There were ugly scenes at the oche last night as former world champion Adrian Lewis was suspended with immediate effect following a bad-tempered clash with Spanish player Jose Justicia.
Security had to intervene as Lewis confronted his opponent and appeared to shove him at the conclusion of their tense quarter-final encounter.
The shocking incident did not go unpunished as after Lewis’ semi-final defeat to Michael Van Gerwen the Darts regulation authority came down hard on the Stoke player as they released a statement leaving no doubt who they blamed for the altercation.
“Following a review of the incidents which occurred in his match with Jose Justicia at Friday’s UK Open qualifier, the Darts Regulation Authority has suspended Adrian Lewis with immediate effect pending a full investigation into the matter.
“The player has the right of appeal.”
Tensions seemed to flare during the match when both players bumped into each other at the oche. The coming together occurred when Lewis moved in to take his throw just as his opponent had released the final arrow of his turn.
The incident seemed to incense Lewis and as the red mist descended his behaviour became increasingly more hostile and aggressive towards his Spanish rival.
Justicia at various stages could be seen at the oche smiling nervously and shaking his head in bewilderment as his towering opponent fumed behind him.
Heated words were exchanged at regular intervals with a finger pointing Lewis warning the Spaniard not to ‘p*** him off.’
As Lewis finally closed out the victory and in scenes that shocked viewers and commentators, the 33-year-old again jabbed his finger at Justicia who himself pointed to the edge of the oche where the initial incident occurred.
This enraged Lewis further as he angrily shoved his stunned rival in the chest before security came to escort the irate victor away.