KEMPSFORD darts ace Lee Evans enhanced his growing reputation at the £300,000 Coral UK Open at Butlins Minehead resort in Somerset.

Evans was knocked out at the third round stage by Vincent Van Der Voort, a former UK Open finalist, but not before giving the world number 21 a real fright.

Lee started his campaign with a stunning 5-2 win over Nick Fullwell with an impressive 90.14 average.

He showed the relentless form he has been displaying for the last two seasons.

His second round opponent was the world number 32 Ronny Huybrechts, brother of Premier League star Kim Huybrechts.

Evans set a strong early pace and the Belgian star was always struggling to stay with him.

Evans took the tie 5-3 with an 93.16 average.

His third round clash with Van Der Voort was over the the longer best-of-17 format.

Evans flew out of the traps and led 4-1 at the first interval.

In the crucial seventh leg, the pair played a near-perfect game with Evans going close to a nine-dart finish in hitting back-to-back 180s, yet Van Der Voort just edged it.

The Dutchman started to show his years of experience and with Evans missing some vital doubles Van Der Voort pulled away to win the match 9-4.

Nonetheless Evans had hit 15 ton-plus scores, six 140s and five 180s, ending this game with a sparkling average of 91.27 After the game Van Der Voort said: "If the break had not come when it did, Lee would really have had the upper hand, and I would have struggled to overcome him."

Evans now moves up in the world rankings to 101, but there is no rest for the Kempsford ace as this Friday sees him in Barnsley for the European Tour qualifiers.

Evans said: "I was over the moon with my performance at the Coral UK Open.

"I now feel capable of pushing on and hope by the end of the year to make it into the top 64.

"I’m playing well and I’m not afraid of anyone.

"I’m looking forward to this weekend’s qualifiers and hope my form continues.”

World number one Michael Van Gerwen won the Coral UK Open final 11-5 against Peter Wright on Sunday.