Darts: Lewis semi-final delayed by draft row as Hamilton holds his nerve

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The Independent Online

The second semi-final in the PDC World Championship was delayed amid farcical scenes last night when both players, reigning champion Adrian Lewis and James Wade protested about the breeze on stage at Alexandra Palace.

Wade had taken the early initiative, storming into a 2-0 lead when the players' dissatisfaction with the conditions became apparent. Lewis walked off the stage and remonstrated with officials while Wade carried on practising and there was a 20-minute delay as organisers tried to isolate where the draft was coming from.

With the crowd growing increasingly restless, Lewis and Wade were involved in an intense discussion on stage before it was announced that the match would continue.

Lewis appeared to be on the verge of a fightback when he won the first set after the resumption, but his concentration wavered and Wade, from Aldershot, reeled off three sets to stand on the verge of victory. However, Lewis managed to regroup and won the next two sets to leave the game poised at 5-3 as play continued past midnight.

Earlier, Andy Hamilton won a thrilling first semi-final against Australia's Simon Whitlock 6-5. Hamilton, from Stoke-on-Trent, started well but looked to be on his way out of the tournament when he trailed 5-3 in the best-of-11-sets match. He dug deep, though, and took the match the full distance before battling his way over the line.

"I'm quite emotional, I'm speechless," Hamilton said. "Simon pushed me so hard, I had to take those checkouts out to win the game. He's an awesome player – and with a broken foot as well. There's one game left now and if I grit my teeth and fight, I could win it."

Whitlock added: "It was one of the closest games I've ever lost. Credit to Andy, good darts – I wish Andy the best of luck in the final." Alluding to his injury, he added: "I've had a fantastic tournament – and I wasn't even supposed to play."

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