James Wade fended off an inspired comeback from Dave Chisnall to win the European Darts Matchplay in a thrilling final in Inselparkhalle, Hamburg, on Sunday evening. Wade led 5-2 and appeared poised to secure a routine win, but Chisnall fought back valiantly to force a decider, only to miss a match-dart in the eleventh and final leg.
Wade averaged 92.71 to Chisnall’s 93.55, but the decisive factor was the doubling. Although Chisnall produced some fine combination finishes in the latter stages, Wade converted 6 of his 9 double attempts, which included fine finishes of 70, 64, 118 and the title-winning 82 checkout.
Wade claimed the spoils in a scrappy opening leg by pinning D20 having posted a maximum in the previous visit. However, Chisnall responded with successive maximums and six perfect darts; eventually closing out the leg with his seventh attempt at double.
Wade regained the lead with a clinical 70 checkout, before extending his cushion to 3-1 after following up his second maximum with a fine 64 finish. Moments later, ‘The Machine’ won his third straight leg after converting a classy 118 checkout, although Chisnall reduced the arrears to 4-2 with D8.
However, the left-hander moved to the cusp of victory by holding his nerve to pin D10 with his last dart in hand. Despite this, Chizzy displayed admirable resilience and preserved his slender hopes with an inspired 140 checkout (T18, T18, D16) to move within two legs of his fellow Premier League star.
Wade produced a solid scoring leg in the ninth by leaving 71 after 12 darts, although he wasn’t afforded an opportunity to clinch the title, as Chisnall fired in another ton-plus checkout; this time a fabulous 127 checkout on the bull.
The St Helen’s star recorded his third maximum as he attempted to restore parity at five apiece, but Wade posted successive visits of 140 and 134 to leave 76 after 12 darts. Nevertheless once again, he wasn’t given a shot, as Chisnall produced a nerveless 78 finish on the bull to win his third straight leg and force a dramatic decider.
The momentum was unquestionably with Chizzy, and the unthinkable comeback appeared possible when the three-time major finalist stole the darts and left 136 after 9 darts. However, Dave spurned one dart at D20 for the title and Wade showed immense composure, converting an 82 checkout on D20 to clinch his second European Tour crown.
Earlier in the day, Wade kicked off Sunday’s proceedings with a fine 6-2 win over Gary Anderson- his first victory against ‘The Flying Scotsman’ in 14 attempts. ‘The Machine’ was in impressive form, averaging 100.92, hitting two maximums and converting 66.7% of his double attempts.
The eight-time major winner then faced Benito van de Pas in the quarters, after ‘Big Ben’ had seen off his compatriot Vincent van der Voort in the preceding round. Van de Pas led 5-4 as the first nine legs went with throw, but Wade secured an unlikely victory with consecutive finishes of 112 and 121 to book his semi-final spot.
James faced Michael van Gerwen in the last four, with MvG vying for his fourth consecutive European Tour title of 2016. Nevertheless, ‘The Green Machine’ misfired, hitting just 18% of his doubles as Wade prevailed by virtue of a comprehensive 6-2 scoreline.
This victory handed Wade a place in his third European Tour final and it marked a spectacular day for the Aldershot ace, who saw off both the world number one and world number two with emphatic ease.
Elsewhere, Dave Chisnall came through a tough test against Scottish star John Henderson on Sunday afternoon to reach the quarter-finals. Chisnall averaged 100.87 and recorded three maximums; securing victory in the tenth leg, with the only break of throw in the entire contest.
Chizzy then progressed to the semi-finals after posting another ton-plus average in beating Mensur Suljovic for the second European Tour event in succession. The St Helen’s ace averaged 101.13, hit four maximums and converted out-shots of 160 and 144 en route to victory.
Second seed Peter Wright awaited Chisnall in the semi-finals, but ‘The Yellow Peril’ eased past an under-par Snakebite to book a place in his second consecutive European Tour final. However Chizzy, appearing in his sixth European Tour final, fell at the final hurdle for the second week in succession.
HappyBet European Darts Matchplay
Sunday May 15
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Michael Smith 5-6 Mensur Suljovic
Dave Chisnall 6-4 John Henderson
Max Hopp 6-3 Terry Jenkins
Peter Wright 6-3 Jamie Caven
James Wade 6-2 Gary Anderson
Vincent van der Voort 3-6 Benito van de Pas
Adrian Lewis 4-6 Jelle Klaasen
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
Mensur Suljovic 4-6 Dave Chisnall
Max Hopp 4-6 Peter Wright
James Wade 6-5 Benito van de Pas
Jelle Klaasen 5-6 Michael van Gerwen
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Peter Wright
James Wade 6-2 Michael van Gerwen
James Wade 6-5 Dave Chisnall