WEBSTER ERASES LADBROKES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP DEMONS
Mark Webster, a two-time semi-finalist at Alexandra Palace and the number ten seed, erased the memory of his first round loss to Richie Burnett last year with a high-quality 3-1 win over Ian White.
Webster has endured a tough 12 months since his last Alexandra Palace appearance and shared 14 180s with White, who was the leading qualifier from the ProTour Order of Merit for the World Championship.
The Welshman, though, took out 124 and 107 as he took the first set 3-1 and he landed a trio of maximums by taking the second without reply.
Webster also came from 2-1 down to level in the third, only to miss eight match darts in the deciding leg as White kept himself in the game.
The former Lakeside Champion, though, replied with a brilliant 145 checkout to open the fourth set and won the next two legs in 14 and 13 darts to complete the triumph.
"I^m really pleased," said Webster. "I came out of the blocks well and I closed the game out well - I^ll ignore those eight darts to win in the third set because I showed a bit of mettle in that last set.
"I didn^t play badly last year but Richie was brilliant and I didn^t want a repeat this year, so there are a lot of positives I can take from this. I^ve got a tough game next so I^ll prepare well and I^m looking forward to it."