Wright wins thriller to book semi-final spot
Suffolk's darts ace Peter 'Snakebite' Wright had to come from behind to overcome East Anglican rival Darren Webster in the PDC World Matchplay Championship
Number three seed Wright eventually overcame East Anglian rival Darren Webster, who led 11-9 before seeing the UK Open champion pull clear for a 16-12 victory in Blackpool on Thursday evening.
A see-saw contest began with Mendham-based Wright taking a 2-0 lead before Webster hit back to move 3-2 up, twice punishing misses from the world number three.
A pair of 96 checkouts, to complete legs of 11 and 12 darts, moved Wright 4-3 up only for him to see Webster move back in front at 5-4 and 6-5.
Wright levelled with a 101 finish, and then came from 8-6 down to lead 9-8 as he broke twice in a three-leg run.
Again, though, missed doubles cost Wright dearly as Webster levelled in leg 18, finished double five to move back ahead and double 16 to break for an 11-9 cushion.
Wright responded once more, finishing double 18 before legs of 11 and 12 darts - both featuring maximums - saw him sneak back ahead at 12-11, and a Webster miss at tops in the next allowed the Scot to move two legs clear.
Double 14 gave Wright a three-leg lead for the first time at 14-11 before he punished four misses from Webster at tops to move to the brink of victory.
Double eight kept Webster's hopes alive, but Wright kept his cool to take out 74 in two darts to reach the semi-finals for the second time in three years and remain on course for his second televised title.
"It was a battle and Darren makes it so hard, and if he had hit his combination finishes towards the end it would have been a different story," said Wright.
"He missed a few doubles but when he starts hitting them he'll be up here with the rest of us in the top 16.
"I didn't play well in patches and I've not played my best game yet. I felt really comfortable but the darts weren't going. The crowd were amazing and got behind me.
Looking ahead to Saturday's semi-final, where Wright will face Northern Irishman Daryl Gurney - who came back to beat Mensur Suljovic 16-13 in the evening's other match, the Suffolk ace added: "Daryl is playing fantastic, he's on a high and he doesn't care who he plays.
"He owns that stage at the moment and it's great when you feel like that, but I'll try and upset his applecart. It's going to be a great match."
The quarter-finals conclude on Friday with the remaining two matches, with two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis meeting Alan Norris before the repeat of two previous World Matchplay finals between reigning champion Michael van Gerwen and 15-time Winter Gardens winner Phil Taylor.
After winning through to the last four, Wright's odds as second favourite with sponsors BetVictor have been cut to 10/3, with Gurney a 10/1 chance to win his first televised title on Sunday.
Van Gerwen remains the 4/11 favourite, with Taylor 12/1, Lewis 20/1 and Norris the 66/1 outsider.
BetVictor World Matchplay
Thursday July 27
Daryl Gurney 16-13 Mensur Suljovic
Darren Webster 12-16 Peter Wright
Friday July 28 (7pm)
Alan Norris v Adrian Lewis
Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor
Best of 31 legs
4/11 Michael van Gerwen
10/3 Peter Wright
10/1 Daryl Gurney
12/1 Phil Taylor
20/1 Adrian Lewis
66/1 Alan Norris
2/1 Alan Norris v 2/5 Adrian Lewis
1/6 Michael van Gerwen v 4/1 Phil Taylor
2/1 Daryl Gurney v 2/5 Peter Wright
Odds courtesy www.betvictor.com and correct at time of writing. Subject to fluctuation.