SCOTT Mitchell admitted his shock Lakeside exit had been “difficult” to take having improved on the averages from the year he won the crown.

The Bransgore thrower, who went into the event second in the BDO world rankings, lost 4-2 to Belgian Andy Baetens at Frimley Green, despite a three-dart average of 96.39.

Defeat left Scotty Dog, who averaged 98.70 in the first round against Darius Labanauskas, pondering his second consecutive last-16 exit.

When he lifted the world title in 2015, Mitchell’s best show on paper came in the quarter-finals having overcome Brian Dawson 5-2 with an average of 96.

He told the Daily Echo: “Both averages were higher than anything I did during the year I won it, which is quite amusing, really.

“To play better than the year you won it and not really get diddly squat out of it is a difficult one to look back at.

“But I did everything I could, I prepared right and when you lose to the better player on the day you have to hold your hands up.”

Mitchell lost the first two sets against 13th seed Baetens before rallying to level the contest at 2-2.

The 47-year-old showed his class with two ton-plus finishes in set four to restore parity.

But after Baetens had taken the fifth set, the avid Poole Pirates fan squandered his opportunity to draw level once more.

In what proved the final leg, he missed when taking aim at double top before eventually slipping under double five. The mistake allowed Baetens to take out 60 for the match and book his place in the last eight.

Mitchell added: “Even though I was behind I thought the game was going to come back to me. There were some big checkouts in the middle of it but you can never tell with darts.

“When you have been taking out 121 on the bull, a double top with three darts in your hand seems pretty straight forward.

“It’s hard to explain but when you miss the first dart and the crowd goes ‘ooh’ and they are expecting you to hit it, all of a sudden that doubles the pressure.

“I firmly believe if I had gone 3-3 I would have won the last set easily.

“I think Andy was fading. We would have had a chance to go into a break and for him to realise that he had thrown everything at me.

“I was probably thinking that in my head before I went for the doubles and it didn’t quite happen.”

He added: “It’s difficult when a whole year is crammed into eight days of intense darts.

“It probably makes it really great for the guys who are viewing but the form book goes out the window and it’s only one game, one leg and one day.”

Victory for Baetens meant the 28-year-old had reached the last eight on his debut at the BDO World Championship.

He also overcame Mitchell on his way to winning the England Masters crown in September.