Adrian Lewis looked the real deal in front of a record PDC crowd of over 3,600 at the Nottingham Arena, winning the all Unicorn showdown to leave Colin Lloyd still searching for his first win in the 2007 Holsten Premier League.
It?s three straight defeats for the former World No.1 who looked tired and out-of-sorts. Maybe the hectic schedule around the Masters of Darts took its toll but Lewis took full advantage.
The youngster climbed into 3rd place in the table with an emphatic 8-5 victory. He made a blistering start winning the first three legs in 13, 14 and 16 darts. The next seven legs went with throw, before a second consecutive 64 finish gave Lloyd the break back he needed.
That was as good as it got for ?Jaws? because Lewis put his foot on the gas and his finishing was impressive all night. Some heavy scoring saw Lewis break the Lloyd throw to go 7-5 in front and he saved the best for last. Lewis produced an 11-darter to clinch the win?..a 98 average and a 58 per cent check-out rate.
He said: ?I didn?t think I played that well. I think we probably gave each other too much respect. I am pleased with the way I?m improving week by week and it?s all about getting in that top four and the semi-finals.?
It now becomes must win for Lloyd against Roland Scholten in Nottingham next Thursday. He knows he can?t afford to be cut adrift at the bottom of the pile. His 87 average in Nottingham told its own story.
Peter Manley threw away a golden opportunity to beat Raymond Van Barneveld for the second time in a week. Manley claimed an impressive victory over Barney at the Masters of Darts last weekend and he was 7-5 up against the World Champion but was forced to settle for a draw.
In what could be a dress rehearsal for Sunday?s Masters of Darts Final, both players found it tough at times, after the gruelling travelling and darting schedule over the last seven days.
Barney took the first leg with a 96 check-out, only to see Manley reply with a brilliant 138. Barneveld then started missing doubles. Manley won three legs on the spin to lead 5-3 and it should have been 6-3 but the Carlisle man missed two darts to take the 9th leg.
He looked nailed on to be the first man to beat the Dutch star in this year?s Premier League, when he went into a 7-5 lead?.but Barney produced a great 136 to take it into the decider and his 4th 180 set him up for the double top that salvaged a point and kept his unbeaten record in tact. Barneveld averaged 95 to Manley?s 90.44
Manley revealed after that the secret to his success over the last week has been a slight change in his game. ?I know I probably should have won but I am very happy with the way I am playing. Raymond showed in the last two legs why he is World Champion but I have slowed my game down a bit and have really focused on my concentration. It seems to have worked.?
Barneveld admitted he was lucky. ?I think Peter deserved to win. He has played really well in Holland this week, so I am pleased to get a point.?
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