James Wade missed out on the big prize in the first new European tour event, as he was beaten by Justin Pipe in the final of the Austrian Darts Trophy.
Team Unicorn’s World No.3 looked on course for the big prize with impressive victories over Kim Huybrechts, Wes Newton and Dave Chisnall.
He demolished the Belgian, won in the 11th leg against Newton, and was too good for Chisnall, who had been a good touch all day.
And there’s no doubt that Wade will be disappointed that he came up just short in the finale....Pipe beat four Unicorn players on the day to take the title and the £15,000 winner’s cheque – Gary Anderson, Joe Cullen, Raymond van Barneveld and Wade.
It actually looked good for Wade when he broke to lead 3-2 in the final....he had hit a 10 darter and looked to be in control, but unfortunately, he missed four darts to go 4-2 up and that was the turning point.
Pipe pinched the leg and it clearly affected Wade, because he lost four straight legs and that was that....a case of what might have been.
The victory will put Pipe into the world’s top 16 for the first time.
Barneveld came up against an inspired Pipe in the semi-finals.....Barney’s run was ended by an opponent with an average of 107.42
The Dutchman had beaten Mark Webster and Richie Burnett to reach the semi-finals on Sunday –and he produced one of the highlights of the day, a 170 finish in the match against Pipe, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.
Wes Newton was a winner against Denis Ovens in the last 16, but then lost a thriller to Wade....the came from 1-4 down to force a deciding leg and had left himself a two dart finish, only for Wade to nail D10 to win it.
And what a weekend for young Joe Cullen.....arguably the best of his career....he may have been edged out 6-4 by Pipe in the quarter-finals, but he followed his victory over Simon Whitlock with an accomplished 6-4 win over Mark Walsh.
Cullen averaged 98 in that terrific win but just ran out of steam against Pipe....the £3,000 prize money will be consolation for the young Yorskshireman and it also boosts his chances of qualifying for the World Matchplay through the Pro Tour Order of Merit.
Well done Joe Cullen....it could yet turn out to be the breakthrough year for the Unicorn star.
Gary Anderson’s problems with inconsistency hindered him once again.....beaten 6-2 by Pipe in the last 16, while Kevin Painter was on the end of a Dave Chisnall barrage in the 3rd Round, as the St Helens man blitzed ‘The Artist’ with 8x180s and a 113 average in a 6-3 victory.
Austrian Darts Trophy – Sunday results:
JAMES WADE 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
WES NEWTON 6-3 Denis Ovens
Dave Chisnall 6-3 KEVIN PAINTER
James Richardson 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Justin Pipe 6-2 GARY ANDERSON
JOE CULLEN 6-4 Mark Walsh
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 6-2 Mark Webster
Richie Burnett 6-3 Dean Winstanley
Losers - £1,500
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 6-3 Richie Burnett
Justin Pipe 6-4 JOE CULLEN
Dave Chisnall 6-3 James Richardson
JAMES WADE 6-5 WES NEWTON
Losers - £3,000
Justin Pipe 6-3 RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD
JAMES WADE 6-2 Dave Chisnall
Losers - £5,000
Justin Pipe 6-3 JAMES WADE
Winner - £15,000
Runner-up - £7,500
By STUART PYKE
Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC