James Wade has won the World Matchplay.....he has lost three Blackpool finals and he’s never failed to reach at least the quarter-finals!
And the Unicorn star is on his way again after demolishing Richie Burnett on Sunday night at the Winter Gardens.
A touch of class from Wade, who put in a professional shift at the office.....nothing spectacular but he was ruthless against the Welshman.
“That will do for starters,” he said. “The 1st Round is always tough here and hopefully now I can get into the tournament and make a big impression. I would love to win this title again.”
Wade was just too good for Burnett – racing into an 8-1 lead before the Welshman had chance to draw breath.
Burnett did put up a fight in the latter stages, but Wade kept his cool.
The Welshman won four out of the next five legs, hitting three 180s but Wade wasn’t unduly bothered and an 83 finish on his favourite ‘tops’ sealed the impressive win.
Well at the other end of the scale, it was certainly a case of what might have been for the Team Unicorn duo of Kevin Painter and Colin Osborne.....both will feel they missed a trick as both fell at the first hurdle.
Painter lost in the 1st Round for the 6th time at Blackpool, despite starting strongly against Steve Beaton.....a 6-10 defeat will hurt ‘The Artist’
He went 3-1 in front but then proceeded to lose five legs on the spin, which turned the game in Beaton’s favour.
An 88 average was never going to be good enough and despite a terrific 160 finish to win the 12th leg, he missed key doubles at important times and D16 won the match for Beaton with an average of 95.5
It’s been a tough year so far for Painter, who will be the first to admit that he hasn’t hit the heights since he won the Players Championship last November and he knows he now faces an important six months to make an impression in the big tournaments.
And Osborne will be kicking himself all the way back to Derby after losing 10-8 to Mark Walsh in the opening match of the night.
He was 2-0 up against Walsh, missed darts to lead 3-1 and continued to miss doubles when it really mattered.
But when Osborne took out 96 and then hit a first 180 to go 6-3 up, we all thought he was on his way to victory....crucially though in the 10th leg, the Unicorn man missed darts at D16 and D8 for a 7-3 advantage and that proved to be the turning point.
Osborne missed another dart at D16 for a 9-7 lead as Walsh managed to level....and Walsh went ahead for the first time in the match at 9-8 and a 6th 180 saw him break the Osborne throw again to claim the 10-8 victory.
Osborne will feel he tossed away a great chance as his poor Blackpool record continued. He has won just one game in six Matchplay appearances.
Walsh will now take on our very own James Wade in the 2nd Round.
In the other match on Sunday night, Michael van Gerwen won five straight legs to take out Simon Whitlock 10-6 with a 99 average and he will now face Steve Beaton in round two.
Sunday 1st Round results:
Mark Walsh 10-8 Colin Osborne
Kevin Painter 6-10 Steve Beaton
James Wade 10-5 Richie Burnett
Simon Whitlock 6-10 Michael van Gerwen
Monday 1st Round schedule:
Andy Hamilton v Brendan Dolan
Vincent van der Voort v Ian White
Phil Taylor v Mervyn King
Mark Webster v Colin Lloyd
By STUART PYKE at the Betfair World Matchplay
Photos courtesy Chris Sargeant