A dramatic day of third round action at the Cazoo World Darts Championship saw Josh Rock moved through to the last 16 on his Alexandra Palace Debut.
The Northern Ireland starlet edged out two-time semi-finalist Nathan Aspinall in a deciding-set thriller to set up a showdown against Jonny Clayton.
The pair fired in 25 maximums between them in a gripping tussle, but Aspinall was punished for missing 37 darts at double as the Northern Irishman held his nerve to progress.
Rock drew first blood with a sublime 141 checkout before Aspinall won six of the next eight legs to lead 2-1, only for the Northern Irishman to produce an 11-dart hold to restore parity at two apiece.
The 21-year-old then came through a tense fifth-set decider to regain the initiative, and while Aspinall wrapped up set six without reply, Rock followed up a brilliant tops-tops 99 finish with a two-dart 70 kill to complete a landmark win.
“I was under a lot of pressure there and I dealt with it well,” said Rock, who averaged 96 and crashed in 13 maximums to cap off a stellar display.
“At the age of 16 I didn’t believe I could be here playing on the World Championship stage, so I’m proud of what I am doing now.”
“I finally played the game I know I can play, but that still wasn’t the real Josh Rock.”
Rock will now take on five-time TV title winner Clayton for a place in the last eight.
Images: Kieran Cleeves / PDC
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