Wonderful Wade claims European Darts Matchplay title

James Wade won his second PDC European Tour title with a thrilling 6-5 victory over Dave Chisnall in the final of the HappyBet European Darts Matchplay in Hamburg.

Wade claimed the £25,000 first prize at the Inselparkhalle with a classy weekend of darts, bouncing back in style from missing out on the Betway Premier League Play-Offs to pick up his first ranking title of 2016.

The left-hander had overcome a scare in Saturday’s second round tie with Welshman Jonny Clayton before disposing of World Champion Gary Anderson in the third round on Sunday afternoon.

He then edged past young Dutchman Benito van de Pas 6-5 in the quarter-finals before ending Michael van Gerwen’s bid to win a fourth successive European Tour event of 2016 in the last four – becoming the first player to defeat the world number one this year in this series.

The opening two legs of the final against Chisnall were shared before Wade clinically won the next three without reply with finishes of 70, 64 and 118 to move 4-1 up.

Chisnall then took out 140, 127 and 78 – on the bull – as he won four of the next five to take the game to a decider, but he missed tops for victory to allow Wade in, and the left-hander took out 82 by hitting tops himself as he took glory.

Wade’s previous European Tour win had come in Gibraltar in 2014, and he admitted: “It’s a lovely feeling – I don’t win often enough now so it means a lot to me when I do.

“I believe I’ve played solid darts all weekend. I rode my luck but I proved that it’s not all always about hitting big averages but hitting crucial shots at the right time. I’m very fortunate that Dave missed the double top and my one dart went in.

“That might be the most important double top I’ve ever thrown, and I believe that in the next three to four months I can be dangerous.”

The defeat saw Chisnall finish as the runner-up for a second successive weekend on the European Tour, after last Sunday’s loss in the decider to van Gerwen, although the St Helens ace picked up another £10,000 in prize money for his efforts.

Chisnall saw off Ron Meulenkamp and John Henderson to reach the quarter-finals, where he overcame tricky Austrian Mensur Suljovic 6-4 before seeing off Peter Wright 6-3 in the last four.

“I can take a lot of positives from this,” said Chisnall. “I played well all day but I started too slowly. I got back into it but missed my chance and James deserved to win.”

Wright produced some superb darts during his run to the last four – including a sublime 160 checkout during his quarter-final win over Max Hopp – before losing out to Chisnall.

Van Gerwen’s bid to continue his European Tour winning streak was ended by Wade in the semi-finals, but the world number one had produced some fine darts to defeat Daryl Gurney in the third round and Jelle Klaasen, in a high-quality quarter-final.

The tournament also saw Germany’s Max Hopp win through to a European Tour quarter-final for the first time, as the reigning PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion defeated Joe Murnan, Ian White and Terry Jenkins to delight a capacity Hamburg crowd.

The youngster eventually lost out to Wright, but continues his climb towards a place in the world’s top 40 after picking up £3,500 as he lost out in the last eight alongside Austria’s Mensur Suljovic and Dutch duo Benito van de Pas and Jelle Klaasen, who both lost in a deciding 11th leg.

The afternoon session’s third round had seen the sell-out Hamburg crowd cheer home Hopp’s superb 6-3 win over Jenkins as the teenager landed six doubles from nine attempts.

Suljovic knocked out number three seed Michael Smith in the only third round game to go all the way to a deciding leg, while van Gerwen defeated Daryl Gurney 6-4 in a repeat of February’s Dutch Darts Masters final and Klaasen knocked out Adrian Lewis by the same scoreline.

The next PDC European Tour event will be the Austrian Darts Open in Vienna from June 10-12.

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