Smith ends TV drought
Andy Smith grabbed his first win in a televised major for three years with a 3-1 success over Steve Brown in the World Championship 1st round.
It was a rollercoaster of a match at a packed Alexandra Palace, with both men hitting form and then finding troughs throughout, but Smith ultimately showed more consistency and composure when it mattered.
The 27th seed from Worcestershire, known as the 'Pieman', started the match with a maximum but then mised eight darts at a double to hand the first leg to 'Bristol Bomber' Brown, who hit an 11-dart leg to win the fourth leg and the opening set 3-1.
Brown led the next set 2-1 and looked ready to go into a 2-0 sets lead, but after Smith levelled the set, he could hit just one 60 and one 57 in the deciding leg as Smith levelled the match
In the third set Brown came within a couple of millimetres of making the third nine-darter of the 2013 tournament.
He landed eight perfect darts but was narrowly wide of double 12, although he did level the set at 2-2 with a 10-dart leg.
But it was all to no avail as Smith won the next leg to edge ahead 2-1 in sets.
That seemed to knock the stuffing out of Brown, who missed four darts at the double at 1-0 down in the next, then three darts to cut the deficit back to 2-1 before Smith wrapped up the match.
A typically cheery Smith told Sky Sports: "I will be honest with you, I don't win that many on the telly do I?
"I am a little bit pleased, I have been bad for the last few days, had a bit of a sort throat and a cold but I have been practising really well.
"I got hypnotised so I could hit the doubles on the stage - first game I had about 12 darts at doubles, I thought 'forget that bit!'
"It was a bit of a scrappy game but I stuck in there and got through it. Steve played briliant in patches, it was a good match at times but a scrappy match at others and I am just glad to be through."
Justin Pipe was far from his best but nevertheless had too much for a mis-firing Arron Monk, wrapping up a 3-0 victory.
The 11th seed from Taunton will play Devon Petersen in the next round, while Monk has still not won a match at the World Championship in three visits to Ally Pally.
In the evening's preliminary match, popular Japanese star Morihiro Hashimoto hit a 131 finish to wrap up a 4-2 win over veteran American Paul Lim, after trailing 2-1 to the 1990 Lakeside nine-dart legend.
Hashimoto's reward was a first round match against Michael Smith, the reigning world youth champion and 32nd seed.
Hashimoto had lost all nine legs in his previous first round apperance against Gary Anderson three years ago, but he immediately claimed the first leg of this one.
Things got even better for the Japanese man as he then hit double five to claim the set 3-1.
The next set want to 2-2 in legs but Smith held his nerve to hit double 10 at the first attempt and level the match at 1-1 in sets.
But at times the match descended into a comedy of errors as both men missed double after double.
The low point came when the Japanese busted 128 then still missed three darts to keep the match alive, as Smith won the final leg in 25 darts for a 3-1 victory in sets.