James Wade admits he is “hungry” again after landing his first PDC title of the year.
The Machine won the Players Championship in Barnsley on Saturday beating Michael Smith 8-2 in the final.
Wade took the title on his 36th birthday just days before he faces a crunch Unibet Premier League clash with Daryl Gurney in Liverpool.
He said: “This win means a lot to me, perhaps it would’ve meant even more a year ago but it still means a lot because I haven’t been winning things.
“I’m so, so happy to win this, people don’t know how happy I am and now I’m excited and looking forward to the future.
“I’ve been playing well for a long time now but haven’t quite been getting the rub of the green, but today I’ve had a bit of a touch by scraping past Adrian.
“I still think I’m underachieving for my ability but it’s about turning up every morning and being hungry, which I am.”
Wade’s day began with comfortable wins over Mark Webster and Christian Kist, before a 6-0 whitewash of Peter Hudson and a 103.5 average in a 6-3 triumph over Arron Monk saw him reach the quarter-finals.
There, Wade survived five match darts in a dramatic 6-5 success against Adrian Lewis, which he followed up with another sudden-death shoot-out victory over Scott Baker 7-6, before seeing off Smith in a repeat of their World Series of Darts Finals showdown to claim the £10,000 top prize.
Wade got off to a perfect start in the final with a 12-dart break of throw, which he followed up with a 124 checkout on the bullseye to double his advantage.
The world number nine found tops for another break of throw to go into a commanding 4-1 lead, only for Smith to find a double at the ninth attempt in the following leg to hit straight back.
However, Wade once again made no mistake on tops to make makes it three consecutive breaks of throw at 5-2, before reeling off the final three legs to seal a comprehensive victory.
Corey Cadby’s return to action ended in a 6-2 loss to Vincent van der Voort in round two, while another difficult day for Raymond van Barneveld saw the five-time World Champion go down 6-4 to Gary Eastwood in his first match since reversing his immediate retirement decision.
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)
Photography: Taylor Lanning (@taylorlanning11)