Wright in bullish mood ahead of Premier League opener

FIGHTING WORDS: Peter 'Snakebite' Wright has sent out a stark warning to Premier League 'debutant Michael Smith

FIGHTING WORDS: Peter 'Snakebite' Wright has sent out a stark warning to Premier League 'debutant Michael Smith

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Peter Wright has sent out a stark warning to Premier League debutant Michael Smith ahead of their opening night clash in Leeds on Thursday.

The world number five, who lives in Mendham, will help raise the curtain on the 2016 Betway Premier League season when he takes on Smith at the First Direct Arena next week.

Wright is hoping to draw on his vast experience when he plays ‘Bully Boy’ in front of more than 10,000 darts fans for the first game of the Professional Darts Corporation’s (PDC)annual invitational competition.

“It’s a big advantage, especially playing in Leeds,” Wright told Sky Sports. “10,000 people screaming ‘Snakebite, Snakebite.’ He’s going to hate it.

“It’s going to be daunting and scary for him and I’m glad it’s in the Premier League, because he’s an excellent player.

“But I’m going to go out there and try and whitewash him — and go ‘welcome to the Premier League’.”

Before Thursday’s Premier League opener against Smith, Wright heads to Milton Keynes this weekend for the Unibet Masters, a two-day tournament which features only the top 16 players on the PDC Order of Merit.

Snakebite faces off against world number 12 Ian White in the first round of the competition tomorrow afternoon, and will be hoping to still be involved when the £200,000 non-ranking event concludes on Sunday night.

A potential clash with 16-time world champion Phil Taylor could await Wright in the quarter-finals, while world number one Michael van Gerwen and recent William Hill World Championship winner Gary Anderson will be among those vying for the £60,000 winner’s prize.

Wright has lost all six of his televised finals but has boldly claimed he will be in the winner’s enclosure on a frequent basis in 2016.

“The target is to win everything I go into,” he said. “I believe I’ve got the game that Michael van Gerwen had most of the year against everybody and I believe I’ve got that game to win every single tournament I enter.

“If I don’t do that, I’ll get back on the practice board and make sure I do.”

n The winners’ names have been drawn for our exclusive Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright giveaway competition.

Prizes included a signed dartboard from the Mendham ace himself, as well as a shirt from the ‘Peter Wright’ range from Loudomouth Clothing and a set of darts donated by suppliers Red Dragon.

Turn to PAGE 51 to see if you are one of our lucky winners.