Adrian “Jackpot” Lewis is the 4/9 favourite with the sponsors to retain his Ladbrokes World Championship crown tonight after battling back from 5-1 down to defeat James Wade 6-5 in controversial circumstances.
The semi-final match was delayed by almost half an hour as both players walked off stage in protest against a strong breeze that appeared to be blowing across stage, as the flagship tournament descended into chaos.
When both players returned Wade got off to a flying start, following up a 76 checkout on the bull with a 157 checkout on double top to clinch the first set.
Lewis looked like squaring the match in the second set when he broke Wade’s throw early on, but he was put off his stride when the mysterious draught appeared to blow across the stage.
A clearly ruffled Lewis missed three darts at double top to win the set and Wade regained his composure quickest to steal the leg and then see out the set 3-2 to move into a 2-0 lead.
In unprecedented scenes the players then left the stage for almost half an hour as officials desperately tried to solve the problem.
When play finally got under way again it was 11.30pm, and the agitated crowd blamed Lewis for the delay and then bayed for his blood.
As the clock passed midnight, Wade hit top gear and some amazing darts saw him move into a seemingly insurmountable 5-1 lead.
But Lewis wasn’t going to relinquish his crown without a fight and launched a sensational comeback taking the next four sets to tie the match up at 5-5.
As the match moved into a deciding set James Wade looked stunned by his collapse and Lewis powered in three consecutive legs to complete the most memorable comeback in World Championship history.
In the other semi-final, Andy Hamilton came from 5-3 down to beat Simon Whitlock 6-5 as history repeated itself for the two players.
Earlier this year Hamilton had come back from eight legs down to beat Whitlock at the World Matchplay in Blackpool and he inflicted similar punishment on The Wizard as he came from the brink again to seal a dramatic sudden death win.
‘The Hammer’ is a 9/4 shot with Ladbrokes to win the title.