BASINGSTOKE darts ace Paul Hogan left Lakeside beaten but unbowed after going out of the BDO World Professional Darts Championships at the end of a thrilling five-set encounter against Scott Mitchell this afternoon.
The 50-year-old from Buckskin won more legs than Mitchell, the number 15 seed, producing some excellent darts – but it was the Dorset man who progressed to the second round, winning 5-3 in the fifth and final set.
Neither player showed any sign of nerves on the big stage in the opening leg of the match, both hitting 180s before Hogan held his throw, hitting double top at the first attempt.
Mitchell got his second maximum in the next leg – but Hogan showed good consistency to win against the darts and then held his own throw to take the first set.
Mitchell claimed the next two legs to take control of the second set. An outstanding 161 finish from Hogan, his highest at Lakeside, pulled a leg back, but Mitchell went on to take the set 3-1 when the Basingstoke player narrowly missed double 18 attempting a finish of 156.
The third set went with the darts for the first four legs and while Hogan threw first in the decider, he was unable to make it count, failing to reach a double before his opponent hit double eight to take the set.
Mitchell had the advantage of throwing first in the fourth set but Hogan took out 141 to take the first leg against the darts.
The Buckskin man hit his second 180 of the match in the second leg but struggled after that, eventually scraping home with double four after Mitchell had missed several chances to take the leg.
However, there were no wobbles in the third leg, Hogan winning against the throw to take the set 3-0 and send the match into a decider.
The fifth set began badly for Hogan, who had his throw broken in the first leg, but he hit straight back to level the match once more.
The Basingstoke player should have taken the third, failing to convert three darts at double 10, twice bending the wire, allowing Mitchell to take out double top and move within a leg of the next round.
The Dorset man threw first and seemed in control. Hogan hit 140 to leave himself on 90 but Mitchell looked odds on to win, having three darts to hit double top.
However, he missed all three and his failure allowed Hogan to stay alive, the delivery driver hitting bullseye to keep the match going.
Hogan held his throw in the next leg and would have won had he won the next, but his form fell away at the wrong moment.
The Basingstoke man was unable to find the treble 20 with anywhere near enough regularity and failed to get a chance at a double as Mitchell reeled off three successive legs to win the match 5-3 in the final set.
Click here to see a post-match interview with Paul Hogan.