Is Adrian Lewis Premier League Darts’ most underrated arrowsmith?
Holly Thackeray | February 17, 2016
Does Lewis deserve more credit?
Sitting pretty atop the Premier League Darts table on four points, Adrian Lewis is currently peering down on the likes of Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson. Yet, Jackpot’s price to claim this prestigious title is an incredible 8/1 – making the Stoke-born sportsman just fourth-favourite.
Of course, Van Gerwen is the world number one and Anderson the reigning world and PL champion, but Taylor has done little to register on punters’ palates of late ahead of Lewis, who recently made the Worlds final and shut The Power out of a Coral UK Open qualifier final.
Taylor was trounced 6-2 with Lewis ending on an average of over 110 in that encounter, and Jackpot had already impressively given Peter Wright and Mervyn King the elbow, among others.
Though, when it comes to the crunch, on the big televised stage, Lewis has often been adjudged to have lost his bottle; in recent seasons at least, and particularly in the Premier League.
Once named the next big thing in darts, seemingly destined to follow in fellow Potter The Power’s dominant footsteps, Jackpot has seen himself emphatically overtaken by juggernaut Mighty Mike.
Yet, between 2010 and 2015, the arguably underrated English arrowsmith has clocked up successive World Championships (2011-12), a European Championship (2013) and UK Open (2014), while finishing as runner-up in World Matchplay, World Grand Prix, Grand Slam, Premier League and Masters finals.
Not a bad haul, unless you are named Taylor or Van Gerwen. Yet, the tale can be spun from a different perspective, with Jackpot yet to properly lay claim to many a major, and without a truly high profile win, for a while. His job looks half-done.
Jackpot a lucky price for punters
Watching Green Machine Van Gerwen hoovering up the biggest cheques and top prizes, when Taylor’s throne seemed set to be his, must surely have prickled.
Yet, steadily, over the past calendar year, Lewis has emerged to compete and re-state his credentials from also-ran to among the cream of this crop, quietly clawing his way back into contention for the biggest honours while warming up with World Cup of Darts and Auckland Masters wins.
Though, many will remain unconvinced until Lewis lifts another major and improves his Premier League performances but, ahead of Night Three, he at least looks to be doing the latter.
Excellent on the opening evening against frequent banana skin Michael Smith, Lewis put early doubts to bed with a scintillating 7-1 smashing of the younger dartsman, with an average of over 100.
While, on his second outing Dave Chisnall became another scalp, with Lewis scampering to a 6-1 lead before requiring a tremendous 12-darter to finish off the talented opposition 7-4.
Next, perhaps his biggest Premier League test arrives in Ireland, as Jackpot faces MvG in a delicious darts duel on the Dublin oche, a dust-up the Midlands man is 7/2 to win.
“We need to ruffle his feathers”
Speaking before the competition, Lewis told press “we need to ruffle his feathers,” regarding Van Gerwen and, if he leaves the Emerald Isle victorious, those 8/1 odds for Premier League triumph might just rocket.
This is exactly the kind of clash Jackpot requires to make his name top-billing again, but on his own merit. Mighty Mike has alternated between middling and majestic form over the past few months, so there has never been a better time to try and beat him, as James Wade and Taylor (in another Coral UK Open qualifier) can attest.
At the moment, if anyone can ruffle those lethal lime green feathers it is Lewis who, now 31, could be edging back to his best vintage.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been in such good form,” Jackpot himself told media.
“You will see this from me more consistently. I’m working hard with Ian White and this is what you will see.”
One factor attributed to the powerful finisher’s recent bluster and bolder throwing, as he sits just one Premier League maximum behind MvG in the table for most 180s, is his trading of arrows for a heavier variety.
“They are flying in brilliantly. I’ve thrown six nine darters with them now. I’m enjoying it at the moment and if you don’t enjoy it, you don’t perform,” added the Englishman.
So, if you fancy a flutter on this excellent dartsman, who somehow seems to have slipped off the favourite radar into into outsider territory, there is a fantastic Night Three special offer of 13/2 for Lewis to catch up or overtake Van Gerwen by bagging most maximums in their match.
One thing looks certain, Lewis want his name back in lights, and not as the sub-heading but the star of the show. Watch out Anderson and MvG, Jackpot is hunting his first Premier League trophy and he smells blood.