Gary Anderson beats Adrian Lewis to win World Darts Championship
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 04/01/16 11:28am
Gary Anderson won his second consecutive World Darts Championship with a 7-5 win over Adrian Lewis at Alexandra Palace.
He becomes only the fourth player to successfully defend their first ever world title and the 11th player to record more than a sole victory after a late surge ended Lewis' challenge.
A stunning 170 checkout in the final set was the greatest moment of quality in the match as it moved Anderson to within one leg of the trophy and took the wind out of Lewis' sails in a match featuring 34 180s, a new world record.
An edgy opening set saw Lewis fail with a glamorous double-bullseye checkout and Anderson's dart fall out of the board before the Stoke thrower eventually edged in front.
Anderson found his rhythm at the restart in a rapid blur of arrows that put a frustrated expression on his opponent's face - the Scot took the second set with 36 darts, nailing all his doubles and preventing Lewis from a single effort at winning a leg.
Anderson edged in front for the first time by breaking in the third set then wiping out 75 to go 2-1 ahead - but his momentum vanished after a 121 checkout in a puff of smoke as he miscounted and gifted Lewis a leg.
That bizarre error handed Lewis the baton which he ran with to take the fourth set, breaking Anderson's throw at the crucial moment.
Lewis took out 131 against the throw as the quality cranked up in the fifth and, although he missed one dart for the set, he finished the job in the following leg. Back came Anderson after an exchange of breaks to make it 3-3 with an 86 checkout.
The match ebbed and flowed at a frenetic pace with breaks and 180s constantly traded - Anderson missed double top for the seventh set, Lewis missed twice to hold and Anderson went 4-3 up on double 10. Reactions were muted from both throwers as they anticipated the inevitable fightback in what was becoming a battle of wills as well as skills.
The Flying Scotsman apparently endured vision problems but opened the first two-set lead of the match despite miscounting again, while Lewis twice saw his darts crash to the ground. With the arrows slowly went Jackpot's hopes at a third world title.
The Stoke thrower reacted by racing through the next set to reduce his deficit to 5-4 but his arrows continued to have issues sticking to their targets as a newly-focused Anderson cranked up the pressure and won a sixth set.
Lewis, who could afford no more errant throws, produced his finest darts of the evening to break twice with Anderson throwing for the championship and narrow the gap to 6-5.
But Anderson moved to within one leg of the Sid Waddell Trophy with a magnificent 170 finish, then secured a coveted second world title with a double 12 checkout.