James Wade produced a series of masterful displays to triumph on Night 12 of the Premier League in Dublin, edging out league leader Jonny Clayton in Thursday’s showpiece on the Emerald Isle.
Ahead of tonight’s action, ‘The Machine’ had reached three finals in four weeks to establish himself in the top four, and he continued his blistering form to secure his second victory of the league phase.
Wade fought back from 4-2 down to deny Clayton a fourth success of the league phase in a thrilling finale, but the Welshman has extended his lead at the summit to four points, while Wade draws level on points with Michael van Gerwen in second spot.
The left-hander dumped out the Dutchman in the evening’s opening quarter-final; surviving three match darts in a dramatic decider, despite Van Gerwen averaging over 103.
The pair exchanged ten maximums in a high-quality affair, yet after recovering from 4-1 down to force a last-leg shootout, five-time Premier League winner Van Gerwen was unable to complete the comeback.
Wade then produced statistically the best performance of his PDC career to demolish world No 2 Gerwyn Price in an extraordinary semi-final tussle, averaging 114.73 en route to a 6-1 rout.
‘The Iceman’ opened his campaign with a scrappy 6-3 win over Joe Cullen, but he was blown away by a rampant Wade, who fired in legs of 14, 13, 15, 12, 10 and 14 darts, while converting 86% of his attempts at double.
He made a similarly emphatic start against Clayton, following up a 14-dart hold with a clinical 118 combination to lead 2-0, but the reigning Premier League champion responded in typically defiant fashion, reeling off four straight legs to seize the initiative.
‘The Ferret’ moved one leg away from victory courtesy of a sublime 11-darter in leg eight, but another nerveless 118 finish from Wade forced a decider, before the world No 5 sealed the deal via double four, after Clayton had squandered a second match dart at tops.
However, it was another profitable night for the diminutive Welshman, who moved four points clear at the top with impressive wins over world No 1 Peter Wright and World Championship runner-up Michael Smith.
The 47-year-old defied two ton-plus finishes from Wright to record a 6-3 success in the quarter-finals, which he followed with a stirring fightback to stun Smith.
‘Bully Boy’ eased past Gary Anderson earlier in the night to halt his losing run, only to relinquish a commanding 4-1 cushion against Clayton, who won five consecutive legs to prevail with a 104.16 average, three 180s and 55% on the outer ring.
Smith averaged 104.73, landed four maximums and pinned 44% of his darts at double, yet successive legs of 15, 14, 14, 11 and 15 darts propelled the former World Cup champion through to a showdown against Wade.
The sport’s biggest roadshow heads to Glasgow for Night 13 next Thursday, and the evening begins with an intriguing all-Scottish clash between former World Cup partners Wright and Anderson.
Wright boasts a five-point lead over Joe Cullen in fifth, and ‘The Rockstar’ will bid to reignite his play-off push when he faces Van Gerwen in the fourth and final quarter-final.
Elsewhere, Clayton and Wade collide in a repeat of their Dublin dust-up, while Price and Smith lock horns, with both men desperate for victories to preserve their slender top-four aspirations.
Image Credit: Michael Cooper/PDC
2022 Cazoo Premier League
Night 12 – 3Arena, Dublin
Thursday April 28
James Wade 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Joe Cullen
Michael Smith 6-2 Gary Anderson
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Peter Wright
James Wade 6-1 Gerwyn Price
Michael Smith 4-6 Jonny Clayton
James Wade 6-5 Jonny Clayton