DENNIS Priestley survived a major scare to set up a second round clash with his house guest Colin Lloyd at the Players Championship Finals at the Dome.
The Menace stared defeat in the face at 5-3 down but rocketed back with three straight legs to see off Andy Hamilton last night.
Priestley will take on good friend Lloyd on Saturday afternoon after the former world number one beat Jelle Klaasen 6-4.
Lloyd is staying at Priestley’s Mexborough home for the remainder of the Players Championship Finals.
The Menace’s clash with Hamilton was a back and forth contest with each man breaking the throw on three occasions.
Derby born Hamilton punished missed darts by Priestley with a 78 check out to take the first leg.
But the 60-year-old veteran battled back in the second to level and then went ahead with a tops finish.
Hamilton superbly cleared 139 to level the match and broke in the fifth to go back in front.
The Menace won the next with a brilliant 11-darter but Hamilton put himself in the driving seat by winning the next two legs to go 5-3 up.
However, Priestley produced some astonishing darts to wrestle himself out of the mire.
A classy 115 finish from Priestley reduced the deficit before he landed another 180 on the way to levelling up and forcing a decider.
The two were neck and neck with Priestley opening with a maximum and Hamilton following up with a 177.
But the Hammer missed double 11 on a 142 check out to give Priestley the lifeline he took to clear double ten for the match.
The first round concludes tonight with highlights including Phil Taylor vs Steve Brown, Adrian Lewis vs Steve Beaton, Simon Whitlock vs Tony Eccles and James Wade vs Mark Dudbridge.
Tickets for the Players Championship Finals are still available, priced at £20 and £25, by calling 01302 370777 or in person at The Dome’s Box Office.
First round results (Thursday night): Denis Ovens 5-6 Colin Osborne, Andy Hamilton 5-6 Dennis Priestley, Mark Walsh 1-6 Steve Farmer, Jamie Caven 6-1 Barrie Bates, Ronnie Baxter 2-6 Andy Smith, Wayne Jones 5-6 Kevin Painter, Gary Anderson 6-4 Justin Pipe, Colin Lloyd 6-4 Jelle Klaasen.