THE 2020/21 PDC World Darts Championship is under way at Alexandra Palace, and the lack of a crowd posed no problems for Wellington's Ryan Searle as he won his first round match.

Searle was in action in the Thursday evening session, and his match with debutant Danny Lauby was an absolute cracker.

The Somerset contender, who reached the last 16 at Ally Pally in 2019, took the opening set - only for the American to level it up.

Again Searle got his nose in front, clinching the third set with a 121, but Lauby refused to fold and he won the deciding leg of the fourth to set up a final-set shoot-out.

Searle held his nerve, though, and hit D1 to seal victory, meaning he will now play 23rd seed Jeffrey de Zwaan in the second round, this coming Sunday (December 20).

Burnham-on-Sea star Gary Anderson, the 13th seed, is to begin his challenge with a second round tie against Madars Razma (who overcame Toru Suzuki 3-0 yesterday) on Wednesday, December 23.

The final of the Championship takes place on Sunday, January 3, following semi-finals on January 2.

Taunton’s Justin Pipe is not involved in the championship this year.