James Wade is hoping to make some more memories in the 2012 Betfair World Matchplay, as he goes in pursuit of his eighth PDC major title at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.

The world number three has reached the final of the prestigious tournament four times since 2006, winning it once, and aims to build on his success in the seaside town.

“I have some fantastic memories of the place and I love the tournament,” said Wade, the 2007 winner. “I really began to make my mark as a professional darts player in Blackpool. It was the first major I won so it is a special place for me.”

‘The Machine’ has experienced mixed fortunes so far this year. He reached the semi-finals of both the Ladbrokes World Championship and the McCoy’s Premier League before his hopes of defending his Speedy Services UK Open crown were ended in the third round last month.

But Wade, the PDC’s second most succesful player after Phil Taylor, is confident in his ability and hopes to hit top form when he faces  Welshman Richie Burnett on Sunday in the first round.

He said: “I’m sure that I can do very well in this tournament and there is no reason why I can’t go all the way if I’m at the top of my game, but I have to win the first match first and foremost.

“Richie is a very good player, who has shown a bit of form recently so I am expecting a good battle but I’m used to that and I have shown time and time again that I can win these battles.

“Every game is going to be difficult. You can only take it one game at I time and confidence only comes with wins but I know that when I’m playing well, I can beat anyone.”

“I was disappointed not to go further in the UK Open, but the big tournaments come thick and fast at this time of year, and this is my chance to bounce back, and I have proved on many occasions I can do that.”

By Chris Murphy

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Image courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC


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