TONY ECCLES 2-1 JAMES WADE
TONY ECCLES dumped defending champion James Wade out of the Sky Poker World Grand Prix with a superb 2-1 victory in the tournament^s opening game.
Eccles was staring defeat in the face when Wade missed two darts to take a straight sets victory, only for the qualifier to battle back and claim the biggest televised win of his career.
Wade punished a slow start from Eccles, making his debut in the double-start format, to take the first set.
Eccles missed five darts at the opening double in the first leg, with Wade immediately into his stride to take a 1-0 lead before taking out a brilliant 160 finish with his opponent on a finish in the second.
Wade then landed a 174 score on his way to taking the set on double top for an ideal start.
Eccles led in the second, but a missed double 16 proved costly in the next leg, with Wade hitting a 177 to leave 24 before finishing on double six.
Eccles took leg three before Wade won the fourth to move a leg away from victory.
But the reigning champion missed two darts at double top to seal the win, and Eccles square the match on the same bed.
Eccles then took two successive legs to lead 2-0 in the decider, before Wade hit back with opening scores of 120 and 125 on his way to leg three.
But a missed double top gave Eccles his chance for victory, and he took out 125 to send the world number three packing.
"I^ve won big tournaments around Europe during my career but that^s probably the biggest win on TV for me," said Eccles.
"This was my first time in this format and I didn^t know what to expect. I probably needed James to show me how to do it in that first leg!
"But I got into a zone on there, concentrated on my own game and
"To beat the defending champion is brilliant for me and I can build on this - although I^ve no idea who I play next! I only ever look at one game at once, so I^ll look at that later in the week."
Wade said: "I had more than enough chances and it^s disappointing to lose, but Tony played better than me over the course of the game.
"I feel I^m playing well but it^s not quite happening for me on stage at the moment. I lost my focus a little bit and it cost me."