Mickey Mansell is taking pride in his role in what has been a record-breaking World Championship for Northern Ireland throwers.
'Clonoe Cyclone' Mansell looked set to join fellow Ulstermen Daryl Gurney and Brendan Dolan in the last 32 of the £2.5m behind-closed-doors festive showpiece when, against the throw, he took a Christmas cracker opening set against number 32 seed 'Rapid' Ricky Evans.
The momentum switched when Mansell failed to give himself a shot at a double on a 72 finish at the start of the second set and the Englishman hit back to take the leg and the next three sets, finishing with a 102 checkout, to book a showdown against World number one and three-time champion Michael van Gerwen in the third round, which starts on Sunday.
Mansell's 3-0 opening round victory over New Zealand's Haupai Puha was his first ever win at the World Championship - at the sixth attempt and age of 47 - and along with successes for Gurney and Dolan, who both entered at the second round stage due to their rankings of 11 and 30 respectively, meant it was the first time three Northern Ireland players had triumphed on the sport's biggest stage.
"At the start of every season my aim is to qualify for the World Championship. When you get there obviously you want to win and I have finally done that," said Mansell who was joined at Ally Pally by wife Emer, while sons MJ (16), Eoin (14) and daughter Laura (12) watched on television back home in Clonoe, Co Tyrone.
"It would have been great to have the kids over too, but with all the Covid restrictions in place it just wasn't possible. Emer was allowed into Ally Pally as my guest which was great.
"It's brilliant that Brendan and Daryl are into the third round. Ricky Evans is a very good player and the fact he is seeded says it all," added Mansell.
Northern Ireland number one Gurney, affectionately known as 'Superchin', faces Chris Dobey for a place in the last 16, while Dolan - 'History Maker' on account of hitting the first ever double-in a nine darter at the 2011 World Grand Prix in Dublin in which he was edged out by the great Phil 'The Power' Taylor - tackles World number three Gerwyn Price.