|Full name||James Martin Wade|
6 April 1983 |
|Playing darts since||1997|
|Darts||20g Unicorn James Wade|
|Walk-on music||The Boys Are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy, preceded by a riff from Baba O'Riley by The Who|
|Organisation (see split in darts)|
|Current world ranking||6|
|BDO majors - best performances|
|World Ch'ship||Last 16: 2004|
|World Masters||Last 64: 2002, 2003|
|World Darts Trophy||Last 16: 2003|
|Int. Darts League||Quarter-final: 2004, 2007|
|Zuiderduin Masters||Last 16 Group: 2002|
|PDC premier events - best performances|
|World Ch'ship||Semi-final: 2009, 2012, 2013|
|World Matchplay||Winner 2007|
|World Grand Prix||Winner 2007, 2010|
|Grand Slam||Runner up: 2010|
|Premier League||Winner 2009|
|Ch'ship League||Winner 2010|
|Desert Classic||Runner up: 2008|
|European Ch'ship||Semi-final: 2009|
|UK Open||Winner 2008, 2011|
|US Open/WSoD||Semi-final: 2010|
|Players Ch'ship Finals||Semi-final: 2009|
|The Masters||Winner 2014|
|Other tournament wins|
European Tour Events
UK Open Regionals/Qualifiers
2006 PDC Young Player of the Year
James Martin Wade (born 6 April 1983 in Aldershot, Hampshire) is an English professional darts player, currently playing in the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). He became the youngest player to win a major PDC title at the World Matchplay in 2007, at the age of 24. This record was broken when Michael van Gerwen won the 2012 World Grand Prix at the age of 23.
Since winning the World Matchplay in 2007, Wade has also won the World Grand Prix in 2007 and 2010, the UK Open in 2008 and 2011, the Premier League in 2009, the Championship League in 2010, and the Masters in 2014. Wade has had a career-high ranking of second in the PDC Order of Merit and with eight major tournament wins is the third most successful player in PDC history, after Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen. He has yet to win the PDC World Darts Championship, with the semi finals being his best result.
Wade started his career in the British Darts Organisation (BDO) in 2001 before joining the Professional Dart Corporation (PDC) in 2004. His best performance in a major BDO tournament came at the International Darts League in 2004 and 2007, reaching the quarter finals on both occasions.
- 1 Early career
- 2 PDC switch
- 3 Major breakthrough
- 4 2011 season
- 5 2012
- 6 2013
- 7 2014
- 8 2015
- 9 2016
- 10 Nicknames
- 11 Nine-dart finishes
- 12 Outside darts
- 13 World Championship Performances
- 14 Career finals
- 15 Performance timeline
- 16 References
- 17 External links
Wade first took playing darts seriously at the age of 14 and won the Basingstoke Open, his first competitive event and went on to compete for England at youth level. He reached the final of the British Classic in 2001 at the age of 18, losing to John Walton and the following year he won the Swiss Open. Wade made his television debut at the 2003 BDO World Championship, but lost 2–3 in the first round to Dennis Harbour having missed eight darts to win the match in the fourth set. In other BDO Open events during 2003, he reached the Norway Open final, Belgian Open semi-finals and Dutch Open quarter-finals.
At the 2004 BDO World Championship, he beat Shaun Greatbatch 3–0 in the first round, before losing to Darryl Fitton. Later in 2004, he reached a series of quarter-finals including the German Open, the Isle of Man Open and the prestigious International Darts League in May – which was his last tournament as a BDO affiliated player.
In May 2004, Wade took the decision to forfeit his automatic place in the 2004 World Darts Trophy and 2005 BDO World Championship to join the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). His first PDC major was the 2004 UK Open, where he was edged out 8–7 in the fourth round by Colin Lloyd. He came through the World Championship Qualifiers to make his PDC World Darts Championship debut in 2005, losing 3–0 in the first round to Mark Holden. Wade bounced back from this to win the Irish Masters and moved closer to the top 32 in the world for the first time. He lost 11–4 to Peter Manley in the last 16 of the UK Open and 3–1 against Roland Scholten in the last 16 of the Las Vegas Desert Classic (after beating the experienced Ronnie Baxter in the prior round). In his second World Championship appearance he lost again in the first round, this time 3–2 to Wayne Jones, despite having won the first six legs for a two-set lead.
Wade hit two nine-dart finishes in the early part of 2006, but when he was defeated in the qualifiers for the Las Vegas Desert Classic he decided to give up his job as a mechanic and become a full-time darts professional. The results of this were evident almost immediately as he made his major breakthrough on television during the 2006 World Matchplay in July. He sensationally reached the final, seeing off four experienced players in his first ever appearance at the Winter Gardens. Wade beat Denis Ovens in the first round 10–1, having had darts to make it a 10–0 whitewash, 2004 World Championship finalist Kevin Painter 13–9 in the second round, ending one leg with two double 20's to cause a minor controversy, and beat Chris Mason 16–4 in his quarter-final. In the semi-finals he came back from 1–5 down to beat Roland Scholten 19–17 in extra legs, as a player is required to win the match by two clear legs in the Matchplay. In the final he played Phil Taylor but despite being 8–5 up, he lost 18–11. In the rest of 2006 in the non-televised events he reached three semi-finals and a final, before he won the Vauxhall Men's Singles by defeating Ronnie Baxter 5–3 in the final, having hit his third nine-darter of the year in the semi-finals of the event.
Wade won his first matches in the PDC World Championship in 2007 by beating Warren French and Dave Ladley to reach the last 16, where Terry Jenkins was a 4–3 victor. He was then awarded with the PDC's Young Player of the Year and his world ranking had climbed to number 11.
He then returned to Blackpool for the World Matchplay and claimed the title – his first major televised tournament success and became the youngest player ever to win a PDC televised event in doing so. His route to the title and £50,000 cheque saw him beat Wayne Jones, Dennis Priestley, Mervyn King, Adrian Lewis and Terry Jenkins in the final. Although Wade's victory was nothing short of emphatic over the ever-tenacious Jenkins, many believe his semi-final victory over Lewis was one of the finest performances ever seen at the Winter Gardens. Both players averaged 101, but it was Wade's finishing, as he checked out almost 70% of his doubles, which saw him triumph 17–7. His 18–7 win over Jenkins in the final saw him move up to world number three. Wade also won the next PDC major tournament – the World Grand Prix in Dublin in October beating van Barneveld by 5 sets to 1 in the semi-finals and once again denying Jenkins his first major title in the final by winning 6–3. These successes saw Wade being crowned the 2007 PDC Player of the Year and PDPA Players' Player of the Year.
At the 2008 World Championship Wade reached the quarter-finals and was defeated 5 sets to 4 in a close encounter against John Part, who went on to win the tournament. Wade made his debut in the Premier League as he was in the top four of the Order of Merit and on the opening night became the first player to defeat Taylor in the tournament's three-year history, winning the match 8 legs to 6. Taylor however exacted revenge with a 16–8 victory in the final on 26 May 2008 after Wade had defeated van Barneveld in the semi-finals. Incredibly, Wade claimed his third major title in a year at the UK Open, by beating American Gary Mawson 11–7 in the final. The following month, he reached the finals of the Las Vegas Desert Classic, losing 13–7 to Taylor. Then in July he reached his third World Matchplay final in a row, losing for the second time in three years in the final to Taylor 18–9, making this the third major final loss of the year against Taylor. In the defence of his World Grand Prix title he lost to Tony Eccles in the first round. He returned to form to claim two Players Championship titles in the autumn and also hit his first televised nine-darter in a second round loss to Gary Anderson at the Grand Slam of Darts.
In the 2009 World Championship, Wade went a stage further than the previous year, reaching the semi-finals where he lost 4–6 to Raymond van Barneveld. Wade won the 2009 Premier League Darts tournament, defeating Mervyn King 13–8 at the Wembley Arena. However, he failed to defend his UK Open title in 2009 after losing to Peter Manley 9–8 in the third round. He then failed to reach the World Matchplay final for the first time, losing in the quarter-finals to Ronnie Baxter.
Defending his Premier League title, Wade reached the final of the 2010 Premier League, where he played against Phil Taylor. Taylor won 10–8, hitting two nine-dart finishes during the match.
Wade won the 2010 World Grand Prix, beating Adrian Lewis 6–3 in the final. Four days later, he won his second major tournament inside a week by defeating Taylor 6–5 in the 2010 Championship League Darts final.
Wade reached another major final in 2010 at the Grand Slam, seeing both Terry Jenkins and Mervyn King squander match darts against him before Wade himself threw away an 8–0 lead against BDO player Scott Waites as Waites won 16–12.
Despite the loss at the Grand Slam, Wade was touted by many[who?] as the favourite to win the 2011 World Championship due to his Grand Prix and Champions League Darts victories as well as Taylor's slight dip in form. However, Wade was beaten by world number 47 Mensur Suljović 4–2 in the second round. He got off to a poor start in the Premier League of Darts losing 8–3 to an on form Mark Webster he went on to defeat World Champion Adrian Lewis 8–6 in week 2 and then lost 8–5 to Simon Whitlock; during the match he took some stick from the Belfast crowd. He regained some form in the latter weeks of the League drawing with Raymond Van Barneveld 7–7 while averaging over 100. In June he won the his 7th major title 2011 UK Open Darts after an 11–8 win against Wes Newton. At the 2011 World Matchplay, he reached his fourth final and third against Phil Taylor. Wade beat Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis en route, before losing to Taylor in the final 18-8.
Wade dropped just one set to reach the quarter-finals of the 2012 World Championship, but was then involved in two of the best games ever witnessed at the event. He played John Part in the last 8 and raced into a 3–1 lead before the Canadian won three sets in a row. Wade took the game into a deciding set and the players broke each other's throws twice to require a sudden-death leg, which he managed to win by taking out 85 with Part on 40. He played defending champion Adrian Lewis in the semi-finals and looked to be heading for his first PDC World final as he led 5–1. Lewis pulled a set back, before Wade had a dart at double 18 to win the match. He missed and it proved to be a pivotal moment as Lewis took the set and reeled off 10 straight legs to complete a sensational comeback 5–6. Despite the loss, Wade moved up to third in the PDC Order of Merit overtaking Gary Anderson.
Wade once again gained automatic entry for the Premier League due to his Order of Merit ranking. He lost his first three matches, before winning the next three and went into the final game of the season knowing a win over Raymond van Barneveld would guarantee him a spot in the play-offs. Wade drew the match 7–7, but due to other results going his way he still qualified for the play-offs by finishing 4th in the league. He played Phil Taylor in the semi-finals, against whom he suffered heavy 2–8 and 1–8 defeats during the league campaign. The semi-final, however, was much closer as Wade led 4–2 in the opening stages, before the score became 6–6. Taylor then took out a 149 finish, with Wade on 57, to break and then closed out the match 8–6.
Wade beat Richie Burnett, Mark Walsh, Michael van Gerwen and Terry Jenkins to reach his fifth World Matchplay final and his fourth against Phil Taylor. Wade trailed 10–14, but hit back to 14–15 and then missed a dart at double 10 to level the game. He went on to lose 15–18, stating after the match that winning 15 legs against Taylor whilst playing "half-mast" was a good achievement and that he had never felt so happy playing darts. However, during his first round defeat to Colin Osborne in the World Grand Prix, Wade appeared visibly unsettled and immediately flew back home to receive treatment for bipolar disorder, with which he was diagnosed in 2010. He released a statement to thank fans for their support and did not play again until the Grand Slam of Darts, where he finished third in his group following one win and two defeats. After all 33 ProTour events of 2012 had been played, Wade finished 12th on the Order of Merit to qualify for the Players Championship Finals. He lost to Brendan Dolan 4–6 in the first round.
At the 2013 World Championship, Wade beat Peter Hudson 3–0, Steve Beaton 4–2 and Vincent van der Voort 4–0 and then edged past Wes Newton 5–4 in the quarter-finals. He was 1–3 down to Michael van Gerwen in the semi-finals, who then hit a nine dart finish and was a double 12 away from becoming the first player to hit successive perfect legs. However, Wade won the set and then levelled the game at 3–3. Despite averaging 10 points lower than his opponent, which included hitting one 180 to van Gerwen's 14, Wade stayed in the match by taking out finishes at crucial times. But the pressure exerted on Wade eventually showed as he lost 4–6. Wade's best performance of the league stage of the Premier League came in week five when he averaged 105.73 during a 7–1 win over Robert Thornton, who had not lost any of his first four matches. Despite losing three matches in a row he went into the final night needing a positive result against Phil Taylor to qualify for the play-offs. He managed a 6–6 draw and after other results were favourable for Wade he finished fourth in the league to play van Gerwen in the semi-finals, who he had beaten 7–4 and lost to 5–7 during the league campaign. Wade uncharacteristically missed a plethora of darts at doubles, hitting just 20% during the match and, despite a brief fightback from 2–7 down, he would lose 4–8.
Wade played in six of the eight UK Open Qualifiers but could not advance beyond the last 16 in any of them to finish a lowly 61st on the Order of Merit, which meant he would enter the UK Open itself in the preliminary round. He had six comfortable wins to advance to the quarter-finals. He played Andy Hamilton and in a tight match he lost 8–10. Wade played Phil Taylor once again in the World Matchplay, this time in the semi-finals, and was beaten 12–17.
On 20 August, Wade was banned by the PDC for four tournaments regarding his behavior at recent Pro Tour events. He was found to have "acted in a manner which may reasonably be considered to injure or discredit the Darts Regulation Authority or bring the game into disrepute". Wade was free to return at the German Darts Masters in September. In October Wade reached the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix, where he lost 5–1 to Phil Taylor, extending his winless run against Taylor to 18 matches. Taylor remarked afterwards: "James didn't click. He was gone. It's the first time I've ever seen him gone. He told me afterwards that he just gave up." At the inaugural Masters Wade fought a partisan crowd to come back from 7–4 behind in the quarter-finals against Simon Whitlock to finish 91 on the bullseye in the deciding leg to win 8–7. He then waved Whitlock off the stage when the Australian declined to shake hands straight after the match. Wade, whose ranking has now dropped to world number six, stated that he wanted to prove that he should be back in the top four. Early on in the semi-final his opponent Taylor threw a broken flight from the stage, with Wade then asking for it back before complaining to match officials. Wade asked the referee to forfeit the match and lost 10–1 with an average of 73.99. Wade returned to win all three of his group games at the Grand Slam of Darts and then cruised past Paul Nicholson 10–1 to face Taylor yet again. The meeting looked to be heading in a similar manner to Wade's recent heavy defeats as he trailed 9–2, but he then won five unanswered legs before missing three darts to reduce his deficit to only one. This was as close as he could get to Taylor and he went on to lose 16–12.
Wade rode his luck at the 2014 World Championship as Darren Webster missed six match darts in the first round and Andy Smith missed two in the second. Nevertheless, Wade advanced to the quarter-finals but was comfortably beaten 5–1 by Adrian Lewis as he missed 34 darts at doubles during the match. As he was outside the top four on the Order of Merit, Wade had no guarantee he would be involved in the 2014 Premier League and he did not receive a wildcard from the PDC or Sky Sports which saw him miss the event for the first time since 2007. PDC chairman Barry Hearn explained the decision was made to give Wade a rest to enable him more time to gain treatment for his health issues, but Wade released a statement the following day, describing the omission as "devastating" as he was "one of the four most consistent players in 2013". Wade also said he didn't ask to be left out and didn't decline an invitation, and that, with regards the reason given by Hearn that he could gain treatment for his bipolar disorder, "no medical professional has suggested I take a break".
At the UK Open, Wade eliminated Michael Mansell and Kim Huybrechts, before being edged out 9–8 in the fifth round by Terry Jenkins. At the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters he led world number one Michael van Gerwen 5–3, but was eliminated in a deciding leg 10–9. Wade reached his first final in almost two years at the 12th Players Championship of 2014 by defeating Van Gerwen 6–4 in the semi-finals, but then lost 6–3 to Simon Whitlock. Later in the month he won his first title since October 2011 by coming back from 4–1 down to beat Steve Beaton 6–4 in the final of the Gibraltar Darts Trophy, stating afterwards that the success meant more to him than of his televised wins as he was unsure if he was still capable of winning tournaments. Wade could not advance to the semi-finals of the World Matchplay for the first time since 2009 as he lost in the quarters 16–10 to Whitlock.
Wade's match against Robert Thornton in the second round of the World Grand Prix is regarded as the best in the tournament's history. At 1–0 up in sets, Wade opened the next with the second ever double-start nine-dart finish and threw a 156 finish in the leg after. However, he went on to lose the set and the following one, before Thornton incredibly threw the game's second nine-darter to become the first players to have thrown a perfect leg in the same match in darts history. Thornton would miss four darts to win 3–1, with the tie instead going into a deciding set which Wade took to advance to the quarter-finals. Wade continued his run by beating Phil Taylor for the first time in a major knockout tournament and reached the final by fighting back from 3–1 down against Gary Anderson to win 4–3. Wade paid the price for missing doubles against Michael van Gerwen including three to win both the fifth and seventh sets as he fell short of claiming a hat-trick of Grand Prix titles with a 5–3 defeat. The following week, Wade won the 17th Players Championship by fighting back from 5–3 behind to beat Kim Huybrechts 6–5. He was denied a weekend double 24 hours later as Van Gerwen beat him 6–2 in the final of the 18th event.
Wade beat Taylor in a major event for the second time inside a month in the semi-finals of the Masters 11–9 with an average of 105.56. Wade started the final poorly, to fall 5–0, 6–1, 9–2 and 10–6 behind against Mervyn King, but incredibly King would miss a total of eight match darts, as Wade won the last five legs of the match to defeat King 11–10 and take his first major title for three years. Wade hit a 135 checkout in the last leg. The comeback was later named the televised performance of the year at the PDC's annual awards dinner.
Wade suffered a 4–1 defeat to Stephen Bunting in the second round of the 2015 World Championship and he lost 9–6 against Andrew Gilding in the fifth round of the UK Open. He lost in the final of the first Players Championship event 6–5 to Gary Anderson, but returned to claim the second event a day later by beating Peter Wright 6–5. He threw a nine-dart finish in the final of the sixth event to level the scores at 2–2 with Van Gerwen, but lost 6–5 and was narrowly edged out by the same scoreline in the final of the next event this time to Wright. In both events he never had a dart for the title. On his return to the Premier League, Wade could only win three of his 16 matches to finish seventh. His second Players Championship title of the year came at the 13th event in July as he recovered from 3–1 and 5–3 down against Kim Huybrechts in the final to win 6–5.
In the semi-finals of the World Matchplay, Wade ended Phil Taylor's 38 match winning streak in the event stretching back to 2007 by beating him 17–14. He lost in the final for the fifth time this time 18–12 to Van Gerwen. Wade played Taylor in the final of the Perth Darts Masters and lost 11–7. He suffered a surprise 2–1 defeat to Mensur Suljović in the first round of the World Grand Prix. In October, Wade won through to the final of the 20th Players Championship and in doing so became the second player to reach 100 quarter-finals on the Pro Tour. He lost 6–2 to Gary Anderson. Wade was knocked out in the second round of the European Championship, Grand Slam and Players Championship Finals.
Whilst it is somewhat traditional for a darts player to adopt a sobriquet, Wade has adopted several in his career so far. His first nickname, The Gladiator, was used during his breakthrough year of 2006. His nickname was changed following his nine-dart exploits that year to 009 – a take on James Bond's 007. The 009 nickname was used from December 2006 to October 2007.
In November 2007, during the 2007 Grand Slam of Darts – Wade introduced himself on a television promo as having "no nickname". In December 2007, following a competition which invited fans to provide him with a new nickname, Wade briefly became known as Spectacular, a play on the fact that Wade is one of the few players who wears spectacles when he plays. For his Premier League debut in January 2008, Wade unveiled another nickname – The Machine, which he has used ever since.
He became the first player to hit three tournament nine-dart finishes in a calendar year during 2006. They came at the North-West UK Open Regional Final in March, the PDPA Players Championship at Hayling Island in June and he completed his hat-trick at the Vauxhall Men's Open in November. None of these achievements were in televised competitions.
Wade came within one dart of achieving the first ever nine-darter with a double start at the 2007 World Grand Prix in Dublin. In the semi-final against van Barneveld he hit double top to open the leg, then six treble 20s, treble 17 then missed a bullseye for a unique nine-darter.
On 20 November 2008, Wade completed his first live nine-darter hitting two 180s then T20, T19 and D12 against Gary Anderson in the second round of the 2008 Grand Slam of Darts which was shown on ITV4. However, Anderson went on to win the match 10–8, therefore Wade became the first man to hit a nine-dart finish in a major televised tournament in the UK and then go on to lose the match. (Michael van Gerwen had previously done so in a tournament on Dutch television.) Wade was also the first left-handed player to hit a live nine-darter.
In October 2014, at the World Grand Prix against Robert Thornton, Wade hit scores of 160, 180 and 161 to become the second ever player to throw a double-start nine darter. Later in the match Thornton repeated the feat with the pair becoming the first players to both throw nine darters in the same match in the history of darts. Wade remains the only PDC player to achieve a televised 9 darter for double start and open start formats.
|20 November 2008||Gary Anderson||Grand Slam of Darts||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12|
|8 October 2014||Robert Thornton||World Grand Prix||D20, 2 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T17, bullseye||£2,500|
Wade dated Soccer AM presenter Helen Chamberlain from 2008–2010, but they split after roughly 2 years together. The pair had reportedly "drifted apart" from each other, with Wade admitting that the separation hit him hard and affected his darts form for a while. On 8 August 2015, Wade married model Sammi Marsh, who he has been in a relationship with since 2013. Marsh worked for the PDC as a "walk-on" girl and often accompanied Wade during his entrance. She is now Wade's manager.
In 2012, Wade, together with the seven other players who competed in the Premier League recorded a charity single with Chas Hodges and his band called 'Got My Tickets For The Darts' which was written by Chas. It was released on 18 May, the night after the play-offs at the O2 in London, where it was premiered. Proceeds from the single were donated to the Haven House Children's Hospice.
World Championship Performances
- 2005: First round (lost to Mark Holden 0–3)
- 2006: First round (lost to Wayne Jones 2–3)
- 2007: Third round (lost to Terry Jenkins 3–4)
- 2008: Quarter-finals (lost to John Part 4–5)
- 2009: Semi-finals (lost to Raymond van Barneveld 4–6)
- 2010: Quarter-finals (lost to Simon Whitlock 3–5)
- 2011: Second round (lost to Mensur Suljović 2–4)
- 2012: Semi-finals (lost to Adrian Lewis 5–6)
- 2013: Semi-finals (lost to Michael van Gerwen 4–6)
- 2014: Quarter-finals (lost to Adrian Lewis 1–5)
- 2015: Second round (lost to Stephen Bunting 1–4)
- 2016: Quarter-finals (lost to Gary Anderson 1–5)