James Wade claimed a deciding leg victory over Steve Beaton on the opening night of the World Grand Prix in Dublin on Monday evening.
‘The Machine’, a two-time champion of the famous double-start tournament, held his nerve to see off Beaton, who missed a dart to win a tense last leg.
“I’m very happy with my game and I had to be well prepared because Steve’s a great player,” said Wade, the 2007 and 2010 winner. “This tournament has got a lot of great memories for me, and I’m looking forward to my next game now.”
The first four legs went with the throw to set up an opening set decider, with Wade throwing first.
His first 180 helped him seal the first set but Beaton took the first leg in the second, before grabbing a break of throw to move within a leg of parity.
‘The Machine’ broke back immediatley, punishing his opponent for three missed darts at doubles by picking off 88.
Beaton missed a further set-dart, allowing Wade to step in and pin double six to move himself a leg away from a place in round two.
But a 180 and a 120 checkout from Beaton took the match into a third and decisive set.
‘The Bronzed Adonis’ started a leg with the maximum opening score of 160 for the fourth time in the game, but missed two darts at double 16 before Wade pegged tops to hold his throw.
Beaton squared up proceedings before Wade kicked off the following leg with a 160 of his own.
He followed it with a 180 to set up the prospect of a nine-darter, but missed the seventh of the combination before eventually bedding double top to edge in front once more.
But the world number five narrowly missed the bullseye to complete a 124 checkout for the match before Beaton pegged tops to force a last leg decider.
Both players missed match-darts before Wade pinned double five to set move into round two, where he will meet Connie Finnan.
By Chris Murphy