Irthlingborough’s Kevin McDine booked himself a place in the second round of the PDC’s Ladbrokes World Darts Championship after his clash with Wayne Jones went to a deciding set.
McDine made a fine start to win the opening set 3-1 before Jones won six of the next nine legs to move himself in front at 2-1.
But McDine, who had to win back his Tour Card at Qualifying School in January, took the fourth set 3-0 to force a decider, before sweeping through the final one without reply.
And the county star was unable to hide his delight as he set up a possible second-round showdown with Michael van Gerwen next Sunday.
“It’s amazing,” said McDine.
“I’ve had a couple of years away from the big stage and it’s the best feeling in the world, especially to get the win as well.
“I enjoyed myself and I’ll take the positives from this. I’ve been practising well and although I can play a bit better, I’m over the moon.
“I said at the start of the year at Qualifying School that all I wanted to do was make the World Championship, which I’ve done, and I’ve won my first game so I’m delighted with myself.”
Corby-based Paul Nicholson made comfortable progress into the second round as he dropped only three legs in a 3-0 victory over Stuart Kellett.
The number 20 seed won the first set 3-1 before taking command with a 3-0 success in the second.
Kellett shared the first four legs of the third set but Nicholson won the decider to secure his progress.
Nicholson, who averaged 97, said: “I’m absolutely stoked to be through to the second round.
“I was very focused on producing a solid performance tonight and I achieved that.
“When I saw the draw I realised I had a very tough game on my hands, so to win in this fashion is a real boost to my confidence and I’ll take that into the preparation for my next game.
“It was a professional performance, probably the second-best I’ve played this year.
“The result doesn’t reflect how well Stuart played, and that was about getting a very tough game out of the way.”
Nicholson will now play either Kevin Painter or Tomas Seyler in the second round next Sunday.
Kettering’s Ricky Evans will be bidding to join his fellow county players in the last 32 when he makes his Alexandra Palace debut against Ronnie Baxter tomorrow (Monday) night.