Dennis Menace^s Wade
Dennis Priestley 2-1 James Wade
(3-1, 1-3, 3-2)
Wade, the 2007 champion at the Citywest Hotel, was an early victim of Winmau’s Tony Eccles on the defence of his title last year and again failed to find top form in the double-start format.
He fell a set behind to the evergreen Yorkshireman before battling back level, but was edged out in the deciding set as Priestley moved through.
Wade made a confident start to take the first leg, but missed five darts to double his lead as the two-time World Champion levelled, and then took the third leg on tops.
Wade kicked off leg four with a 160 start, but Priestley replied with a 180 and punished four further missed doubles to take out double 18 for a 13-darter in wrapping up the opening set.
Wade landed a 180 and double four to lead in the second, before double ten saw Priestley pull back to one-all.
Wade hit another maximum and double ten in edging 2-1 up, before double four put the left-hander level in the game.
The pair traded the first two legs in the deciding set, before a 58 finish put Priestley 2-1 up.
He also hit a 140 to leave 72 in the next, but missed tops for the game as Wade landed double eight to send the game into a final-leg shoot-out.
Priestley landed scores of 180 and 140 to pull clear, and took out double top for a famous win.
"I really enjoyed that," admitted Priestley. "We both played well and it entertained the crowd, and luckily it fell my way.
"To get off with a double in the final leg was the main aim but the 180 was great and I needed that."
Priestley plays Kevin Painter in Thursday^s second round, "The short format suits me now at age 59," he added. "My energy levels are lower but it^s first to three sets next and I^ll look forward to that because I^d love to win another televised tournament before I retire.