Darts: Williams holds nerve

BOLTON'S Paul Williams regained his rhythm to beat Matt Clark of Sevenoaks 3-2 after losing a two-sets lead in the first round of the Embassy World Championship at Frimley Green yesterday.

Williams, making his fifth successive appearance in the championship, although he had to qualify this year, said: "I started like a house on fire and I'm normally a slow starter.

"I won six of the first seven legs but then I probably went to sleep. In the final set I knew it was essential to break Matt. I didn't want to get into a tie-break situation."

Clark won the first leg of the fifth set, but Williams held his darts to make it 1-1 and then, helped by a maximum 180, broke his rival to lead 2-1.

Then, needing to hold his darts again for victory, he gave Clark no chance to shoot for a double, checking out with a 64 after another maximum had helped him on the way.

Andy Fordham provided a mild shock when he beat sixth-seeded Mervyn King 3-2 - despite his rival having six 180s during the match.

King, from Ipswich, invariably scores high but Fordham, landlord of the Queen's Arms in Woolwich, clinched a keenly contested match because of his deadlier finishing, landing 12 doubles in only 22 attempts.

"I was worried about not finishing well because I know how well Mervyn can score," Fordham said.

"But I think that was the best I have played in the Embassy, even though I've been a semi-finalist twice."

Results, Digest, page 23

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