Tag Archives: James wade

Three Degrees Of James Wade – The Machine Claims Third UK Open

In any sport to play successfully though three different eras is unusual, to play through three of the best in the history of your chosen field and still be winning major titles is quite remarkable. Yet The Machine has done just that:

JAMES WADE landed his third Ladbrokes UK Open title in Milton Keynes on Sunday, defeating Luke Humphries 11-5 in the final. Almost 13 years on from his first UK Open title, Wade’s success sees him join Phil Taylor in winning televised PDC titles across three decades.

In addition, the £100,000 winner’s prize sees him move up to fourth in the PDC Order of Merit, overtaking Rob Cross as the highest-ranked Englishman.

Now a winner of ten televised ranking titles, Wade expanded his impressive trophy haul with a first UK Open crown since 2011 thanks to a weekend of consistent performances at the Marshall Arena.

His first TV success since November 2018 was secured with a typically clinical display in the final against Humphries, who knocked out reigning champion Michael van Gerwen in the semis with a brilliant display but was unable to repeat the feat in the decider.

Experience won the day as Wade – who averaged 102.52 and was on target with 41% of his checkout attempts – made the former World Youth Champion pay for 20 missed doubles.

“To win TV titles across three decades is something I’m very proud of,” said Wade. “I’m enjoying it again, I think I’ve reinvented myself.


“I’m very happy to be in the world of darts, it’s a great place to be when you’re winning.

“I’m here to provide stability for my son and winning these allows me to do that”.

“Luke is quality, he’s a gentleman and he showed his quality in the way he dismantled Michael [van Gerwen] in the semi-finals.”


In reaching the final Wade was at his unflappable best in defeating world number one Gerwyn Price 11-6 in the semi-finals, having produced a 10-8 comeback win over Simon Whitlock in the afternoon’s quarter-finals.

Wade’s route to the title began with a scare from Ryan Joyce in round four as he came through a last-leg decider, before defeating Cross and Germany’s Gabriel Clemens in rounds five and six on Saturday.

Despite coming up short in his first televised final, two-time World Youth Champion Humphries continued his progression and produced a sensational 107.41 average in his 11-5 semi-final win over Van Gerwen.

Humphries, who edged out Dave Chisnall 10-9 in the quarter-finals, pockets the £40,000 runners-up prize moves up eight places to 33rd on the PDC Order of Merit. The 26-year-old reflected:

“It’s been an incredible weekend for me, an emotional weekend,”
“To reach a TV final is the most unbelievable feeling. I think James is the best player in the world under pressure and he showed it in that game.

“I’m here to achieve big things in darts and this run puts me in good stead going forward.

“I want to be playing the best players week-in, week-out. I know I’ve got the game to do it. Tonight it wasn’t my night, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.”

The Ladbrokes UK Open reached its climax on Sunday after 151 players competed in the tournament’s opening day on Friday.

South Africa’s Devon Petersen reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 2015, while Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski made it to the last eight for the first time before losing to Van Gerwen.

2021 Ladbrokes UK Open
Sunday March 7

Afternoon Session

Quarter-Finals
James Wade 10-8 Simon Whitlock
Gerwyn Price 10-9 Devon Petersen
Luke Humphries 10-9 Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen 10-7 Krzysztof Ratajski
Evening Session

Semi-Finals
James Wade 11-6 Gerwyn Price
Luke Humphries 11-5 Michael van Gerwen

Final
James Wade 11-5 Luke Humphries

—–ENDS——

Picture: L Lustig (PDC)

Darting Millions – Six Who Hit The Magic Mark.

The earning power of dart players has soared in recent years. Gone are the days of the top players, or even the second rank, having to scratch around to supplement their darts earnings in order to pay the bills or even carry on playing.

JAMES WADE & ROB CROSS Winners of darting millions. PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG:

Today players in the PDC top 32 are winning over £50k a year. Add in a few exhibitions, and good sponsorship deals and very healthy living can be earned without claiming multiple titles or shining on the TV.

Premium Dart Data (@premiumdartdata) recently pointed out that six players have earned over £1,000,000 from just 6 PDC major events (WC, WM, WGP, Open, GSoD & PCFs) :

  • Phil Taylor – £4,434,000
  • MVG – £3,539,500
  • G Anderson – £1,959,740
  • Adrian Lewis – £1,567,250
  • J Wade – £1,525,750
  • Raymond Van Barneveld – £1,395,750

We looked a little further and these guys are not the only ones to have claimed £million + in prize money. Counting 1975 as a decent starting point, and going right up to the present day, almost twenty players have claimed at least 1,000,000 during their career:

Thanks to dartsdatabase.com

RankPlayerCountryPrize
1Phil TaylorEngland£7,634,754
2Michael van GerwenNetherlands£7,426,167
3Gary AndersonScotland£3,850,772
4Raymond van BarneveldNetherlands£3,452,378
5James WadeEngland£3,232,143
6Adrian LewisEngland£2,982,634
7Peter WrightScotland£2,527,638
8Simon WhitlockAustralia£1,998,249
9Dave ChisnallEngland£1,711,665
10Mervyn KingEngland£1,620,858
11Michael SmithEngland£1,437,685
12Terry JenkinsEngland£1,348,883
13Robert ThorntonScotland£1,294,126
14Mensur SuljovicAustria£1,219,367
15Rob CrossEngland£1,188,600
16Daryl GurneyNorthern Ireland£1,090,450
17Andy HamiltonEngland£1,078,794
18Ian WhiteEngland£1,034,058
19Steve BeatonEngland£1,008,055

It is remarkable that MVG will pass Taylor’s career prize money within the next twelve months. As well as showing Micheal’s remarkable talent it also shows how the earning power has increased in the last few years.

Last player to reach the £1miilion mark! Pic: PDC

Perhaps the most noteworthy contrast in the table is both Daryl Gurney and Rob Cross earning over £1million in a very few years. Meanwhile, Steve Beaton has just reached the million mark after a career spanning a mere 35 years!


A version of this piece first appeared in Darts World Magazine in June 2019. http://www.dartsworld.com

Featured Pic : PDC

Premier League 2019: Opening Night. Welcome to Hollywood!

Following much debate over who should be selected, in the first place, and then again over who should replace the injured Gary Anderson, the PDC Premier League will get underway tonight in Newcastle (UK).

The first of “The Contenders” will also take a bow. Chris Dobey has been on the verge of a breakthrough for some time. Hollywood, as Dobey is known, first came to our attention in 2014, qualified for the UK Open and reached the last 32 of the World Masters.

Chris Dobey a.k.a Hollywood.
Pic: PDC

After success at Q School in 2015, Chris played the PDC Pro Tour full time. He also received the support of Gary Anderson. After a year of settling in Dobey finally began to show what he could do in 2016. Great runs on the Pro Tour, especially the Euro Tour, ensured qualification for the World Championship, he also qualified separately for the Grand Slam and reached the Qtr Final.
Dobey again plateaued, for twelve months, when many thought he was destined for greater things. After flattering to deceive again, during most of 2018, Chris finally moved up a gear during the Players Championship finals and again in the World championships. His run to the last 16 was superb, but his defeat at the hands of Gary Anderson gained him many fans and was lauded as one of the best games of the event.

Dobey earned his guest slot in the Premier League
Pic; PDC /L Lustig

The serendipitous withdrawal of his Mentor has given Dobey an unexpected opportunity to show his talent to a far wider audience.  It will be interesting to see if the Dobey of last December will be on stage, or whether it will be the intimidated Hollywood, of twelve months previously, who capitulated to The Power in 2017/8. If the 2019 Dobey appears, it will be a very tough opening night for the hugely popular Mensur Sulovic.

Mensur, Hugely popular Austrian with an infectious manner.
Pic: L Lustig / PDC

Elsewhere, Raymond van Barneveld will begin his long farewell to professional darts, taking on fellow former champion James Wade. It is highly debatable that RVB deserves, on form, to be in this year’s edition. However, the Barny Army will get a final chance to enjoy its hero in a regular, competitive and entertaining setting. It could inspire Barney to great things or prove too much pressure for this strangely vulnerable fella. Regardless of the outcome, surely RVB’s contribution to darts deserves a decent send-off.

RVB (could fade into the background
while Ian White needs to discover a route
to TV success. Pic : Lustig / PDC

While players such as Ian White (above), Simon Whitlock and Joe Cullen can count themselves as unlucky not to have been given a shot at the full league, it may prove a masterstroke to feature new blood almost every week.

Local stars and seriously talented newcomers are what inspire crowds and refresh the game for new generations of players and fans. Here’s hoping the idea gets off to a Hollywood start!

The Masters, Elite Event or Terrestrial Runner’s Up Prize?

The PDC season opener suffers from formulaic predictability and a certain empty feeling, could it be raised up to something more?

The Masters, in its seven holdings, has become the traditional curtain-raiser to the PDC darts season. The event, for an elite top 16 players, gives free to air tv coverage to the game’s major stars and sets the table for the upcoming twelve months.

Yesterday Micheal Van Gerwen claimed his fifth consecutive title with a convincing 10-5 win over James Wade in the final. In truth, he was never troubled during the event. iTV4 again put together a decent production and darts in 2019 can be said to be truly underway.

MVG claimed a 5th Masters title.
Pic: PDC

The Masters, however,  is sandwiched between the end of World Championships and the start of The Premier League and would not feature on many players priority list. To be fair The Masters showcases the very best players in the PDC system and is played over a single weekend. The relatively short formats ensure that games are quickfire. It may well be that Barry Hearn views the event as a terrestrial appetite builder or gateway tournament to recruit or covert more and more fans to the PDC brand.

Yet, The Masters feels empty and is certainly missing the edge of a ranking event or prestigious title with history or a unique twist. With MVG cleaning up, with ease, and very few matches going against expectation there is a danger of this event becoming stale and even boring. One of the best matches in this year’s event only took place due to Gary Anderson being injured and former Lakeside champion Stephen Bunting being drafted in.

Although terrestrial audiences are less exposed to darts than SKY & others even they will tire of the same dish reheated in the end. MVG is admired but not yet loved and what can appear as an unchallenged romp will have its limit. In addition, only two matches went to a deciding leg, both in the first round, and the vast majority were won by more than 11/15 were won by at least 3 clear legs.

Double World Champion heading back to form?

The BBC screened late-season showcase, The Champions League, has the unusual feature of a group stage. Perhaps the PDC/iTV4 could introduce some element of variety or unique quality into The Masters. Ideas previously floated include increasing the length of each leg to 701 or using a short set-based format.

In the meantime, we have learned little from the 2019 edition. MVG started the season much the same as he has the last few, Anderson is susceptible to back injury, Ian White must find the solution to his TV form if he is to progress any further, James Wade is in pretty good shape and this type of event suits him, Peter Wright is struggling to maintain his form and Adrian Lewis is looking stronger. This was known to most already.

Will Ian White needs
discover a route to TV success?
Pic: PDC, L Lustig.

The Masters may also have confirmed that the second group of the PDC elite, Cullen, Mensur, Chizzy and even Rob Cross need to develop ways to regularly upset the established order in the way, Daryl Gurney has managed recently.

Without unpredictability, and or a different angle, The Masters may be deemed an irrelevance by more than just darts devotees.

PDC World Series Arrives in New Zealand

The PDC’s packed summer schedule returns to Australasia this weekend for its latest event. The first of three Oceanic events will be The Auckland Darts Masters. The field, as in all the World Series events, features 16 players made up of a combination of PDC stars and local qualifiers.

Taylor v Wright 2017

Taylor’s previous dominance will not be repeated even by MVG.

Phil “The Power” Taylor will be attempting to capitalise on his Matchplay triumph and celebrate his 57th birthday in style. Taylor’s recent efforts have boosted interest, in whether he can bow out with a 17th world title.

Defending champion Gary Anderson will try to add, the 2017 Auckland title, to the Dubai event he claimed in May. Micheal Van Gerwen is absent with the Netherlands being represented by Raymond Van Barneveld the 2015 runner-up. Micheal Smith and Daryl Gurney, fresh from his superb Matchplay semi-final, will play in their first and second World Series events respectively.

Kyle Anderson

Kyle Anderson, one of four players, so far in 2017, to claim their maiden PDC title.

Australasian interest is boosted by a returning Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson who claimed his first PDC Pro Tour final last weekend, hitting perfect leg along the way. Corey Cadby, the reigning world youth champion, also proved dangerous in 2016. Cody Harris, who   reached the later stages of the Winmau World Masters in 2015, Rob Szabo, Mark Cleaver, Warren Parry, Rob Modra and, TV debutant, Darren Herewini complete the list of local talent.

Whitlock & White

Simon Whitlock, will be looking to continue his recent resurgence in the Auckland Masters.

Peter Wright and James Wade will also represent the PDC and be will be searching for their first World Series title. The Auckland Darts Masters will be held , at the Kents Arena, from Friday through to Sunday and is in association with TAB and Burger King.

 

501 or More: Defeating the Green Machine!

Follow my lead lads?
Follow my lead lads?
Pic: PDC

James Wade’s superb victory, in this weekends German Matchplay, included a 6-2 win over the apparently imperious Michael van Gerwen. Could this be the chink of light that players and fans have been looking for?

Despite his remarkable performances, in the early part of the Premier League, there have been a few signs recently that “The Green Machine” is in fact human after all. Could it be that he has just gone off the boil? Are the sheer number of events and matches dulling his edge? Or have the others player begun to find ways to at least compete and so pull off surprise results? Or could it be that MVG is struggling at, what could be regarded as, the lesser events and less able to get himself motivated to produce his phenomenal best?

Outstanding earlier in the season, has MVG dipped?
Outstanding earlier in the season, has MVG dipped?
pic: PDC.

From the start of the 2016 season, barely a chink in Michael’s armour has been visible. He has simply blown away the field in virtually every event since. Pro Tour events that take place off camera, Euro Tour events that are on stage and TV matches at the UK Open and Premier League he has been almost unstoppable. Even the occasional defeat has seemed a blip or a freakish performance from the winner. However that is not quite the full story.

Following the UK Open closely would have given a clue to what may be one slight weakness. Qualifiers Rob Cross and Barry Lynn played very well against MVG. Each played their own game and did not appear to allow fear to affect them too much. They were both qualifiers who had nothing to lose and no previous Van Gerwen baggage. MVG looked off the pace (his own that is!) against them and had to find a moment or two of inspiration to get clearly ahead and win. It seems that he found that more difficult than removing players who he knows and who are damaged already or fear embarrassment.

Cross pulled the tiger by the tail.
But did he show others the way?

A couple of close defeats to Benito Van de Pays over the last few months indicate that a player who can stay focused, restrained and throw to his own standard, can earn the chance to gain a prized win. Especially if no extra incentive or inspiration is provided.

Perhaps, to an outsider, the most surprising MVG defeat was inflicted by Ian “Diamond” White in a Pro Tour final during April. Whitey whitewashed Michael 6-0. No inkling of that result was obvious from the previous six games that day. Yet Ian is more than capable of astonishing darts and can be almost unstoppable when in a rhythm. He also gives little for the opponent to react to and is well liked and respected.

"Diamond" handed MVG a 6-0 whitewash recently.
“Diamond” handed MVG a 6-0 whitewash recently.
pic: pdc

Other results give a glimmer of hope. Early rounds are producing closer games. Partially due to Michael seeming to need something to get him going. Recently in Gibraltar it almost seemed as if only danger of defeat brought the best out of him.

A player perfectly suited to exploit these glimmers of opportunity is James Wade. Vastly experienced and comfortable with his own game. He gives nothing extra for MVG to key off or react to. James wins a high percentage of legs on his own throw. He does not throw a high number of huge out-shots or average massively in comparison to some. Yet since last summer Wade has won three out of five encounters.

The Green Machine. Perhaps its not so easy to stay in top gear?
The Green Machine.
Not so easy to stay in top gear?
Pic: PDC

Meanwhile “The Power” has been edging back toward MVG. Recent games have been much closer, with Phil having strong spells. Could it be that the other players will step up and play their part?

The second half of 2016 looks set to be a superb battle. The field vs MVG with the field finally seeing a ray of light.

UK Open 2016 – PDC & Coral’s FA Cup of Darts – Preview

Coral Uk Open Logo

The Coral UK Open is one of many darts fan’s favorite events. The only TV tournament that offers a random draw, re done after every round, and genuine opportunity for newer faces and genuine amateur players to make a name for themselves.

With seven different winners and a different runner-up in every event, thirteen in total, the UK Open provides much-needed variety and interest. It has become known as The FA Cup of Darts!

The last few years have seen the event screened by iTV4. This years edition takes place from Friday March 4th – Sunday March 6th and thus reaches a large audience of terrestrial viewers.

 Qualifying routes, for both 96 PDC “Professional” players and 32 places secured through winning open knock out events in Riley’s sports bars across the UK, the field of 128 contains a mix of players from all walks of life as well as the many start names of modern TV darts. Taylor, MVG, and Anderson will all be there in the later stages.

The Green Machine. Winner in 2015 was pushed all the way by Andrew Gilding in the Semi Final

The Green Machine. Winner in 2015 was pushed all the way by Andrew Gilding in the Semi Final

The event takes place over three intense days and sees play on multiple boards that can be covered, or switched too, for moments of high drama. The two main stages provide live TV and streamed matches and are often scheduled to give lesser known faces or interesting matches greater exposure.

Players are scheduled to come into the draw at various stages, over the first two days of the event, with the higher ranked professionals entering in the last 64 stage. A good number of David vs Goliath match ups results, as well as star players meeting different, and sometimes tougher, competition at earlier stages than in many major events.

The Wizard gave his career a huge boost reaching the UK Open Final

The Wizard gave his career a huge boost reaching the UK Open Final

Early Highlights.

Several star names will be seen earlier than usual on Friday. Wes Newton , a former finalist, will open up the main stage and former Champion Robert Thornton will appear a few matches later. Both should have enough to win their first games, although Mark Cox could trouble Wes, if he settles quickly, and the winner of Aaron Monk v Stuart Rattray will have had the benefit of playing a match before taking on The Thorn.

Young Nathan Aspinall playing the role of David to James Wade's Goliath in 2015

Young Nathan Aspinall playing the role of David to James Wade’s Goliath in 2015

There are some good-looking clashes scattered around the outside boards. The vastly experienced, and resurgent, Mick McGowen will take on World Youth Championship runner-up Nathan Aspinall and former world number five, Dennis Smith will take on Alex Roy in a battle of the young veterans!

Rising “Amateurs”

Can "The Rock" a success via Riley's qualifiers?

Can “The Rock” a success via Riley’s qualifiers?

The group of Amateur / Rileys qualifiers is as strong as it has ever been for the 2016 event. Several former PDC players have used this route. Alex Roy has been an almost ever-present in the UK Open and has played in more than fifteen world championships. Peter Hudson has extensive experience on both PDC tours and has had several great moments at this event. Steve Maish, Jason Hogg, Ian McFarlane, John Scott and Daniel Day also have extensive PDC experience.

In addition, to these more seasoned players, some very strong players are coming through after “learning their trade”. Andy Brown has huge talent and, having taken some time to re group, could be a serious threat. Darren Layden will give it nothing less than 110% and if he shows his true ability could worry many. Mike McFall is lesser known to many but, at his best, has competed with world-class players before. Paul Hogan always seems to enjoy success at the UK Open and will be joined from the BDO ranks by recent England cap Dave Parletti.

The Delderfield Dream!

Hidden in among these players of great talent is a potential sporting fairytale to cap them all. Larry Butlers’s  recent resurgence would be nothing if Les Delderfield could reproduce the form he showed in the Liverpool qualifying event. Many there described “an old bloke having the day of his darting life”, however they should have checked their darting history books! Les was a semi finalist in the World Masters in 1997! Les has had the longest stop start career you are likely to see. Some superb results, in events often five or more years apart, with nothing in between, make a very unusual story. Let’s hope for more, on this superb tale, if Les can get deeper into the event. If you fancy keeping an eye on a potential super story then look out for Les on board six in the first round, were he plays another qualifier in Mark Wilson.

Typically the trophy in this pic was won six years apart by the enigma that is Les Delderfield

Typically the trophy in this pic was won six years apart by the enigma that is Les Delderfield

Overall then, the early rounds are looking as interesting as always for the darts fan. For the casual viewer there are some good stage games on the first night and a few possible shocks. But for those willing to look a little closer there are some great stories and at least one possible darting legend!

Look out for Part II where we will see who has survived and how the big boys are likely to make out.