The winning Wade
Rod Harrington backs James Wade to show his form in Nottingham, but it's bad news for Adrian Lewis.
Last Updated: 05/03/13 4:42pm
James Wade's draw with Phil Taylor was yet more proof that he's in some very good form as not many people will get a point off The Power this year.
The World Champ changed his darts last week, but I don't think that had a big bearing on the game. Wade averaged more than 100 for the second week in a row and he took his chances when Taylor let him in.
I spoke to James at an exhibition in the Isle of Wight last Friday and he was saying all the right things. In the past he didn't think he had to practise because of his natural talent, but now he realises that he needs to put a lot of hard work in on the practice board.
The PDC directors have a little competition to predict the top four in the Premier League and I was the only one to choose Wade. It looks like I might get that right!
At the other end of the table, Wes Newton got himself out of the relegation zone with a good performance against Adrian Lewis, who seems to be in the worst form of his life.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, he needs somebody to help him out. He is practising and doing the right things, but it's not working for him at the moment and maybe he needs to make a change.
Maybe he's practising too much? Maybe he needs to do more? Maybe he needs a different type of practice? It's hard to say and he needs someone to watch him for a couple of weeks and identify things that may not be right.
You have coaches in every other sport. If a centre-forward is going through a goal drought, he goes on the practice pitch with a coach. Golfers have coaches to look at their technique. A few people resist it in darts and maybe they need to get somebody to help them.
After four weeks everybody seems to be talking about the bottom of the table rather than the top and it's interesting that the two rawest talents in the game, Lewis and Gary Anderson, are sitting in the bottom two spots. They both need to wake up, I'm afraid.
Here's how I see things shaping up in Nottingham:
James Wade v Robert Thornton
Robert Thornton has been the surprise package of the season. We always knew he was a great player, but he has shown he is not frightened of the big Premier League crowds. We thought he might be overawed, but he has played some very solid games so far. A couple of years ago when he had pneumonia, I think he had a bit of a wake-up call and nowadays he does things right and has established himself as a very solid pro, so he has a chance to do well in all of this year's tournaments if he continues in this form. However, if Wade comes out with the same form he's shown in the last two weeks then I think he will win this. A lot will depend on Wade's motivation, though. He was motivated against Lewis and Taylor, but maybe he can't get motivated in the same way against Thornton because he's such a nice guy? That said, I can't see him losing this match.
Rod's call: WADE WIN
Raymond van Barneveld v Andy Hamilton
Barney beat a strong field to win in the Isle of Wight last Friday night and he's playing really well right now. He looked good against Simon Whitlock last week and I expect him to beat Andy Hamilton in Nottingham. As is always said, The Hammer is a solid player, but I don't think that will be enough to beat the Dutchman. I think Van Barneveld is great value to win this game, especially when you consider he's in the best form he's been in for a few years and he's also in a very good mood. I think Hamilton will have to play out of his skin to beat him.
Rod's call: VAN BARNEVELD WIN
Adrian Lewis v Michael van Gerwen
Only a year ago you would probably be looking at Lewis as the favourite to win this match, but I think the bookies have got Van Gerwen massively odds on here - and if you look at the form book then that is totally justified. He goes on runs of winning four or five legs on the trot, which is the sort of thing Lewis used to do and the Englishman will need to turn up big time and find a brilliant game if he is to have any success here. The problem for Lewis at the moment seems to be concentration. Sometimes he starts well and then something happens in the game - a couple of missed doubles or whatever - that totally ruins his concentration. He needs to get out of that and find some form and I've got to go for a Van Gerwen win. People have said this could be 7-0 and I think Aidy will put up a better fight than that, but I can't see him winning on his current form. And I can't see him getting enough points to get out of relegation.
Rod's call: VAN GERWEN WIN
Phil Taylor v Gary Anderson
The way things are going, this seems to be another obvious call. Phil Taylor very rarely lets people off the hook, but Gary Anderson does. Last week was a strange night for him because he had a 100 per cent record on doubles (two out of two), which is unbelievable for him - but he didn't score as well as he normally does. It's rare to see him fail to outscore his opponent. The Power will be massively odds-on with the bookmakers and I think that's justified; he failed to close the game out against Wade last week, but I don't see that happening again.
Rod's call: TAYLOR WIN
Wes Newton v Simon Whitlock
Wes Newton played well last week in his victory over an out-of-sorts Adrian Lewis, which was important for his hopes of avoiding relegation. Simon Whitlock was practising with him before the game and told me that Newton was fired up and was going to win. I wasn't so sure, but he was right! This week I think Whitlock will be too strong for him, but that won't be a disaster for him if Anderson and Lewis both lose. I don't think it's do-or-die for Newton just yet. However, I think a treble of Whitlock, Barney and Van Gerwen looks like a great bet.
Rod's call: WHITLOCK WIN