• World Darts Championship

Lewis fightback blows Wade away

ESPN staff
January 1, 2012
Adrian Lewis came back from 5-1 down © Getty Images

A match that threatened to descend into farce turned into a classic, as Adrian Lewis booked a World Darts Championship final by beating James Wade 6-5 at Alexandra Palace.

Wade led 5-1 at one point and Lewis' chances of defending the title had seemingly evaporated - only for him to eventually triumph 6-5.

Earlier in the match the players twice left the stage after being angered by gusts that were sweeping across the oche. Following embarrassing delays that provoked fury from the crowd, Wade and Lewis eventually agreed to return and play to a finish.

Lewis has found himself in a corner on more than one occasion at this year's tournament, but he proved his undoubted class by sealing victory with a 161 checkout. It was a remarkable turnaround, as he looked to have lost his composure when he first became aware of the breeze on stage.

He said: "It was definitely the greatest match of my life. I was 5-1 down, the crowd was on my back and there was a massive breeze coming through. But I came back strong and showed why I'm world champion."

Andy Hamilton reached the final by beating Simon Whitlock 6-5 in a pulsating encounter. Hamilton, who was a 200/1 outsider at the start of the tournament, hit 58% of his doubles - and that made the difference, considering he had been consistently outscored by Whitlock throughout.

It was a dramatic, tumultuous contest: Hamilton raced into a 3-1 lead, then Whitlock won four sets in a row, before Hamilton came thundering back to force a deciding set, which he won.

Hamilton said: "I'm quite emotional, I'm speechless. Simon pushed me so hard, I had to take those checkouts out to win the game. He's an awesome player - and with a broken foot as well! There's one game left now and if I grit my teeth and fight, I could win it."

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