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Brilliant Adrian 'Jackpot' Lewis is on a high after nine dart finish

By Frank Brownlow

Published 15/04/2016

Darting spectacular: Nine-dart hero Adrian Lewis thrills the big crowd at the SSE Arena last
night
Darting spectacular: Nine-dart hero Adrian Lewis thrills the big crowd at the SSE Arena last night
Darts legend: Phil Taylor

Phil 'The Power' Taylor was the man most people had come to see but Adrian 'Jackpot' Lewis came up trumps at a packed SSE Arena with a stunning nine dart finish on a classic night in the Betway Premier League.

Lewis - world champion in 2011 and 2012 - opened the 10th leg against James Wade with a 180 and following up with 177 before taking out 144 with two treble 20s and double 12.

That almost took the roof off a rocking venue packed to the rafters with 8,000 passionate fans, rewarded with the SSE Arena's first ever nine darter.

That made it 5-5 before Lewis pulled away to secure a 7-5 victory, maintaining his third place in the Premier League table with four matches still to play before next month's top-four play-offs in London in the £750,000 event.

"I'm absolutely delighted and it's a really special moment for me," said Lewis.

"Before I knew it he was 5-4 up. It got to the stage where I needed a massive leg - I didn't expect the nine-darter."

Taylor hailed the Lewis nine-darter and hopes he, too, made the people of Belfast very happy.

And not just with his sparkling darts in a 7-5 victory over Raymond van Barneveld.

The 16-time world champion breezed into Belfast on Wednesday night and spent yesterday shopping ahead of his clash with Barney.

He said: "I was amazed at the number of people who came up to me as I was shopping to say 'I've got a few quid on you tonight'.

"I love shopping in Belfast - the people are so friendly. I bought four pairs of shoes!"

The 55-year-old legend was made to fight all the way by the five-time world champion.

"I thought it was going to be a draw but I managed to nick it in the end," said Taylor, who moved four points clear at the top of the table.

"It's all about making sure you are in that top four - though finishing top carries a nice reward," said Taylor, referring to the £25,000 bonus that goes to the leader ahead of the play-offs to decide the Premier League champion.

And despite his veteran status, Taylor is confident he will still be playing and back in Belfast next year.

"I still love the thrill of taking on the best players and I don't see that changing for a long time yet," he said.

"When I started out I was up against the likes of Eric Bristow, John Lowe and Jocky Wilson.

"I think the younger generation of players nowadays are more cocky - so I enjoy it even more when I beat them!

"But the standard now is higher then ever," he added.

"I'm sure it's only a matter of time until we see an Irish player in the Premier League.

"Brendan Dolan and Daryl Gurney are fine players who can beat anyone on their day.

"But it's tougher for the Irish lads. It all comes down to finance. For a player to pay for his flights and accommodation to come to England for a tournament, you are looking at maybe £600 or £700.

"To be forking out that sort of money on a regular basis you need a very good sponsor.

"There are Irish players out there who have the talent to be world champion."

Back-to-back world champ Gary Anderson fought out a 6-6 draw with world number one Michael van Gerwen.

But the two best players on the planet were reduced to little more than a support act.

The Power firing on all cylinders, Jackpot cashing in - a night that will go down in darting history.

Belfast Telegraph

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