Wilson, who began by scoring 180 with his first three darts, led 2-1 in sets and by two legs to one in the fourth set and needed only one more leg to beat his Yorkshire rival.
Priestley was left with 66 to win the fourth leg knowing that if he failed, Wilson, needing only 40, would have three shots at double top for outright victory. But Priestley, hitting the bull and double eight, needed only two darts to level and then won the fourth set by going out on 101 in the fifth leg.
With all resting on the final set, Priestley finished superbly by taking it in three straight legs, going out on 160 in the second and 141 in the third.
John Lowe, who won the official world championships last January, was beaten 3-2 in his opening match by Larry Butler, of the United States.Reuse content