He has left it late, but Colin Osborne is within touching distance of the World Matchplay Championship!
But it now all comes down to one day of darts for Osborne.
He was in the list of qualifiers – sneaking into the 16th and last place through the Pro Tour Order of Merit after beating Kevin Painter 6-2.
Remember, it is the last event before the cut off for Blackpool and that win took Osborne into the last 16 of the European Darts Trophy in Dusseldorf.
But at the end of a dramatic day in Germany, Osborne found himself edged out of the qualifiers and back into 17th place.
The reason for that is the victory for PDC Unicorn Youth World Champion James Hubbard over Steve Brown.
Hubbard won a last leg decider after Brown missed five darts for the match and it means that he now moves ahead of Osborne on countback, as they have both won the same amount of money on that Pro Tour Order of Merit.
So, Sunday is now a huge day....it will be a massive scramble for the Winter Gardens.
But it all means that Unicorn’s Jamie Caven is out of contention and out of the top 16 qualifiers and he will miss out on the Matchplay.
“I know I am close, but I have to keep focused. I am playing much better and feel much more confident with my game,” said Osborne.
Osborne went 3-1 up against Painter and it wasn’t pretty from ‘The Artist’ as he was missing double after double.
In all, he missed six darts to break the Osborne throw twice in the early stages....Osborne though won it in style, with a 13 darter but there is still work to be done.
However Joe Cullen now faces an anxious wait after seemingly securing his Blackpool place.
The Unicorn youngster was 5-3 and coasting against Johnny Haines, knowing victory would guarantee him that prized spot at the Winter Gardens.
But incredibly, Cullen missed SIX darts to win the match 6-3 and 6-4 and literally threw it away as he was beaten in a dramatic last leg decider.
Now, Cullen will be keeping everything crossed that a series of freak results doesn’t shatter his hopes on Sunday.
As it stands, he is at the Matchplay....let’s hope it stays like that, because he deserves his shot after all the hard work he has put in during the first half of this year.
And Osborne will take on Haines in the last 16 on Sunday in Germany.
James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld joined him in the 3rd Round.
Barney faces fellow Dutchman Gino Vos in the last 16 after he demolished Brendan Dolan 6-2.
Barneveld raced into a 4-0 lead playing some superb darts but then got stuck, as he missed 11 darts fot a 5-0 advantage!
The Irishman got two legs on the board, but Barney wasn’t to be denied....three 13 darters in the first four legs. He also hit 4x180s and nailed 61 in two darts to seal the deal.
Wade is content to stay under the radar in Dusseldorf and he went about his business in professional fashion, beating Jelle Klaasen 6-3.
After losing the opening leg against the throw, the Team Unicorn star turned it round.....from 2-2, he won three straight legs in stunning style....a 14 darter, a 12 dart leg with a brilliant 151 finish, followed by a 107 check-out to take him to the verge of victory.
The Dutchman pulled one leg back, but another classy 90 finish took Wade through to a clash on Sunday against ‘The Pie Man’ Andy Smith.
But Wes Newton will be having nightmares over missed doubles, as he slumped to a shock 6-4 defeat against Mark Dudbridge.
After starting the match with a maximum, he missed three darts to break the Dudbridge throw, then five more chances went begging in the next leg and he soon found himself 0-3 down.
He also trailed 2-5, but after hauling himself back into the contest, Newton incredibly missed seven darts to force a deciding leg and Dudbridge pinched the win.
Elsewhere, Steve Beaton secured his Matchplay spot with an impressive 6-3 win over World Champion Adrian Lewis.
Saturday 2nd Round results:
Kevin Painter 2-6 Colin Osborne
Joe Cullen 5-6 Johnny Haines
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Brian Woods
Mark Walsh 6-1 Tonci Restovic
Gino Vos 6-4 Tomas Seyler
Ronnie Baxter 5-6 Mervyn King
Michael Mansell 1-6 Andy Smith
Scott Rand 3-6 Richie Burnett
Vincent van der Voort 4-6 Robert Thornton
Wes Newton 4-6 Mark Dudbridge
Kim Hubrechts 5-6 Dave Chisnall
James Wade 6-3 Jelle Klaasen
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Ronny Huybrechts
Adrian Lewis 3-6 Steve Beaton
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Brendan Dolan
James Hubbard 6-5 Steve Brown
3rd Round draw:
Steve Beaton v Mervyn King
Johnny Haines v Colin Osborne
Simon Whitlock v Robert Thornton
Mark Dudbridge v Dave Chisnall
James Wade v Andy Smith
Raymond van Barneveld v Gino Vos
James Hubbard v Mark Walsh
Richie Burnett v Michael van Gerwen
By STUART PYKE
Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC