Ruthless finishing has been a key factor in Adrian Lewis’ incredible rise in the 2016 World Championships. Right from when he entered the darting world it was apparent this cocky youngster from Stoke-on-Trent had the natural talent to go far. His exploits in the past fortnight have underlined the outstanding potential the 31-year-old is yet to fulfil.
Lewis was quick out of the blocks taking the opening set in double quick fashion with little response coming from van Barneveld. The Dutchman fell behind in set two following back to back 140’s that left Lewis with a simple task of finishing the leg. Barney delayed the inevitable with a spectacular 161 but fell two sets behind. By now Barneveld’s confidence was shattered, never have I seen the big man play with such hesitation. It was soon to be three, and then four, Barneys face turning from disgust to disbelief as Lewis charged through into an almost unassailable lead. At 5-0 down, a raucous Barney Army were depleted, feeling sorry for the man they look up to. But with their hero collecting leg after leg against the Lewis throw, confidence began to grow. But back came Barney, a sensational 134 got a set on the board. Comebacks have been a signature of his run to the semi-finals but could he produce the best recovery Alexandra Palace has ever seen?
It’s not until the final dart hits the outer rim, and Barney certainly proved that theory. From being dead and buried he battled his way back to be within two sets of levelling the match. In the end the advantage Lewis had created early on was too much for Barney overcome, but we will certainly remember a brilliant tournament for the Dutch darting maestro.