Snakebite Hunting for Second Masters Title
2023 Nordic Darts Masters champion Peter Wright comes into the 2023 Cazoo Masters as the second seed, as he looks to get his hands on the trophy for a second time at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Snakebite beat the remainder of the top four in the PDC Order of Merit to claim glory in Copenhagen, beating World Number 1 and reigning World Champion Michael Smith 11-8 in the Semi Finals. The colourful Scotsman found victory against fellow Red Dragon player Gerwyn Price in the Final, winning 11-5 with an average of 102.28.
The World Number 2 could face Belgian Darts Open champion Dave Chisnall in the Second Round, if Chizzy can overcome Ryan Searle in the First Round. Heavy Metal lost at the 2023 World Darts Championship in the Third Round because of a brilliant fightback from Jose de Sousa, with the Special One recovering from 3-0 down in sets to win 4-3.
Wright beat Michael Smith 11-10 back in the 2020 Final to win his first Masters title, with his opponent missing three darts himself for what would have been his first major televised title. Snakebite included an average of 103.55 to beat Joe Cullen 10-7 in the First Round of the tournament, as the Scotsman played his first major PDC competition since winning his first World Championship.
Gerwyn Price is still looking for his first Masters crown, and comes into Milton Keynes in good form, having reached back-to-back Finals in the World Series of Darts events in Bahrain and Denmark.
The Iceman beat good mate Jonny Clayton in a last leg decider in the Nordic Darts Masters Semi Finals, with the World Number 4 including three ton plus checkouts to recover from 9-7 down and beat his Welsh compatriot, in what was an epic tussle in Copenhagen.
The Red Dragon star will face either Dirk van Duijvenbode or Krzysztof Ratajski in the Second Round, with Price beating the Aubergenius in a last leg decider to claim the World Series of Darts Finals for the second time in Amsterdam.
World Number 5 Luke Humphries could face defending champion Joe Cullen in the Second Round, should the Rockstar manage to beat Chris Dobey in the First Round on Friday evening.
Cool Hand has enjoyed a good start to 2023 making his debut in the World Series, after a strong campaign last year that saw him win four Euro Tour titles.
The Englishman made his debut in the Masters last year beating Devon Peterson 6-1 on his maiden appearance on the Milton Keynes oche. Humphries was edged out in a last leg decider by 5-time winner Michael van Gerwen, despite averaging more than the Dutchman on the oche in a close Second Round tussle.
2021 Masters Champion Jonny Clayton knows what it takes to get over the line in the Marshall Arena, beating Mervyn King 11-8 in the Final to secure his debut in the Premier League. The Ferret went onto win the competition on his debut, beating Jose de Sousa 11-5 in the Final with both players including nine dart finishes throughout their tournament campaigns.
The Red Dragon star will face either James Wade or Callan Rydz in the Second Round, with both players exiting early in the recent World Darts Championship. The Riot lost out to a fantastic performance from young darting sensation Josh Rock, with Rocky winning 3-0 just before Christmas in the Last 64.
Rocky lost an epic to Clayton in the Last 16 at the Alexandra Palace, as the World Number 7 recovered from 3-2 down to beat the young Northern Irish darting sensation 4-3 in front of a full crowd in North London.
The 2023 Cazoo Masters kicks off on Friday from the Marshall Arena, with the likes of Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright entering the tournament in the Second Round.
By Harry Masterson
Cazoo 2023 Masters Draw:
Michael Smith (1) v Damon Heta/ Ross Smith
Danny Noppert (8) v Nathan Aspinall/ Stephen Bunting
Gerwyn Price (4) v Dirk van Duijvenbode/ Krzysztof Ratajski
Luke Humphries (5) v Joe Cullen/ Chris Dobey
Peter Wright (2) v Ryan Searle/ Dave Chisnall
Jonny Clayton (7) v James Wade/ Callan Rydz
Michael van Gerwen (3) v Jose de Sousa/ Gabriel Clemens
Rob Cross (6) v Dimitri van den Bergh/ Gary Anderson