JAMES WADE claimed the 2009 Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts with a 13-8 victory over Mervyn King at the Wembley Arena on Monday night – as Phil Taylor’s reign in the event was sensationally ended.

Taylor had won all four previous Premier Leagues and was an odds-on favourite to take the £125,000 winner’s cheque this season, only for King to produce a 10-6 upset victory in the semi-finals.

King, a Premier League debutant this year, was unable to repeat the feat in the final, though, as 26-year-old Wade followed up his semi-final victory over Raymond van Barneveld with triumph in the decider.

Wade led 7-0 before King took seven of the next nine to pull back into the game, but he had left himself too much to do as the former mechanic picked up his fourth televised title.

“This is the best moment of my career and it’s a very special tournament to win,” said Wade. “Because it’s spread over three months it’s probably the biggest tournament in darts.

“The prize of £125,000 is the joint biggest ever and that means a lot too. It’s been a great night for me

“I hadn’t picked up a dart for three weeks before this event but I was fresh and came through two very tough matches.”

Wade was certainly the fresher as the final began, making an immediate mark as King failed to recapture his semi-final form.

Wade landed three 13-darters and picked up three breaks of throw in taking a 7-0 lead before a stunning 156 finish got King off the mark.

Wade moved 8-1 up before King punished a dip from the Aldershot ace to take five legs in a row in reducing the arrears to just two legs.

The next four legs were shared before Wade crucially broke in leg 20 on double two to move 12-8 up and within a leg of victory.

He began the next with a 180, his only one of the final, and took out double top for the biggest pay-day of his career.

The night had begun in dramatic fashion as Wade and van Barneveld enjoyed another epic battle, coming a year after their meeting at this stage in the 2008 Premier League.

The world number two defied four ton-plus finishes from the Dutchman to progress for a second successive tear with a 10-8 victory.

King then produced the biggest upset since the Premier League began with a 10-6 win over Taylor, who had ended the league phase top of the table after suffering one defeat in 12 games.

He failed to produce the goods against King, who won the mental battle after winning the pre-match bullseye but giving Taylor the throw before opening up a 2-0 lead.

Taylor led 4-3 but key finishes of 111 and 108 saw the advantage swing back to King, who took four successive legs to lead 9-5 before closing out victory.

“I’m gutted but it’s not the end of the world,” said Taylor. “I’ve got no excuses – Mervyn was the better player and I didn’t find the extra gear that I usually do.

“I’ve got to go back to the practice board. I know why I lost and I know what I’ve done wrong, and I know exactly how to put it right.”

Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts Play-Offs
May 25 – Wembley Arena
James Wade 10-8 Raymond van Barneveld
Mervyn King 10-6 Phil Taylor

James Wade 13-8 Mervyn King


JAMES WADE reached his second successive Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts Final with a battling 10-8 victory over Raymond van Barneveld.

The world number two repeated his victory over the Dutchman from this stage a year ago in a thrilling contest, where the lead changed hands four times.

Wade established a 7-4 lead only for van Barneveld to regain the lead – but crucially the Dutchman missed doubles to move 9-8 up as the youngster progressed to the final.

“I’m thrilled to be in the final,” said Wade. “It was such a tough semi and it could have gone either way, but Raymond let me in and I’m grateful I took my chance.”

The opening stages were high-quality as the pair traded legs without being able to break their opponent’s throw.

Wade produced a pair of 14-darters and three double top finishes to hold in the opening six legs, while van Barneveld was similarly clinical before taking out 105 in the seventh for a 4-3 cushion.

Wade levelled, once more on tops, before hitting the same bed to secure the first break of throw and edge ahead 5-4.

A 180 for a second successive leg helped Wade to the next, which he took on double 16, and a third-dart double four finish saw him take a 7-4 cushion.

Van Barneveld began the 12th leg with a maximum, and took two successive 116 finishes to begin his comeback, followed by an 11-darter to level and a 127 checkout to lead 8-7 in a brilliant burst.

Wade squared matters on double ten, and took advantage of misses at double 16 and double eight from the Dutchman to sneak the 17th and lead 9-8.

Wade’s consistency pulled him clear in the next, with scores of 100, 140 and 140 helping to set up a double top finish for victory.


PHIL TAYLOR’S Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts reign was sensationally ended by Mervyn King with a 10-6 semi-final victory at the Wembley Arena.

Taylor had won the previous four Premier Leagues, and finished top of the table after the 14 week nights around the UK over the past three months.

But his hopes of scooping the £125,000 first prize were ended by King, whose debut Premier League campaign continued with progression to the final.

King began the mind games before the match, winning the bullseye but handing the advantage of throw to Taylor.

It was a move that paid immediate dividends, when a 95 checkout to break Taylor’s throw was followed by a 96 finish as King immediately jumped into a 2-0 cushion.

Taylor replied superbly, with a 13-darter to get off the mark followed by a 122 finish to level and a double 16 checkout to lead 3-2.

King took three of the next four, including checkouts of 111 on the bull and 108, to lead once more, although Taylor landed a maximum in taking the tenth against the darts to level at five-all.

Two misses at double 16 from Taylor allowed King in to take the next and regain the lead, while two double eight checkouts moved him 8-5 up – with Taylor surprisingly bursting his score by hitting single 19 instead of single three after four earlier misses at double seven.

Taylor landed a fourth 180 of the game in the next, but double top put King a leg away from the win.

Taylor battled to take the next on double eight and stay in the game, but one miss at double top in the next gave King his chance for victory, which he took with a fine 115 checkout.

“I’m gutted but it’s not the end of the world,” said Taylor. “I’ve got no excuses – Mervyn was the better player and I didn’t find the extra gear that I usually do.

“I’ve got to go back to the practice board. I know why I lost and I know what I’ve done wrong, and I know exactly how to put it right.”

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