Dean Winstanley produced a remarkable comeback from 5-0 down to knock out Gary Anderson 13-11 in an astonishing debut at the World Matchplay on Tuesday night, meanwhile local heroes Wes Newton and Ronnie Baxter and rising star Justin Pipe joined him in prevailing to the last 16.
PDC newcomer Winstanley, playing in front of the TV cameras for the first time since his move from the BDO in January, endured a nightmare start in the early stages on the Winter Gardens stage despite opening the game with a 180, as a string of missed doubles allowed Anderson to take command and leave the Yorkshireman legless after the first mini-session.
Winstanley then rallied round and found his range to win eight of the next nine legs and move into an 8-6 lead, only for Anderson to then level and edge back in front at 9-8.
The drama continued though as Winstanley took out a magnificent 82 finish on the bull (a bull which he had seemingly blocked with his first dart) to take the game into a tie break situation.
The pair produced a high scoring game throughout and exchanged legs to make it 10-10 and 11-11 all, but ultimately it was 'Deano' who held his nerve, taking the lead again before sealing victory on tops in the next.
"I've never been stuck for words before but I am tonight - I can't believe it," said the 31-year-old. "Gary's a great competitor and a fantastic guy, but at 5-0 down I said to myself that I wasn't going out, and I dug in.
"The crowd were brilliant and they got me through the game, and I'm just so happy to win - it's unbelievable," added the elated right-hander.
Winstanley now plays Blackpool's Ronnie Baxter in the second round on Thursday, after the 1998 runner-up defeated Dave Chisnall 10-7 in the last match of the night.
Chisnall hit seven 180s and a 170 finish, but never recovered from allowing Baxter to get into a 3-0 lead as the home favourite hit six maximums, along with high finishes of 133 and 108, plus two 11-darters in a fine display.
He will be joined in the next round by Fleetwood's Wes Newton, the number five seed overcame World Youth Champion James Hubbard 10-5, with a pair of 91 finishes in two of the final three legs seeing him finally overcome a solid debut on the Winter Gardens stage from the 20-year-old on his birthday.
Newton's second round opponent will be world number 12 Justin Pipe, the match signalling a repeat of their highly strung battle at this year's World Championships.
"I lost my cool on that day and let his style get to me," admitted Newton. "He's not throwing slowly to put you off, that's just how he plays, and I'll be ready for that.
"We've played twice on the ProTour since and I've won both games, so hopefully I'll be okay on Thursday. I used to feel pressure as this is my home venue, but not anymore," he told Live Darts.
Pipe was a 10-4 winner against another up and coming star - Bradford's Joe Cullen - who found himself 4-0 down after checkouts of 106 and 112 from the Taunton ace, and struggled to stay with his opponent.
Even a 170 finish proved only a consolation for the 23-year-old as Pipe remained in front throughout and wrapped up a comfortable victory.
The second round begins on Wednesday night with four matches, including World Champion Adrian Lewis up against Andy 'The Pie Man' Smith.
Former Matchplay champion James Wade faces Mark Walsh, two-time finalist Terry Jenkins plays five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, while Michael van Gerwen faces Steve Beaton.
Tuesday's winners return on Thursday night for their second round games, which will be played alongside the ties involving reigning champion Phil Taylor against Stoke rival Ian White and Andy Hamilton's clash with Mark Webster.
*Fans attending Wednesday night's event at the Winter Gardens are being invited to arrive early to be part of a special feature for Sky One's 'League Of Their Own' programme, with Andrew Flintoff, Jack Whitehall and Johnny Vegas taking to the stage around 6.15pm.
First Round - Tuesday July 24
Justin Pipe 10-4 Joe Cullen
Wes Newton 10-5 James Hubbard
Gary Anderson 11-13 Dean Winstanley
Dave Chisnall 7-10 Ronnie Baxter
Second Round (best of 25, must be won by two clear)
Wednesday July 25 (7pm)
Michael van Gerwen v Steve Beaton
James Wade v Mark Walsh
Raymond van Barneveld v Terry Jenkins
Adrian Lewis v Andy Smith