DENNIS Smith and John Newland made the most progress of the Swindon contingent taking part in the first event of UK Open qualifying yesterday.

The duo made the third round of the event in Wigan, picking up £250 as they bid to qualify for the tournament known as the FA Cup of darts.

Smith, who is seasoned veteran of the UK Open, made a solid start to his day at the Robin Park Tennis Centre as he beat Danny de Haas 6-2 in round one before earning a 6-5 victory over James Hubbard in a last leg decider. Smith’s day came to an end, however, when he fell 6-1 at the hands of Paul Nicholson.

Newland, who does not hold a PDC tour card, started equally well with a 6-5 win over Ben Ward in his opener before then beating Keith Stephen 6-2 to reach round two. He then ran into Ian White, a consistent performer in floor tournaments, who beat him 6-1 to end his day.

Four other Swindon players were competing in the event with three players making it into the second round before being knocked out.

Chris Aubrey went off like a rocket to whitewash Michael Blake 6-0 before narrowly losing 6-3 to top-class player Kevin Painter, while Johnny Haines exited at the hands of Richie Burnett after beating Jason Lovett 6-5 in round one. Mark Cox beat Gaz Cousins 6-2 before losing out 6-4 to Peter Hudson.

Jack Tweddell was knocked out in round one by Kirk Shepherd.

All six players resume action today in event two before playing the final tournament tomorrow.