WORLD DARTS: Baxter beats Priestley to set up Painter showdown

BAXTER TEST - Kevin Painter
BAXTER TEST - Kevin Painter

Daventry darts ace Kevin Painter will play Ronnie Baxter in the second round of the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace in London on Saturday.

Baxter overcame the challenge of two-time World Champion Dennis Priestley with a four-set win in the first round on Wednesday night.

Baxter took command of the game by winning the the opening two sets, storming out of the blocks initially before punishing Priestley for two misses to level in set two.

However, the Blackpool ace then let five darts to complete a straight-sets victory slip away as the 62-year-old fought his way back into the contest, winning the third set before leading 2-0 in the fourth, only for four missed doubles to square the game prove costly.

“I could have made it much easier for myself, but I’m so glad get over the finish line”, said a relieved Baxter, who now faces Painter for a place in the last 16.

“I was preparing myself for a fifth set, so I was grateful that Dennis gave me the opportunity to close out the match.”

Priestley admitted: “Ronnie started much better than me, but I didn’t panic and managed to get myself back into the game - partly due to errors that Ronnie made.

“To come back and play in another World Championship is a great achievement for me. It wasn’t one of my goals at the start of the year and to get one more chance to play on the big stage is the icing on the cake.”