Adrian Lewis became only the third player to win a PDC World Series title, as he beat Raymond van Barneveld 11-10 in the final of the inaugural TAB Auckland Darts Masters.
Before the event only Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen had managed to claim World Series titles, with Taylor looking for his fourth consecutive World Series event win.
But his hopes were ended by Adrian Lewis in the semi-finals, in an epic battle of the Stoke flingers. ‘Jackpot’ only led once in the whole match, as he held his nerve in the last leg decider to hit double 16 and knock The Power out of the competition, 10-9.
It was then another battle of the World Champions as a contest with van Barneveld awaited Lewis. Fresh from beating van Gerwen in the quarter-finals and then James Wade in the semi-final, Barney started better and found himself in an early 2-0 lead.
Jackpot then found his form and after four straight legs, moved into the lead first 4-2 and then 8-5, as he closed in on the 11 legs needed for victory.
But Barney refused to go away, first levelling the match at 8-8 before forcing both players to go the distance, drawing the players level again at 10-10.
Finding 180’s with ease, it looked like Barney who would be lifting the trophy as he took control of the deciding leg.
But a doubling disaster hit and despite being first to a finish, van Barneveld couldn’t convert and missed five darts to win the game. Lewis too struggled, missing two of his own to win the match before composing himself to hit the double one to take the Auckland Masters crown.
Jackpot’s World Series form has been impressive thus far, with two semi-finals, a final defeat to Taylor in Sydney last weekend and now a tournament win.
Perhaps more impressive is Lewis’ route to the final, defeating three former World Champions in Gary Anderson, Taylor and then van Barneveld. A timely return to form indeed, with the World Grand Prix next month and the World Championships just over three months away.
The World Series of Darts Finals will take place on 21-22 November at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow, featuring the eight highest ranked players from the World Series events.
BY Alex Knight