Jubilant Big John Henderson sent the highest seed yet Daryl Gurney crashing out of the World Championship and admitted: “I was shaking”.
The Huntly hurler produced a sensational performance to KO World No 4 Superchin with a classy 4-2 win at the Ally Pally.
Hendo, 44, roared into a two sets lead early doors but when he was pegged back to 2-2 by the Northern Irishman it looked grim for The Highlander.
But he remain unfazed by Gurney’s comeback and wrapped up the next two sets comfortably against a subdued rival.
Hendo said: “It was very nerve-wracking at the end. I thought I let a lot of doubles slip early doors. Daryl being Daryl he fought back and I’m so relieved to get over the finish line.
“I was shaking and I felt the heat up their tonight more than the previous round so to get through that means everything to me.
“I think I upped my performance in the scoring sense but the finishing was dreadful tonight. Daryl must be distraught because I know he can play a lot better, especially the way he has been playing lately.
“But my finishing was terrible, scoring was not too bad but I really need to clean up my finishing for the next round.
“It means everything to every darts player just to qualify and it’s the first time I’m still in it after Christmas as well so I can go home absolutely over the moon.
“I feel for Daryl he didn’t play well here tonight but I hit the winning double, I go through, and it’s made my Christmas extra special.”
The Highlander has never been beyond the second round at the Ally Pally but kicked off the match with a maximum 180.
Somehow he blew that leg but then hit great form to go two sets clear of a stunned Gurney, who simply never got into top gear.
But Superchin looked back to his best as he levelled the match at 2-2 in sets after Hendo had spurned opportunities to go 3-1 up.
However, Hendo kept smashing in the 180s with his famous lurch forwards really working, although still frustratingly inconsistent on the doubles, he moved a set in front again.
Then Henderson closed out one of the biggest wins of his career with a 52 and tops kill to line-up a third round clash with Mensur Suljovic.
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)
Photography from Lawrence Lustig/PDC