Fit-again 'Snakebite' too good for Ally Pally debutant Portela
Peter Wright showed few ill effects from his recent health problems as he ultimately coasted to a 3-1 win over Diogo Portela in the first round of the PDC World Darts Championship.
'Snakebite' was rushed to hospital last month with gallstones and lost two stone in weight, but declared himself fit to play in front of a raucous Alexandra Palace crowd.
The second seed nailed a brilliant 101 checkout en route to dominating the first set, only to be clawed back by his unfancied opponent, who became the first Brazilian to play in a World Championship.
However, Wright was always averaging around the hundred mark and a third 180 in the middle of the third set helped him on his way to a 2-1 lead, and there was to be no comeback from Portela.
In a tournament that has already seen the likes of big-hitters Adrian Lewis, James Wade and Dave Chisnall depart, there was more bad news for the seeds on Thursday.
'Ruthless' James Richardson, making his first appearance at the tournament in five years, outclassed 18th seed Kim Huybrechts in a 3-0 11-leg drubbing, while in the opening match of the night Toni Alcinas defeated close friend and fellow Spaniard Cristo Reyes (26) 3-1.
The trend was ended by Darren Webster (23), but only after he was made to toil by a resurgent Devon Petersen.
Webster started brilliantly and landed a fantastic 160 checkout to take the second set, but 'The Demolition Man' missed double tops for the match and saw his game drop as Petersen fought back to force a decider.
But Webster eventually fended off the challenge before the two shared a warm embrace on the oche in front of a lively Ally Pally crowd.