Two-time champion James Wade will come up against Terry Jenkins in a repeat of the 2007 final, world champion Gary Anderson faces Jamie Caven and 2010 runner-up Adrian Lewis meets Jelle Klaasen.

Two other former finalists collide in the first round when Mervyn King takes on Raymond van Barneveld, while 2013 runner-up Dave Chisnall was drawn against another debutant Robbie Green.

Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan, who hit the first-ever double-start nine darter in the event on his way to reaching the final in 2011, faces world number five Peter Wright in the first round.

Dolan’s World Cup of Darts partner Daryl Gurney returns from injury to take on recent European Tour winner Mensur Suljovic, while Ireland’s Mick McGowan makes his first Grand Prix appearance since 2010 when he plays debutant James Wilson.

Two other debutants, Australia’s Kyle Anderson and Spain’s Cristo Reyes, face off, while Joe Cullen makes his first Grand Prix appearance against Simon Whitlock.

Eighth seed Michael Smith plays Alan Norris, Ian White goes up againstĀ Kim Huyrechts and Gerwyn Price and Benito van de Pas play each other.

2016 Unibet World Grand Prix Draw
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Steve Beaton
Mick McGowan v James Wilson
Michael Smith (8) v Alan Norris
Joe Cullen v Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright (5) v Brendan Dolan
Dave Chisnall v Robbie Green
Phil Taylor (4) v Steve West
Mensur Suljovic v Daryl Gurney
Gary Anderson (2) v Jamie Caven
Kyle Anderson v Cristo Reyes
Robert Thornton (7) v Stephen Bunting
Ian White v Kim Huybrechts
James Wade (6) v Terry Jenkins
Gerwyn Price v Benito van de Pas
Adrian Lewis (3) v Jelle Klaasen
Mervyn King v Raymond van Barneveld

ReadĀ our preview of the World Grand Prix in next Friday’s magazine here

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