Wade marches to victory over Cross

Saturday was the fourth of five successive days of the competition at Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes

By Cameron Hogwood

Last Updated: 11/07/20 7:56pm

James Wade was in fine form on Day Four of the competition

James Wade was in fine form on Day Four of the competition

James Wade was in fine form on Day Four of the competition

James Wade insists he can still win major titles after he beat Rob Cross 8-2 in the final of Saturday’s Players Championship event.

It marked a first title in 2020 for ‘The Machine’, whose day of impressive finishing in Milton Keynes included checkouts of 156 and 108 against Cross.

Wade began the day with a 6-0 win over Mike van Duivenbode, before beating both Harald Leitinger and Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-3 to reach the last 16. It was there where the 2007 Matchplay champion overcame Nathan Aspinall 6-4 with an average just shy of 103.

After brushing aside Michael Smith 6-0, Wade averaged 103.2 to beat Ian White in the semi-finals, Cross producing a nine-darter in the other to knock out Mensur Suljovic with a 7-2 win at a 110 average.

The pair found themselves square at 2-2 in the final, only for Wade to pull away thanks to some strong visits on the doubles.

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“I’ve been playing 20 years, I’ve got a sore knee, a sore elbow, a sore shoulder,” said Wade. “If you don’t play darts regularly and all of a sudden you have to play four days of it, people will laugh at home, but you’re sore.

“Today I woke up a little bit better, didn’t feel as sore on my knee. I’m sure every other player has had the exact same thing but I felt a little better today.”

Having won two events already this week, the imperious Michael van Gerwen was eliminated in the first round in a 6-3 defeat to Joe Murnan. Later in the day, Gerwyn Price was beaten 6-5 in the last 32 by the talented Callan Rydz.

Cross, the 2018 world champion, was able to take encouragement thanks to his stunning nine-dart finish following ton-plus average wins over Jitse van der Wal and Jamie Hughes.

The route to his first final in 2020 also saw him beat Danny Noppert, Rydz and four-time Lakeside women’s champion Lisa Ashton.

Rob Cross will be looking to defend his Matchplay title later this month Rob Cross will be looking to defend his Matchplay title later this month

Rob Cross will be looking to defend his Matchplay title later this month

Wade admitted afterwards he had passed off a number of online competitions during the darting hiatus in favour of spending time with his family.

While joking that he might consider retiring, the 37-year-old remains confident he can still compete among the best.

“There are some tremendous darts players,” he added. “I’m still one of the fortunate ones that’s still a bet after 20 years of playing.

“I saw a lot of young lads and competitors playing online tournaments but that’s been of no interest to me. I’ve been enjoying spending time with my wife and son. It’s been tremendous and it’s given me a small taste of retirement, if I had enough money I’d probably retire.

“I can still win majors, I can still win big tournaments. I wouldn’t still be doing it if I couldn’t. But it’s hard, it gets harder.”

Summer Series 4 – Last 16 Results

Last 16 Rob Cross 6-5 Callan Rydz
Jamie Hughes 6-1 Jason Lowe
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Kai Fan Leung
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Robert Thornton
Michael Smith 6-4 Peter Wright
James Wade 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3 Jose De Sousa
Ian White 6-4 Glen Durrant
Quarter-Finals Rob Cross 6-5 Jamie Hughes
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Daryl Gurney
James Wade 6-0 Michael Smith
Krzysztof Ratajski 1-6 Ian White
Semi-Finals Rob Cross 7-2 Mensur Suljovic
James Wade 7-4 Ian White
Final James Wade 8-2 Rob Cross

Wade will be involved in the World Matchplay later this month, with the tournament set to be played in Milton Keynes without fans in order to maintain social distancing measures.

“It’s indifferent,” he said. “I’ve never played a major TV title behind closed doors. I think it gives the lesser players and the players that bottle it a bit of a better opportunity.

“I’m here, I’ve been involved in many new things with the PDC, this is another learning curve for me and I look forward to it.”

The race for Betfred World Matchplay qualification will conclude on Sunday following Day Five in Milton Keynes, with qualifying places via the ProTour Order of Merit still up for grabs.

The 16 seeded players to come from the PDC Order of Merit are now finalised, with world No 17 Stephen Bunting needing to reach at least the semi-finals on Sunday to stand a chance of forcing his way into the World Matchplay field.

Darts is back on Sky Sports in July, with nine days of coverage from the World Matchplay getting underway on Saturday, July 18, and every day until the final on Sunday, July 26.

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