William Borland produced a spectacular nine-dart finish in a sudden death leg to defeat Bradley Brooks on his World Darts Championship debut.
The first ever nine-darter to win a match in a televised PDC event came at the end of a breathtaking contest between two of the sport’s brightest young talents.
With the pair level at two-all in the fifth and final set, Borland landed the 11th perfect leg in PDC World Championship history and the first in front of fans at Alexandra Palace in almost six years.
The 25-year-old Scotsman, competing in only his sixth televised event, landed three of the game’s five ton-plus checkouts in coming through a see-saw battle with Brooks.
“It’s the greatest night of my life,” said an elated Borland, who will now face Ryan Searle in Round Two.
“It’s unbelievable, I’m just loving it. It’s special to hit a nine anywhere, but to do it on the biggest stage of all is just something else.
“Bradley and I played a brilliant game up there, it was a pleasure to play in.
“It’s just great to be here. I’ve played in a couple of TV events before but this is another level.”
The nine-darter saw Borland kick off the leg with a 180, before following in with a 177 and completing the feat with a 144 checkout to send the crowd into raptures.
Meanwhile, 2020 World Champion Peter Wright got his campaign off to a solid start as he defeated Ryan Meikle 3-0 to reach Round Three.
Dressed in his annual festive outfit, Wright was not pushed by Meikle – who struggled to replicate his First Round form.
“Obviously, Ryan didn’t play anywhere near like he can,” admitted Wright.
“For that reason I found it hard to get going tonight, I can do a lot better.
“But I’m just happy to be through, which is the main thing. I’ve had some scares early in the tournament before so it’s nice to avoid that tonight.”
Friday’s other Second Round tie saw Steve Lennon pull off the biggest win of his career to date as he dumped out 12th seed Krzysztof Ratajski.
Ratajski became the highest ranked casualty of the tournament so far, going down 3-1 to Lennon – who is into the Last 32 for the first time in his career.
A quarter-finalist in last year’s event, Ratajski was highly-fancied for a tilt at the title and, after losing the first set, looked to have found his groove with a roof-raising 132 checkout; hitting two bullseyes and double 16.
Undeterred, Lennon took the third set 3-0 to go back in front, before completing a composed performance on his favourite double ten to advance to the third round, where Ryan Joyce or Mervyn King awaits.
Joyce’s passage to the second round was more complex as he eventually ran out a 3-2 winner against Roman Benecky, who came close to completing an unlikely comeback.
Former quarter-finalist Joyce won six of the opening seven legs to lead 2-0 in sets, with Czech debutant Benecky struggling to acclimatize to the big stage.
However, after the interval Benecky sprung into life, winning six of the next seven legs to force a deciding set.
The next four legs were shared, meaning the match went all the way to a sudden-death leg.
Though Benecky threw first, trebles became elusive for the 21-year-old and Joyce took full advantage, firing in a 171 before wrapping it up on double ten to his relief.
Keane Barry endured a similarly nerve-wracking contest with Royden Lam, running out a 3-2 winner to claim a first World Championship win at the third attempt.
Irish teenager Barry kicked off in emphatic style with checkouts of 121 and 108 as he raced into a 2-0 lead.
However, Barry lost control of the contest as Lam won the set three decider to halve the deficit, before pinning the bull for an 86 checkout to level.
With the tie in the balance at 1-1 in the deciding set, Barry landed a crucial 64 checkout to break throw, and after Lam missed seven darts to force a last-leg shoot-out, Barry eventually found double two to close out victory.
Boris Koltsov picked up his first ever first round win with an impressive 3-0 whitewash of Jermaine Wattimena.
The Russian, who was highly-animated throughout, laid down a marker in the opening leg with a 130 checkout on his way to winning the first set 3-1.
Koltsov engaged with the crowd in the second set, which he also won 3-1 to double his advantage.
An out-of-form Wattimena continued to fight, taking the third set to a deciding leg but after the Dutchman missed three set darts, Koltsov closed out a memorable win on double ten.
Ross Smith also enjoyed a clean sweep in his meeting with Canada’s Jeff Smith.
An impressive start from Ross Smith saw him win six of the first seven legs to take a 2-0 lead, but eventually fell over the line in the third set after Jeff Smith missed two darts to keep the match alive.
Meanwhile, it was an unhappy return to Alexandra Palace for Paul Lim, who went down 3-2 to Joe Murnan in a scrappy affair.
Legend of the sport Lim, 67, made history as the oldest player to compete in a PDC World Championship but was edged out by Murnan in a marathon battle.
Friday December 17
Ryan Joyce 3-2 Roman Benecky (R1)
Keane Barry 3-2 Royden Lam (R1)
Jermaine Wattimena 0-3 Boris Koltsov (R1)
Krzysztof Ratajski 1-3 Steve Lennon (R2)
Joe Murnan 3-2 Paul Lim (R1)
William Borland 3-2 Bradley Brooks (R1) – *Borland hits a nine-darter*
Ross Smith 3-0 Jeff Smith (R1)
Peter Wright 3-0 Ryan Meikle (R2)