BUXTON’S Adrian Daniels was edged out at the semi-final stage of the John Smith’s People’s Darts competition – but only after a thrilling comeback in his quarter-final match at The Lakeside.
Daniels, 39, nicknamed ‘The Buxton Bear’, plays out of The Pennsylvania in Briton Ferry and was representing the North West in front of a large crowd and the BBC cameras at the Lakeside Country Club, Frimley.
The quarter-final saw Daniels take on Central England’s Michael “The Bald One” Marshall from the Bengeworth Social Club in Evesham - a player who had lost to Raymond Van Barneveld in the first round of the professional tournament back in 1998.
Daniels found himself 2-1 down, but dug deep to fight back to 2-2. A quickfire 180 with his first three darts put immediate pressure on Marshall and the Buxton Bear roared to a 3-2 victory to round off a superb comeback.
The South East’s Johnny “The Punk” Haines from the High Street Club in Swindon awaited Daniels in the semi-final, another tough opponent who had scored tremendously well in his quarter-final.
Haines kicked off the first leg with a 180 and his early pressure told as he established a 2-0 lead. Daniels battled hard to get back into the tie to make it 2-1 but Haines was too good on the night.
Daniels’ mentor, Tony O’Shea, said afterwards: “Adrian is a great player but he was in a tough draw.
“He overcame a player who had played at the Lakeside before, as well as a fellow amateur who had an excellent ability to score consistently high and put him under pressure from the off.
“He can leave the tournament with his head held high. He won a match on the biggest stage in darts and got to the last four of a tournament in which thousands entered.”