Name: James Wade
Nickname: The Machine
Date of birth: 6 April 1983
Home town: Aldershot (England)
Walk on music: The Boys Are Back in Town - Thin Lizzy
TV Titles: 10
Nine-dart finishes: 10 (Three on TV)
Highest TV average: 111.03 (Grand Slam of Darts 2008)
James Wade is undoubtedly one of the greatest darts players never to have won a World Championship, but despite this he has performed at the highest level on the PDC circuit for many years.
Now nicknamed ‘The Machine’ in reference to his former occupation as a mechanic, James Wade began his career in professional darts back in 2001 on the BDO circuit. He established himself on the tour and switched to the PDC in 2004 which was really the beginning of Wade becoming the global star that he is today.
Already a formidable player, Wade wasted no time in climbing the rankings after joining the PDC. He made his debut at the PDC World Championship in 2005 and won the Irish Masters to close in on a spot inside the world’s top 32.
A first major final for Wade came at the 2006 World Matchplay where he was narrowly defeated by Phil Taylor. This performance came shortly after the Englishman made the decision to leave his job as a mechanic and focus fully on a career in darts.
Once the 2007 World Championships had passed Wade was on the brink of breaking into the world’s top 10 and was ranked at 11. His progress was recognised as he received the PDC Young Player of the Year award.
His year continued to improve, and he became the youngest player at the time to win a televised PDC event when victorious at Winter Gardens in the World Matchplay. This marked his first major title and he quickly doubled his tally by winning the World Grand Prix later that year.
Wade’s rapid rise to the top continued in 2008 when he played his way into the top four on the Order of Merit to earn a spot in the ever-improving Premier League. Taylor had dominated the first three years of the event, not losing a single match and this made Wade’s opening night victory over the now 16-time world champion even more impressive. He went on to reach the final but could not get the better of Taylor on finals night.
Wade and Taylor were the two standout players in 2008 and regularly met in the latter stages of tournaments. In fact, the pair met in the final of three major events with Taylor taking all of the spoils.
Building on his 2008 Premier League Darts performance, The Machine went one better the following year and defeated Mervyn King to win his first and only Premier League title to date.
His good form in this event rolled over into 2010 where he again reached the final. That particular final which was again against Taylor proved to be one of the finest PDC finals ever. Both players were at the top of their game and Taylor staggeringly recorded two nine-dart legs on his way to a 10-8 victory.
For the next few years Wade was one of the most consistent players on tour without reaching many finals.
In 2014 he returned to the winner’s circle with his first major victory since 2011 at the Masters.
Earlier that year Wade had been involved with one of the finest matches in Grand Prix history when playing Robert Thornton. Due to the double-start format, Wade hit just the second ever double-start nine-darter which was then followed up later in the match by one from his opponent. This was the first time in PDC history that both players in a match had recorded nine-dart finishes.
In late 2015 Wade’s consistency was highlighted as he became just the second player to reach 100 PDC Pro Tour quarter-finals.
During the second half of the previous decade Wade struggle to claim any titles of note and 2017 was a particularly disappointing year for the Englishman.
Having briefly slipped outside the world’s top 10 at the beginning of 2018 he quickly returned. Wade claimed the European Championship for the first time in his career that year.
With a welcome return to form towards the end of 2018, Wade collected a 10th major title and a first World Series title at the World Series Finals.
10 year on from his 2009 Premier League success Wade was given a spot in the 2019 event and went on to reach the semi-final before losing to Rob Cross.
That year proved to be his best to date in terms of overall PDC titles won – he collected five titles, all coming at Players Championship events.
Wade claimed another Players Championship title in 2020 and also reached two major finals at the European Championship and Grand Slam of Darts. He hit a nine-dart finish at the 2021 PDC World Darts Championship in his third round match against Stephen Bunting, but lost 2-4 after winning the first two sets.
Before adopting his current nickname of The Machine, Wade sported a number of different titles including The Gladiator, Spectacular and 009 which took inspiration from James Bond’s 007 title and was adapted with Wade’s nine-dart hitting ability in mind.