Thornton Admits Lewis Fracas Was "Out of Character"
Robert Thornton admits that Adrian Lewis’ dramatic stage drama with Jose Justicia is totally “out of character”.
The Thorn defended his oche pal Jackpot after the two-time world champion was suspended by the PDC and reported to the Darts Regulation Authority on Friday.
Lewis had verbals with Justicia and then pushed the Spaniard in the chest before being led away by security during their UK Open Qualifier clash in Wigan.
It is likely the two-times world champion will face a hefty fine and tournament suspension after the fracas.
Ayrshire ace Thornton, 50, said: “I love Adrian to bits, he is the life and soul of the practice room and it’s surprising this has happened.
“Adie is definitely the hardest person to wind up so I don’t know what has exactly set him off like that.
“It’s certainly out of character. He’s a big loveable guy who laughs and jokes with everyone and we’re all shocked about it.
“There are a few rumours going round that they’ve suspended the wrong player but I can’t comment on the exact incident because I wasn’t there.”
It’s potentially a massive blow for Lewis as he has slumped to World No 20 and a tournament ban would make it tougher for him to climb back up the Order of Merit.
The Stoke ace suffered with injury throughout 2017, including a back operation, and after a first round World Championship defeat to unseeded German Kevin Munch needed a good run of form to kick off the new year.
Thornton added: “I think Adrian will bounce back from this, he’s far too good a player. It will be harder now if he gets a ban but he’ll still fight on and put it behind him.
“A few years back Adrian helped me through a tough time, I was in a terrible place, but he put his arm round me and was so supportive.
“That’s the sort of guy he is and that’s what makes this so surprising. He’s always there for other people and always gives you a sloppy kiss every time you see him. It’s not like him at all.”
Sky Sports pundit Wayne Mardle admitted on Twitter that he believes Lewis will face a “suspension and fine” and that it was “totally impermissible behaviour”.
Thornton sealed his place in the Coral UK Open over the weekend but knows he’s needs to be more consistent.
He added: “I’ve done enough so far but I need to get more results to force myself further up the draw for the UK Open. I’m improving and enjoying it, my form is getting there so I’m happy.
“I’ve showed good signs over the past few months of getting results. I still need another good run in a major and I am capable of that.
“People like to write you off in sport. That fires me up and I know that I’ll produce a lot more good tournaments to prove so many folk wrong.”
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)
Photography courtesy of Chris Sargeant