Ted Hankey finally won over the Wolverhampton Civic crowd after a defeating Michael van Gerwen in a tense last leg decider on Thursday night, to win through to the quarter-finals of the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts.
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Two-time World Champion Hankey had struggled to win over the Wolves Civic crowd in his first two years at the Grand Slam, but was left saluting over 1,000 fans who were singing his name following a thrilling 10-9 win over Michael van Gerwen.
In a see-saw contest, van Gerwen led 2-0 and 7-5 only to see Hankey peg him back to lead 9-8 - and although the young Dutchman forced a deciding leg it was the Telford ace who finished 100 in two darts to take victory.
Hankey now plays Mark Walsh in Saturday afternoon's quarter-finals, and admitted: "I've had a bit of a rough time with the crowd in previous years but it was superb to hear them singing "Super Ted" - in fact it was hard to concentrate!
"They created a great atmosphere and we both rose to that. Michael played superbly but he gave me a couple of chances and I took them."
Walsh opened up the night with a 10-9 win over BDO number three Dean Winstanley; the Yorkshireman averaged over 104 in a top-quality performance but it wasn't enough, as he blew his chance on the final doubles allowing Walshie to step in for victory.
"That was a great game to be involved in, a real rollercoaster," said Walsh. "It seems like I'm trying to entertain the crowd with close games but I don't mean to! I never gave up and it paid off."
Gary Anderson came from 2-0 down to defeat 2010 runner-up James Wade 10-3 with a scintillating performance, hitting nine 180s in powering through to his fourth quarter-final in the event's five years.
"My form's building gradually and I'm getting closer to my best," said Anderson. "I'm improving and my scoring was great in this game, but if I can hit my doubles I could be a danger!"
Anderson will take on Terry Jenkins on Saturday, after the 2008 runner-up maintained his ever-present record in the last eight in Wolverhampton with a 10-8 defeat of home hope Wayne Jones.
Jones led 3-0 and 8-6 before Jenkins took the next four legs without reply to move into the quarter-finals.
"Wayne didn't miss a lot in the first few legs and got an edge on me, but I broke him at the right time," said Jenkins.
"I'm chuffed to be in the quarter-finals again and I'll look forward to having a good game with him on Saturday because Gary's a great player."
The second round continues with the final four games on Friday night, including three-time Grand Slam winner Phil Taylor against Wes Newton and the high-profile clash between World Champions Adrian Lewis and John Part.
Paul Nicholson's game with Steve Beaton opens the night, with Mark Webster then meeting Martin Phillips in a meeting of two Welsh left-handers.
William Hill Grand Slam of Darts
Thursday November 17
Dean Winstanley 9-10 Mark Walsh
Michael van Gerwen 9-10 Ted Hankey
Gary Anderson 10-3 James Wade
Terry Jenkins 10-8 Wayne Jones
Friday November 18 (7pm)
Paul Nicholson v Steve Beaton
Mark Webster v Martin Phillips
Phil Taylor v Wes Newton
Adrian Lewis v John Part
Best of 19 legs