Darts: King sent packing as Brantjes holds nerve

Third seed Mervyn King, twice runner-up at the Lakeside World Championship, bowed out of this year's tournament tonight when beaten 3-2 by surprise Dutch package Andre Brantjes.

Third seed Mervyn King, twice runner-up at the Lakeside World Championship, bowed out of this year's tournament tonight when beaten 3-2 by surprise Dutch package Andre Brantjes.

King, from Suffolk, was never allowed to dominate the second-round clash with the Frimley Green debutant who had ousted his better-known compatriot Co Stompe in the first round.

In the deciding set with two clear legs required, 46-year-old Brantjes broke his opponent's throw with a 116 checkout - but when he missed a double 16 for the match it seemed King had been given a reprieve.

Instead, the Winmau World Masters champion surprisingly fluffed three chances to check out - and Brantjes capitalised with double-six to go through.

"When you start playing darts the question is where you want to play, and that has to be the Lakeside," said former world soft-tip darts champion Brantjes.

"To come here and play on television and in front of such a great audience brings so much joy.

"I had no nerves during the match - only afterwards. All I was thinking about was throwing my darts. I didn't even know the score - I just kept throwing and waited to see who the referee said had won at the end."

King revealed before the tournament that he had not been playing well in practice, and that was borne out tonight.

"I didn't play - I should be able to average 31 per dart with my eyes closed, and the fact my average was 29 is a bit of a joke," said King.

Earlier, Martin Adams had to call on all his years of experience to avoid a shock second-round defeat.

The 48-year-old from Peterborough, who has just notched up 10 years as England captain, came under a barrage of high scoring from Scottish qualifier John Henderson before edging through 3-2.

Henderson, from Huntly, set a new championship record of 12 maximum scores of 180 in a five-set match. When he hit back from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 it looked as though an upset was very much on the cards.

'Wolfie' took the contest to a deciding set but then had to watch his opponent narrowly miss a bullseye to win, Henderson's dart agonisingly bending the wire as it landed in the outer 25 ring.

Adams dug in and gained the vital break of throw he needed before checking out on 74 to secure a mouth-watering quarter-final clash with 2000 champion Ted Hankey.

"I'm very pleased to get through - that last double was a big relief," said Adams, who had to stage a similar fightback in his opening match against Davy Richardson.

"It all started okay, and I found my range quickly but then I lost the distance - putting darts in the one and five beds.

"John was superb on the 180s, and it's very hard to follow darts like that.

"But I've been playing at the Lakeside for 12 years - and what I've learned is that you must not panic. If you keep playing your game it can suddenly click and you can win leg after leg.

"John will be back - there's no doubt about that. He will have learned a lot from this."

Henderson insisted he had not been keeping track of his 180 count and admitted he was disappointed the record had proved to be in vain.

"I'm pleased with the way I played. I had to raise my game against Martin - but in the end it wasn't enough," said the 31-year-old who has been playing darts for only five years.

"I was only an inch away from hitting a winning bullseye - but that's darts. It was a great experience for me."

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