PDC Home Tour: World champion Peter Wright triumphs on Night 32
"I'm still in the competition. I'm the world champion and I think I'll win it. You've seen nothing yet."
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 19/05/20 7:03am
World champion Peter Wright progressed through to the last 32 of the PDC Home Tour and fired a warning to his title rivals as the first phase of the tournament drew to a close on Monday evening.
Wright headlined the opening night of the competition last month and delivered a series of under-par displays which culminated in Jamie Lewis running out a surprise winner, but the Scot made amends on Night 32, despite suffering defeat in his final game.
It had been last-chance saloon for several players over recent days, after the PDC confirmed that with all Tour Card holders being given an opportunity to participate, the final groups would be comprised of those who finished second in their previous appearances.
PDC Home Tour - Monday's final first phase group
|Peter Wright||5-2||Adam Hunt|
|Krzysztof Ratajski||5-0||Justin Pipe|
|Adam Hunt||5-3||Justin Pipe|
|Peter Wright||5-4||Krzysztof Ratajski|
|Adam Hunt||5-4||Krzysztof Ratajski|
|Justin Pipe||5-4||Peter Wright|
The world No 2 was up against former World Master Krzysztof Ratajski, six-time Pro Tour winner Justin Pipe and former Challenge Tour winner Adam Hunt.
Wright had seen his Premier League colleagues Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith fail to capitalise on their second opportunity to advance to the last 32 but the three-time major winner exploited his reprieve.
The colourful Scot wasn't at his brilliant best but still had enough to advance at the expense of Hunt via legs difference and he insists there is plenty more to come ahead of the next stage of the competition.
"I'm still in the competition. I'm the world champion and I think I'll win it. You've seen nothing yet. Watch this space," he told PDC commentator Dan Dawson.
The 50-year-old was in equally confident mood ahead of the action, declaring: "They've all got to play the best game they've ever played to beat me," and his bullish appraisal was vindicated as he kicked off proceedings against Hunt with an 11-dart hold.
Hunt acquitted himself impressively and converted two-dart 74 and 98 combinations to level at two apiece, but 'Snakebite' ran out a comfortable 5-2 winner with a 101 average and three maximums.
Next up, Ratajski kicked off his campaign against Pipe, who was edged out by Premier League leader Glen Durrant on Night 19. However, 'The Force' was demolished by the ruthless Pole, who stormed to a 5-0 victory with a minimum of fuss.
Pipe had little time to ponder that drubbing as he locked horns with Hunt in his second tie of the evening and despite opening up with a 110 finish, he was left berating himself for much of the contest as 'The Hunter' won five of the final six legs to open his account.
Monday's fourth tussle between Wright and Ratajski was touted as the clash that would determine the destiny of the group and so it proved, with the world number two edging a last-leg thriller that saw all nine legs go with throw.
Wright posted a new world record average of 123.50 against Ratajski in a Pro Tour event last year and the Scot jovially outlined his intention to topple his own record against 'The Polish Eagle'.
Ratajski had lost eight of his nine previous meetings against the world champion and despite landing a trio of 12-darters in a pulsating affair that featured seven maximums, he came up agonisingly short.
The former World Master spurned early break opportunities and was unable to make further inroads on the Wright throw, as the colourful Scot defied a late intervention from a bug on his board to close out victory via double 17.
This meant that Ratajski had to beat Hunt in the night's penultimate showdown to maintain his title bid, but his hopes were unceremoniously crushed by the Geordie, who produced a stunning comeback to register his second win of the evening.
The Pole breezed into a commanding 4-1 lead only to be reeled in by the 26-year-old, who crashed in three maximums and registered legs of 14, 14, 17 and 14 darts in a superb late onslaught.
It preserved Hunt's flickering hopes of glory, although he was left hoping for Pipe to whitewash Wright and that unlikely prospect was extinguished in the second leg, after 'The Force' had drawn first blood on throw.
However, Pipe ended the evening on a high to deny Snakebite the clean sweep and avoid a third straight defeat in a topsy-turvy affair.
PDC Home Tour - The Winners
|Group One - Jamie Lewis||Group Nine - Martijn Kleermaker||Group 17 - Damon Heta||Group 25 - Jose De Sousa|
|Group Two - Luke Woodhouse||Group Ten - Nathan Aspinall||Group 18 - Stephen Bunting||Group 26 - Mike De Decker|
|Group Three - Dave Chisnall||Group 11 - Alan Tabern||Group 19 - Glen Durrant||Group 27 - Scott Waites|
|Group Four - Geert Nentjes||Group 12 - Max Hopp||Group 20 - Ryan Murray||Group 28 - Luke Humphries|
|Group Five - Nick Kenny||Group 13 - Carl Wilkinson||Group 21 - Rob Cross||Group 29 - Cristo Reyes|
|Group Six - Ryan Searle||Group 14 - Chris Dobey||Group 22 - Jesus Noguera||Group 30 - Gary Anderson|
|Group Seven - Jelle Klaasen||Group 15 - Darren Webster||Group 23 - Daniel Larsson||Group 31 - Joe Cullen|
|Group Eight - Jonny Clayton||Group 16 - Jeff Smith||Group 24 - Jamie Hughes||Group 32 - Peter Wright|
The world champion wired double 18 for a 147 finish which would have sealed a 5-3 success, and the Taunton thrower duly followed up a 106 skin-saver with a delightful 12-dart hold to prevail in a match contested in great spirit.
All 32 group winners are now set to compete in the second phase of the event across 11 further nights, which begins from Tuesday May 26 onwards.
Eight groups in the Last 32 will feature the group winners to determine the last eight line-up, which will see the top two players from two four-player groups then progressing to the Championship Group on Friday June 5.
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