JAMES WADE produced a remarkable comeback from 9-2 down against Mervyn King to take The Unibet Masters title with a stunning 11-10 triumph at the Royal Highland Centre on Sunday night.
Wade picked up his first major TV title for three years in an incredible final session in Edinburgh, following up his sublime wins over Adrian Lewis and Phil Taylor in the quarter-finals and semi-finals with a gutsy display in the decider. The left-hander had slumped to a 10-1 defeat to Taylor in the semis on the same stage 12 months earlier, but confirmed his resurgence into the winner’s circle on the televised stage in gritty fashion.
King, taking on the momentum of his 11-9 semi-final win over World Champion Michael van Gerwen, stormed into a 5-0 lead in the final with the aid of two 180s and some clinical finishing as he averaged 109 in the opening session. Wade cut the gap to 6-2, but paid for missed doubles in the next two as King moved into a six-leg lead and then posted double 16 for a 9-2 cushion. The left-hander won the next four legs to pull back to 9-6 as King’s doubles began to desert him, but a miss at double 12 for a 138 checkout saw the comeback halted in stunning fashion as the world number 12 took out a brilliant 158.
The tension increased as King missed seven match darts across the next two legs and Wade continued his revival, before the world number six posted a fourth 180 of the game and hit tops to pull back to 10-9. King then missed the bull to take victory in the next with an eighth match dart as Wade finished double ten to force a deciding leg, which he claimed with a fabulous 135 finish on double top. Wade had been on the receiving end of a fightback from Scott Waites in the 2010 Grand Slam of Darts final as he saw an 8-0 lead slip away before he suffered a 16-12 defeat, but he was proud of a memorable display in Edinburgh.
“I’m still a little bit numb, but I’m feeling great and I’m so happy,” said Wade. “I shouldn’t have won that game but somehow I have and it’s not sunk in yet.“I didn’t deserve to win and I feel a bit guilty, but somehow I did it. I’ve never won a game of darts like that in my life, but I took my chances. “It hurt to lose to Scott Waites but when the 135 went in I couldn’t hold my emotions in any more. I’m stubborn and I believe I’m the only person that could have won that game from that position at the moment. “In the quarter-finals and semi-finals I think I was pretty good. They were both 105 averages and I don’t think many players could do that two games in a row, especially against the players I played, Adrian Lewis and Phil Taylor.”
The left-hander had reached last month’s World Grand Prix final and has won two ranking events during 2014 in his return to top form, and added: “Everything’s going brilliantly and I’m playing the best darts of my life at the moment. “At the beginning of the year I set a target out to win a floor tournament and win a TV tournament, so I’m ahead of myself with two months to spare! “I’m grateful to come back from where I was to be playing how I am right now. In the last six or seven months I’ve been doing a lot of harm and hurting a lot of players, and I wouldn’t want to play me at the moment.”
King – a semi-finalist in last weekend’s European Championship – took home £20,000 as runner-up but was left to rue his eight missed match darts as he suffered defeat in a fourth major PDC final. Sponsors Unibet had stopped taking bets on King to win the game when he led 9-2, with Wade 50/1 at that time before mounting his fightback. “I had my chances and didn’t take it, and James did so fair play to him,” said King. “James stuck in there and was the better player on the day, and he deserved to win.
“I’ve had a great weekend and I’ve done exceptionally well to reach the final, but I’ll be back and hopefully I can take the chance next time it comes.” King had earlier defeated World Champion Michael van Gerwen 11-9 in a thrilling semi-final. King took out finishes of 128, 140 and 80 on the bull at key times during the game, and though van Gerwen hit back from 9-7 down to level, tops edged the Englishman away before he took out 121 on the bull for victory. “It’s very disappointing for me but Mervyn played superbly and deserved to win,” said van Gerwen. “I’ve had a great run recently and I played well again, but Mervyn was the better player in this game. “I just wasn’t good enough today to win, but I’ll work hard this week ahead of the Grand Slam of Darts next weekend.”
Mervyn King 10-11 James Wade
Best of 21 legs
Phil Taylor v James Wade
1-0 – Taylor opens with a 14-darter as double eight gives the reigning champion the opening leg.
2-0 – Taylor produces a superb 11-dart leg to break throw, scoring 100, 171 and 180 before finishing 50 on double 16.
2-1 – Wade initially misses two darts at double 15, but when Taylor misses the bull to finish 127 the left-hander returns on double four to win his opening leg.
2-2 – Wade levels the game in 14 darts, landing his first 180 and taking out tops.
2-3 – Wade repeats the trick to move ahead, matching a Taylor 180 with one of his own to once more leave 40 before punishing two misses at double eight from the reigning champion by posting double ten for a 14-darter.
3-3 – Wade opens with 140 and 180, but misses double nine to finish 98 to allow Taylor in for a 121 bullseye finish.
4-3 – Taylor fires in a 180 and lands double 16 to regain the lead.
4-4 – Wade levels again with a 14-darter, which features a 180 and ends on tops.
5-4 – Taylor kicks off with 140 and 180 before posting double 16 to edge back ahead.
5-5 – Wade posts a 180 – his fifth of the game – and is given a reprieve for two misses at double nine when Taylor is unable to land tops, allowing the left-hander back on double nine to level. The high standard sees Taylor averaging 104.98 and Wade 103.50 after ten legs.
6-5 – Taylor finishes 72 on double six to avert a possible break of throw.
6-6 – Taylor misses two darts at double 12 to break throw, after a 180 left 81, to allow Wade in to finish 110 on double 15.
6-7 – Taylor misses double 16 for a 104 finish, and Wade breaks throw by taking out 48 on tops to move in front – and celebrates with a bounce on stage!
7-7 – Wade kicks off the leg with a maximum, but Taylor breaks back immediately by finishing a superb 121 on the bull – blowing a kiss to the crowd in celebration.
7-8 – Tops sees Wade break throw again to edge back in front – with the pair still averaging above 103 in a high-quality semi-final.
7-9 – Wade fires in two 180s before finishing 81 to move two legs clear.
8-9 – Taylor responds in style by taking out 110 on double 15.
9-9 – Taylor breaks with a 13-darter to level the game on double 16.
9-10 – Wade finishes a superb 120 as he moves a leg away from victory.
9-11 – Wade finishes 62 on tops for a 15-dart finish to end Taylor’s reign as Unibet Masters champion.
Michael van Gerwen v Mervyn King
1-0 – King lands the game’s first 180, but is punished for one missed double as van Gerwen takes out 120 to avoid a possible break.
1-1 – King levels by finishing 128 on double ten.
2-1 – van Gerwen opens with 140 and 180 to give himself enough breathing space to initially miss his chance to claim the leg before moving back ahead.
2-2 – Tops sees King level the contest.
2-3 – King moves ahead with a superb 140 checking, hitting treble 20, treble 16 and double 16.
3-3 – van Gerwen breaks back immediately by posting double 16, with both players averaging above 102.
3-4 – King hits seven darts out of a possible nine-dart finish with two 180s and another treble 20, missing the treble 19 of the 141 combination before returning to win the leg in 14 darts on double four.
4-4 – van Gerwen takes out 87 on double five to break back immediately.
5-4 – The pair trade 180s before van Gerwen finishes 88 on double seven to regain the lead.
5-5 – King levels again by taking out 80 on the bull.
5-6 – King finishes 88 on double 14 to break throw and move back in front.
5-7 – King misses darts at double 16 and eight, but van Gerwen is unable to capitalise with a pair of darts at tops, allowing King to return on double two.
6-7 – van Gerwen fires in his fourth 180 of the game before posting double eight to hit back.
6-8 – The Dutchman scores 177 and 174 but misses double 16 to allow King in on double six to edge clear.
7-8 – Both players open the leg with 180s, before van Gerwen finishes 48 on double 16 to reduce the gap to one leg once more.
7-9 – King misses the bull for a 161 finish, but returns to land double eight.
8-9 – van Gerwen lands his sixth 180 of the game before landing double 16 with his third dart at the bed as he hits back again.
9-9 – Another 180 helps van Gerwen to be first to a double, and though he initially misses two darts at double 12, King is unable to finish 126 on double six to allow him back in to level.
9-10 – King replies with a 180 – his sixth of the contest – before posting tops to break and move a leg away from the final.
9-11 – van Gerwen posts a 162 score as he bids to stay in the game, but King finishes 121 on the bull to complete a brilliant display as he books his place in the decider against Wade.
Mervyn King v James Wade
1-0 – Wade lands an early 180, but misses one double as King finishes 116 on tops to break throw.
2-0 – King takes out 57 on tops to double his lead.
3-0 – King scores a 180 before finishing double 16 for a 12-darter to continue his supebr start.
4-0 – The Norfolk thrower lands his second 180 before posting double ten with his third dart as he wins a fourth leg.
5-0 – King, maintaining a 109 average, takes out double 16 to win a fifth successive leg.
5-1 – Wade breaks throw to win his first leg of the game, finishing 88 on double seven.
6-1 – King finishes 101 on double 16 to win his sixth leg of the game, restoring a five-leg cushion.
6-2 – A miss at tops from King is punished by Wade as he hits the same bed to win a second leg.
7-2 – King fires in a 180 before punishing four misses at tops from Wade by landing double two to regain his advantage.
8-2 – Wade misses the bull for a 121 finish, and King finishes double 16 for a 14-darter as he moves three legs away from his first major televised PDC title.
9-2 – Double 16 sees King edge closer to victory.
9-3 – Wade posts a 177 and wins his third leg of the game on double five.
9-4 – Wade fires in a third maximum, and is given a reprieve for a miss at tops when King misses double 12 and six to allow the left-hander in to finish tops at the third time of asking.
9-5 – Both players initially miss double 16 and eight before Wade returns to finish double four to win a third successive leg.
9-6 – Wade finishes 94 in two darts on tops as he continues his revival.
10-6 – Wade misses double 12 for a 138 finish, and King stops his opponent’s comeback in style with a brilliant 158 checkout.
10-7 – King misses six match darts at double top and ten, with Wade recovering from misses on his previous two visits to land double ten and keep alive his hopes of glory.
10-8 – King misses a further match dart, this time at double four, as double seven sees Wade reduce the gap to two legs.
10-9 – Wade fires in his fourth 180 of the game and takes out 68 on tops to pull back to one leg behind his rival.
10-10 – Wade misses double ten to level with a 128 finish, but King misses the bull to take out 86 to allow the left-hander to return on double ten to send the game into a decider.
10-11 – Wade stuns King by completing an amazing comeback by finishing 135 on tops to pick up the £50,000 title.
The Unibet Masters Full Results
Saturday November 1
Peter Wright 7-10 Justin Pipe
Dave Chisnall 10-8 Robert Thornton
Simon Whitlock 7-10 Mervyn King
Adrian Lewis 10-4 Kim Huybrechts
James Wade 10-5 Brendan Dolan
Phil Taylor 10-4 Wes Newton
Michael van Gerwen 10-9 Raymond van Barneveld
Gary Anderson 10-7 Andy Hamilton
Sunday November 2
Mervyn King 10-6 Justin Pipe
James Wade 10-6 Adrian Lewis
Phil Taylor 10-6 Gary Anderson
Michael van Gerwen 10-7 Dave Chisnall
Phil Taylor 9-11 James Wade
Michael van Gerwen 9-11 Mervyn King
James Wade 11-10 Mervyn King