SUPERB WADE WINS GIBRALTAR DARTS TROPHY TITLE
JAMES WADE ended a three-year wait for a tournament victory as he claimed an emotional win in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy on Sunday night, defeating Steve Beaton 6-4 in the final.
The seven-time major winner had not tasted glory since winning Players Championship events on successive weekends in October 2011 in Germany and Spain - and will leave Gibraltar with the £20,000 first prize under his belt. Wade had to win through the qualifiers in Crawley just to secure a place in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy^s main event, but showed his class throughout the weekend at the Victoria Stadium.
Having enjoyed 6-3 wins over Gino Vos and Andy Hamilton on the opening two days, he hit back from 5-4 down to defeat Dutch youngster Benito van de Pas in the third round on Sunday afternoon. He then saw off Kim Huybrechts 6-4 in the quarter-finals and dropped only two legs in his semi-final win over Michael Smith, before going all the way in a thrilling final with Beaton.
After sharing the opening two legs, Beaton took out 99 in the third, hit a 13-darter to break and then finished tops for a 4-1 cushion. Wade, though, hit back on tops before breaking throw with a brilliant 11-dart finish, which featured two 180s, before levelling the game in leg eight by punishing missed doubles from Beaton with a 76 finish.
He then moved ahead for the first time in a pivotal ninth leg, opening with a 180 and finishing double ten as Beaton - who hit a 177 in reply - missed double 11 for a 142 finish. Wade^s momentum continued with a 140 and two tons in the next leg as he was first to a finish, with double ten helping him secure glory.
"I^ve won so many tournaments but it got to a point where I thought I wasn^t going to win another one, and this means more to me than any TV tournament I^ve ever won," said Wade, who moves up to fifth in the PDC Order of Merit. "I wasn^t quite sure if I could do it. Even though people said I could win more titles, it^s different actually doing it so I^m really happy.
"I grew up watching Steve and other great players, and he said afterwards that he was pleased to see me winning again, which is a mark of the man. "I really enjoyed this weekend and at 4-1 down in the final I just wanted to relax and make a game of it. "I^m still a long way from my best but I never give up and I^ve shown a lot of desperation. I^ve got no fear of hitting the winning double but it^s getting to it that^s the hard bit!"
Beaton had been looking to follow up last September^s German Darts Masters victory with another European Tour success, and had seen off qualifiers Andy Parsons and Johnny Haines on his way to Sunday^s final stages. He then edged past Gary Anderson 6-5 in the quarter-finals and then overcame Simon Whitlock 6-4 in the semi-finals, but had to settle for the £8,000 runner-up prize.
"Fair play to James," said Beaton. "He^s had a tough year or two but that^s why he^s up at the top of the game and such a good player. "I had some chances and didn^t take them, and James was the better man in the final."
Whitlock^s run to the last four followed his recent Players Championship victory as he defeated Kevin Painter, Brendan Dolan and young prospect Adam Hunt on his way to the semi-finals.
Michael Smith, meanwhile, followed up Saturday^s defeat of reigning champion Phil Taylor with victories over Jamie Caven and Adrian Lewis 24 hours later, but was unable to claim another big scalp as he went down to Wade.
Chester-le-Street^s Hunt continued his emergence by winning through to his first European Tour quarter-final, defeating Ryan De Vreede, Mervyn King and Dave Chisnall before losing out to Whitlock. Anderson, Lewis and Kim Huybrechts also reached the last eight on the day, while young Dutchman van de Pas was unable to follow up Saturday^s victory over World Champion Michael van Gerwen as he lost out narrowly to Wade in the last 16.
The next PDC European Tour event will be the European Darts Open, to be held at the Maritim Hotel in Dusseldorf from July 11-13. A highlights package will be broadcast on Sky Sports on July 15 & 16.
Gibraltar Darts Trophy
Sunday June 29
Simon Whitlock 6-2 Adam Hunt
Steve Beaton 6-5 Gary Anderson
Adrian Lewis 3-6 Michael Smith
Kim Huybrechts 4-6 James Wade Semi-Finals
Simon Whitlock 4-6 Steve Beaton
Michael Smith 2-6 James Wade Final
Steve Beaton 4-6 James Wade
Simon Whitlock hit back from a slow start as he overcame Adam Hunt 6-2 to reach the Gibraltar Darts Trophy semi-finals. The Australian missed four darts at tops in the opening leg as Hunt followed an earlier 177 with double 18 to lead, and Whitlock also missed tops in the second before Hunt^s three misses allowed him to level. Whitlock then took out 40, 81 and 138 as he took a 4-1 lead, and though Hunt hit back on double ten, the former European Champion won the next two legs to seal his last four berth.
Steve Beaton overcame some nervous moments as he edged past Gary Anderson 6-5 in an 11-leg thriller at the Gibraltar Darts Trophy. Beaton took out 76 to win the opening leg and, after Anderson levelled, finished a 13-darter, double one and double eight to establish a 4-1 cushion, which he also extended to 5-3 only for the Scot to hit two double five finishes to force a decider - as Beaton missed his chance to claim victory in successive legs. The former World Champion, though, held his nerve in the decider by scoring 139, 140 and 140 to be first to a finish, before posting double ten to finally seal his last four spot.
Michael Smith^s brilliant weekend at the Gibraltar Darts Trophy continued as he followed up wins over Andy Smith, Phil Taylor and Jamie Caven with a 6-3 defeat of Adrian Lewis. Lewis took the opening leg, only for smith to take the next four in moving 4-1 up, and though Lewis took out a stunning 160 checkout and also finished 84 to reduce the gap to 5-4, tops edged Smith away from his rival before he hit a 177 to follow three earlier 180s and landed double five to secure a semi-final spot.
James Wade completed the semi-final line-up in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy by coming from behind to defeat Kim Huybrechts 6-4. The Belgian ace raced into an early 2-0 lead in a bright start, but missed his chance to take the third leg as Wade hit back on double seven before finishing 90 and 120 in a run of four successive legs as he moved ahead. Huybrechts landed 180s in the next three legs as he stayed in touch at 5-3, but Wade^s earlier 76 checkout to move to the brink of victory was followed by a 72 finish in the tenth leg - following two missed doubles from his opponent - as he secured the win.
Steve Beaton produced a fine fightback to secure his place in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy final with a 6-4 defeat of Simon Whitlock. Whitlock hit a 180 as he took the opening leg, only for Beaton to finish 60, 96 and double nine to take a 3-1 lead, but the Australian edged the fifth, took out 121 on the bull in the sixth and traded 180s with his opponent before landing tops for a 4-3 cushion.
Beaton finished 116 to level and tops to move back ahead, before punishing a missed bullseye from Whitlock in the next to remain on course for his second European Tour win inside 12 months.
James Wade joined Beaton in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy final with a 6-2 win over Michael Smith, ending the former World Youth Champion^s great weekend at the last four stage. Wade took an early 2-0 lead before Smith hit back to win two of the next three legs and reduce the gap to 3-2, but the left-hander scored 180, 140 and 140 as he restored his two-leg lead before clinically sealing victory with legs of 14 and 13 darts.
Final - Leg-By-Leg
Steve Beaton v James Wade
1-0 - Beaton misses tops for a 160 finish but returns to land double ten to take the lead.
1-1 - Wade posts a maximum, and when Beaton misses two darts at tops to extend his cushion, the left-hander returns from his earlier two misses to level the game.
2-1 - Beaton finishes 99 on double 16 to move back in front.
3-1 - Beaton takes out double eight as he moves two legs clear.
4-1 - Wade misses two darts at tops, and Beaton hits the same bed as he extends his lead to three legs.
4-2 - Wade regains his range on tops to hit back.
4-3 - Wade hits back to within a leg with a superb 11-dart finish, hitting two 180s and finishing tops.
4-4 - Beaton misses two darts at doubles to regain his advantage, and Wade capitalises by finishing 76 on tops to level the game.
4-5 - Wade opens with a 180 and Beaton hits a 177 in reply, with the left-hander missing two darts for the leg only for Beaton to miss double 11 for a 142 finish, allowing the world number six back in on double ten to move ahead for the first time.
4-6 - Wade is first to a finish, initially missing his chance to claim the win before pinning double ten to seal his first tournament win since 2011.