Local heroes on top form

Blackpool's Ronnie Baxter
Blackpool's Ronnie Baxter
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LOCAL favourites Wes Newton and Ronnie Baxter both won their first-round matches in darts’ Betfair World Matchplay in Blackpool last night, but the show was stolen by a newcomer from Yorkshire.

Dean Winstanley came from 5-0 down on his Winter Gardens debut to knock out Gary Anderson 13-11 in an incredible match, while Blackpool’s Baxter overcame the in-form Dave Chisnall 10-7 and Fleetwood’s Newton defeated World Youth Champion James Hubbard 10-5.

Yorkshireman Winstanley, who only joined the PDC circuit in January, opened the match with a 180 but then endured a nightmare start as a string of missed doubles allowed Anderson to take command.

Winstanley then found his range to win eight of the next nine legs and move 8-6 up. Anderson regained the lead but the newcomer held his nerve on tops to secure a tie-break victory.

“I’ve never been stuck for words before but I am tonight – I can’t believe it,” said the 31-year-old. “At 5-0 down I said to myself I wasn’t going out, and I dug in.

Winstanley plays Baxter in the second round tomorrow after the 1998 runner-up defeated St Helens’ Chisnall. who hit seven 180s and a 170 finish but never recovered from allowing Baxter to get into a 3-0 lead.

The home favourite hit six maximums as well as finishes of 133 and 108 in a fine display which featured two 11-darters.

Newton, the no.5 seed, registered 91 finishes in two of the final three legs to overcome a solid debut from 20-year-old Hubbard.

Newton’s second round opponent tomorrow will be world no.12 Justin Pipe, who won when the pair last met in a televised match at the World Championship. Newton said: “I lost my cool on that day and let his style get to me. He’s not throwing slow to put you off – it’s just how he plays and I’ll be ready for that. We’ve played twice since and I’ve won both games.”

Pipe was a 10-4 winner against Bradford’s Joe Cullen in last night’s other match, the Taunton ace having raced into a 4-0 lead.

The second round begins tonight, with World Champion Adrian Lewis and 2007 winner James Wade in action.

Fans attending tonight ar 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.