James Wade wants to win in Wolverhampton for Eric Bristow
James Wade had one of his darkest days in Wolverhampton but now wants to win the Grand Slam in memory of the man who helped him back to the top, writes Phil Lanning.
The Machine lost the final to Scott Waites in 2010 despite leading 8-0 and was diagnosed as BiPolar just a few months later.
But in a remarkable story, Wade has battled back to winning ways over the past few months and has won successive major titles the European Championships and World Series.
Now the Aldershot hotshot wants to win the first-ever Eric Bristow Trophy, named in his honour after the legend passed away in April.
Wade, who plays Wesley Harms tonight (Saturday), said: ”It would be lovely to win the first Eric Bristow Trophy, I was lucky enough to be close to him.
“He was a good man, an honest man and darts will always be at a loss now he's not there, and I will be at a loss because I have lost a friend.
“Eric made darts fashionable in the early days and he was probably more passionate about the game than anyone.
“He had his biggest influence on my career when I was struggling the most and for someone like Eric to say 'I believe in you, I'm going to take you under my wing until you start winning again' meant so much to me.
“Deep down, beneath his hard exterior Eric was one of the softest, most gentle men I've ever met and to have him on my shoulder through the tricky times was a lovely thing to have.
“Its a shame he wasn't here to see me win my two recent titles but I'll soldier on and try to add his trophy to my cabinet.”
Meanwhile former Lakeside BDO World Champion Stephen Bunting has admitted there will be no more Mr Nice Guy from him.
Bullet, who takes on Martin Schindler in the opening session today (Saturday), has battled back from the brink of quitting and now he believes he’s in the form of his life.
He said: “I’ve had a really tough time. My self-belief was at an all-time low but now I feel unstoppable again.
“Only 18 months ago I was looking at getting a normal job. But I saw a sports psychologist and now I’m playing the best form of my life.
“It’s such a good feeling to be back and enjoying the game. I’ve got good memories of Wolverhampton, this is my third year and I think I’ve always made it through the group stages. I just want to get back there and show what I can do again.”
The bwin Grand Slam of Darts will be held from November 10-18 at the Aldersley Leisure Village. For tickets, visit www.wolvescivic.co.uk or call 0870 320 7000.