James Wade on strange World Championship quirk and teaming up with Frank Bruno

We now know the schedule for the Ally Pally, and I quite like the fact that I am not playing until December 22.

It is very strange playing your first match very early in the first week, as it can then be over 10 days until your second round clash, which is hard to get into. This way, if all goes according to plan, I will have a couple of days off for Christmas and then be in right into the action on December 27 or 28 , when you’re into the real guts of the tournament where you can build momentum and get into a groove.

I may know the schedule, but I genuinely don’t know who I am playing. I am not overly superstitious, but I prefer not to think too much about my opponent and concentrate more on myself. So a strange quirk I’ve always had has been that I try not to know who I am playing until I get to the venue.

READ MORE: Frank Bruno and James Wade team up for darts challenge in aid of mental health charities

It is easier said than done because there is always someone who mentions the game or a journalist who asks questions about the upcoming match. But, so far, I have managed to avoid knowing who is coming up for me at the Ally Pally – so if you see me out and about don’t blurt it out!

Boxing was in the headlines this weekend with Tyson Fury defending his world title at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and the sport was also on my mind as I spend a day with national treasure Frank Bruno.

Frank was a sporting idol of mine growing up and was a household name for both his achievements and personality, so I was really chuffed when he reached out to congratulate me on my recent 501-mile rally for Bipolar UK and suggested a game of darts to raise additional funds.

How far can James Wade go at the World Darts Championship? Tell us in the comments section below.

Thanks to one of my sponsors, Jewson, we found a venue and they also agreed to make a charity challenge pledge of £501 for each of us if we could complete a leg of 501 in 30 darts between us.

Well, that sounded simple. After doing a warm-up leg against Frank which I completed in 13 darts to catch him, despite giving him a 300-point start, I actually got nervous about the thought of losing money for such a good cause and had a shocking start to our 30-dart leg.

Frank chipped but we ended up needing 113 from our last three darts. Thankfully, the stubborn side of me kicked in and I managed to hit the treble 20, the 13 and double tops to clinch the cash. It was a case of grabbing victory from the jaws of defeat through some high-pressure ton-plus finishing – where have you heard that before?

Money aside though, it was great spending time with Frank. We had an amazing chat about mental health and it is fantastic for the British public that they have someone like him doing their very best to raise awareness of the issues people face.

If you would like to hear these stories first hand, both myself and Big Frank will be at Jewson Live at the NEC on December 15 which will be my last appearance anywhere until after the World Championship. My friends at Jewson are letting Daily Star readers register to attend for free by visiting live.jewson.co.uk.

Enjoy your build-up to Christmas, and as always, look out for those that might be struggling at this time of year.

Wadey

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