• World Darts Championship

Winstanley wins World Championship thriller

ESPN staff
December 18, 2012
Mervyn King started slowly at Alexandra Palace © PA Photos

Dean Winstanley came back from the brink of defeat to win an enthralling first-round encounter in sudden death against Mervyn King at the World Championship on Tuesday.

Arguably the match-up of the round on paper, the tie pitched 2012 World Grand Prix runner-up King against 2012 Grand Slam of Darts semi-finalist Winstanley. And the contest more than lived up to expectations, with both men having darts for victory.

Winstanley edged a back-and-forth first set and instantly nailed a 106 finish to get off to a strong start in the second. However, he missed seven darts to take a two-set lead, allowing King to level at 1-1.

King then stormed through the third, sealing it with a stunning 140 checkout, but Winstanley would not go away, peppering the 180s to force things to a decider. With the pressure on, King pulled out a 102 finish to move within a leg of victory, but Winstanley rattled off back-to-back legs to force the match to sudden death.

Either man needed to win by two clear legs, and Winstanley instantly took one against the throw with a 13-dart leg. He then missed a shot at the bull for the match at 3-2, before needing to rescue matters himself at 4-3 down.

Winstanley then threw for the match again at 5-4, and after an initial loss of composure, he took out double-tops for victory.

"That was a battle, why can't I have straight-forward matches?" Winstanley said on Sky Sports. "I'm totally blown out. It feels amazing. I'm really happy."

Wes Newton, the 2011 quarter-finalist, enjoyed a comfortable stroll into the next round after he defeated Johnny Haines 3-0. Haines, making his World Championship debut, got off to a flying start as he checked out 95 on the bull. That was the first of four consecutive legs to go against the throw, ended by Newton who took the first set.

The overall scoring of both men was extremely even, but Newton always looked the more composed as he claimed set two, albeit after taking the second leg with a double-one. There were few scares in the third, clinching victory with a 135 checkout.

In the opening match of the night, Steve Beaton overcame Kyle Anderson 3-0 in a poor quality encounter. The Bronzed Adonis, a former winner of the BDO World Championship, missed 20 darts at the double inside the first two sets. Australian Anderson was handed plenty of chances to pull off the upset, but he could not capitalise as Beaton finally got his act together to race through the final stanza.

"People don't understand what pressure we're under when we're up there," Beaton, who now meets James Wade, said. "I felt fine but sometimes the buzz of it [gets to you]. It's a World Championship."

In the night's other match, Colin Osborne was a 3-0 winner over Lourence Ilagan, who had won a preliminary match earlier in the evening.

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