Londonderry’s Daryl Gurney weathered a strong fightback from Scott Mitchell to seal a place in the second round of the BDO World Championships last night.
Gurney, wearing a Northern Ireland football crest on the back of his shirt, got off to a sensational start against his English opponent at the Lakeside Country Club, Frimley Green, but almost blew a commanding lead.
Clinical finishing from Gurney fired him into a two set lead, but Mitchell won the next two sets to set up a tense finish.
Gurney then held his nerve in a memorable encounter to clinch the deciding set by two clear legs 4-2.
The 23-year-old, dubbed a star of the future, produced three 100 plus finishes to wrap up the first set in style.
In the second set his finishing power was in evidence again as he cruised it 3-1.
His seeded rival rallied and staged a spirited revival as Gurney, who crashed out to ‘Wolfie’ Martin Adams in the second round of last year’s competition, appeared to lose his composure.
A revitalised Mitchell started smashing in the 180s and took the third set 3-2. He then turned the heat up on his rival by clinching the fourth set, also 3-2.
Both players then hit back-to-back 180s as the tension intensified, but Mitchell took the first two legs of the deciding set.
Gurney then won four straight legs to keep his Lakeside dream alive.