Free bets and special offers are available for the Stan James sponsored World Matchplay Darts at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool from 17 – 25th July.
The crowd came close to witnessing the first shock of the tournament when former champion James Wade made a late rally to snatch victory from Andy Smith.
Smith had led from the start and not allowed his opponent to lead in the match. Ahead again at 8-7 Smith missed nine chances at a closing double to allow Wade back into the match.
Spurred by the let off, Wade went on to take the next leg to lead for the first time before closing out on bullseye-double top in an 11-dart finish to win the match 10-8.
Wade is vying with Raymond van Barneveld for second favourite behind Phil Taylor and will face Holland’s Vincent van der Voort in the second round on Wednesday.
Online bookmaker Sporting Bet are offerings of 10/1 for Wade to repeat his 2007 victory in this event.
The Winter Gardens enjoyed some tight finishes that saw Co Stompe get his first venue win when beating Andy Hamilton and another first round exit for local lad Wes Newton after being shown the door by Alan Tabern.
Full scores from last night’s first round matches were; Andy Hamilton 10-12 Co Stompe, Adrian Lewis 9-11 Mark Webster, James Wade 10-8 Andy Smith, Alan Tabern 12-10 Wes Newton.