Lewis survives; Webster out
Reigning champion taken the distance by undertaker
Last Updated: 16/12/11 9:01pm
Highs and lows: Lewis (l) and Heydon
Reigning champion Adrian Lewis survived a major scare on the opening night of the 2012 Ladbrokes World Darts Championship.
Lewis, who beat Gary Anderson to claim the title just under 12 months ago, found himself two sets down to undertaker Nigel Heydon in his first-round contest.
However, Lewis was stung into action - literally - and hit back to claim a nail-biting 3-2 victory.
Afterwards, 'Jackpot' revealed he had been stung by a wasp on his non-throwing hand during the interval when he was trailing 2-0.
"I was 2-0 down and was stung by a wasp in the break and that's when I thought it's not my day," said Lewis, who nonetheless insisted he never felt he was going to crash out.
"No, I never think that," he added. "I keep fighting til the end."
Heydon started like a train, breaking Lewis' throw in the very first leg. He did so twice more to take the opener.
With Lewis clearly struggling for form, Heydon was in no mood to let up and double six took him into a two-set lead.
It was a long road back for the champion but he was up to the task, winning the third set and then claiming the fourth on double eight after a leg filled with poor finishing from both players.
Even then, Heydon managed to get a break up in the decider but crucially he missed three darts to open a 2-0 lead.
When another chance seemed to be appearing, Lewis slammed the door shut with a double-top finish to level at 3-3 and he pushed on for a nervy triumph, moving in front with an 11-dart finish in leg seven and sealing victory on double top in the next.
Lewis hailed his opponent's play, telling Sky Sports: "He had me under the cosh. The way he was finishing in the first two sets was phenomenal."
Heydon was left to reflect on what might have been.
"I felt really good, really confident. Aidy wasn't playing his 'A' game but I was hitting double top for fun but then it just went."
While Lewis survived, the same could not be said of sixth seed Mark Webster, who crashed out to Richie Burnett.
In what was a thrilling clash, it was Burnett who edged it 3-2, winning the final set by four legs to two to send the semi-finalist of the last two years crashing out.
The match had promised to be one of the stand-out games of round one when the draw was made and it lived up to expectation.
Burnett stormed back from two legs down to take the opening set, but Webster responded, winning the second on his sixth set dart.
Burnett, winner of the BDO world title back in 1995, took out double top to re-establish his one-set lead but again Webster refused to lie down and forced a decider after his opponent missed tow darts at double 16 to win the match.
Burnett looked in trouble when he was distracted by something in the crowd but he was able to refocus.
Still, Webster had a shot at double top to close out but this time it was his chance to sqaunder a winning position.
At 2-2, it was a case of one of the players needing to win by two clear legs and after Burnett held his throw, it was Webster who cracked.
The sixth seed seemed comfortable enough but then missed five darts to close out the leg, allowing his opponent to pounce.
Burnett duly nailed double 10 to clinch his impressive win.
Afterwards, Burnett said he believes he can still add another world title to his CV.
"I think so," he said when asked. "I have the game and still have the same ability. Also, I have the knoledge and know what not to do and what to do."
On the match, he added: "I knew I was played Mark Webster subconciously, but I was playing well so it didn't bother me.
"I can beat anybody as long as I can score (heavily)."
Earlier in the night, Roland Scholten saw off Jamie Caven 3-1 in the tournament's opening match.
The Dutchman, returning to form after being plagued by a shoulder injury in recent years, made a flying start but was pegged back to 1-1.
The quality rose as the contest progressed - in one fourth-set leg there were four 180s hit - but in the end Scholten prevailed to set up a second-round meeting with Wayne Jones.
Despite some 'double trouble', Jones beat Scott MacKenzie 3-1 in the day's final match to progress.