Peter Wright was a popular winner of the inaugural Norwich Match Play Darts Championship on Saturday night, writes Alex Moss.
The Mendham-based thrower, wearing the yellow and green of Norwich City FC, had the full backing of the capacity crowd of 900 inside the Epic TV Studios at the weekend.
Wright beat Wayne Mardle, James Wade and Dave Chisnall to lift the trophy in what was the perfect preparation ahead of taking on Adrian Lewis in the Betway Premier League last night.
Last week Wright ended a five-match winless run in the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) event, by beating Chisnall 7-5 on Judgement Night in Cardiff.
The result meant that ‘Chizzy’ was eliminated from the tournament, with Michael Smith also bowing out as the field of players was cut down to eight for yesterday’s action at the Sheffield Arena.
Wright got the better of Chisnall again the following day when the two faced off in an exhibition at the famous Circus Tavern in Essex.
The world number five edged past ‘Chizzy’ 10-9 in a high-quality contest which saw ‘Snakebite’ win the match with a showboating 50 checkout, where he threw the first two darts out of the board before hitting the bullseye.
On Saturday, Wright was competing in the first-ever Norwich Match Play Championship, where he came through three games to be crowned the champion.
The quarter-finals went the way of the form book as the four Premier League players, Wright, Chisnall, Wade and Lewis, all progressed to the semi-finals.
‘Snakebite’ came back from 3-2 down to beat Mardle 5-3 to set up a meeting with Wade in the last four, who he saw off 5-2 to reach the final.
A third encounter with ‘Chizzy’ in three days went the way of the colourful Scot again, as the Mendham man won 5-1 to take home the title.
Organiser of the event, Lord Russell Baker, said: “Peter played some fantastic darts and a huge congratulations to him for winning the championship on Saturday.
“Peter is an amazing player and was hugely popular with the audience all night.
“He’s a great guy and went round the room posing for pictures and signing autographs for the fans.
“I spoke with Peter the night before at the Circus Tavern and suggested to him that he should wear yellow and green, the colours of Norwich City on Saturday.
“They had a big game against Newcastle (United) earlier in the day and he got huge support from the crowd for wearing their colours.”
Colin Lloyd, Kevin Painter and Steve Beaton completed the quarter-final line-up for the event, while the night started with former world champions Eric Bristow and Keith Deller taking on lucky members from the crowd in doubles matches.
“This is the first big event of this type I have organised, but what a night it turned out to be,” Lord Baker said. “I have a few things to iron out for the next event here at Epic TV Studios, and this will always be the case for an inaugural event in a new venue, but overall I’m very pleased with the outcome.
“Seeing so many darts fans having a great evening made it a sensational, if not inspirational, evening.
“Peter won the event and I’m hoping we’ll be able to get him back here next year to defend the title.”
n Tickets are now on sale for the Norwich Masters of Darts on October 20.
The night will feature six of the PDC’s top players playing in three head-to-head matches, with tickets available to buy online at www.epicstudiosnorwich.com