Ricky Evans’ hopes of a good run in the PDC’s William Hill World Darts Championship were ended at the first hurdle after he suffered a 3-1 defeat to Rowby-John Rodriguez.
The Kettering darts star has enjoyed an excellent calendar year but was unable to get past Austrian Rodriguez who won his first game on the Alexandra Palace stage at the fourth attempt.
A high-quality opening set went the way of Rodriguez after a deciding leg, before two 15-darters from Evans saw him win the second set 3-1 for a level game.
‘Rapid’ broke throw to take the opening leg of set three with a 13-darter but Rodriguez hit back with three successive legs to take a 2-1 lin sets ead.
A stunning 124 checkout, after back-to-back 180s, from Evans to go 2-1 up in set four was followed by an extraordinary celebration, but Rodriguez took the final two legs for the win.
World number one Michael van Gerwen will headline a big night of darts in Kettering next April.
The Kettering Darts Masters, which is being promoted by MODUSDarts.tv, Red Dragon Darts and The DJ Shop will see van Gerwen joined by other stars of the game including Daryl Fitton, Corrine Hammond, Anastasia Dobromyslova and the legendary Bobby George.
The event will take place at Kettering Conference Centre on Saturday, April 6.
Tickets go on sale next Thursday (December 27) and can be purchased by visiting dartshop.tv/Kettering.