Peter Wright has insisted that he’s determined to challenge world number one Michael van Gerwen for top spot in world darts, after claiming that other top players are scared of ‘The Green Machine’.
Wright sealed his qualification for the Premier League play-offs for the first time in his career last night, after producing a clinical display to ease past Phil Taylor at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena. Snakebite currently occupies second place in the table and trails the Dutchman by just three points with two matches left to play.
The world number three is currently enjoying the best year of his darting career; having secured six ranking titles in 2017, including his maiden televised title at the UK Open last month. Wright also defeated Van Gerwen in a ranking final for the very first time at the recent German Darts Championship, but he’s determined to enjoy further title success.
Wright said: “I don’t want to be happy when I was number seven, number five or number six in the world. I want to push Michael. I don’t understand why the other guys don’t want to push him. Why should we let Michael win all the money?”
The Scot also questioned the mentality of the chasing pack, suggesting that some are just content to be second best to ‘Mighty Mike’. “They’re scared of him. They’re just happy with runner-up money. I wasn’t happy with runner-up money last year and with Michael winning all the big money,” Wright insisted.
Prior to this year, Snakebite had suffered 16 consecutive defeats to MvG, dating back to the Japan Darts Masters in June 2015. However, he ended that hoodoo in a UK Open qualifier back in February and admits that the string of defeats against Van Gerwen gave him the motivation and inspiration to improve and reach that next level.
“I think it was about five or eight finals I was in against him last year. Paul Nicholson worked out in my career he (Michael) has cost me half a million. That’s down to my own fault; not putting in enough practice, dedication; not focusing enough. Obviously this year I’m doing that. That’s why I’ve won six tournaments this year and I’m going to carry on.”
The Scot has enjoyed a remarkable rise since reaching the 2014 PDC World Championship Final, where he lost out to Van Gerwen. Wright was on the verge of quitting the game before his fairytale run at the Alexandra Palace and admits he takes immense pride from the progress he’s made during the last three years.
“It’s ridiculous where I’ve come from. I used to be 5/1 every time I played Phil Taylor and the bookies put me at 10/11 today and I was like: ‘How has that happened?’ It’s obviously down to the hard-work and preparation I put in to try and make myself a better player,” the 47-year-old added.
Wright faces a tie against Adrian Lewis in Sheffield next week, before he returns to home soil in Aberdeen to take on five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld, in the final league fixture before the play-offs. Nevertheless, ahead of his highly-anticipated debut at the O2 Arena, Snakebite remains in bullish mood.
The world number three insisted: “I’ll be alright if I stick to the darts. I brought another set with me that I was going to use tonight, but I didn’t. I thought ‘no, stick to the ones that have done the job the last couple of weeks and so on’. If I stick to them I should be in the final.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC