James Wade beats Simon Whitlock to win European Championship

James Wade secured his first televised title for almost four years after defeating Simon Whitlock 11-8 in the European Championship Final in Dortmund on Sunday evening.

‘The Machine’ survived match darts in his quarter-final clash against Gerwyn Price and his dramatic semi-final tussle against home favourite Max Hopp, before denying Whitlock a second European Championship crown in a gruelling final.

Wade’s victory saw him lift his first televised PDC ranking title since 2011 – and his first title of any note since June 2016, just over two weeks since becoming a father for the first time to son Arthur.

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“That was for my son, Arthur,” said Wade. “I’m actually emotional about this – it’s an amazing feeling and I’m going to enjoy this win.

“I’ve gone through some tough times but this is for Arthur. I’ve won TV titles before and never made the most of it, but I’m buzzing.”

The left-hander kicked off his campaign with victory over German youngster Martin Schindler, before easing past Ricky Evans to reach the last eight.

Wade then took on Premier League star Gerwyn Price for a place in the semi-finals, but the Welshman agonisingly missed three match darts in a dramatic decider as the Aldershot ace sneaked through.

In the last four, ‘The Machine’ took on home favourite Max Hopp, who shined in Dortmund with wins over William O’Connor, James Wilson and Darren Webster.

Hopp led the Englishman 9-5 and appeared poised to become the first German player to reach a major PDC televised final, but Wade produced a stirring fightback; winning six of the final seven legs and surviving three match darts in the penultimate leg to prevail.

In the final, Wade faced his old rival Simon Whitlock for the 40th time- albeit their first clash in a major final.

‘The Wizard’ dumped out World No 2 Peter Wright in round-two and produced some magic to reach his second European Championship Final.

He defied nine maximums from Michael van Gerwen’s conqueror Steve West in a high-quality quarter-final clash; in which both players averaged over 100 and Whitlock converted ten of his 15 attempts at a double.

The Australian then fought back from 10-7 down to defeat Joe Cullen in a dramatic semi-final showdown, taking out a brilliant 110 finish in the decider to deny ‘The Rockstar’ a place in his first major final.

Whitlock’s only major success in the PDC came at this event back in 2012, but he was denied a second European Championship crown by a resurgent Wade.

‘The Wizard’ made a strong start to the final; taking out a clinical two-dart 80 combination to establish a 3-1 cushion, after the opening three legs all went against throw.

Wade and Whitlock resume their rivalry

Last night’s clash was the 40th meeting between Wade and Whitlock- but it was their first showdown in a televised final

Wade replied with three successive legs to lead 4-3, before the pair continued to exchange holds as the scores became locked at eight apiece.

However, with the finishing line in sight for both men, Wade stole a march. He fired in successive 13-dart legs on tops to move within a leg of victory, before hitting the same target to clinch his eighth major title.

The left-hander now moves up to sixth on the PDC Order of Merit and is assured of a spot at next month’s Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton, where he reached the final back in 2016.

Darts season is in full swing and continues on Sky Sports with the Grand Slam of Darts in November and the World Championships which get underway from the iconic Alexandra Palace on December 13.

Don’t forget to download, subscribe and listen to the brand new Darts Show podcast, episode one is already available and episode two is on the way next week.

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