Peter Wright reflects on his remarkable run of form ahead of the World Matchplay
"There was no consistency at the beginning of the year but now all the practice is paying off and I'm getting more consistent averages and better results."
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 22/07/19 6:40pm
Peter Wright endured a difficult start to the season but he has returned to form in sensational style and having scooped three titles in the space of a week, Snakebite heads to the World Matchplay full of confidence, writes Josh Gorton.
The prospect of Wright enjoying an 18-match unbeaten run would have been almost unthinkable during his torrid Premier League campaign. The Scot failed to win any of his last 11 fixtures in this year's roadshow - losing six successive matches in the closing stages of the league phase.
Nevertheless, Wright helped lead Scotland to a maiden World Cup title alongside Gary Anderson in Hamburg last month and since then, 'Snakebite' has gone from strength to strength.
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"It's going to give you confidence winning the World Cup and obviously playing and not letting Gary down or your country down - it does really help," Wright told Sky Sports.
"I played pretty well throughout the World Cup as well. I hit some good finishes under pressure, so that's spurred me on to do what I'm doing at the moment."
This return to the winner's circle has seemingly opened the floodgates, as Wright clinched his second German Darts Masters crown in Cologne last weekend - his third World Series title in total.
The 49-year-old defeated Robert Marijanovic, Nico Kurz, James Wade and Gabriel Clemens to scoop the £20,000 top prize, before enjoying a magnificent midweek in Barnsley at the Players Championship double-header.
The former UK Open champion came through a stellar field on Tuesday to clinch his first ranking title of the season, defeating Mark McGeeney, Kim Huybrechts, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Glen Durrant, Vincent van der Voort, Gary Anderson and Justin Pipe en route.
'Snakebite' then completed the double on Wednesday after producing an astonishing sequence of performances. He posted six consecutive ton-plus averages to clinch the title and averaged 103.76 over the course of the entire day.
The world No 5 won 34 out of his last 38 legs played at the Barnsley Metrodome and his tally of 32 maximums hit was the highest number recorded in a single day at a Players Championship event since the Darts Connect system was introduced.
His consistency throughout the midweek double-header was simply remarkable. His lowest average over the course of his 14 matches was 96.30 and that's one of the most pleasing aspects for Wright.
"Before I'd be averaging 110 one minute then 80 odd the next," he admitted.
"There was no consistency at the beginning of the year but now all the practice is paying off and I'm getting more consistent averages and better results.
"There's not many players apart from Gerwyn Price who averaged over 100 throughout a day in a Players Championship. I did it over two days and improved it from the first day but there's still more to come."
Wright is renowned for tinkering with his set-up and he has done so to great effect on this occasion, but he remains adamant there is plenty of room for improvement.
"I've just made a change with the points," Wright said.
"I've made them a little bit longer because all the boards we play on are so inconsistent and one minute your dart would be out the board so you can see the point and the next minute it's buried into the board and you can't even see it.
"I'm a player that likes to look at the point while it's in the board and when you can't see the point it closes up the bed as well. Just going to a longer point has helped; just a simple thing like that.
"I'm heading to Blackpool full of confidence. Obviously anyone would having won three competitions in the space of five days. There's room for improvement, I'm missing a few doubles and should have hit a lot more 180's, so lots of room for improvement."
Wright's insistence that there is more to come provides an ominous warning to his rivals and the Scot's confidence is boosted further by the fact he is the only player in the bottom half of the draw to have previously reached a Matchplay final.
He was beaten by Phil Taylor in the tournament's showpiece two years ago, as 'The Power' bowed out from Blackpool with a historic 16th Matchplay crown.
Blackpool is a brilliant place, it's a special place to play darts. The crowd are right on top of you, you've got an amazing arena and it's very hot on stage and you've obviously got to be able to deal with that.
Wright on the Winter Gardens...
However, 'Snakebite' insists he has learned from that defeat and he believes his experience of reaching the latter stages at this tournament could prove to be invaluable.
"It was my target to get to the final and play Phil. I achieved that because I wanted to be the last player to play him at the Matchplay and I'm a better player now," said the Scot.
"I've learnt from it and I know what it takes to get there. I've been in the semi-finals and final in the past four years so I've got the experience.
"It definitely gives you an advantage. Blackpool is a brilliant place, it's a special place to play darts. The crowd are right on top of you, you've got an amazing arena and it's very hot on stage and you've obviously got to be able to deal with that.
"I'm in the bottom half of the draw, but I've got to be honest even if I was in the top half of the draw I'd still fancy my chances of getting to the final with the way I'm playing so it doesn't really matter. It gives me an advantage but on the day anybody can beat anybody."
Wright kicks off his Matchplay campaign on tonight as he takes on experienced Dutchman and crowd favourite Van der Voort.
The former quarter-finalist is making his first Blackpool appearance since 2016 and although Wright thrashed the 43-year-old en route to his Players Championship 19 triumph on Tuesday, he's expecting a tough battle.
Wright said: "Vincent is a very very good player. He beat me the time before this week's Pro Tour so I owed him one. Every day is different.
"This is a televised match but that was only a floor tournament. We've got all the lights, crowd and the heat to deal with so it will be a totally different preparation for that one game only."
Peter Wright was speaking to Sky Sports' Josh Gorton. The World Matchplay coverage continues tonight. You can watch every dart from every session in Blackpool until the tournament concludes on Sunday, July 28.