JAMES WADE 8 – 0 SIMON WHITLOCK
James Wade produced a stunning performance at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, winning all eight legs to overcome a helpless Simon Whitlock.
The world number three grabbed what is only the third whitewash in McCoy’s Premier League history, pulling himself level on points with his opponent, but admitted that he wasn’t overjoyed with the manor of his win.
“Simon is one of my best friends in darts and it’s not nice to beat him 8-0,” said Wade, who has won four of his last five games.
“He was struggling and I felt a bit sorry for him because it’s not a nice experience. I just wanted to get it over with. People must think it’s a great feeling to whitewash someone but it’s really not. People always write me off. I’m used to it, and I’ll keep on proving them wrong.”
Wade hit double ten to hold his throw in the opening leg, despite ‘The Wizard’ scoring the first 180 of the match. Whitlock made it two maximums in as many legs but found himself further behind when ‘The Machine’ hit double top for a break of throw.
The 2009 champion soon went three legs in front when he hit double eight. His first 180 arrived in the fourth leg, which he won on double six. Wade hit double top to win each of the next two legs, taking a 6-0 lead into the break.
He carried on where he left off when the players returned from the interval, hitting back to back maximums on his way to claiming a seventh straight leg. He hit another 180 in the eighth leg, before taking out 90 to complete the rout.
By Chris Murphy
He is the second most successful player in PDC history and still just 28 years old. The future is set to be bright for James Wade, who is taking steps away from the oche to ensure that he continues to achieve more on it.
‘The Machine’, who has won seven televised titles, is sure he will add to his impressive collection of major trophies, but is not putting himself under any unnecessary pressure to do so, as he knows that he has time on his side.
“This is the laid back year for me,” said the world number three. “I am not setting myself any targets at all this year. I’ve got a few other things on my mind, which isn’t an excuse, but I’m not expecting too much. I know that I have got a lot, in terms of ability though, so who knows what might or might not happen.
“Having things sorted at home is massively important for me. At the moment I’m concentrating on doing that. I’ve started off a little car mechanics venture with my father, which is something I enjoy, and I’m having some building work done at home.
“Part of that is for me to have practise room for the first time ever. I know that’s what I need to do to keep improving and I’m happy to be getting things sorted out.”
Wade lost his first three matches of the 2012 McCoy’s Premier League season, prompting him to be written off in some quarters, but he bounced back with three consecutive victories to put himself into strong contention for a playoff place.
Despite suffering defeat at the hands of Phil Taylor last Thursday, Wade, who won the competition in 2009, is in no doubt that has the ability to go all the way once again.
He said: “I know I can win it, it’s whether I will or not that I’m not sure about it. I made it tough for myself again and that’s my own fault, but I’m back in the running now and it’s going to be a case of which James turns up every week.
“Then if I get to the finals, it’s which James turns up in that. But I’m happy to let people talk about their favourite forces. I’ll just do my job and hopefully I can upset a few people with good results.”
‘The Machine’ doesn’t believe that his early season form was caused by a hangover from his World Championship semi-final defeat at the hands of Adrian Lewis, who battled back from four sets down to win amid bizarre circumstances at the Alexandra Palace.
Wade remains confident that he will be crowned world champion at some stage in his career and insists that he is more than happy with his achievements so far.
“To be honest I don’t think that my form in the World Championship was that great,” said Wade, whose last four showdown was blighted by a draught on stage and late finish.
“I have to look back and laugh at the fact that I lost to Adrian in that semi-final. It is annoying that I haven’t been a world champion yet. It’s bugging me but I will win the tournament. It’s a case of when rather than if.
“I would love win it, but in all honesty, I wouldn’t swap a couple of World Championship titles for everything I’ve won. No way. I wouldn’t want to have two, or even three at the expense of the seven titles I’ve got. Of course I want to win it. If I don’t then I don’t, but I know I will.”
Despite that confident statement, the Premier League star admitted that self belief is something that he has found more and more difficult to have as his career has progressed.
He said: “My two happiest times, in terms of my career, were winning my first two major titles in 2007. I realised that I was good enough to be a successful professional player when I won the World Matchplay.
“Then when I went into the World Grand Prix, which became my second TV title, I knew I was going to win it before the tournament had even started. That was a really nice feeling. Unfortunately I have struggled to replicate that kind of confidence since then.
“It is my own fault and it’s largely down to commitment towards the game, but I’m getting that commitment back right now and hopefully I can get back to where I want to be.”
Where Wade wants to be is undoubtedly at the very top of Europe’s fastest growing sport, a sport which he feels should get the press coverage that its audience demands.
He added: “I’m sure people would happy to see some other sports have a little bit less coverage in newspapers to give darts half a page a week. Unfortunately, the people who make those decisions seem to be scared to try something new for whatever reason.
“It may be that they have an old fashioned attitude towards darts, but that fact that it is SKY’s most second watched sport is a little bit of an indication that there is a market for it in the written press too.
“If they actually went and asked ‘Joe public’ in the street, they would realise that they are missing out on quite a bit of exciting writing that people would love to read.”
‘The Machine’ is back in action on Thursday night when he takes on Simon Whitlock in the McCoy’s Premier League in Cardiff.
By Chris Murphy
JAMES WADE 8 – 5 Adrian Lewis
James Wade made it three wins in as many weeks with victory over world champion Adrian Lewis in the McCoy’s Premier League in Glasgow. The seven-time major winner avenged his defeat against ‘Jackpot’ from the semi-finals of the World Championship with an 8-5 success over the world number two.
Wade, who lost his first three matches of the campaign, hit four 180’s on his way to an impressive victory at the SECC, as he continued to climb the league table.
Wade opened with a 180 before hitting double ten to hold his throw in the first leg. ‘The Machine’ hit another maximum in the next leg but was unable to break Lewis’ throw. Wade hit double five to regain the lead and then double top to grab a break of throw, increasing his advantage to 3-1.
The world number three hit double ten again to open up a three leg lead, but ‘Jackpot’ held his throw to reduce the deficit to 4-2 before the break. Wade took out a brilliant 114 finish to hold his throw in leg seven before Lewis hit a 106 checkout to pull a leg back. The world champion then broke Wade’s throw to leave himself throwing to level the match. ‘The Machine’ had other ideas though, and wrapped in his third 180 before just missing the bull for a 161 checkout. He finally tidied up five to break back immediately.
Wade guaranteed at least a point when he hit double 18 to take a 7-4 lead. Lewis held his throw in leg twelve to keep the match alive, but Wade made sure of a third successive victory when he hammered home his fourth maximum before taking out 56.
By Chris Murphy
JAMES WADE 8 – 6 RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD
James Wade saw off a potential comeback from Raymond van Barneveld in a high quality all MODUS clash at the Brighton Centre on week five of the McCoy’s Premier League.
‘The Machine’ hit five 180’s and two ton-plus finishes as he sealed an 8-6 victory over the Dutchman. Wade had led 6-1 but ‘Barney ‘, who fought back from four legs down to win last week, pulled the score back to 6-5 and 7-6 before Wade won a last leg decider to grab his second successive win.
The 2009 Premier League champion admitted that he is yet to peak in this year’s competition but is pleased to have started to turn his form around, after losing his first three matches.
Wade said: “I did a job on Raymond early doors but I seemed to shut off later on. I’m glad to get the win, I’m slowly but surely getting there and I feel like I’m going in the right direction now. I’m still not playing my best though, but if I do play my best darts I know I will be in the top four come the end of the season.”
Wade sprung into life from the start, opening with a maximum and winning the first leg in eleven darts. ‘Barney’ replied by hitting his first 180 in leg two, which he claimed in the same number of darts. The Dutchman just missed the bull for a 161 finish before ‘The Machine’ hit double ten to edge back in front. Wade then grabbed the first break of throw by hitting double top. The left-hander increased his lead to 4-1 with a brilliant 110 checkout.
Van Barneveld looked like he might claw a leg back when he hit his second maximum but Wade took out a stunning 154 finish to go four legs up before the break. ‘The Machine’ hit his second 180, followed immediately by his third, on his way to winning the seventh leg. ‘Barney’ levelled the maximum count in the next leg before hitting double 16 to reduce Wade’s lead to 6-2.
The five-time world champion won the ninth leg against the throw before holding to make it three legs on the spin. Wade relieved the pressure by winning the eleventh leg to ensure he would claim at least a point, hitting his fourth maximum in the process. ‘Barney’ kept his hopes alive by hitting double two to reduce Wade’s lead to two legs. He then grabbed another break of throw to ensure that the match would go all the way, despite Wade hitting his fifth 180.
The world number three almost won the match in sensational style but just missed the bull for a fabulous 161 finish. He sealed the victory nonetheless, hitting his trademark double ten to add to two more points to his total, having claimed his first with victory over Kevin Painter last week.
By Chris Murphy
JAMES WADE 8 – 6 Kevin Painter
James Wade grabbed his first points of the 2012 McCoy’s Premier League season with a well-earned victory over Kevin Painter at the Westpoint Arena in Exeter.
The world number three out-scored his opponent throughout, and took out three ton plus finishes on his way to an 8-6 victory.
Wade, who suffered defeats in each of the first three weeks, feels that his relatively slow start is a familiar scenario and hopes this victory will be a catalyst for improvement.
He said: “It’s the same as every year; it takes me a while to get my first win. The players are brilliant in this competition; there is no weak link, so it’s such a relief to win a game. I’ll keep going and keep fighting, I’ve always been a scrapper and hopefully I can kick on from here and win a few more.”
Wade opted to split six, hitting two then double two, to level up after Painter had won the first leg. ‘The Machine’ then produced a brilliant 118 checkout for a break of throw, before increasing his lead with a thirteen dart leg. Painter won the next leg on the bull but Wade took out another stunning finish, this time 117, to go into the break with a 4-2 lead.
‘The Artist’ pulled a leg back before the 2009 champion hit double ten to restore his advantage. Painter then took out 118 and Wade responded in style, taking out 117 for the second time in the match. ‘The Machine’ had his lead reduced to 6-5 when Painter hit double 16. Wade then held his throw to ensure he would claim his first point of the season at the very least.
Painter took out 68 to take the match to a fourteenth and final leg, which Wade won with a clinical 78 checkout.
By Chris Murphy