Joy for James Wade…..despair for Adrian Lewis.
Wade stamped his authority on the World Grand Prix – winning a 5th TV ‘Major’ – and at the same time, denying Lewis his first taste of glory in a terrific all Unicorn Final at the City West IECC.
In the end, Wade’s experience of the big occasion proved to be a massive factor, as Lewis appeared to run out of steam after his amazing victory over Phil Taylor in the semi-finals.
The £100,000 prize money guarantees that Wade leapfrogs Raymond Van Barneveld into 2nd spot in the world rankings.
There was a bit of needle on the stage as well, which all added to the drama….but in the end, Wade was more consistent and his finishing was the key. A 54 per cent check-out success rate was impressive and he hit the big doubles at the important times.
“It is very emotional for me,” Wade said. “I wanted to win this for my Nan, who isn’t very well at the moment and it means so much to win a fifth ‘Major’ title.”
Lewis admitted the spectacular win over Taylor took its toll. “I was tired mentally,” he said. “But that isn’t an excuse. I missed some important doubles and Wadey did a good job.”
He added: “But don’t worry, I will be back playing in big finals and I will win big TV tournaments. I reckon Wade and I will be playing plenty of big TV games in the future.”
Wade is now the second most successful player in PDC history behind Taylor, but he hasn’t yet beaten Taylor en route to his ‘Major’ titles.
“I can only beat who is in front of me,” he said. “Of course, I would love to beat Taylor and one day I will.”
He also had to contend with a crowd who were certainly in Lewis’ corner. “They didn’t bother me. I just shut it all out and kept focused.”
After the first four sets were shared, Wade started to get a grip on proceedings and Lewis started to pay the price for missed chances.
Lewis actually hit eight 180s to only three from Wade, but it was those doubles that proved to be pivotal in the race for the Grand Prix crown in Dublin.
Lewis missed darts to get it back to 5-4, before Wade nailed D10 to clinch it.
He also proved a big point to the critics, while Lewis is left waiting for that first ‘Major’ title – but after this performance in Dublin and the brilliant win over Taylor, he surely won’t have to wait too much longer!
A cheque for £40,000 probably won’t be much consolation, because he was desperate to win the WGP. He is added to the list of players who beat Taylor in big tournaments, but just can’t get across the finishing line.
But this was Wade’s moment. “I think this one means more and I will appreciate this victory. It certainly tastes sweet. I can now look forward to the World Championship!”
One thing’s for sure – it was the best Grand Prix in the 13-year history of the tournament, but it was James Wade’s show, James Wade’s week.
He has now won two World Grand Prix titles, to add to his victories in the World Matchplay at Blackpool, the UK Open in Bolton and one Premier League crown.
THE STORY OF THE FINAL:
Set 1 – it’s a breeze for Wade, with Lewis clearly suffering from big night nerves in the biggest match of his life….as Lewis struggles, his opponent doesn’t miss! Wade wins three straight legs to take the set in a little over five minutes and in just 43 darts! WADE 1 LEWIS 0
Set 2 – They both get away with perfect 160 scores. Lewis hits his first 180 and settles into the contest. He misses three darts at D15 to win the set in three legs. Wade pinches a leg but takes 10 darts to get away in the next and Lewis seals it on D10 WADE 1 LEWIS 1
Set 3 – Wade again takes it by winning three consecutive legs, but Lewis had his chances – missing key doubles. For the second time in the final, he just misses the bull for a 161. Wade hits his first maximum and wins the set on ‘tops’ WADE 2 LEWIS 1
Set 4 – It’s as close as predicted! This set goes all the way. Wade hits two more 180s and a 100 check-out but Lewis holds his nerve and holds his throw again. He nails ‘tops’ at the first attempt. The first break looks like being crucial. WADE 2 LEWIS 2
Set 5 – Great chance for Lewis to take the set against the throw. He breaks to go 2-1 up in legs and threw for the set but lost his way. Wade hit back with an 81 finish on the bull and hit ‘tops’ to win it with Lewis sat on a double. WADE 3 LEWIS 2
Set 6 – Big moment in the Final? Wade wins the set against the throw but Lewis only has himself to blame – missing five darts to go 2-1 up in legs, including busting his score. It proved vital as Wade broke and then hit ‘tops’ to win the set WADE 4 LEWIS 2
Set 7 – Brilliant from Lewis! He storms back. The crowd are on their feet, as he breaks straight back in style….a 5th 180 to win the opening leg in 11 darts, then raced through the set, breaking Wade twice and clinching it with an 89 finish. Game on! WADE 4 LEWIS 3
Set 8 – Big match experience counts for Wade….Lewis with the darts, but three legs won against the throw. Again Lewis misses doubles to force a deciding leg and Wade hit D6. For the first time, Wade displays some real emotion…he’s one set away from the title! WADE 5 LEWIS 3
Set 9 – Wade WINS! A dramatic set….Wade hits a 100 check-out but Lewis hits two more 180s and breaks the throw! It looks like being 5-4 in sets but Lewis misses one dart at ‘tops’ for the set and his chance has gone. Wade steps up to the plate and D10 wins the title WADE 6 LEWIS 3
Adrian Lewis 3-6 James Wade
Winner - £100,000
Runner-up - £40,000
By STUART PYKE (Twitter @stuartpykesport)
Photo courtesy Chris Sargeant