Kettering’s Ricky Evans had his hopes in the PDC William Hill World Championship ended as he was beaten 3-2 by Michael Smith in an entertaining first-round clash at the Alexandra Palace.
The match was a repeat of the 2013 PDC World Youth Championship final, which Smith won 6-1 but things were a lot closer on this occasion.
Evans started well and a checkout of 120 in the opening leg set the tone for the first set, which he went on to win.
Smith hit back by taking the second set but Evans got in front again in a high-quality third.
The 26-year-old lived up to his nickname of ‘Rapid’ by firing in a 180 in just 2.16 seconds before going on to take out double 11 to regain the lead.
But 11th seed Smith came back firing in the fourth set and produced a brilliant checkout of 143 to take control.
Evans did have opportunities but missed out on the doubles and Smith held his nerve on double three to sent it into a decider.
And the St Helens man showed his class in the latter stages as he took out 94 on the bullseye before going on to clinch victory as Evans continued to struggle on his doubles.
It was a valiant effort from the Kettering man, however, as he more than played his part in an entertaining encounter.