Wade dodges the Bullet
Reigning champion James Wade survived by the skin of his teeth to make it through to round three of the Speedy Services UK Open on Thursday.
'The Machine' won 4-3 at the end of a thriller against Stephen Bunting on the main stage at the Reebok in Bolton - though it could have been all so different had 'The Bullet' found the target when it really mattered.
The 27-year-old from St Helens had no less than four chances to seal the biggest upset on a highly-entertaining opening night, including three attempts at double 19 in the deciding leg.
His failures let Wade - chasing a hat-trick of wins in the event known as the 'FA Cup of darts' - off the hook, the left-hander sparing his blushes by taking out 20 with his last dart following two fluffed attempts at double top.
"How lucky was I? This is what this tournament brings out," he admitted to Sky Sports.
"I may agree with some things and disagree with others about the way the tournament is run, but it brings it out of you. When I won that game I was bouncing around. I was buzzing more than when you win something.
"I must apologise to Stephen, because I shouldn't have turned it around and given it 'the big one'. He should've won."
Mark Webster also made it through in a tight game on the main stage, coming back from 3-1 down to see off the challenge of Johnny Haines.
The Welshman looked to be heading for an early exit due to double troubles, hitting just one of his first 16 attempts through the opening four legs.
He did eventually find his form at the right time to turn the match around, though only after his opponent had missed bull for the match. Webster took out 109 to draw level before winning the seventh and final leg on double 10.
Mervyn King had no such troubles against former BDO rival Ted Hankey, who had dropped just one leg in seeing off Danny Dutson and Andy Jenkins to reach round two.
King bounced back from losing the first leg to put 'The Count' out by a 4-1 scoreline.
"I was expecting a lot harder job than I was actually presented with," King said afterwards.
"Me and Ted go back a long, long way. Long before the PDC and everything else. He's a real grinder and he's so hard to beat, but not tonight. I think there was something not quite right with Ted tonight."
There was Dutch delight for former champion Roland Scholten after he rallied to knock out Steve Evans, while his fellow countryman Jelle Klaasen also progressed thanks to a thrilling 4-3 triumph over Dyson Parody from Gibraltar.
However Co Stompe failed to join his compatriots in the draw third round, going down 4-0 in a hurry to Alan Tabern.
There was also a surprise on board two as Jason Crawley stunned Mark Walsh 4-3, but Ronnie Baxter and Dennis Ovens coasted through with comfortable triumphs over Jon Bott and Joe Murnan respectively.
Board One: Gary Anderson v David Dodds, Roland Scholten v Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld v Jelle Klaasen, James Wade v Colin Lloyd.
Board Two: Mark Webster v Robert Thornton, Wes Newton v Shaun Griffiths, Kevin Painter v Arron Monk, Peter Wright John Part.
Board Three: Andy Smith v Scott Rand, Ronnie Baxter v Devon Petersen, Kevin McDine v Adrian Lewis, Mervyn King v Gareth Cousins.
Board Four: Paul Amos v Vincent van der Voort, Kevin Dowling v Dennis Priestley, Paul Nicholson v Michael Mansell, William O'Connor v Michael van Gerwen.
Board Five: Mark Jones v Dennis Smith, Jason Crawley v Dean Winstanley, Michael Smith v Darren Webster, James Hubbard v Terry Jenkins.
Board Six: Scott Robertson v Justin Pipe, Peter Hudson v Kim Huybrechts, Jamie Caven v Alan Tabern, Jim Walker v Joe Cullen.
Board Seven: Dean Stewart v Denis Ovens, Dave Chisnall v Mark Layton, Mark Hylton v Stuart Kellett, Richie Howson v Andy Hamilton.
Board Eight: Nigel Heydon v Colin Osborne, Ian White v Richie Burnett, Terry Temple v Simon Whitlock, Mark Barilli v Brendan Dolan.