SNAKEBITE SHINES ON OPENING NIGHT
Defending World Champion Peter Wright put down a marker on the opening night of the Cazoo 2023 World Darts Championship after dropping just one leg in beating Micky Mansell 3-0, becoming the first player through to the Third Round.
The Red Dragon man included two ton plus checkouts at the Alexandra Palace, including his highest of 126 in the last set on double six to go a leg away from victory.
The colourful Scotsman found a break of throw to whitewash the Northern Irishman who was playing his second match of the night on the world stage, with the reigning champ finding double tops with his last dart to return to the capital after the Christmas break.
Wright will face either 31st seed Kim Huybrechts or South African Grant Sampson in the Last 32, as the South African debutant caused the first upset of this year’s World Championship.
The Samurai saw off a below par Keane Barry 3-1 in the second match of the night, including four maximums and fifteen 140’s on the oche.
Sampson making his first appearance at the Alexandra Palace found the only ton plus checkout in the second leg of the second set, hitting tops to complete a 125 finish having broken his young Irish opponent in the previous leg.
Development Tour Number 1 Nathan Rafferty became the second debut winner on the opening night, clinching a last set decider against Jermaine Wattimena who was appearing in his ninth World Championship.
The Natural overcame some darting nerves towards the end of the tungsten tussle, finding his last two legs with his last darts at doubles four and ten to book his spot in the Second Round.
The young Northern Irishman will face recent Grand Slam of Darts winner Michael Smith on Friday night, with Bully Boy the number four seed in the World Championship draw.
Action continues on Friday live on Sky Sports Darts with Alan Soutar opening the action against Australian Mal Cuming in the afternoon, with the likes of former World Champion Adrian Lewis and recent Winmau signing Florian Hempel also in action on Day 2 in North London.
By Harry Masterson
2023 World Darts Championship: Day 1 Results
Micky Mansell 3-1 Ben Robb
Grant Sampson 3-1 Keane Barry
Nathan Rafferty 3-2 Jermaine Wattimena
Peter Wright (2) 3-0 Micky Mansell
Day 2 Afternoon Session: Order of Play
Alan Soutar v Mal Cuming
Boris Krcmar v Toru Suzuki
Adrian Lewis v Daniel Larsson
Kim Huybrechts (31) v Grant Sampson