Two-time champion John Part overcame the brave challenge of Chris Mason in Purfleet tonight to book a third-round date with Wayne Mardle at the Ladbrokes.com World Championship.
In a game which more than lived up its pre-match hype, Part used all his experience to clinch a 4-3 win over Mason, who is surely destined to win a major title during his career.
Mardle, the world number six, had earlier sealed an impressive 4-1 win over Belgium’s Erik Clarys in the first game of the evening session.
Part kicked off with a 113 checkout on his way to taking the opening set but Mason was soon back on level terms.
The Bristol-born player, who is now based in Ireland, reeled off three straight legs with a three-dart average of 118.8.
The next two sets were shared before Part struck what looked to be a decisive blow with double eight, which moved the Canadian within one set of victory.
Mason’s never-say-die attitude shone through again as he battled to a 3-1 success in the sixth set – but Part upped his game in the next.
He raced into a two-leg lead and although ‘Mase the Ace’ pulled one back, Part closed out a memorable encounter with a 72 checkout.
“I just tried to be consistent and I think I was fairly successful,” said a relieved Part afterwards.
“When Chris missed double top and I levelled up at 2-2 (in sets), that was the turning point for me.”
Looking ahead to his last-16 clash with Mardle, Part added: “Wayne’s going to be well prepared but you’ve got to remember that I’ve been there and done it. I seem to thrive on adversity.”
Mardle, one of the game’s most colourful characters, looked much more businesslike on his way to the stage earlier tonight – but it did not stop him losing the opening set against Clarys.
However, ‘Hawaii 501’ turned on the style in the next three sets, reeling off nine straight legs to close in on the finishing line.
The next four legs were shared before Mardle took out double eight to wrap up a routine victory.
“I don’t care about performances – a win is a win,” said Mardle. “There’s a lot of dough up for grabs.
“I’m trying a different approach. No disrespect to the other players but I thought I’d be up there (challenging) with (Phil) Taylor and I haven’t done that. I do show off too much, enjoy a laugh, but when it’s work, it’s work.
“I’m very popular but I want to be successful and win these tournaments. For me it’s a hard thing to do (change his approach) but I want to do it.”