As the 2018 Lakeside World Darts Championship got underway, we had arguably one of the matches of the tournament potentially in the opening game as the world number one and the number two seed Mark McGeeney took on the 3-time Lakeside world champion Martin Adams in his 25th Lakeside world darts championship.The Stockport ace McGeeney held his own in the opening exchanges as he held his throw comfortably to take the opening leg with a 17-darter. He then nearly backed it up with a sumptuous 141 finish as he narrowly missed D12, but he was gifted another opportunity as Adams couldn’t take out. McGeeney stepped in as he picked out D6 to double the advantage in the opening set.
The momentum was with Adams in the third leg as he looked to break straight back, but he missed some key opportunities as he missed three darts at D19 which gifted McGeeney a chance at 60 for the set, and the Number two seed punished the error as he picked out D20 to pinch the first set 3-0. The scoreline didn’t entirely reflect the way the first set panned out as ‘Wolfie’ did have his chances, but there were punished ruthlessly by McGeeney as he hit 75% of his attempts at a double in that first set (3/4).
The second set had a similar feel to the opening set in the opening exchanges as McGeeney won his fourth leg on-the-spin as he picked out D20 following a missed attempt at the same target for a 105 finish as the broke the throw of Martin Adams.
Adams came back superbly though in the following leg as he fired in a superb 13-dart leg as he won his first leg in his 25th Lakeside World Darts Championship.
The tables were turning in the very next leg as it was McGeeney this time who gifted Adams an opportunity as he missed two darts at D20 to move 2-1 ahead, but in stepped Adams as he picked out D8 to move 2-1 ahead.
Adams soon found his groove as he fired in yet another 13-dart leg to seal the second set as he pinned D16 to restore parity in the match.
McGeeney soon stopped the rot as he picked out D4 with his last dart in hand to take the opening leg in the third set with Adams breathing down his neck as he was waiting to pounce on any missed opportunity from the number two seed.
The world number one McGeeney went on to double his lead as he took out the first ton plus finish of the tournament as he took out 103 to break the Adams throw.
McGeeney dominated what was the last leg of the third set as he fired in a 17-darter as he picked out D18 for a 2-1 lead in sets having whitewashed Adams in both of the sets that he’d won to that point.
McGeeney did have a great opportunity to break the Adams throw in the opening leg of the fourth set, but he missed a big number which denied him an opportunity at the bull, but both players missed numerous attempts at a double and it was Adams who picked out D2 to steal the leg as he moved into a 1-0 lead.
The second leg was a great leg in terms of quality in the scoring stakes, McGeeney narrowly missed a dart at D12 for a 101 finish, and it was punished by Adams as he fired in a 14-dart leg as he took out 65 to double his lead in the fourth set.
The 3-time Lakeside Champion Adams showed terrific composure as he pinned D20 to seal the fourth set 3-0 as he forced a fifth and deciding set.
McGeeney got off to a flying start in the deciding set as he picked out D18 to complete a 13-dart leg as he moved 1-0 ahead. It was a brilliant response by both players in the next leg as the they both upped the ante by leaving 3-dart combinations after just nine darts, but it was Adams who levelled things up at one-a-piece as he picked out D16.
There was no seperating the pair in the scoring stakes in the third leg, McGeeney did have the advantage as he had the darts, but Martin Adams provided a fantastic 86 finish to break the throw of the number two seed to move 2-1 ahead.
But, after a poor leg from Adams, McGeeney produced a 17-darter as he found D20 to level the match up at two-a-piece in both sets and legs in which the match must be decided by two clear legs.
Both players seemed to fluff their lines somewhat in the next leg, but McGeeney took out D17 in the end to gain the advantage in the contest as he moved 3-2 to the good.
Adams went on to survive a match dart from McGeeney as the world number one missed a dart at D13 to progress, Adams returned to pick out D8 to level things up once more at 3-3.
Adams missed a massive opportunity to move 4-3 ahead as he missed two crucial darts at a double for a 96 finish, and crucially it was punished by McGeeney as he took out 56 to move within a leg of the match.
Sensationally, McGeeney was denied an opportunity of a finish to complete the victory as Martin Adams fired in a 97 finish as he levelled things up once more at 4-4 courtesy of a 15-darter.
In what was a classic encounter, McGeeney once again had the advantage as he moved 5-4 ahead as he took out 80 for a 15-dart leg of his own to hold his throw.
Martin Adams once again refused to lie down as he took out 76 under immense pressure as he pinned D20 to take the match to a sudden death leg.
Adams won the bull prior to the sudden death leg, but despite having the advantage, Adams really suffered in the scoring stakes as McGeeney gained the advantage in the final leg of the match as he left 74 after 12 darts, the Stockport ace did fluff his lines slightly in leaving a double, but he fired in D20 to book his place into the second round in what was a fantastic match to open up the 2018 Lakeside World Darts Championship.
Photo : David Gill