Fleetwood’s Wes Newton produced a stunning comeback to defeat Blackpool’s Ronnie Baxter 11-9 in their Fylde coast derby at the World Matchplay darts tournament at the Winter Gardens
Baxter took advantage of a slow start from Newton to take leads of 4-1 and 8-4, only for the number ten seed to hit back to level before winning a fifth straight leg by taking out 66 to move 9-8 up.
Baxter, the 1998 finalist in Blackpool, responded with a 14-dart finish to send the game into a tie-break, but Newton broke throw to move 10-9 up before sealing victory with a stunning 144 checkout.
“It wasn’t my best performance but it’s a win,” said Newton, who now meets Paul Nicholson in round two.
“I’ve got mixed emotions to be honest because neither of us played as well as we can and we’re both local players and good friends.
“I felt good in the practice room but nothing happened for me at all early on, and I thought I was going to get smashed.
“At 8-4 down it was horrible, I was playing terribly and the more I tried, it wasn’t happening. I had to relax, try and enjoy it a bit and just throw my darts, and I just dug in.
“It was a battle but I’m through to the next round and I’ve got to take the positives out of it - and I’ve got a few days to put things right.”