Darts: Lewis back to defend his title at Auckland Masters

By Sam Warlow

England darts champion Adrian Lewis. Photo / Getty
England darts champion Adrian Lewis. Photo / Getty

English darts star Adrian Lewis is back to defend his title when the world's best head to Trusts Arena for the Auckland Darts Masters this weekend.

Lewis won last year's inaugural event after a thrilling final showdown with Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld, and is confident in his form heading in to this year's tournament.

"We won the World Cup a couple of weeks ago so my form's been good going in to the tournament."

Lewis has gone back-to-back once in his individual career, at the PDC World Darts Championship in 2011 and 2012, and the world number four is keen to add another to his resume.

"I'm looking forward to trying to retain it".

"That's the aim, normally history repeats itself so let's see if it'll happen again."

He is also a chance for a second back-to-back title in as many tournaments, having won the aforementioned World Cup with partner Phil Taylor earlier this month for the second straight year. With that triumph celebrated, it's back to business for Lewis.

"The majority of the year, we're [Lewis and Taylor] always obviously rivals."

"When we're up there, there's no mates, you go up there and do your job."

Off the stage however, it's a different story.

Lewis said "I spend more time with the lads, really, than I do with my own family because we're always on the road.

"There's no off-season so we live in each other's pockets week in and week out".

The Auckland Darts Masters gives New Zealand's top players the chance to test their mettle against the world's best.

Lewis rates Kiwis Cody Harris and Warren Parry as two competitors that could stir things up.

"Looking at the form of Cody Harris. For New Zealand, obviously in the World Cup, I thought he was fantastic".

Harris, the 30-year-old South Auckland native, has drawn Raymond van Barneveld for his opening match.

"Raymond [van Barneveld]'s gonna have his hands full there so maybe that could be a shock" said Lewis.

Parry, a man who beat world No 1 Michael van Gerwen in 2014, will play Scotsman Peter "Snakebite" Wright.

"Looking at Warren Parry, he's done damage before. Parry could turn up and there'll be no shock there either" said Lewis.

Ultimately, Lewis said "it doesn't matter if you're playing against a qualifier or one of the world's top players. You've got to be on your game and if you're not you can lose".

Lewis will play Gisborne-born Stuart Leach to begin his Auckland Darts Masters title defence.

The tournament spans three nights, starting on Friday and running through to finals night on Sunday. It features eight PDC players and eight regional qualifiers from Australia and New Zealand.

- NZ Herald

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