Wayne Jones recovered from two sets down for the second consecutive match to send eighth seed Andy Jenkins tumbling out of the Ladbrokes.com World Championship at Purfleet’s Circus Tavern tonight.
The 40-year-old qualifier from Wolverhampton had been on the brink of defeat against James Wade in the first round, but had more time to fight back in this best-of-seven encounter and went through 4-3 to book a place in the last 16.
After Jenkins had gone 2-0 up, Jones got into gear and reeled off three successive sets before his opponent produced a superb 91 checkout on the bull to force a decider.
A brilliant 141 finish by Jones made it 2-0 in legs after Jenkins had passed up an out-shot, wrongly gambling that the world number 36 would miss his attempt, and then a 61 on double eight knocked out the man nicknamed ‘Rocky’.
The opening match of round two was even more dramatic as American number one John Kuczynski scraped through in a sudden-death leg against Holland’s Jan van der Rassel after both men squandered chance after chance to close it out.
Kuczynski, who won the opening leg of the match with a 164 checkout, was never behind in sets but it looked like Van der Rassel had timed his run to perfection when he edged ahead in the decider, which must be won by two clear legs unless the score reaches 5-5.
However, the man who calls himself Johnny K broke back and when it reached sudden death, he importantly hit the bullseye to secure first throw.
Nerves affected both men as they tried to pin the crucial double and Van der Rassel missed eight opportunities to wrap it up before Kuczynski finally converted his 15th match dart.
“That was unbelievable – what more could you ask for in the first match of the second round,” said the 32-year-old from Pennsylvania.
“I missed doubles early in the match to put him away and win handily. But I hung in there and it took everything I had to win.
“I’m ecstatic to have won and I can’t wait for the next round. You get more hungry the more you win.”