Heartbreak for New Zealander Bernie Smith at the World Darts Championship in London after losing in a five-set thriller to Brit Justin Pipe on Thursday morning (NZ time).
Smith averaged 87.11 and threw four 180s in the 3-2 loss to the 27th ranked Pipe at the Alexandra Palace.
The 53-year-old Kiwi struggled in the opening two sets as Pipe raced out to an early lead but the Kiwi fought back, winning the third and fourth sets to force the match into a decider.
Needing three legs to win, Smith led 2-1 and had darts at double 20 and then double 10 to qualify for the second round, but failed to covert and Pipe took advantage to secure victory at the Ally Pally.
Smith would have been the first New Zealander to qualify for the second round at the world championships
Earlier, the Cantabrian overcame Chinese teenager Xiao Chen Zong 2-0 to clinch a spot in the tournament's final 64.
Pipe will now face 16-time world champion Phil Taylor is the second round in London.