Darts: Holden stages comeback from crisis of confidence

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The Independent Online

Mark Holden underlined his return to the big stage with a crushing victory over James Wade to reach the second round of the PDC World Championship in Purfleet yesterday. Holden, who has not played in over 10 months after suffering a crisis of confidence, crushed the 21-year-old Wade, who is believed by many to be one of the sport's big names for the future.

Holden raced to a 3-0 victory and then revealed the heartache behind his first-round win. He said: "I've got unfinished business here. I was embarrassed by how badly I played 12 months ago. I'm suffering with dartitis, it's a darts equivalent of golf's yips. I've had a hellish year and I considered giving up ­ I even chucked my darts away. Winning here is a great boost, there was a time I never thought it would come."

Jason Clarke overcame a bout of nerves to ease into the second round. The Londoner was always in control of his first-round match with Japan's Yasuhiko Matsunaga and quickly closed out a 3-0 victory.

"My main problem was concentration because this was my first time on television," he said. "I found focusing very difficult in the early stages. I know what to expect in the next round now. "

Canada's Gerry Convery is aiming for a third-round encounter with his compatriot John Part, the world No 4, after beating China's Tang Jun in straight sets. He will now face the talented young Briton Wesley Newton today and said: "All going well I'll be playing John in the third round. I know him very well and respect greatly all he has achieved. All of Canada will be looking forward to the game, but I've got to get there first."

Canada's John Verwey beat Anthony Forde, of Barbados, in a close-fought encounter. Verwey took the first set before Forde inched into a 2-1 lead, only to see the experienced Canadian reach the second round with fourth and fifth-set victories.