SCOTT Mitchell recovered from missing three match darts to win a thriller against Paul Hogan at Lakeside this afternoon.
The Bransgore darter edged out the Basingstoke man 3-2 and 5-3 in the final set as a gripping encounter threatened to go the distance.
Mitchell missed a shot at 80 against the darts in the opening leg, before failing to hit 92 on his own throw in the second.
Hogan took out double 16 and then double 18 to wrap up the set 3-0 and move into a 1-0 lead.
A 180 and a finish on double-top helped Mitchell get his first leg on the board at the start of the second set but his poor form on doubles came back to haunt him as he missed three more darts to break ‘Crocodile Dundee’s’ throw in the second leg.
But the Basingstoke star was becoming equally as shaky on his own double finishes and Dorset’s Mitchell moved 2-0 up in legs with a pin-point double four.
Hogan raised the Lakeside roof with a 161 check-out in the third leg – reducing the deficit to 2-1 against the darts.
But he missed a valiant shot at 158 next up and Mitchell took advantage to take the set on double seven and level the match 1-1.
Four-time Lakesider Mitchell held his throw well in the third set as both men refused to give an inch, before the Dorset man buried a 132 score to leave double 16 in a spellbinding fifth leg. He held his nerve and moved 2-1 up in sets.
But Hogan hit back against the throw at the start of the fourth set, with Mitchell missing four darts to break the throw in the next leg. Already 2-0 up in legs, Hogan nailed 56 on tops to take the clash into a deciding set.
Another 180 from Mitchell was followed by double 10 as he went 1-0 in front on Hogan’s throw at the start of the fifth set, but the double gremlins returned in the next leg when Mitchell missed two darts at double 12 to go within one leg of the match. Hogan hit double 10 to level.
Three darts at double 10 went begging for Hogan in leg three as the pressure began to tell and Mitchell took out double-top to set up a potential match-winning leg on his own throw.
But after some steady scoring, and having left double top from 126 for the match, Mitchell blew three darts at the red bit and was forced to watch Hogan take out 90 on the bullseye.
With the match now needing to be won by two clear legs, the pressure was immediately back on Hogan, who held throw on double 16. Mitchell then nailed 80 on double-top to make it 3-3.
Some poor scoring from Hogan, though, saw Mitchell leave 58 and he hit tops to break the throw and again go within one leg of the match at 4-3.
And this time the Dorset man didn’t disappoint, hitting double 18 with his third dart having left 36 from 121.
Mitchell will now play either James Wilson or 2012 champion Christian Kist in the second round.