Empingham arrows ace Paul Wade is set to live the darting dream by taking on one of the greatest players of all time.
Wade will lock horns with Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor in an invitational Face Off event at Rollerworld in Derby next month.
The 51-year-old, from Nook Lane, is part of a five-strong team of amateurs selected to take on Taylor and fellow professionals Daryl Gurney, Steve Beaton, James Wilson and Kevin Painter on Friday, December 1.
The knock-out event will see Wade play in the opening match against Taylor who during his illustrious career has won 216 professional tournaments, which include 85 major titles and a record 16 World Championships.
Wade said: “It’s an amazing opportunity and I will have to play the game of my life to stand any chance of beating Phil.
“I’m really looking forward to it though. It’s a great opportunity, especially with Phil having taken a step back this year and retiring from many of the top events.
“I know my chances are going to be slim, but who knows what can happen if I can get it together. It’s a short format which Phil isn’t best suited to.
“If I can get off to a good start – and that’s a big ‘if’ – and get a bit of confidence then you just never know.
“I’ve got a bus-load of supporters coming to the event and it’s been suggested they get ‘Taxi for Taylor’ t-shirts made. It’s wishful thinking, but if it comes off on the night then who knows?”
Wade has played darts from an early age and this is the pinnacle of an amateur career which could so easily have seen him competing regularly with the likes of Taylor and the big guns of darts.
A child prodigy who started out playing as an eight-year-old, Wade caught the attentions of darting legend Eric Bristow during the World Youth Championships.
Although he was beaten in the final, Wade was challenged to a match by Bristow in the BBC studios and won both legs against the six-time world champion.
Bristow continued to monitor Wade’s progress, however, he sustained an horrific injury to his throwing arm when he fell off his bicycle as a 15-year-old.
He needed to take a couple of years out of the game to recover and, while never getting back to his best, Bristow went on to sponsor Taylor which set him on the road to glory.
Wade explained: “I fell off my bike and broke my throwing arm in 11 places. I had it plated but, when the pins were taken out, it broke again and I needed a long time to recover.
“I lost valuable time. It also affected my confidence to play and I never really recovered.
“I was devastated because it was such a blow and I will never know what might have happened if I hadn’t had the accident.
“Eric was really impressed when he saw me play and, if it hadn’t been for my accident, then who knows he might have sponsored me instead of Phil Taylor.
“There has always been hurdles in my way since then so I suppose it was just not meant to be. I still enjoy playing though and it’s nice to be given an opportunity to get a little taste of glory.”
Wade still plays regularly in the Singles League, Super League and county matches having recently switched his allegiance to Cambridgeshire.
The Face Off takes places on Friday, December 1, at Rollerworld Derby. The event is being put on by MDA Promotions and Mitchell Promotions.