THERE was heartache and joy for Dean Winstanley as he bowed out of his first PDC World Championships in the second round.
The Swinton thrower was off-form for much of the clash with Vincent van der Voort, losing the first six legs of the match.
But he produced the perfect nine dart leg to send the Alexandra Palace crowd wild and pocket a cool £15,000.
The 31-year-old became only the third man in the history of the championships to produce the feat.
Boosted by his effort, Winstanley came back from 2-0 down to level the match.
But his slack form returned and he went on to lose 4-2 to the Dutchman.
Winstanley said: “I’m distraught to have lost, but I’ve made a great impact and I’m proud of what I’ve done.
“I’m over the moon to have hit a nine-darter on TV, especially in the World Championship, and I’ve proved to everyone that I can mix it with the best.”
Winstanley had been the favourite for the match following a fine win over Mervyn King in last week’s first round.
But his usual big scoring exploits deserted him in the early stages of the clash and van der Voort looked set for a whitewash at one point.
Winstanley finally got off the mark in the first leg of the third set.
And in the second, he produced a piece of rare darting magic.
Back to back 180s were followed by the traditional out route of treble 20, treble 19 and double 12, with no break of stride from the cool ‘Over The Top.’
Winstanley took the set and the next, looking to have turned the tide in the match.
But van der Voort roared back to win the next two sets with Winstanley missing darts to take them both.
The nine darter brought to an end a superb first year in the PDC for Winstanley, who switched from the BDO in January.
A strong debut season saw him qualify for all the traditional major tournaments, reach 50th in the order of merit and enjoy a brilliant run to the semi final of the Grand Slam of Darts.
All the signs suggest the 31-year-old could become a major star in the glitz of the PDC.