James Wade can win World Matchplay Darts, says Rod Studd
By Rod Studd
Last Updated: 15/07/16 11:28am
James Wade should be taken more seriously as a title contender at this year's World Matchplay Darts, says Sky Sports expert Rod Studd.
Michael van Gerwen begins his defence of the title on Saturday night at Blackpool's Winter Gardens, live on Sky Sports, but Studd believes last year's losing finalist is being overlooked...
I just find it utterly bemusing and bewildering that Wade is still being dismissed as a 25-1 underdog and outsider, considering his record at the World Matchplay. Five players are rated more likely to win the tournament by the bookmakers, which I find very surprising.
He loves the format, he loves the stage, and for James Wade to be dismissed in this tournament, I find absolutely astonishing.
There is only one man in this field that has a better World Matchplay record and that's Phil Taylor. Wade has won the tournament once in 2007, but has been in the final five other times and three of the last five finals. He's won 35 games in 44 attempts on the Winter Garden stage. He loves the format, he loves the stage, and for James Wade to be dismissed in this tournament, I find absolutely astonishing.
He's in the opposite half to Michael van Gerwen, in a very difficult quarter of the draw, which features Raymond van Barneveld and Phil Taylor. But he's won his last two games against Taylor and he also beat Phil in the Matchplay semi-final last year, so I don't think he will fear 'The Power'.
Asked the most likely winner, you're going to say Michael van Gerwen, and I certainly won't be writing off Phil Taylor, that's for sure.
Van Gerwen goes off favourite, but he went off favourite in the World Championship, and we know what happened then. There are no guarantees in sport and there are no guarantees in darts, with so many players so closely matched and being capable of averaging 100-105.
I think it will be an absolutely terrific tournament and predicting the competition with any accuracy is not easy, but I just like the way Wade is going about his business at the moment and I like the way he plays in Blackpool, so I will nail my colours to the mast of 'The Machine.
Watch the opening night of the World Matchplay this Saturday, starting at 7pm on Sky Sports.