Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen suffered a shock first-round exit at the Betfred World Matchplay in Blackpool, losing 10-7 to Brendan Dolan.

Three-time winner Van Gerwen could not have made a worst start to his title defence as world number 27 Dolan won the first three legs on his way to a 4-1 lead at the break.

Van Gerwen dug deep to level the scores at 5-5, aided by a 137-finish, but Dolan reasserted control to forge 9-6 ahead and although the world number three pulled it back to 9-7, the Northern Irishman was not to be denied.

World number one Michael Smith cruised through to the second round, but was far from his best as he beat Steve Beaton 10-2.

Smith hit the bull for a huge 161-finish on his way to a 4-1 lead and opened up an 8-2 advantage with the help of two more 100-plus checkouts before comfortably seeing the match out.

Luke Humphries produced another impressive display at the Winter Gardens as he stormed into the second round with a 10-2 win over Portugal’s Jose de Sousa.

World number six Humphries, who produced a 114-finish to open up an 8-1 lead, averaged 101.78 over the 12 legs.

Nathan Aspinall progressed into the second round with a 10-7 win over Poland’s former semi-finalist Krzysztof Ratajski, which included a 151-finish which had taken him into a 7-4 lead.

In Sunday’s afternoon session, world number eight Danny Noppert scraped through 10-8 after a late fightback from Germany’s Martin Schindler, and Dirk van Duijvenbode survived two match darts to beat Kim Huybrechts 12-10 after a thrilling tie-break.

Australia’s Damon Heta overcame Josh Rock 10-5 and Chris Dobey clinched his first World Matchplay win with a hard-fought 10-8 success against former champion James Wade.