James Wade is back in the winner's circle and is targeting further glory
Wade: "I've shown that I'm dangerous and everyone needs to watch out."
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 13/11/18 12:29pm
James Wade has had plenty to celebrate during the last month. Just three weeks ago he became a father for the first time to son Arthur, and now he's won a major TV title after a four-year drought. 'The Machine' is back firing and hungry for further success, writes Josh Gorton.
Wade's pedigree is undeniable. Only Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen have won more individual PDC major titles than the Aldershot ace, but his motivation has occasionally been called into question.
Even Wade, in his own self-effacing manner, has admitted he hasn't worked hard enough at his game in the past, but he has shown renewed vigour throughout the year on the Pro Tour circuit, and he finally reaped the rewards in Dortmund.
Wade was visibly emotional after securing the 29th PDC title of his career, as he dedicated the victory to his new-born son Arthur.
"That was for my son, Arthur. I'm actually emotional about this - it's an amazing feeling and I'm going to enjoy this win.
"I've gone through some tough times but this is for Arthur. I've won TV titles before and never made the most of it, but I'm buzzing," Wade said.
Wade has enjoyed over a decade at the top level in the PDC ranks, with his triumphs including titles at the World Grand Prix and the UK Open, plus victories in the 2007 World Matchplay, 2009 Premier League and 2014 Masters.
Wade seals European Championship title
James Wade secured his first televised title for almost four years after defeating Simon Whitlock 11-8 in the European Championship Final in Dortmund on Sunday evening.
Nevertheless, he endured a tumultuous 2017 season; suffering first-round exits at the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and World Championship.
This saw the left-hander relinquish his top 10 status and miss out on a Premier League spot for just the second time since his debut in 2008.
The 35-year-old has responded by reaching four Pro Tour Finals in 2018, but his heroics in Dortmund marked his first PDC title of any note for 896 days - with his last success coming in June 2016.
It was also his first televised PDC ranking title since 2011, which parachutes him up to sixth on the PDC Order of Merit - his highest ranking position for almost two years.
"It's not often that I am lost for words but I am after this. I've shown that I'm dangerous and everyone needs to watch out," Wade insisted.
Despite this, Wade's path to glory was anything but serene. Whilst he defeated Martin Schindler and Ricky Evans with a minimum of fuss to reach the last eight, he survived three match darts in his tussle against Gerwyn Price.
History repeated itself in the semi-finals, when 'The Machine' faced home favourite Max Hopp. Hopp controlled the majority of the contest and led 9-5 at one stage, but Wade fought back superbly.
I’ve been a lucky boy but perhaps that makes up for some of the misfortune I’ve had in recent years, and it’s a step in the right direction.
Wade reacts to Dortmund triumph
The eight-time major winner won six of the remaining seven legs to complete an unlikely triumph; having also survived three match darts in the penultimate leg.
Hopp's opponents throughout the weekend wilted in the face of hostile treatment from the partisan Dortmund crowd but Wade showed all his experience and class; converting a clinical 102 kill in the decider to dump out 'The Maximiser'.
Wade has always harboured a reputation for being one of darts' ultimate opportunists. Whilst his ability is not up for debate, he's never been a player renowned for crashing in spectacular averages.
However, his tenacity and unwavering ability to produce the big shots when it matters most have been central to his success and that was evidenced once more in Germany.
Wade's tournament average was a modest 93.61; but he displayed remarkable consistency throughout the weekend.
The left-hander didn't register any average above 96, but neither did he waver below the 91 mark, and whilst Whitlock's level dropped considerably as a gruelling Finals day took its toll, Wade remained resolute.
He acknowledged he was fortunate at times, but he still showed the resilience and composure to capitalise on any errors from his opponents.
"Today I went into every game battling. I've been a lucky boy but perhaps that makes up for some of the misfortune I've had in recent years, and it's a step in the right direction," Wade admitted.
Wade's return to form
James Wade has now claimed £200,000 in ranking prize money in 2018. Only Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson have won more.
It's been an incredible turn-around for the eight-time major winner, who had been facing a battle to retain his top 16 status in the latter stages of the year.
Wade reached the final of the 2016 Grand Slam of Darts and prior to his Dortmund heroics, he was set to miss out on the unique cross-code event for the first time since its inception.
However, Wade's remarkable run continued in Vienna, as he triumphed at the World Series Finals to secure his second televised title in the space of seven days.
'The Machine' was in confident mood; following up his opening-round win over Ross Smith by dumping out home favourite Mensur Suljovic.
Wade then eased past Jamie Lewis, before demolishing Raymond van Barneveld 11-2 in a brutal semi-final display to reach his second major final in the space of a week.
The Aldershot ace contested an epic final against Michael Smith; prevailing in a thrilling last-leg decider after Smith had squandered five match darts for what would have been his maiden televised major.
Since the birth of his son Arthur, Wade has reached the final of a European Tour event in Gottingen and won two TV titles, which sees him jump above Gary Anderson for all-time PDC majors.
Anderson enjoyed similar success shortly after the birth of his son Tai, and it appears to have had a similarly galvanising effect on Wade; giving him a renewed sense of purpose.
Many people doubted whether 'The Machine' was capable of winning another televised major, but he has answered his critics emphatically.
The business end of the darting season is well underway, with the Grand Slam, Players Championship Finals and World Championship all on the horizon, and with Wade back in the winner's circle, who would back against him adding to his major haul?
Darts season is in full swing and continues on Sky Sports with the Grand Slam of Darts in November and the World Championships which get underway from the iconic Alexandra Palace on December 13.