Jose De Sousa claimed a 16-12 victory over James Wade to win the Grand Slam of Darts on his tournament debut and become the first Portuguese player to win a PDC major televised title.
A 16-12 victory over nine-time major champion Wade caps a remarkable and whirlwind 18 months for the 46-year-old, who has won three ranking titles since last September but now has a PDC major, the £125,000 first prize, a place in the world’s top 16 and the Eric Bristow Trophy to his name.
Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price’s early exits meant there was always going to be a new name on the trophy and in a week that saw each of the world’s top six fail to reach the semi-final, De Sousa is the sport’s latest new champion.
‘The Special One’ averaged more than 100 for much of the game, and showing remarkable composure in the match of his life conjured up a magical 158 finish to cross the finish line in style and leave Wade to left to reflect on another near miss and a third Grand Slam of Darts final defeat.
Wade remains one short of becoming the third man to win 10 major titles and he looked on as a tearful De Sousa enjoyed the moment of his life – just a couple of years on from leaving life as a carpenter behind to become a professional and secure his Tour Card at Q-School in January 2019.
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Halfway to the winning post of 16 legs, Portugal’s Man O’Scores returned to fire in a 13-dart leg against the throw and a two-leg lead for the more inexperienced man became three as Wade could not match The Special’s One’s scoring power.
The Machine, an ever-present in the Grand Slam since its inception in 2007, has made a career of not giving in and when De Sousa looked poised to go four clear Wade picked off a brilliant 161 finish to defy his opponent, who had fired six perfect darts for the second time in the match.
However, De Sousa was not to be denied and moved into a 12-8 lead with his fifth break of throw in the contest. A clinical 54 finish moving him within four legs of the title.
Wade, who launched a comeback to pip Dimitri Van den Bergh in Monday’s semi-final, produced a brilliant, and much needed, 12-dart leg thanks to a nerveless 92 finish and he drew within two with a second three-figure check-out of the contest.
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No stopping ‘The Special One’
But this has been De Sousa’s tournament and was De Sousa’s day and he edged closer to the finish line when he pinned double two to leave Wade needing six legs from a remaining maximum of eight.
He claimed the first to stay within touching distance at 13-11 but that was as close as he got as he missed a dart at double eight to close within one and De Sousa nipped in to stay two clear.
The Special One then won two of the next three legs to reach the required 16, fittingly for a man who showed no fear throughout a thrilling 158 finish clinched the title in style.
Having beaten Dave Chisnall, Michael Smith and Van Gerwen’s conqueror Simon Whitlock during the knockout stages De Sousa rubberstamped his arrival at the very top of the game with a memorable win over a multiple major champion.
You won’t miss a dart this Christmas thanks to the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel which returns from December 15 until January 4 for every session from the World Darts Championship as Peter Wright defends the Sid Waddell Trophy
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