It’s taken seven long years but Kim Huybrechts has tasted victory at the World Matchplay....and what a win it was!

After six successive 1st Round defeats, the Team Unicorn ace edged out John Henderson in a last leg shoot-out.

James Wade was also involved in a thriller as he was forced to dig deep to beat Jermaine Wattimena in a tie-break 12-10.

But for Jelle Klaasen a night to forget as he slumped to a heavy defeat against Peter Wright.

But Huybrechts thriller took top billing on Monday night in Blackpool. The hot shot ‘Hurricane’ holding his nerve.

“I can’t express how relieved I am,” he admitted. “I was cruising at the start then kind of got stuck. I don’t think doubts crept in but I was well aware of my record here. John played really well to come back but I always believed it was going to be my night and hopefully I can kick on and go on a big run here in Blackpool.”

Kim banged in brilliant finishes of 128 and 156 as he raced into a 5-1 lead. He missed one dart for a 6-1 advantage and three more to move 7-2 ahead and Henderson just kept chipping away.

Some excellent finishing from the Scot saw him level at six apiece and Henderson actually went ahead for the very first time at 9-8. He threw for the match only for the Belgian to hit a 4th 180 and an 85 check-out for a 12 darter to set up the tie-break.

It went 10-9 Huybrechts who then missed a dart at the bull to win 10 all, 11-10 and then Kim missed one dart at ‘tops’ for a 12-10 victory. Henderson made it 11 apiece but a brilliant 123 finish on the bull made it 12-11 to the Unicorn star. Back came Henderson o level again and it was the shoot-out.

First Huybrechts missed two darts at D16 to win and he couldn’t look as Henderson had a dart at ‘tops’ to win. He was wide and Kim came back, hitting D8 to spark wild celebrations.

Wade did what Wade does!

He went 3-1 down and then saw Wattimena miss two darts to go 4-1 in front. Then back came ‘The Machine’ as he got on a roll to go 6-4 in front with the help of a 124 check-out.

But this wasn’t over by a long stretch as Wattimena showed great courage on his Matchplay debut. From 5-8 behind he chipped away. A 113 finish and a 12 darter to push Wade. The Unicorn man then pulled out a 104 to go within one of victory. He missed a match dart at ‘tops’ to win 10-8 and it was tie-break time.

He never looked ruffled though and D18 saw him through to face Simon Whitlock in the last 16.

Unfortunately Klaasen couldn’t get going against Wright and from 1-6 down there was no coming back. He did manage to find some consistency but far too late against the No.2 seed and Wright hit a superb 170 finish along the way to his 10-5 win. He will now play Huybrechts.

Monday 1st Round results:

Kim Huybrechts 13-12 John Henderson

Simon Whitlock 10-2 Richard North

James Wade 12-10 Jermaine Wattimena

Peter Wright 10-5 Jelle Klaasen

Tuesday 2nd Round (best of 25 legs):

Dave Chisnall v Michael Smith

Daryl Gurney v Joe Cullen

Jeffrey de Zwaan v Adrian Lewis

Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld

Story from STUART PYKE at the Winter Gardens

Photos courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Posted in Unicorn Darts