José de Sousa from Portugal, who was in 34th place on the Order of Merit before the event started, beat James Wade by 16:12 in the final and is now the new Grand Slam of Darts Champion. De Sousa played a world-class game, finished with an average of just below 100 points and his fifteen 180s also speak for themselves. “The Special One” thus picked up the Eric Bristow Trophy and £125,000 prize money, which catapulted him forward no less than 19 places in the Order of Merit.
James Wade’s consolation after the defeat is the £65,000 prize money and the fact that he is the new number 7 of the world. For “The Machine” it is already the third final defeat at the Grand Slam after his second places in 2010 and 2016.
“I was really poor today and Jose was just the better player. It hurts when you cannot get into your game at all,” said a visibly disappointed James Wade after the final.
The final, however, started anything but ideal for the later winner, who displayed good scoring but had big problems when it came to hitting the doubles. Wade quickly took a 3:0 lead, even getting two breaks after de Sousa had missed chance after chance. Only then did the 46-year-old find his way into the game and was able to close the gap to 3:2 before the first break, even though his double percentage at that point was a mere 16%.
Many breaks then in the second session: Wade took a 4:2 lead at first, before de Sousa equalised with two consecutive legs. After two more breaks, the score was 5:5.
It wasn’t until de Sousa was 10:7 up that it seemed as if one of the two opponents could pull away for the first time. First, Wade was able to prevent worse with a great 161 finish and barely held his throw. But de Sousa was not put off and before the next break he gained a four leg lead at 12:8.
Wade started well in the penultimate session and was able to shorten the deficit to 12:10 with a spectacular 120 finish, but de Sousa remained calm and was only three legs away from his first major title after the 13:10. Wade then had another chance, even missed a dart to 13:12 and the Portuguese took advantage of this to 14:11.
A few minutes later the biggest moment in de Sousa’s career had arived: Wade had 56 points left and it could have gotten really close again, but “The Special One” checked 158 points and was able to lift the Eric Bristow Trophy.
After Phil Taylor, Scott Waites, Raymond van Barneveld, Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price, de Sousa is only the sixth player to win the title in the fourteen-year history of the Grand Slam.
“I can’t find the words for all this. A few years ago I was sitting on my sofa and watching all these guys on TV – today I am the Grand Slam of Darts Champion, unbelievable,” de Sousa said with tears of joy in his eyes in an interview with Sky Sports.
2020 Boyle Sports Grand Slam of Darts, Tuesday, November 24, Final, Best of 31 Legs
José de Sousa 16:12 James Wade