Darts: Mardle shows best and worst in taut triumph

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The Independent Online

Wayne Mardle produced another stirring fightback to become the first man to reach the quarter-finals of the World Championship at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet yesterday.

The player nicknamed "Hawaii 501" for his colourful dress-sense battled back from 3-1 down to win 4-3 against Paul Williams, following another enigmatic display in which he fluctuated between dynamic and dreadful.

Everything looked to be going swimmingly for the 31-year-old from Dagenham when he easily won the first set, which included a checkout of 167 - the highest of the tournament so far. But then Mardle went off the boil, spraying darts into the five bed, as the steady Williams reeled off the next three sets.

It was then the Bolton man's turn to lose form and Mardle returned to his best to hit back from the brink and clinch a New Year's Day last-eight match with either Colin Lloyd or Chris Mason.

Earlier, fans of "Magnum PI" suffered a double shock as Steve Beaton appeared on stage without his trademark mullet hairstyle and then tumbled out of the tournament 4-2 against Andy "The Hammer" Hamilton.