Lewis puts the wind up Wade
Champ meets Hamilton in tonight's World final
REIGNING world champion Adrian Lewis takes on Andy Hamilton tonight to determine who will be the 2012 World Darts Champion.
Lewis secured a quite remarkable come-from-behind World Championship semi-final win over James Wade amid farcical scenes at Alexandra Palace.
Lewis won 10 legs in a row to come from 5-1 down to beat Wade 6-5 and book a final meeting with Andy Hamilton, but it had looked for such a long time that it would be his opponent that would be going through.
Wade, known as 'The Machine', had a dart to win the match in the eighth set but broke down, allowing 'Jackpot' Lewis in to checkout on 98, and the Stoke thrower did not lose a leg after that, whitewashing Wade in the final three sets.
As a backdrop to the drama on stage, there was the sideshow of the players leaving the arena for a 20-minute period early in the game, with both complaining about a breeze.
Wade was 2-0 up at the time and, with Lewis clearly angry at the conditions and the now customary abuse he was taking from the crowd, he could have been forgiven for attempting to carry on.
He did not, though, and ultimately paid the price as he melted down to allow Lewis in.
"That was the best win of my career, definitely," Lewis said.
"Fair play to James, he could have won that 6-0 (had he not gone off). I love him to bits and told him this is the start of a rivalry. But that shows why I am world champion."
On his escape from defeat, when Wade slipped wide of double 18, Lewis added: "He had one dart in his hand, he missed double 18 and I knew it was do or die.
"That shows why I am the champion. There's no reason why I will not retain my title. I am the best in the world."
It was Wade who looked the planet's premier player early on, though, as he went 2-0 up.
The problems then started, with both men noticing a breeze on stage, with Lewis' complaints seeming to carry more weight than his opponent's.
They both left the arena, only for Wade to return and practice alone before Lewis could eventually be persuaded to restart.
When they did, Lewis got up and running and got back to 2-1, before Wade stormed ahead and moved to within inches of what would have been a maiden final appearance.
He barely missed a double until, in that crucial eighth set, he broke down on 18 chasing a 121 winning checkout.
That allowed Lewis to notch a 98 and he never looked back afterwards, cantering through to a stunning 161 finale, with Wade clearly a broken man.
Earlier in a dramatic day, Hamilton, also from Stoke, came from 5-3 down to beat Simon Whitlock.
"I'm quite emotional, I'm speechless," he said.
"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."