Wonderful Wright wins the European Championship
Wright, who defeated Wade to win his first European Championship title in 2020, repeated the feat in Dortmund in front of a record-breaking audience to win the £120,000 top prize.
The Scottish star had a turbulent 2023 season, but after showing signs of resurgence in recent weeks, he capped his comeback with a memorable victory at the Westfalenhalle.
Wright had come back from 4-1 down to defeat German number one Gabriel Clemens in the first round on Thursday, before beating world number one Michael Smith 10-4 to secure his spot on Finals Day.
The 53-year-old began Sunday’s action with a stunning 10-8 triumph over Chris Dobey, making huge 161 and 164 checkouts to defeat the Masters champion, who rallied from a 7-2 deficit to take the lead.
Wright defeated Danny Noppert in the semi-finals, averaging 100.42 and defying four ton-plus finishes from the Dutchman to win 11-8.
The two-time World Champion then put on a professional performance to defeat a tough Wade, averaging 97, landing four 180s, and pinning 46% of his double tries.
“The old guy can still do it,” quipped Wright, who joins Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor and Rob Cross in becoming a multiple European Champion.
“I was fortunate in my first game against Gabriel Clemens. I pulled out two 180s to get back in the match, but it was just brilliant to play in front of this amazing crowd this weekend.
“My throwing action went totally out the window in the last two matches. I didn’t know what I was doing, but luckily enough I got over the line.”
Despite 157 and 96 checkouts from Wade, Wright was the early aggressor in Sunday’s showdown, gaining a small 3-2 lead at the first half.
Wright then built a 6-2 lead with back-to-back 13-dart legs, and while Wade answered with successive legs, the Scot returned the favour to reestablish his four-leg lead.
The two-time World Cup champion then sank consecutive 14-darters to advance to 10-5, only to squander three match darts in leg 16 as Wade sank a 13-darter on tops to extend the contest.
However, Wright put an end to any hopes of a famous comeback in the following leg, converting a clinical 96 checkout to win his third title of 2023 and reclaim second place on the PDC Order of Merit.
Wade, the 2018 European Champion, was competing in his first televised ranking final since winning the UK Open in March 2021, following a string of strong performances in Dortmund.
The left-hander, who defeated Dirk van Duijvenbode and Jose de Sousa earlier in the tournament, landed three ton-plus finishes to defeat second seed Luke Humphries in the final eight.
Wade then came back from 5-1 down to beat Dutch teenager Gian van Veen in the semi-finals, winning 11-9 to clinch an immediate return to the world’s top 16.
“I played a man who was better than me,” reflected Wade, who also confirmed his place at next month’s Mr Vegas Grand Slam of Darts after scooping the £60,000 runner-up prize.
“I’m gutted [with the result], but I’ve not been very good for the last 14 months, so this is a step in the right direction.
“I’ve been fortunate today because a few of the players didn’t play as well as they can, but for me this is a massive building block, and I’m moving forwards again.”
Earlier in the day, Van Veen knocked off four-time champion Van Gerwen in the quarter-finals, capitalising on a poor performance by his compatriot to achieve the biggest win of his career.
In the other quarter-final match, Noppert stunned Gerwyn Price with a 7-0 comeback, winning ten of the last 11 legs to win with a 101 average and seven maximums.
2023 Machineseeker European Championship
Sunday October 29
Peter Wright 10-8 Chris Dobey
Danny Noppert 10-8 Gerwyn Price
James Wade 10-6 Luke Humphries
Gian van Veen 10-6 Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright 11-8 Danny Noppert
James Wade 11-9 Gian van Veen
Peter Wright 11-6 James Wade