Wright bids for second televised title tonight

TRIUMPHANT: Peter Wright celebrates during last night's semi-final victory over Daryl Gurney  Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
TRIUMPHANT: Peter Wright celebrates during last night's semi-final victory over Daryl Gurney Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

A 17-15 semi-final win over Daryl Gurney sees Suffolk darts ace Peter 'Snakebite' Wright go head-to-head with Phil 'The Power' Taylor for the BetVictor World Matchplay title in Blackpool tonight (July 30).

The third seed ended Gurney's challenge at the Winter Gardens despite a slow start which saw the Northern Irish ace lead 3-0 and 4-1 before a change of darts from Wright sparked his revival.

The Scot, who lives in Mendham, reeled off legs of 12, 14 and 14 darts to level, before punishing three misses from Gurney to lead for the first time, and finishes of 65, 80 and 90 took him into an 8-4 advantage.

Wright also took out 108 either side of winning legs for Gurney, who failed to capitalise on a total of 16 missed doubles from the UK Open champion in the next two legs, with 10 wayward darts of his own allowing his rival back in to lead 11-6.

Gurney, though, regained his range on tops, landed two 180s as he won his eighth leg of the contest and then finished double two and double eight to pull back to 11-10.

However, Gurney was crucially denied the chance to level as Wright held his nerve on double ten twice in three legs, before tops gave the world number three a 14-11 cushion.

IN THE GROVE: Peter Wright in action against Daryl Gurney  Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

IN THE GROVE: Peter Wright in action against Daryl Gurney Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Gurney's 118 checkout was followed by a 100 combination from Wright to leave him 15-12 up, but a brace of double 16 finishes from the 31-year-old cut the gap to one leg once more.

Wright, though, edged clear again by taking out 71 to move to the brink of victory, with double 12 keeping Gurney's hopes briefly alive before a miss at the bull allowed the Scot to finish 96 and book his place in the final.

"I'm over the moon to have reached the final of the World Matchplay - it feels fantastic," said Wright. "I'm one step away now and hopefully I can play better than that and lift the trophy tomorrow.

"It was a battle for both of us. Daryl is a fighter and an awesome dart player - he's been playing some fantastic darts - but I'm a very similar person.

"I couldn't hit anything and I changed my darts a couple of times. I wasn't on top form but I scraped over the line and I'll take that. I haven't played well all week and maybe I'm waiting for the final.

"I've done the hard job to get to the final and now I can relax. It will be fantastic. He's the best player on the planet and he always has been, and I've got a tough game."

Having been rated at 20/1 with sponsors BetVictor to win the title ahead of the tournament, Taylor is now the 1/2 odds-on favourite going into Sunday's final, with Wright the 13/8 outsider.

Legendary star Taylor's bid to sign off at the Winter Gardens with a 16th World Matchplay victory had continued as he followed up Friday's defeat of reigning champion Michael van Gerwen with a 17-9 win over Adrian Lewis.

BetVictor World Matchplay

Saturday July 29

Semi-Finals

Daryl Gurney 15-17 Peter Wright

Phil Taylor 17-9 Adrian Lewis

Sunday July 30 (7pm)

Final

Phil Taylor v Peter Wright

Best of 35 legs