JAMES WADE claimed the third major title of his flourishing career with an 11-7 win over America’s Gary Mawson in the final of the Blue Square UK Open last night.

Wade added the £35,000 UK Open title to the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix victories he took in 2007 with a classy display of darts at the Reebok Stadium.

Mawson had ended Raymond van Barneveld’s bid for a third successive title in Bolton in the semi-finals with a 10-8 triumph, but fell short in his own challenge against Wade.

He held his own for much of the final, leading 3-1 and 6-5, but Wade pulled clear in the second half of the match to take victory.

“It’s a special title for me,” said Wade. “I’ve never done well at Bolton in previous years so it feels good.

“It’s my third big title and to be honest I’m lost for words. Gary let me off at times in the final and I made the most of it, but I was pretty consistent over the whole weekend.”

Wade began slowly, with only a 100 finish in leg two and a maximum in leg four to cheer about as Mawson – buoyed by his semi-final triumph – took the early advantage with a 3-1 lead.

A 98 finish saw Wade hit back, and he also took the next three – including seven perfect darts in one leg and a 13-darter – to take a 5-4 lead.

A superb 150 finish, ironically the checkout Wade missed in his nine-darter bid, saw Mawson level once more, and the American regained the lead at 6-5 on double 16.

But Wade levelled and then took advantage of a missed double top to pull out to 10-6, including a showpiece 100 checkout featuring two double tops.

Mawson landed double 16 to keep his hopes alive in leg 17, but a seventh maximum of the game put Wade clear in the next and he landed his favourite double top for a 12-darter to claim another major title.

Wade earlier defeated 2007 runner-up Vincent van der Voort in the semi-finals with a superb display, averaging 101 and checking out 77 percent of his doubles.

“I’m a player who is best preparing for one game a day and this tournament doesn’t suit me,” admitted Wade. “But I showed some experience and belief to hang in and that helped me through.”

Mawson had begun his challenge in the second round on Thursday, and claimed £15,000 as runner-up to break into the world’s top 50.

“I’ve had a fantastic weekend,” he said. “I wish I could have gone one game further but James was great in the final.”

Blue Square UK Open
Quarter-Finals
Gary Mawson 10-6 Wayne Jones
Vincent van der Voort 10-5 Chris Thompson
Raymond van Barneveld 10-9 Phil Taylor
James Wade 10-6 Alan Tabern
Losers £5,000

Semi-Finals
James Wade 10-4 Vincent van der Voort
Gary Mawson 10-8 Raymond van Barneveld
Losers £10,000

Final
James Wade 11-7 Gary Mawson
Winner £35,000
Runner-Up £15,000

JAMES WADE 10-4 VINCENT VAN DER VOORT

JAMES WADE powered into the final of the Blue Square UK Open with a brilliant 10-4 win over Vincent van der Voort.

The Dutchman had been bidding to reach the Bolton decider for a second successive year, but was blown away by a sensational showing from Wade.

The world number three averaged over 101, and checked out 77 percent of his chances at a double to remain on course for the third major title of his career.

Wade started brilliantly, winning the first four legs without reply before van der Voort took the fifth on double four to get off the mark.

A 101 finish restored Wade’s cushion, and he followed up a 12-darter with two more back-to-back legs to lead 8-1.

Van der Voort took three of the next four, including legs of 12 and 13 darts, to stay in the game at 9-4.

But any hopes of a comeback were dashed by Wade, who landed a fifth maximum of the match in a 13-darter to seal the win.

“I’m delighted,” said Wade. “This is the best run I’ve ever had at Bolton – I normally play rubbish here but this is the furthest I’ve got.

“That was better than I’ve played in other games in the event, so far. Vincent didn’t play his best game and I took full advantage.”

GARY MAWSON 10-8 RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD

GARY MAWSON sensationally ended Raymond van Barneveld’s reign as the Blue Square UK Open champion with a 10-8 semi-final victory in Bolton.

The American star produced the performance of his life to send van Barneveld back to Holland without the title for the first time since his switch to the PDC in 2006.

Van Barneveld had knocked out Phil Taylor in the quarter-finals, but failed to repeat that performance against Mawson.

The duo shared the opening six legs before Mawson secured the first break of throw to move 4-3 up.

A 116 finish saw van Barneveld hit back, but Mawson took advantage of missed doubles from the Dutchman to go 6-4 up.

Van Barneveld won the next three to put himself 7-6 up, but was punished for further misses as Mawson levelled on double top and then hit the same bed to go 8-7 ahead.

He then followed up a 180 with a 111 finish to move a leg away from the win, and though van Barneveld took leg 17 the American would not be denied – hitting double 12 to reach the final.

The win repeated his victory over van Barneveld in last month’s PDC US Open, and also secured himself a place in the Grand Slam of Darts in November and moves him into the world’s top 50.

“I feel fantastic to be in the final,” said Mawson. “I beaten Raymond last month and that warmed me up for this.

“He didn’t play to his best but I showed how good I can be and it’s great.”

AFTERNOON SESSION

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD’S bid for a Blue Square UK Open hat-trick remained on course after he completed a Reebok Stadium treble against Phil Taylor on Sunday.

The Dutchman sent Taylor crashing out of the tournament with a 10-9 final-leg triumph in the quarter-finals of the event to stay in the hunt for a third straight title.

Taylor had hit a fourth UK Open nine-darter as well as a record televised average of 114.53 in reaching the last eight, but came unstuck for the third year in a row against van Barneveld.

The world number one led 3-0 before Taylor took five in a row to hit the front, only for van Barneveld to move 8-5 up.

Taylor hit back to level and the pair shared the next two to send the match into a decider, but a 180 from van Barneveld – his seventh of the game – set up a 109 finish, which he sunk to keep alive his unbeaten record in Bolton.

“I can’t describe how happy I am,” admitted van Barneveld. “I’ve won so many tournaments but it always means so much to me to beat the greatest player ever.

“He has been unbeatable for three months – what he’s done since February is amazing – but I said to myself when the draw came out that I had to believe in myself because it’s always 0-0 in every game.

“I’ve shown the world now that I’m still one of the few players who can beat Phil – I need the pressure and maybe I focus best in knockout games.”

Taylor admitted: “I tried hard, and maybe I was trying too hard in that last leg. Raymond’s 180 was great and it was a brilliant shot from him on the 109 to win it. He’s got a lot of bottle and I hope he wins the tournament now.”

Van Barneveld will now take on American Gary Mawson in the semi-finals, after his 10-6 win over Wayne Jones in the last eight.

Mawson, whose parents hail from Bolton and who lived in the town for two years as a child, earned his spot in the semis with three ton-plus finishes in knocking out the Wolverhampton man, who never recovered from losing four of the first five legs.

The other semi-final sees 2007 runner-up Vincent van der Voort take on world number three James Wade.

Wade overcame Alan Tabern 10-6 to put himself in line for a third major title, while van der Voort defeated Chris Thompson – a solicitor’s clerk from York appearing in his first major quarter-final – 10-5.

Blue Square UK Open Quarter-Finals

Gary Mawson 10-6 Wayne Jones
Vincent van der Voort 10-5 Chris Thompson
Raymond van Barneveld 10-9 Phil Taylor
James Wade 10-6 Alan Tabern

GARY MAWSON 10-6 WAYNE JONES

GARY MAWSON reached his first major semi-final with a 10-6 victory over Wayne Jones in the opening quarter-final clash.

The American made the most of a poor start from Jones to take a 4-1 lead early on, and he never surrendered that position despite a fightback from the Wolverhampton man.

Mawson took the game’s opening two legs, including a 121 finish, before Jones got off the mark on double eight.

Mawson also took the next two and, though Jones took leg six, he extended the advantage to 6-2 by following up a 13-darter with a 117 checkout.

Jones won leg nine after Mawson missed three darts at a double, but he failed to capitalise in the next two as the American moved 8-3 up.

Jones kicked into gear to win the next three legs, including two maximums and a 13-darter, but wasted his chance to pull back to 8-7 in leg 15, hitting a 177 to leave 24 but then missing three darts at double 12.

Mawson landed 103 to move a leg away from the match, and a brilliant 11-darter put him into the last four.

“I’m very pleased,” said Mawson. “I had a hiccup in the middle of the game but I had enough of a lead to hold him off and get my game back.

“I felt good and had no nerves but when I was 8-3 up I just wanted to get the game over with. I had an edge and took advantage.

“The semi-final will be one of the biggest games of my career, but I’ll be ready for it.”

Jones admitted: “I’m gutted because that was probably my worst display of the weekend.

“I had a chance to get back into the game and two or three times I had shots to break his throw and didn’t do it.

“If I had I would have beaten him, but if you can’t hit your doubles you won’t win and in the end I got what I deserved.”

VINCENT VAN DER VOORT 10-5 CHRIS THOMPSON

HOLLAND’S Vincent van der Voort ended the challenge of Chris Thompson in the Blue Square UK Open with a 10-5 quarter-final victory.

Thompson, a solicitors clerk from York, battled through to the last eight to celebrate his best run yet in a major tournament but fell short of reaching the semis despite a brave effort as van der Voort showed his class.

The 2007 runner-up remains on course for his second successive Bolton final, with some key doubles late in the game pulling him clear.

The first six legs were tight as the pair held throw to be locked at three-all before Thompson broke the throw with a 12-darter to go 4-3 up.

He paid for misses in the next, including a bounce-out on double four, as van der Voort levelled and then took the next two to move 6-4 up.

Thompson stepped in to take leg 11 but missed three darts to square the contest as van der Voort stole the leg on double four.

The Dutchman stepped up a gear as the finishing line approached, taking the next two legs in 14 and 13 darts to progress to the semis.

“The last time we played Chris beat me so I knew I had to be at my best and I did enough to win today,” said van der Voort.

“There were some breaks which were very important to me because he was getting close to me and then I’d get away again.

“My doubles were good when I needed them to be, and I’m very comfortable in Bolton.”

Thompson said: “If someone had said to me on Thursday morning that I’d come to Bolton and reach the last eight, I’d have taken that!

“I really enjoyed it, Vincent’s a class act and a great bloke and I wish him all the best now.

“I was consistent and I thought I played well in the first ten legs. I kept breaking his throw but there was one leg where I kicked off 140, 140, 140 and lost the leg and the double four which bounced out changed the game.”

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 10-9 PHIL TAYLOR

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD’S Blue Square UK Open dominance over Phil Taylor continued with an amazing 10-9 win over the 13-time World Champion.

The Dutchman defeated Taylor in the quarter-finals for a third successive year with the final leg triumph, ending Taylor’s hopes of adding the UK Open title to the Whyte & Mackay Premier League and PartyPoker.net PDC US Open victories he has already enjoyed this year.

Taylor had landed a fourth Bolton nine-darter and produced a record televised average of 114.53 in progressing to the last eight on Saturday, but failed to recapture that form against van Barneveld.

The Dutchman took an early 3-0 lead, capitalising on a slow start from Taylor.

The Stoke legend hit back strongly with five straight legs, only for van Barneveld to respond with five of his own, including a 100 checkout with Taylor sat on a finish to take a 6-5 lead and then take advantage of missed doubles from his opponent to move 8-5 up.

Taylor won the next three to level once more, and the next two were shared to send the contest into a decider.

Both struggled at the start of leg 19, with a 136 score from Taylor the best either player produced.

But van Barneveld landed a 180 – his seventh of the game – to leave 109, with Taylor then setting up a 107 finish with a 140.

Taylor, though, would never get the chance at his checkout, with van Barneveld landing treble 20, single 17 and double 16 to take the victory.

“I can’t describe how happy I am,” admitted van Barneveld. “I’ve won so many tournaments but it always means so much to me to beat the greatest player ever.

“He has been unbeatable for three months – what he’s done since February is amazing – but I said to myself when the draw came out that I had to believe in myself because it’s always 0-0 in every game.

“I’ve shown the world now that I’m still one of the few players who can beat Phil – I need the pressure and maybe I focus best in knockout games.

“I kept telling myself I could win it no matter what happened and I’m relieved.”

Taylor said: “I tried hard, and maybe I was trying too hard in that last leg.

“Raymond’s 180 was great and it was a brilliant shot from him on the 109 to win it. He’s got a lot of bottle and I hope he wins the tournament now.”

JAMES WADE 10-6 ALAN TABERN

JAMES WADE’S bid for a third major title remains on track at the Blue Square UK Open after he reached his first Bolton semi-final with a 10-6 win over Alan Tabern.

Tabern, a semi-finalist two years ago, failed to recapture the form which saw him sweep through Friday and Saturday’s play, paying for missed doubles against the world number three.

The pair traded 14-darters in the first two legs before a 91 finish saw Wade break the throw in leg and move out to a 4-2 lead.

A 140 finish from Wade in leg nine saw him break throw again to lead 6-3, and he also took the next three to open up a five-leg gap.

Tabern broke Wade’s throw for the first time in leg 12 but a tricky double six saw Wade go 9-4 up.

St Helens man Tabern landed legs of 13 and 12 darts to pull back to 9-6, including two 180s in the latter.

But even a seventh maximum of the match was not enough in the next, with Wade landing double eight for a 14-darter to seal the win.

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