Justin Pipe edged a nervy decider against Mickey Mansell in the first round of the HappyBet German Darts Championship this afternoon.
The world number 27, who narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Unibet World Grand Prix earlier this month, gave his hopes of appearing in the Unibet European Championship a welcome boost with a 6-5 win against Mansell.
After both players broke each others throw in the first two legs, the next eight legs all went with throw to send the match into a deciding leg.
Pipe missed three match darts to give Mansell a chance at 80 to snatch victory, but the Northern Irishman spurned a dart at tops and The Force returned to land double 10 to set up a second round clash with Simon Whitlock tomorrow.
Now up to 27th in the provisional European Championship Order of Merit, Pipe is hopeful he has done enough to qualify for the ITV4-televised tournament in two weeks.
“That was really nervous today,” he said. “I had to beat Mickey to hopefully make it to the European Championship.
“I think me and Simon are roughly the same at the moment. I think we’ve both had a couple of bad years both for different reasons.
“Simon’s really showed some great form at the moment and so am I.”
Scott Taylor claimed his first win on the European Tour as he opened the tournament in Hildesheim with a 6-3 triumph over Andy Boulton.
Darren Johnson ended his wait for a first victory on the European Tour in 2016 at the third attempt, beating Hungary’s Janos Vegso 6-1.
Ron Meulenkamp kept his faint hopes of qualifying for the European Championship alive with a 6-3 win against Germany’s Marko Puls.