Wade survives scare against Brown in World Matchplay tie-break thriller
After a fairly comprehensive start to proceedings on the opening night of the World Matchplay, James Wade and Keegan Brown went all the way in a tie break thriller which was taken by 'The Machine' who survived a scare 12-10.
Wade survived a terrific fightback from Brown who came from 4-0 down to level it up before taking the lead. From there, it was nip and tuck between the duo up until the tiebreak; but in the end, it was the former World Matchplay champion who continues his progression in the event with a 96.5 average and three ton-plus finishes.
To begin the tie, it was a brilliant opening leg for Wade who took out 84 in clinical fashion to break and go 1-0 up. In the next leg, he hit a 140 set up shot to leave 57 and he only needed two darts pinning double 20 to go 2-0 up.
Brown missed double nine for a 91 checkout and Wade continued his excellent start with a 76 checkout to go 3-0 up with a second break as he looked to take real control.
'The Needle' hit a first 180 but he didn't get a chance with 'The Machine' hitting a 104 checkout to stretch his lead even further at 4/4 on the doubles.
He did get a chance on his throw but had to hit an 11-darter to do pinning 53 off the back of a 180 to get a first leg on the board. It was still all Wade at the first break though at 4-1 up with a 113 average.
Brown finally claimed a break of throw kicking off with a break hitting a 76 checkout to make it 4-2. Wade hit a 180 to begin Brown's throw but had a poor leg barring that which allowed a hold for the Isle of Wight ace at 4-3.
Wade's dip in form looked to continue but a timely 145 set up left 56 to hold throw but he missed two at double 20. Brown made it 4-4 by hitting the same checkout but finishing it on double 16.
The former World Matchplay champion left himself 160 with Brown missing 113 but he couldn't find a second treble 20 and he couldn't find his trusty double 10 allowing the former World Youth Champion the lead for the first time.
Brown missed a 170 checkout on the bull and in typical Wade fashion, he punished to stop the rot with a 70 checkout at 5-5. A 12 darter began proceedings again for Brown at 6-5 up.
A 120 checkout from Wade levelled it again at 6-6. He looked to build from this but Brown didn't buckle and hit a 94 checkout on double six to make it 7-6.
The back and forth went on with Wade claiming a 14 darter to make it 7-7. A brilliant break for the Aldershot ace followed from nowhere as he pinned 107 with Brown missing the chance to hold. Momentum was shifting the way of Wade again.
He made a mess of finishing 80 by drifting into treble five but hit 15 and bullseye to hold and go one away from victory. On Brown's throw, he asked the question leaving 76 with the former on 59 but he missed double 14 for the victory.
A pivotal leg was coming up for both players and it was Brown who stole the darts leaving 97 with Wade way back on 315 but he left 170 just in case. A 97 checkout though went the way of 'The Needle' who sent it all the way.
He hit double five to go one away with two clear legs needed to take the tie. Wade pinned double eight to level it up again at 10-10 and a 67 checkout saw him go one away himself with a break of throw.
It was only Wade's second maximum in the next leg but was the most important as he left 36 and despite Brown hitting one himself, he wasn't fazed and pinned it first time to take it in a thriller.
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Schedule World Matchplay 2020
Saturday July 18
Simon Whitlock (89.96) 10-4 (90.11) Ryan Joyce
Krzysztof Ratajski (107.53) 10-4 (96.47) Jermaine Wattimena
James Wade (96.54) 12-10 (98.65) Keegan Brown
Michael van Gerwen v Brendan Dolan
Gary Anderson v Justin Pipe