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Darts: Romford’s Barnard progresses at Ally Pally

PUBLISHED: 07:59 17 December 2018 | UPDATED: 07:59 17 December 2018

Michael Barnard celebrates at the PDC World Championships (pic Lawrence Lustig/PD)

Michael Barnard celebrates at the PDC World Championships (pic Lawrence Lustig/PD)

LAWRENCE LUSTIG

It was the fighting spirit of Romford’s very own ‘Dinosaur’ Michael Barnard that saw him through a marathon see-saw first round tie with Jose De Sousa at the William Hill PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

The 42-year-old current PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour Order of Merit winner last played in the event as a debutant exactly 10 years ago when he lost to Stoke’s Andy Hamilton and survived five missed match darts from his Portuguese opponent before winning 3-2 after a dramatic sudden-death leg.

“I was 2-0 up and cruising, playing very well then all of a sudden he dug in,” said the Barking-born world number 82.

“I wasn’t playing bad, something happened and I really had to dig in deep. I was thinking to myself ‘just don’t let it slip and keep fighting and fighting’.”

Barnard was very relieved to get over the finishing line and finally taste victory on the big stage, adding: “It was the biggest deep breath I’ve ever taken in my life. The first one was nowhere near and the second one went straight in.”

Barnard now faces Holland’s world number 30 Jermaine Wattimena in round two on Thursday (December 20) and said: “It doesn’t matter who I play, I play the same. I’ve never played Jermaine, he’s a great player, so hopefully it will be another good game.”

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