Adam Hunt described his qualification for the knockout stages of the BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts as "unbelievable" following his dramatic progression in Coventry on Thursday.
Hunt's 5-2 comeback win over Gabriel Clemens, allied to a 5-3 win for Michael van Gerwen over Joe Cullen, saw the Grand Slam debutant move into the last 16 to face Simon Whitlock.
The results, though, failed to tell the story of a dramatic night as Clemens opened his tie with the qualifier with two 14-darters to lead 2-0.
Hunt, though, took the next five legs without reply to claim his first win - having been whitewashed by Van Gerwen on Monday before landing three ton-plus finishes 24 hours later against Cullen, who took out 164 in the deciding leg of their tie.
Cullen was unable to repeat that doubling on Thursday as he missed six chances to claim a fourth leg against Van Gerwen which would have secured his own place in the second round.
Cullen firstly missed double 18, before opting to try and split the 18 only to hit double two.
He then missed three darts at double seven and two at double two before Van Gerwen stepped in to complete a 5-3 win and move Hunt into the knockout stages for a tie with Simon Whitlock on Friday.
"It's unbelievable," said Chester-le-Street's Hunt. "I knew it was a massive long shot, but I did my job and thankfully Michael did his.
"Gabriel is a great player and in the first two legs he was brilliant. For whatever reason he switched off and I got a bit of confidence, and it went my way thankfully.
"I'm loving it at the moment."
One last roll of the dice tonight. I play Gabriel Clemens 7th game tonight around 10pm on Sky Sports.— Adam Hunt (@adamhunt8) November 19, 2020
Again thanks to everyone for the messages of support it really means a lot and thanks as always to my sponsors @DunveganDarts @UnicornDarts @chorbi26 pic.twitter.com/ZnqfRrWWBV
Hunt admitted to fearing elimination when Cullen returned on 14 points without Van Gerwen on a finish - only to miss his chance to progress.
The 27-year-old added: When Michael wasn't on a finish, I thought he was going to go six, double four but strange things go on in your head when you're on stage and it worked out for me, thankfully."
The Group Stage had been a rollercoaster of emotions for Hunt, but could prove valuable big-stage experience.
"Michael hammered me," he conceded. "I started off slowly, I didn't really get into my groove. I played better against Joe and I finally showed what I can do against Gabriel, so I'm really happy."
Hunt had begun 2020 back at Qualifying School as he regained his PDC Tour Card, but he will compete in the Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals and William Hill World Darts Championship in the coming weeks.
"At the moment, my confidence is high," he said. "I topped the table at Q School, I did well at the Autumn Series and Winter Series and qualified for two Euro Tours as well.
"I've qualified for the Players Championship Finals, Grand Slam and World Championship so I've done alright. It's been a good year."