ADRIAN LEWIS claimed victory in the inaugural TAB Auckland Darts Masters with an incredible 11-10 triumph over Raymond van Barneveld, following up a semi-final defeat of Phil Taylor with his first PDC World Series of Darts win.
Lewis had ended Taylor's bid to win a fourth successive World Series of Darts event with a superb 10-9 semi-final win in a game which he never led until hitting the winning double 16.
He then returned to the stage to conetest a thrilling final with van Barneveld, which also went the full distance as the Stoke star bounced back from his defeat in last week's Sydney Darts Masters to finally go all the way.
Lewis hit back from 2-0 down to lead 4-2, and also moved 8-5 and 10-8 only for van Barneveld to twice level, with the Dutchman taking his tally of 180s for the match to 11 as the game moved into a deciding leg.
With almost 5,000 fans on the edge of their seats at the Trusts Arena, van Barneveld was first to a finish in the final leg only to miss five match darts as Lewis recovered from two misses of his own to steady his nerves and fire in double one for glory.
"This is brilliant and it ranks up there as one of the greatest tournaments I've ever won," said the two-time World Champion. "I had a dart to go 9-6 up and missed, and when Raymond got level I thought I'd blown it.
"He was outstanding and it's one of the best performances I've ever seen from him - every time I turned around he seemed to be hitting a 180 and he made it really tough.
"On that final double I had to stop and to be honest I was looking for someone in the crowd to throw the double one for me! I took my time and thankfully it went right in the middle.
"It's very special to be the first winner in New Zealand. Phil Taylor's always said to me about trying to be the first player to win when we go to a new country, and I'm over the moon to be the first winner here in Auckland.
"I've beaten Gary Anderson, Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld in the last three matches and it can't get much tougher than that. It's massive and I think I've done really well.
"I learned from the final in Sydney and my consistency was great. I've had a couple of semi-finals on the World Series, the final last week and now won in Auckland, so I'm really happy with that."
The inaugural event in Auckland was a huge success with 15,000 fans attending the three days at the Trusts Arena, and Lewis added: "This is one of the best crowds we've ever played in front of, and I think all the players would say that.
"Everybody enjoyed the darts and gave us great support."
Van Barneveld made the early running in the final, landing a 180 and double 12 to take the opener and double 18 to move two legs up.
Lewis, though, fired back with 180s in the next three legs as he took out tops, double 12 for a 12-darter and a sensational 123 bullseye finish - after van Barneveld missed the same middle double - to take a 3-2 lead.
He then posted three 140s in winning leg six to move 4-2 up, with van Barneveld enjoying six perfect darts with two 180s in the next as he responded with a 12-darter of his own.
The pair traded double eight finishes before Lewis fired in a 180 and a 102 checkout, with van Barneveld replying with a maximum and double 16 to stay in touch at 6-5.
Lewis, though, landed another maximum in an 11-darter before breaking throw on double 16 in the 13th leg - despite a van Barneveld 180 - take a three-leg lead at 8-5.
Van Barneveld, though, took the next three to level, taking out 65 on tops, double four to punish three misses from Lewis and 86 on the bull, to follow up two 180s, as he squared the game at eight-all.
A pair of double top finishes saw Lewis move out to 10-8, but van Barneveld hit six perfect darts for the second time in the game as he stayed in the contest with a 13-dart finish, before hitting his 11th maximum and double nine to send the game all the way.
Two 140s to open the final leg from van Barneveld were followed by a 171 score from Lewis, with the Dutchman initially missing double eight and four to take the win.
Lewis was then unable to land double four and two to take out 68, but when van Barneveld missed three further match darts, with two at double four and one at double two, the 30-year-old composed himself before stepping up to hit the winning double one.
Lewis' semi-final had also gone all the way, as he ended Taylor's 14-game winning run on the PDC World Series of Darts with a sensational 10-9 win in an equally dramatic deciding leg.
Taylor had claimed wins in Japan, Perth and Sydney ahead of the PDC's debut in Auckland, and overcame Craig Caldwell and Simon Whitlock with superb displays to reach the last four.
He also looked on course to move into the final when he stormed into a 4-1 lead, taking out 78, 85 and double 16 before punishing a missed bullseye from Lewis in the fifth leg by following up a 174 score with a stunning 131 checkout.
Lewis replied with a 180 and double ten and landed a further two maximums in the seven, only to be left reeling once more as Taylor took out 121 on the bull for a 5-2 cushion.
A fifth maximum in four legs helped Lewis to kick-start his resurgence in the eighth leg, as double 18 hit back before he finished double 16 and double 12 to level the contest.
Taylor's 76 finish edged him back ahead before Lewis landed double 14 to level, but the 16-time World Champion again moved clear as he followed a third-dart double eight with double 12 to take an 8-6 lead.
Double ten saw Lewis respond in the 15th, and he hit six perfect darts with two 180s in levelling the contest in the next at eight-all.
Taylor again found another effort, hitting a 180 and taking out 122 on double 16 for a 12-darter to move 9-8 up and to the brink of victory, but Lewis finished a 14-darter on double eight to force a decider.
Nerves hit both players, with Taylor first to a finish only to miss four darts at double top and ten to claim victory, allowing his rival to sneak back in and finish 48 on double 16 to snatch victory - leading for the very first time in the game with his final dart.
Van Barneveld had won through to his second World Series of Darts final with a fine 10-6 win over battling James Wade in their last four clash at the Trusts Arena.
After the opening two legs went against the throw - as van Barneveld kicked off the game with a 180 and landed double 12 before Wade levelled with a 111 finish - the left-hander traded maximums and double top finishes with his opponent as he took a 3-2 advantage.
A missed bullseye from Wade to take a 4-2 lead was punished as van Barneveld posted double 16 as he embarked on a seven-leg surge, finishing 64 on double eight, double one, tops, double five and checkouts of 72 and 76 to move 9-3 up.
He also kicked off the 13th leg with a 180, but a missed match dart allowed Wade in to finish 100 to stay in the game, and a further four chances went begging for the Dutchman in the next as the left-hander hit double ten to continue his revival.
Wade then hit a 180 and tops to win a third successive leg, but the five-time World Champion was first to a finish in the next and took out double 16 to seal his spot in the decider.
Van Barneveld's narrow defeat extends his wait for a World Series of Darts title, having previously reached the 2013 Dubai Darts Masters final, and he said: "It was a fantastic match.
"At times during the final I was a few legs behind but then I got it to the final leg, and of course I'm disappointed when you miss darts to win.
"Yesterday I hit a crucial finish on the bullseye in the last leg against Michael van Gerwen which put me into the semi-finals, and today I missed five darts to win. If you don't hit it, your opponent will."
The Dutchman added: "The crowd were simply amazing and it was a privilege to play here.
"We gave them a fantastic match and I'm so proud to be in the final with Adrian - he's a fantastic champion."
The TAB Auckland Darts Masters concludes the PDC's five international World Series of Darts events for 2015, with the top eight players from the final rankings progressing to compete in the 24-player World Series of Darts Finals at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow on November 21-22.
TAB Auckland Darts Masters
Sunday August 30
Raymond van Barneveld 10-6 James Wade
Adrian Lewis 10-9 Phil Taylor
Best of 19 legs
Adrian Lewis 11-10 Raymond van Barneveld
Best of 21 legs