Adrian Lewis hit a magnificent 9-darter as he came back from 5-4 down to defeat James Wade in a thrilling Premier League clash at Belfast’s SSE Arena on Thursday evening. Lewis moved one step closer to securing a play-off place for only the third time in his career.
Incredibly, this is the first 9-darter hit in Premier League competition since 2012, when Simon Whitlock completed the perfect leg in his semi-final clash against Andy Hamilton at the O2 Arena. Lewis’ perfect leg is the seventh 9-darter hit in the 11-year history of the Premier League.
Raymond van Barneveld hit the competition’s first two against Peter Manley and Terry Jenkins respectively, whilst Phil Taylor memorably hit two in the 2010 final against James Wade. Taylor hit his third Premier League 9-darter in 2012 against Kevin Painter, whilst Whitlock’s perfect leg followed just months later.
Lewis produced some clinical finishing to lead Wade 4-1 in Belfast, but Jackpot then crucially missed three clear darts for a 5-1 cushion in the sixth leg. ‘The Machine’ fought back superbly, winning four straight legs to establish a 5-4 advantage, by virtue of sublime 101 and 121 checkouts.
Nevertheless, Lewis responded magnificently, kicking off the tenth leg with his third maximum, before delivering a majestic 177 to set up the 9-dart possibility. Lewis, who hit a nine-darter in Friday’s third Players’ Championship event, then held his nerve tremendously to complete the 144 checkout to send the Belfast crowd into raptures.
This is Lewis’ fourth televised 9-darter. Adrian hit his first in his maiden World Championship final against Gary Anderson in 2011, whilst he has recorded two perfect legs against Raymond van Barneveld; in the 2011 European Championship semi-final, and their last 16 clash at the 2015 World Championships.
However, most importantly for the two-time world champion, this 9-darter propelled him on to a hugely significant victory. Wade had the momentum having reeled off four consecutive legs, but Lewis held his nerve, hitting a 13-darter to break throw for 6-5.
Wade came within the width of a wire of securing a point, after narrowly missing the bullseye for a 161 checkout for a 12-darter. However, Jackpot maintained his composure, nailing D10 with his final dart at double to secure another 7-5 victory over Wade in this year’s Premier League.
The headlines will deservedly go to Adrian Lewis. Jackpot is undoubtedly one of the most prodigious talents in the game, and having struggled in the scoring department initially, he suddenly switched on to secure his 7th victory of the season. Well done Adrian!