Wade targeting Bolton hat-trick as UK Open kicks-off
JAMES WADE is bidding to complete a hat-trick at the Reebok Stadium when the Speedy Services UK Open begins on Thursday, as amateur and professional players line up alongside each other compete for the £40,000 first prize this weekend.
World number three Wade has twice been victorious in Bolton in previous UK Opens, following up his 2008 triumph by winning last year's title in 'The FA Cup of Darts' against Wes Newton.
The tournament will feature 177 players this weekend, with play on the first two nights being held across eight stages at the Reebok Stadium, and the open draw format means that top names can draw each other at any stage.
William Hill will be offering match betting from Friday's 3rd Round stage, when the top 32 qualifiers enter on Friday - swap the FA Cup's Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool for darts stars Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis - Wade will be competing amongst amateur hopefuls and lower-ranked professionals on Thursday night in round two.
He finished only 40th in the rankings after eight UK Open qualifiers for professionals, meaning that he comes in at the second round stage against one of four potential opponents.
"It's a completely different challenge to the Premier League and any other major event that we do," said the 29-year-old from Aldershot, who would need to win seven games over the weekend if he is to lift the £40,000 title.
"I know people say they only take one game at a time but that's literally all you can do because you've no idea who you'll play in the next round if you get through."
"It's not like the Premier League or, for example, the World Matchplay in that sense, but that adds to the excitement for me."
"I'm fortunate enough to have won twice in Bolton and it would be fantastic to do it again, but I know I'll have a tough weekend ahead of me."
Wade's second round game will be against either Yorkshire's Mark Lawrence - a former UK Open quarter-finalist - or one of the amateur trio Jamie Robinson, Glen Durrant or Stephen Bunting, with those players in action earlier in the night in the preliminary and first rounds.
"I still don't know who I'll be playing on Thursday night, and they'll have played twice already so that adds to the challenge," adds Wade.
"It's a short format, the first to four, so I'll have to be ready because there's no time to get settled in - I've just got to go out there and do a job."
The opening night also features the UK Open debut of two-time Lakeside Champion Ted Hankey, who will face Leeds-base Speedy Qualifier Danny Dutson in the preliminary round.
Hankey could also play Andy Jenkins and Mervyn King in a tough opening night's schedule which sees him needing to win three games to reach the last 64.
"It's a new thing but I know I can handle that," said Hankey. "Danny has obviously played well to qualify so I can't underestimate him, but I'm in my comfort zone being up on stage."
"I've looked at the draw and if I can get through the first game - which I hope to do - then I could play Andy Jenkins and if I get through that then I've got Mervyn King."
"I'm getting myself mentally right, and I personally feel I can get through that day and into the last 64."
Last year's UK Open semi-finalists Mark Webster and Denis Ovens are other leading names in action on Thursday night, alongside Paul Nicholson - who knocked out Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson in his run to the quarter-finals 12 months ago.
Nicholson begins his challenge in the First Round against one of two amateur qualifiers, Middlesbrough's Andy Melling or Essex's 21-year-old Harry Miles, and admits: "You have to be wary of these qualifiers.
"I have to prepare for a game with a world class player because I could end up playing against the best talent that's never turned pro. I'll have to be on my game because, in a format as short as first to four, anybody can beat anybody."
Webster enters in the Second Round against Swindon's Johnny Haines, with Ovens meeting Scottish amateur Craig MacCaskill in the Preliminary Round as he bids to reach the last four in Bolton for a third successive year.
The Speedy Services UK Open will be shown live on Sky Sports HD throughout the weekend, with play on Thursday and Friday evening followed by both afternoon and evening sessions on Saturday and Sunday from Bolton.
Tickets for Friday night's Third Round games are now sold out, with limited availability left for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased in advance on 0844 871 8807 or via www.seetickets.com, with any remaining tickets on sale at the Premier Suite on the day of each session, if available.
Speedy Services UK Open
Schedule of Play
Thursday June 7 (7pm-11pm)
All games the best of seven legs
Board One (Main Stage)
Tony West v Michael Burgoine
Steve Beaton v Jon Jukes
Arron Monk v Paul Boulton
Steve Brown v Michael Barnard
Gino Vos v Paul Harvey
Ted Hankey v Danny Dutson
Wilson/Roith v Wayne Jones
S Farmer/J Lewis v Mark Stephenson
Paul Nicholson v Miles/Melling
Maish/Solly v Adam Hunt
Mark Hylton v Antonio Alcinas
Mark Webster v Johnny Haines
James Wade v Lawrence/Robinson/Durrant/Bunting
James Richardson v Jim Walker
Denis Ovens v Craig MacCaskill
Steve Farmer v Jamie Lewis
Gus Santana v Andy Jenkins
Andrew Cornwall v John Bowles
Lee Bryant v John Henderson
Glen Durrant v Stephen Bunting
Paul Whitworth v Gray/Evans
Temple/Clark v Mark Kelly
Jon Bott v J Jones/Spencer
Hankey/Dutson v Santana/A Jenkins
Co Stompe v Alan Tabern
Stuart White v Beaton/Jukes/Dodds/Casey
Jelle Klaasen v Parody/Mason/Gleeson/Rimmer
J Crawley/Simm/Hayward v Mark Walsh
Steve Hine v Jamie Hughes
Adam Smith-Neale v Rob Hawker
Andy Parsons v Dean Stewart
Steve Service v Damien Sherwood
John Scott v Brian Woods
John Nelson v Ross Smith
Robertson/Todd v Hill/Ellam
Beaton/Jukes v Dodds/Casey
Cousins/Burton v West/Burgoine
Heath/Pugh v Amos/Ettridge
Andy Brown v Peter Wright
Matthew Edgar v Gordon/McDine/Brown/Barnard
S Taylor/L Russell/Heydon/Critchley v Roberts/Cornwall/Bowles
Bott/J Jones/Spencer v Ronnie Baxter
Andy Murray Bye (Connie Finnan withdrawn)
Mark Lawrence v Jamie Robinson
Steve Werrett v Mark Barilli
David Dodds v Alan Casey
Dyson Parody v Steve Mason
Mark Layton v Michael Wiles
Dewsbury/Hardy v Ryan Murray
Miller/Frost v Broughton/Cooper
S Taylor/L Russell v Heydon/Critchley
Nelson/R Smith v Ovens/MacCaskill
Keith Stephen v Robertson/Todd/Hill/Ellam
Peter Hudson v S Farmer/J Lewis/Stephenson
Parsons/Stewart/Scott/Woods v B Johnson/Daniels/Smith-Neale/Hawker
J Farmer/Littleton/Denoon v Vos/Harvey/Layton/Wiles
Jason Wilson v Bernd Roith
Adrian Gray v Steve Evans
Paul Amos v Gary Ettridge
Nigel Heydon v Paul Critchley
Ian Gleeson v Kevin Rimmer
Ben Johnson v Stuart Daniels
Joey Palfreyman v Tom Gregory
Monk/Boulton v Pallett/Hendriks
Andy Murray v Service/Sherwood
Ladley/L Kelly v Shayne Burgess
Bryant/Henderson v Palfreyman/Gregory
Dewsbury/Hardy/R Murray v William O'Connor
Mareno Michels v Shaun Griffiths
Alex Roy v Cousins/Burton/West/Burgoine
Mervyn King v Hankey/Dutson/Santana/A Jenkins
Marc Dewsbury v Stephen Hardy
David Pallett v Jerry Hendriks
Harry Miles v Andy Melling
Josh Jones v Mark Spencer
Gareth Cousins v Ben Burton
Geoff Heath v Darrin Pugh
Steve Maish v Dave Solly
S Anderson/Murnan v D Russell/Greebe
Gordon/McDine v Brown/Barnard
Lawrence/Robinson v Durrant/Bunting
B Johnson/Daniels v Smith-Neale/Hawker
Whitworth/Gray/Evans v Roland Scholten
A Murray/Service/Sherwood v Scott Rand
Ladley/L Kelly/Burgess v Stuart Kellett
Bryant/Henderson/Palfreyman/Gregory v Colin Osborne
Kirk Gordon v Kevin McDine
Scott Robertson v Mick Todd
Sam Hill v Jamie Ellam
Tony Broughton v Tony Cooper
Tony Littleton v Nicky Denoon
Kevin Simm v Mick Hayward
Werrett/Barilli v Bob Crawley
Andy Roberts v Cornwall/Bowles
Parsons/Stewart v Scott/Woods
Vos/Harvey v Layton/Wiles
Sanwell/Hine/Hughes v Temple/Clark/M Kelly
Devon Petersen v Andrew Gilding
Monk/Boulton/Pallett/Hendriks v Maish/Solly/Hunt
Nelson/R Smith/Ovens/MacCaskill v S Anderson/Murnan/D Russell/Greebe
Glen Miller v Mark Frost
Stuart Anderson v Joe Murnan
Terry Temple v Matt Clark
Dan Russell v Toon Greebe
Scott Taylor v Lee Russell
Dave Ladley v Liam Kelly
Tommy Sanwell v Hine/Hughes
Parody/Mason v Gleeson/Rimmer
John Farmer v Littleton/Denoon
Jason Crawley v Simm/Hayward
Darren Johnson v Michael Mansell
Prakash Jiwa v Werrett/Barilli/B Crawley
Nicholson/Miles/Melling v Miller/Frost/Broughton/Cooper
Wilson/Roith/W Jones v Heath/Pugh/Amos/Ettridge
Friday June 8
Features players ranked 1-32 from UK Open Order of Merit plus 32 Second Round winners.
Best of 17 legs, played across eight boards.
Saturday June 9
Best of 17 legs, played across four boards
Best of 17 legs, played across two boards
Sunday June 10
Best of 19 legs
Best of 19 legs
Best of 21 legs
Top 32 - Enter in Third Round on Friday
1 - Raymond van Barneveld
2 - Wes Newton
3 - Phil Taylor
4 - Terry Jenkins
5 - Andy Smith
6 - Michael van Gerwen
7 - Brendan Dolan
8 - Justin Pipe
9 - Simon Whitlock
10 - Andy Hamilton
11 - Kim Huybrechts
12 - Dave Chisnall
13 - Dean Winstanley
14 - Colin Lloyd
15 - Vincent van der Voort
16 - Robert Thornton
17 - Ian White
18 - Michael Smith
19 - Dennis Smith
20 - Kevin Painter
21 - Jamie Caven
22 - Joe Cullen
23 - Mark Jones
24 - Dennis Priestley
25 - Adrian Lewis
26 - James Hubbard
27 - Richie Burnett
28 - Darren Webster
29 - Richie Howson
30 - Gary Anderson
31 - John Part
32 - Kevin Dowling