James Wade says ‘things went on backstage’ ahead of Premier League semi-final

James Wade’s hopes of Premier League darts glory were crushed by a semi-final defeat to Michael van Gerwen in Berlin.

The Green Machine roared to a 10-4 win over The Machine before edging out Joe Cullen 11-10 in a thrilling final to clinch his sixth Premier League crown, taking him level with the great Phil Taylor. Wade defeated Van Gerwen just two days before in the Nordic Masters at the weekend, but he couldn’t get going as the Dutchman on this occasion.

After the match, Wade revealed all was not right in his preparation, claiming Van Gerwen had “a lot more help” backstage. However, he refused to use the issue as an excuse for the defeat, calling Van Gerwen the best player in the Premier League.

“I’m really disappointed. Unfortunately I wasn’t good enough. But it is what is,” he told Dutch broadcaster Sportnieuws.nl before expanding a little on the issues he faced before the match.

“There were many, many other things that attributed towards the game,” he said. “There were a lot of things that went on backstage that didn’t favour me, but I can’t talk too much about that.”

Wade added: “Michael had a lot more help backstage than I did, but he was the better player. We can’t argue with that, he was far better than me.”

Wade reached the play-offs after finishing third in the league phase, despite missing a week after being taken ill during a European Tour event and having to spend three days in a German hospital. He is now preparing for the World Cup of Darts, which starts later this week and will see him partner the in-form Michael Smith for England, who begin their campaign in the first round against the Czech Republic on Friday night.

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Wade is looking forward to the World Cup and, in one of his exclusive columns for Daily Star Sport, spoke of his pride at representing his country.

“I absolutely love the idea of representing my country and absolutely hate the idea of letting someone else down, so I do find myself getting very nervous in this competition,” he wrote.

“We might be entering as the favourites based on world rankings, but I know from painful experience, when myself and Phil lost in the first round, that being favourites does not win you matches. We will be giving it our all to try and win the trophy for England and I will be proud, as always, to wear the shirt.”

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