Peter Wright's terrific form continued as he went all the way to the final of the 2017 Bet Victor World Matchplay in Blackpool. He was defeated by Phil Taylor who won his 16th World Matchplay crown. The Mendham star has been in scintillating form all week. He had a bit of a scare in his opening match with James Wilson as he came back from 3-0 and 7-4 down to turn things round and defeat the Yorkshireman 10-8 as Snakebite provided a moment of tungsten brilliance in the final leg as he fired in a superb 147 finish to clinch victory.
[caption id="attachment_24732" align="alignright" width="230"] Wright's precision finishing saw him cruise past Cristo Reyes (Credit: Chris Sargeant)[/caption]
In round two, Wright was absolutely flawless as he came up against a player in hot form as he faced the Spaniard Cristo Reyes. This was arguably Wright's best performance of the tournament as he averaged 104.18 defeating Reyes 11-4 with the minimum of fuss as he hit 11 out of 14 on the doubles which is a phenomenal statistic to miss just three darts at a double over 15 legs. In the Semi-Finals he came up against a local friend in Darren Webster and what a contest it was. Webster really put up a fight as there was no separating the pair as they continued to hold their own, Webster did manage to open up a two-leg lead as he found himself 11-9 to the good, but Snakebite managed to run through the gears and within no time he ran off three legs on the spin to move 12-11 ahead which included an 11-darter followed by a 12-darter. The streak continued as he moved 15-11 ahead and within a leg of the Semi-Finals. Webster did reduce the deficit to 15-12 but Wright sealed the win as he took out 74 for a 16-12 victory with an average of 100.19.
In the Semi-Finals he took on the Northern Irishman Daryl Gurney who was in the form of his life.
Just like his opening match with James Wilson, Wright had to come from behind as he trailed 4-1 at the first break.
Snakebite to his own admission had tinkered around with his setup during the first couple of legs, whatever he did seemed to work a treat as he reeled off seven legs in succession as he raced into an 8-4 lead punishing every opportunity that Gurney didn't take. Snakebite continued to keep in front despite a valiant fightback from Gurney as he went within a leg of Wright at 11-10. However, Wright managed to step things up a gear as he went into a 14-11 lead with some ruthless finishing and power scoring. Snakebite sealed the victory with a terrific 14-dart leg under severe pressure as he took out 96 to book his place in the World Matchplay final for the first time in his career.
In the final, Wright faced Phil Taylor who was in search of his 16th World Matchplay title. Wright was emotional even before the match had begun as the occasion was very special to him and understandably so. Taylor was in dominant form from the get go as he raced into a 2-0 lead, Snakebite soon clicked into gear though as he hit two 15-darters on the spin to go in at the break just one leg behind Taylor at 3-2. Wright took out his second ton plus finish of the contest to stick with Taylor at 4-3. The 15-time World Matchplay champion stepped his performance up a few gears though as he reeled off four legs on the spin to move into an 8-3 lead and had firm control of the final. Snakebite won two legs on the spin in just 26 darts to pull it back to 8-6 as he provided some superb power scoring. But yet again Taylor turned on the style as he won four legs in succession to move 12-6 ahead. Peter stuck in there fighting to the death but Taylor was a man on a mission as he stormed to a 18-8 victory and claiming his 16th World Matchplay title.
It has been a terrific tournament yet again for Snakebite as he continues to reach the latter end of the TV majors and having tasted success at the UK Open in March he is hungry for more TV major titles.
Here are a few Snakebite statistics from the World Matchplay :
Tournament Average : 97.08
180's hit : 21
140+ hit : 116
Double Success : 35.84% (62/173)
LWAT : 22
Highest Finish : 147
Legs won in 15 darts or less : 38
Report by Tom Beresford (@TomDartsJourno)
Photography by Chris Sargeant & Lawrence Lusting / PDC
[caption id="attachment_24733" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Credit: Lawrence Lustig / PDC[/caption]