Peter Wright’s winning ways resume with maiden Masters triumph
Peter Wright continued his blistering vein of form as he followed up his World Darts Championship success with a triumphant campaign at the Ladbrokes Masters in Milton Keynes.
Wright, who dethroned Michael van Gerwen to lift his maiden world title last month, survived match darts in a closely-contested final against former World Championship finalist Michael Smith.
His bank balance will be heading through the roof as he trousered another £60,000 in coming through a field containing the world’s top 16 at the Marshall Arena in his first tournament as the newly-crowned champion of the world.
“I’m a very lucky player tonight,” said Wright following his maiden Masters triumph. “Michael should’ve won that. I’ve been in his position many times before, so I know how he’s feeling and it’s not nice.
“But, I’m obviously over the moon to win the first tournament of the year and hopefully there will be many more.
“I think my performance dipped at the end of the day, I started missing too many doubles so I need to cut that out.
“Overall, I’m really happy with how this weekend went and I’d like to thank the amazing crowd for making it another special night for me.”
Wright began his campaign with a 103.55 average in seeing off Joe Cullen to seal his place in the final day, before whitewashing a struggling Dave Chisnall 10-0 to reach the semi-finals.
He then pinned seven maximums in a 10-7 victory over Scottish World Cup winning teammate Gary Anderson to book his spot in the final, and move within one of his third televised major crown.
Wright’s final opponent, Smith, had beaten Mensur Suljovic on Friday evening, prior to overcoming both two-time world champion Adrian Lewis and reigning UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall.
The final commenced with ‘Snakebite’ opening up a commanding 5-2 advantage, only for Smith to battle back and find his way into the contest at 6-4.
Smith continued his valiant chase on his Scottish opponent, landing a 130 checkout to level up proceedings at eight-a-piece. The next four legs were shared, with all roads leading to a last leg decider.
The St Helens man did all he could in the decider scoring wise, pinning a maximum and a 140 to leave 181 after just six darts, though, a crucial 171 from the reigning world champion piled the pressure on Smith.
‘Bully Boy’ squandered darts at both double 20 and double 10 as he was left disappointed in a televised final once again, after Wright pinned double eight with his last dart in hand.
Elsewhere, Gary Anderson returned to form, reaching the semi-finals on his Ladbrokes Masters return. The two-time world champion thrashed Gerwyn Price on Sunday afternoon’s quarter-finals, averaging 102.39.
Jonny Clayton pulled off the shock of the tournament as he ousted reigning champion and world number one Michael van Gerwen on his Masters debut in Milton Keynes.
The Welshman averaged just 93.75 in their first round clash, though, it was enough to defeat the world number one. Clayton becomes the first player to do so at the Masters since 2014, with van Gerwen’s five-year reign as Masters champion coming to a close.
Clayton’s run was short-lived, however, as Nathan Aspinall got the better of him in the quarter-finals.
Photography by Lawrence Lustig/PDC
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 2
Michael Smith 10-6 Adrian Lewis
Nathan Aspinall 10-8 Jonny Clayton
Gary Anderson 10-2 Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright 10-0 Dave Chisnall
Michael Smith 11-10 Nathan Aspinall
Peter Wright 11-7 Gary Anderson
Peter Wright 11-10 Michael Smith