When you take a look at the list of accomplishments in the career of Adrian Lewis: two world titles, a UK Open, a European Championship, and on Sunday he racked up his 25th PDC title.
A victory on the ProTour, in Players Championship 8, at the weekend, will not rank high on that list of achievements for ‘Jackpot’, but its importance cannot be understated.
An 8-3 win against Raymond van Barneveld, a fellow multiple-time world champion, in the final, saw Lewis pocket the £10,000 prize, climb up to 14th on the PDC Order of Merit, but more importantly end a near two-year run outside of the winners’ enclosure.
A disappointing 2017 season led to Lewis missing out on a place in the Premier League last year, the first time the 2011 and 2012 world champion had been omitted from the field since 2009.
And while 2018 can be reflected on as a year of rebuilding for Lewis, he reached four finals on the ProTour, it was also the first year that he did not reach at least the quarter-finals in a TV tournament for 14 years.
Getting over the winning line, regardless of the event’s prestigious, is vital for Lewis and his continued battle to reassert himself among the sport’s elite. Moments after beating van Barneveld in Sunday’s final, he said: “These floor tournaments are the hardest ones to win so I’m delighted to get back to winning ways and now I’m looking forward to getting back where I know I should be.
“That was one of the hardest games I’ve ever played, it was a bit like going back in time.”
Lewis strives to be back to where he was in the past, and Sunday’s final did feel a little bit like a throwback to years gone by, when Lewis and van Barneveld were regularly contesting some of the biggest games, including a World Championship semi-final. Here they were again battling it out in a final.
For van Barneveld, his illustrious career is in its final chapter, we know the five-time world champion is bowing out at the end of the season, regardless of what success he does or does not have over the next nine months.
But for Lewis, who at 34, does not have the longevity left in his career being questioned, it is the question of whether he can scale those heights of yesteryear again, which saw him win back-to-back world titles and several other major championships.
This is the second consecutive year that Lewis has not been included in the Premier League and, with more and more new contenders coming to the fore, the challenge for him to reclaim that spot is only getting harder.
If Sunday’s win gives Lewis anything, it will justify his strong inner belief that he can return to the top table. For a player that has enjoyed plenty of success on the sport’s biggest stages, Lewis’ next target must be to re-establish himself as one of the main contenders for major silverware once again.