John Henderson was pleased to overcome travel chaos as well as opponent Gabriel Clemens to reach round three of the PDC World Darts Championships.
In a see-saw battle on the Alexandra Palace stage the Huntly ace came from behind to triumph 3-2 in sets.
Henderson performed solidly with a three-dart average of just over 95 in the match. He hit five 180s and had a 62% success rate on his doubles – finding the target 12 times from 21 attempts.
The Highlander had a battle to get to Ally Pally after his flight into Gatwick Airport was diverted because of a drone shutting down the airport for two days.
Henderson said: “I was supposed to be flying to Luton but my car broke down and we missed that flight so we got flights to Gatwick.
“But then with the drones we were diverted, it was going to be Stansted and then Heathrow. It didn’t upset my preparation for the game because that was two days ago so I won’t use that as an excuse.
“Hopefully it won’t be so bad coming back.”
On getting through to round three where he faces Michael Smith, Henderson added: “That was so tough and I know I have a bad record against Gabriel. But I didn’t think that would affect this because it’s different losing on the floor compared with the stage with the heat and atmosphere.
“But Gabriel played the way I know he can play and I’m lucky to get over the line. I got off to a great start and then he came back at me so I’m happy to get over the line.
“I had a good run last year, but this year I have got over a massive hurdle in beating Gabriel.
“Michael is one of the top players in the world and one of the favourites for the tournament.
“I know I’ll have to improve my average by 10 or 11 points, but I’ll go home, prepare and I believe I can beat him. I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I can upset him.”
Henderson started brightly and took the opening set against the throw.
From 2-1 down he held throw before nailing the bullseye for an 87 check-out in the deciding leg to take the set.
Clemens took the second set to level, with the German producing a great 141 finish for a 2-0 lead before Hendo fought back to 2-2, but Clemens pinched the deciding leg of the set against the throw by hitting double six to make it 1-1 in sets.
In the third Clemens stormed into a 2-0 lead but the Huntly thrower came back to make it two-all. In the decider Clemens prevailed, hitting tops to go two sets to one ahead.
There was now no margin for error for Henderson. He had the throw and showed bottle to hit the bull for 88 to claim the first leg.
Clemens responded with double 10 for 1-1 but the Scot moved back in front with a great 120 Shanghai finish.
But Clemens was in great form and threw 180, 140 and 165 to set up double eight for a terrific 10-dart leg to make it 2-2 in the set.
Henderson was in no mood to bow out, though, and took out a fantastic 141 finish on double 12 to force a deciding set.
The opening leg went to Henderson after punishing missed darts at his double from Clemens by hitting tops for 41. The German broke straight back by hitting the same double for an 80 check-out and 1-1.
But Henderson closed the match out in style with a solid leg resulting in him finding double 20 again to move one leg away.
Then he nailed another 120 finish to take his place in the third round.