Peter Wright’s top four hopes in this year’s Betway Premier League were still alive heading into the final week of the regular season last night.
The Mendham-based thrower took on Raymond van Barneveld at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam yesterday knowing a win over the home favourite could propel him into fourth spot and a place in next week’s play-offs.
Wright also needed his World Cup teammate Gary Anderson to avoid defeat against Adrian Lewis, who occupied the coveted fourth spot before last night’s action got started in Holland.
Last week ‘Snakebite’ gave his chances of qualifying for the play-offs at The O2 a big boost, after the world number five thrashed James Wade 7-1 in Manchester.
Both players went into the penultimate week of the regular season needing a victory to keep their top four hopes alive, and it was Wright who came out on top to end his opponent’s play-off bid.
After Wade took out double tops to hold throw in the opening leg, ‘Snakebite’ reeled off seven legs on the spin to run out a comfortable 7-1 winner.
Wright made the most of missed doubles by Wade, who hit just one out 12 attempts at the double, and cut the gap on Lewis in fourth place to just one point.
“You want to put the pressure on,” Wright said. “You don’t want to be going to Holland with everything set out already, then it’d be just like an exhibition.
“James gave me chances. He missed the doubles and I punished him, otherwise it would have been 7-1 or 7-0 to James to be honest, but I did say earlier ‘James, practise your doubles.’
“I did warn him two weeks ago at an exhibition. I said ‘make sure you get the practise in because I’ll be practising ready for you.’”
Wright was the second seed for the Peperami Gibraltar Darts Trophy at the weekend, where he beat Daryl Gurney and Simon Whitlock before bowing out to Ian White in the quarter-finals.
The Scot got the better of Gurney (6-3) and Whitlock (6-2), but then let a 3-0 lead slip to lose to White 6-5 in the European Tour event.
World number one Michael van Gerwen continued his dominance on the European Tour this year by beating Dave Chisnall 6-2 in the final.
The Dutchman scooping the £25,000 winner’s prize and is the favourite for this weekend’s European Darts Matchplay in Germany.