James Wade beats Michael Smith to win Players Championship event in Barnsley
Premier League Darts continues on Thursday on Sky Sports Action from 7pm
By Paul Prenderville
Last Updated: 08/04/19 11:12am
James Wade picked up a first title of 2019, beating Michael Smith 8-2 to win Players Championship Nine in Barnsley on Saturday.
'The Machine' proved too good for Smith, running out a comfortable winner against a below-par Bully Boy whose fine form across the day dipped in the showpiece as Wade outscored the World Championship and Premier League runner-up by 14 points in a repeat of November's World Series final.
Wade's 98 average was enough to give him a seventh win of the day and a first Pro Tour title since July 2015, having beaten Mark Webster, Christian Kist, Peter Hudson and Arron Monk on his way to the last eight.
The Machine, who claimed the World Series of Darts and European Championship last year, survived five match darts before edging out Adrian Lewis 6-5 to reach the semi-finals, where he pipped Scott Baker 7-6 in another final leg shoot-out before claiming the £10,000 first prize.
"This win means a lot to me, perhaps it would have meant even more a year ago but it still means a lot because I haven't been winning things," said Wade.
"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. 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."
Smith had dazzled on his way to the final, recording four 100+ averages in his seven victories that saw him dispatch Marko Kantele, Dave Prins, Jose Justica, Dave Chisnall, Ian White and Steve West.
Bully Boy's 7-5 victory over West in the last four had seen him record a 107.3 average to West's 105.2 in a high-quality contest, before he misfired in the final and allowed Wade to power away.
Players Championship Winners - 2019
|One||Michael van Gerwen|
|Three||Michael van Gerwen|
Elsewhere, Corey Cadby made his long awaited return to the PDC Tour with a 6-5 win over James Richardson, the Aussie winning the decisive leg with a brilliant 11-darter to set up a meeting against Vincent van der Voort.
However, the veteran Dutchman proved too strong with a 6-2 win, although Cadby will take heart from a three-figure average as he heads into Sunday's Players Championship 10 event.
Saturday also saw Mark McGeeney land a nine-dart finish in his opening round win over Adam Hunt, his first perfect leg since winning a PDC Tour Card in January.
Ok there might have been a little rust but @VvdV180 played well.— Corey Cadby (@KingCadby180) April 6, 2019
Still didn’t some good thing. The 11 darter when I needed it the highlight.
But loved every minute back competing with the very best @OfficialPDC @TargetDarts @Garryplummer @tsmcltd180 @macelkin180 ❤️💙
But it was an afternoon to forget for Raymond van Barneveld. The five-time world champion was in action for the first time since retiring and then unretiring after an emotional couple of nights in Rotterdam where his Premier League career came to an end.
Barney could only manage an average of 80 in a 6-4 defeat to Gary Eastwood, a player with just two victories on the PDC circuit this year and the Dutchman will return at the Metrodome on Sunday hoping for something more like the form that saw him reach the final of Players Championship Eight a couple of weeks ago.
With no Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and Daryl Gurney, Premier League table-topper Rob Cross was the big name in the field and he suffered a surprise 6-2 second round defeat to Jose De Sousa, while Peter Wright crashed out in the first round following a 6-4 defeat to Jamie Hughes.
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