Englishman James Wade scored the first nine-dart finish at the PDC World Darts Championship in more than a half-decade, but his rally was short-lived as he lost to Stephen Bunting Tuesday afternoon at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Despite the high-scoring sprint, the 37-year-old, one-time Wunderkind posted his lowest average at the World Championships since 2014 and gave up a 2-0 lead to Bunting.
Agent 009 Makes Cameo in Tourney
Early in his career, Wade was known as “Double 009” for his ability to throw the nine. It was a moniker he earned back, at least temporarily, on Tuesday. It was a rare moment for the legendary nine-dart leg to be captured during live coverage, and even more rare for it to happen without the backing of an eager crowd.
Here it is:
A 24-year-old prodigy who became the youngest player to win a major PDC title at the World Matchplay in 2007, Wade has never found the World Championship in his grasp, bowing out in the semi-finals thrice in the sport’s major event.
For his part, Bunting rallied in the opening set to force a decider, but let himself down as Wade threw a two-dart 62 kill to take the first.
Wade took the second set in similarly streaky fashion, but the rest of the day belonged to Bunting as his southpaw opponent couldn’t find the mechanics to score steadily.
The contest’s outcome may be remembered less than then nine-darter, which Bunting said after the match was a “blur” to witness, especially in front of an empty stadium due to the pandemic.
Bunting (+130 on Bovada) opened as the underdog against 33-year-old Englishman Ryan “Heavy Metal” Searle (-170) in an attempt to play his way into the round of eight.
Gary Anderson Favored Against Devon Peterson, Mervyn King an Underdog to Gerwyn Price
Other action on Wednesday features Gary “The Flying Scotsman” Anderson, who rallied from down 3-2 and took the final six legs to put down Austrian rival Mensur Suljovic on Monday. He’ll face Devon Peterson. Anderson (-135) is favored over the seven-time PDC Worlds qualifier from South Africa (+105). Anderson-Peterson starts at 6:45 a.m. ET.
At 11:30 a.m. ET, viewers can tune in to watch No. 3 in the world, Gerwyn Price, who defeated Brendan Dolan in a sudden-death leg to press forward to the round of 16. The Welshman (-250) is heavily favored over Mervyn King (+185). The English underdog landed in the round of 16 after besting Jose de Sousa Monday in four straight sets.
Viewers can tune into the PDC World Darts Championship, including the final on Sunday, Jan. 3, at skysports.com/darts, or by using the skysports app.