EMOTIONAL Scott Mitchell insisted his nerve-wracking world championship victory had been inspired by his dad’s presence in the crowd – for the first time in 25 years.
Bransgore-based Mitchell bounced back to beat Paul Hogan 3-2 in a dramatic shoot-out after blowing three darts at double-top in the first round of the BDO World Championships at Lakeside yesterday.
Proud dad Jeff Mitchell, who had always stayed away from his son’s events to avoid becoming a distraction, was put through every emotion as Mitchell unbelievably failed to settle the clash.
But despite Hogan levelling matters at 3-3 in the final set, Dorset’s talisman produced a rousing finale to sink a double-top before finishing with the last of three darts at double 18 to win the decider 5-3.
And after sealing his second round spot, ‘Scotty Dog’ insisted he simply had to win after finally persuading his father to attend the showpiece event.
Mitchell told the Daily Echo: “The last time he saw me throw a dart was probably when I was 17 or 18 in my bedroom, so it became my sole purpose not to lose at Lakeside in front of my dad.
“Even when I missed those darts at double-top, my mentality didn’t change.
“I had to talk him into coming down because he was so worried about putting me off. Knowing he was there instead of watching on the television really helped.
“When the second chance to win came round I looked straight at him. He looked into my eyes and said ‘just make sure’. He was my inspiration and I knew I had to do it.”
Mitchell missed early chances as Hogan swept to a 3-0 success in the first set, but Basingstoke’s ‘Crocodile Dundee’ failed to build on a remarkable 161 check-out as the Dorset man bit back.
Number-15 seed Mitchell then took a tight third set by burying a double 16 before a resurgent Hogan levelled matters in the fourth.
In the decisive set, Mitchell went on the offensive with a 180 on his way to the first leg before setting up the perfect match-winning opportunity on his own throw.
But even after blowing what appeared to be his big chance, Mitchell hit tops to break Hogan’s throw before hitting double 18 with his third and final dart having left 36 from 121.
“I certainly did it the hard way,” admitted Mitchell. “It was one of those crazy games where we both knew we had to break each other to stay in touch.”
He moves on to a second round tie with James Wilson, the tournament's second seed, tonight after 'Jammie Dodger' trumped 2012 world champion Christian Kist in a match that Mitchell commentated on for BBC last night.
"I have played James twice before and lost so I know what I will get," added Mitchell.
"He knows what it's all about and I will be the underdog, without a doubt."