Tensions threatened to boil over before defending champion Gerwyn Price eventually overcame Kim Huybrechts in a sudden-death decider to reach the last 16 of the PDC World Championship.
Huybrechts matched Price blow for blow and got under the Welshman’s skin as referee Kirk Bevins had to step in and separate the pair as they exchanged words more than once.
They were more difficult to separate in the scores though, with Huybrechts forcing sudden death with a pair of 180s and a 114 finish to make it 5-5 in the seventh set.
With his title defence on the line, Price came through, hitting double top to finally end Huybrechts’ resistance.
“It was tough at the end,” Price said on Sky Sports. “We had a bit of niggle. He gave a little bit, I gave a little bit. Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t have been very happy if I’d lost and neither’s he but that’s the way the game goes.”
Asked what had been said between the pair, Price added: “Nothing. A couple of times he walked by and gave it large as I’m going to throw, and I did it back to him.
“I just said to him that’s one-all. If you’re doing it to me I’ll do it to you. If it’s good enough to give it’s good enough to get. It was one of those games that’s nip and tuck. Thankfully that double top went in because I couldn’t hit a barn door.”
The final match of the night was an entirely different affair as Jonny Clayton blew away Gabriel Clemens 4-0.
Clayton never allowed Clemens much of a look-in, finishing with a 102-56 average with seven 180s.
Those were the only two contests in the evening session as Vincent van der Voort was forced to withdraw from the tournament following a positive test for Covid-19, handing James Wade a bye into the last 16.
Van der Voort is the second player to contract the virus during the Championship, with his fellow Dutchman Raymond Van Barneveld having also tested positive following his defeat to Rob Cross last week.
In the afternoon session, Dirk van Duijvenbode came from behind to defeat Ross Smith 4-3, while Michael Smith saw off William O’Connor 4-2 and Raymond Smith beat Florian Hempel 4-1.