What’s gone wrong for Peter Wright in 2023?

Published on 20 August 2023 at 13:00

Peter Wright is arguably one of the greatest dart players to ever live. The Scottish born arrowsmith has won the World Championship twice, the World Matchplay and reached the World Number One spot. The 53 year old is currently ranked World Number Three but 2023 has been a nightmare year for ‘Snakebite’.

  (Irish Mirror, 2022)

Wright entered the 2023 World Championship as the defending champion but was soundly beaten in the third round 4-1 by Belgian Kim Huybrechts. Despite the poor showing, there were no signs of panic, and the Scotsman won a tournament a month later – defeating Gerwyn Price 11-5 in the final of the Nordic Darts Masters.


‘Snakebite’s’ struggles were highlighted in the 2023 Premier League. The former finalist finished rock bottom of the league, 15 points outside the play-off places. He failed to win any of his first five matches and averaged below 90 six times. The only night he won more than one match was night 10, where he reached the final before losing to Jonny Clayton.


During this run, Wright continued to struggle away from the Premier League. He suffered a major upset in the UK Open against Richie Burnett in the last 16 and struggled to find victories on the Pro Tour and European Tour.


To date, Wright has played just seven matches on the Pro Tour this year. The man who has been notorious for playing in so many events has managed his schedule more than usual this year but has found victories scarce when he has played events. His overall average on the Pro Tour is just 89.65, placing him 99th on the list and he has won a mere 43% of legs played. In contrast, he averaged 97.53 overall last year on the Pro Tour, placing him 9th on the averages list.


‘Snakebite’ did pick up a ranking title in May when he defeated Dave Chisnall 8-6 in the final of the Czech Darts Open, but he could not use this as a springboard to get his year on track. The inconsistencies remained for the six-time major winner and though he reached the final of the World Cup of Darts with his teammate Gary Anderson, he was heavily dependent on a resurgent Anderson.


With only four months to go until the World Championship, Wright will be hoping he can capture some of his best form consistently. He is facing a huge end to the year, defending the runner-up prize money in the Grand Slam of Darts, as well as the Champion’s prize money from the Player’s Championship Finals and the World Championship. Poor showings in these tournaments combined with his early Matchplay exit this year could see the former World Number One plummet down the rankings.

Peter Wright is no stranger to spells of poor form. He has shown previously his incredible ability to end bad spells with scintillating purple patches which result in numerous titles, but even the most optimistic ‘Snakebite’ fans must be worried now. Wright has struggled for form since last year’s World Championship, and he is seemingly at a loss at how to put it right. He has experimented with countless set-ups this year to try to find the winning formula, which is not unusual for Wright, but in the US Darts Masters in June he even briefly changed how he threw the darts in an attempt to rectify his difficult situation.


We shouldn’t be overly critical of the Scotsman though. He has not had it easy away from the oche with various health issues he and his wife have had to contend with. Last year, Wright had surgery to remove his gallbladder and his wife Jo also had surgery. He also turned 53 this year and it is uncommon to see a dart player sustain their peak into their fifties. Fellow professionals Mervyn King, Steve Beaton and Raymond van Barneveld all remain on the tour well into their fifties but have seen their own game decline as they get older.


Whatever the future holds, Peter Wright’s legacy is cemented. He has captured the prestigious World Championship twice as well as the coveted World Matchplay. He has reached the pinnacle in the world rankings and has produced countless special performances on the dartboard that most can only dream of. It is a massive four months for ‘Snakebite’ and whilst he faces a difficult battle to sustain his lofty ranking, don’t be totally surprised if he finds another purple patch and picks up another couple of majors.


Article by Connor Cain 

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