World Champion Peter Wright claims the title with 7 dart changes
Peter "Snakebite" Wright claimed an emphatic second World Championship title defeating the wonderful Michael Smith by 7-5 in what was one of the greatest World Championships, and greatest finals, of all time.
Strikingly, Peter Wright had entered the event in round 2 with a left field choice of darts that he had been playing superbly with in practice, the latest Black Racer Edition.
However, these new, slim tapered profiles did not instantly perform how Peter wanted up on the World’s biggest stage, where he rapidly reverted back to his tried and tested Gold Euro 11 elements. Normality soon resumed with Peter winning his first game against Ryan Meikle 3 - 0 that was more of a game than the score line suggests.
We asked about the sudden dart change and Peter was clearly still at odds with both his game and the right darts saying, "The new darts were going so well in practice that I was convinced they were the ones for the tournament, but once up on stage, the whole atmosphere is different… The adrenalin, the energy, the lighting and the air movement in the arena - and the Racers just did not suit those conditions so I went back to the gold Euro 11's that I've literally thrown about twice in the last 4 weeks. But trust me, the Racers will be back!!".
From Round 2 on, Snakebite went about his normal business with the Euro 11's, making some subtle shaft and flight changes, but still tweaking and changing between several different versions of the same dart based on point length, shaft length and flight type with even the amount of grip wear taken in to consideration.
Lee Huxtable, Production Director for Red Dragon and Peter’s custom darts specialist added "You can't believe how he does what he does in the middle of games, but he is so in tune with his game that he knows exactly when something can feel slightly better, he doesn't always get it right but he's not afraid to change under the most extreme pressure and still win, and that’s what is so breath taking".
Peter entered the Final with the same darts he'd used so successfully to beat the flying Scot, Gary Anderson, 6-4 in another belter of a game, where under the severest pressure he delivered some of the most clinical arrows that the World Championships has ever seen. The initial set up married the Euro 11 Golds with a short black Vecta shaft, his standard Snakebite flights and long points, and from the off in the Final Peter raced into a 2 - 0 lead against Michael, before seemingly becoming a little uncomfortable, with commentator Wayne Mardle exclaiming that he’s just changed darts mid game!
Peter said "I took up 3 sets of Euro 11 Golds on stage, all with very slightly different set-ups in terms of shafts, grip level and point lengths. Some of the darts were new, with maximum traction and some were well used, with less aggressive grip. Being honest, I could not find the exact pitch that I was after, as early on in the game we experienced a serious draught on stage and that left me second guessing on lots of throws".
The second change came soon after the first, with Peter moving to a third set with a heavier grip and Peter said, "Michael was battering the 180's and I was struggling to keep up with his power scoring, but I knew it was there if I got the right feel and was simply looking for that higher scoring power for me to compete. In the end I changed shafts and flights from one barrel to another probably 6 or 7 times until it clicked late on in set 10".
Peter was under serious pressure with Michael Smith rattling off the ninth set to lead the match 5-4, on his throw and Michael raced into a 2 legs lead, just 4 legs away from his first ever World Championship Title.
However, the itinerant tweaker Wright had other ideas. He set about attacking Michael’s throw with what he said felt like the best set up he'd had all night. "I changed the shafts on the mid grip set to the heavier grip and shorter point with rings at the nose, and they just felt much better, luckily helping me hit back in that crucial set as it would have been a long way back from 6-4 down".
Peter clinched set 10 from 2-0 down with 3 brilliant legs that will define darting history, including x2 180's that saw him level the game at 5 all. Peter kicked on with some of his best darts in the history of the entire event in sets 11 and 12, where he slammed down his foot on the gas as Michael Smith was only given 12 darts or fewer in which to win 7 of the last 10 legs, basically a near impossible job that saw Peter "Snakebite" Wright claim his second PDC World Championship Title and with it entry in to a very elite club of double World Champions.
We asked if the dart changes mid game were planned and Peter said, "I just knew from the start I wasn't 100% comfortable and so gave myself the option to change and luckily it worked, Michael played unbelievably and there is no question in my mind that he's a future World Champion".