Wright triumphs on Day Four of Winter Series
Peter Wright notched a fifth title of 2020 after coming through a captivating final on Day Four of the Winter Series in Coventry.
With a number of sensational averages across a superb day, Snakebite took the crown in a high-quality final leg decider with Jose De Sousa to win 8-7.
It’s a third Players Championship success of the year for Wright, adding to his Day Four Summer Series and Day One Autumn Series victories, and a fifth title overall in light of his winning performances at the World Championship and the Masters.
He also re-takes his spot as the number one seed on the Players Championship Finals order of merit, taking it from Gerwyn Price, who momentarily sat at the summit by winning the Day Three Winter Series event yesterday.
As for De Sousa, it was yet another day of heartbreak at the final hurdle. Having lost out to Michael Smith in the final on Day Two, the Portuguese thrower took the World Champion all the way despite being 7-5 down.
Day Four of the Winter Series also saw:
- A 50th Players Championship semi-final for Adrian Lewis
- Jermaine Wattimena tighten his grip on the final spot for Grand Slam of Darts qualification
- More big names fall in the early rounds
Consistent Wright fires his way to Day Four title
Snakebite played some electric darts throughout the course of the Day Four action and deservedly found himself in the final against an opponent who’d halted his Day One title hunt prematurely.
De Sousa initially beat Wright 6-3 within his own Day One run to the semis, but the revenge was to come, and Wright had set himself up nicely throughout the day.
He received a bye in the first round due to being the top seed for the event, as Gerwyn Price took the day off.
An all-Scottish affair in the last 64 saw Wright produce a stunning 106.1 average in a 6-1 victory over Robert Thornton. He went even further in the last 32 tie with Steve Lennon, firing in a 108.8 in yet another comfortable 6-1 success.
His third 6-1 score-line of the day saw off Ricky Evans in the last 16, before a 6-3 quarter final win over Jermaine Wattimena, and an impressive 7-1 dismantling of Joe Cullen in the semi, led him to a shot at the title.
It was to be a chance at redemption against a figure in Jose De Sousa who himself had played some exceptional darts, an outcome that has become somewhat of a normality for a player who has shown unbelievable development over the past 18 months. De Sousa’s lowest average of the day was 96.8; and he fired in three 100+ averages in the process.
With both players in fine form, all the hallmarks were in place for a cracking final; and that’s exactly what we got.
De Sousa took out 100 to break for 1-0, but Snakebite broke straight back in 13 darts with an 81 out for 1-1.
The World Champ then nudged ahead with an 18 dart hold, only for De Sousa to instantly level at 2-2 with a hold in 17. The pendulum would really begin to swing, as Jose went 3-2 ahead on an 18 dart break of throw with a 48 out.
That prompted an equipment tinker from Wright, but it didn’t seem to cause any distraction. He produced a 14 dart break and a 12 dart hold in successive legs to retake the lead at 4-3.
De Sousa took out a superb 124 for 4-4, and was continuing his marvellous averaging for the day at that point and was up around the 102 mark.
That average didn’t stop the momentum of Snakebite, as he raced into a 6-4 lead. A 14 dart hold was followed by a huge break of throw, with Wright pinging D12 on his fourth attempt having been allowed back after a crucial miss at D16 by Jose.
The end looked to be in sight for the Scot as he pinned tops to go one from the match, but to his credit, Jose stuck to his guns and firmly made Snakebite work to secure his victory.
The Portuguese brought it to 7-5 with a vital D6 shot as Wright waited, and followed it up with a 12 dart break and a much needed hold of throw on D12 to send the match to a deciding leg.
Wright seemingly took over, taking out 100 on tops to be crowned Day Four king, and take that position back at the top of the Players Championship Finals rankings.
The pair shared seven 180s in a tight contest, as Wright added a 100.49 average to his daily collection, and De Sousa 98.14.
What else happened?
Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis churned out a run to the last four on day four, his 50th appearance in a Players Championship semi final. He ultimately fell short of going the distance, eventually losing out to runner-up De Sousa, but he claimed a number of scalps along the way, including Simon Whitlock in the last 128 and old foe Michael van Gerwen in the last 32.
Jermaine Wattimena strengthened his grip on the final Grand Slam of Darts spot via the Winter Series order of merit. The Dutchman, who reached the final on Day One, produced another tremendous performance to reach the quarter final, where he couldn’t get past the day’s victor, Snakebite.
Machine Gun’s Day Four outing applies further pressure to the chasing pack, who will have to produce their own faultless performances on the final day tomorrow if they are to have any chance of participating in next week’s event.
A man leading that pack is Brendan Dolan, who himself is turning out some solid displays that have seen him remain in contention ahead of tomorrow’s play. The History Maker made the last 16 for a third time this week, but on this occasion he couldn’t make it past a spirited De Sousa.
A number of players are still in with a mathematical chance of taking the Slam spot, but would need a monster run to claim it. Aside from Dolan, the other realistic challenger is Vincent van der Voort, who’ll need to improve following a last 128 exit at the hands of Krzysztof Kciuk in today’s schedule.
Kciuk is also still in a with a chance, but would have to reproduce some impressive form across the week to even come close to threatening Wattimena’s perch.
In the hunt for the Players Championships finals, five players from rank 61 to 66 can’t be separated on £8,500, with two players below on £8,000, and a number of players on £8,000.
£10,000 will most likely get a player into the tournament later this month, and the final day of action tomorrow will certainly be an interesting one to watch movement in and around those final qualification spots. After Callan Rydz’s run yesterday, Adam Hunt thrust himself into the reckoning by reaching the last 32.
A pattern of this Winter Series has seen a number of big names fail to make it out of the first and second rounds. Amongst Day Four’s early casualties was Rob Cross, who continued a poor week by his standards by missing seven match darts in a deciding leg against Lisa Ashton to lose 6-5.
Players who also exited in round one included:
- Glen Durrant
- Dimitri van Den Bergh
- Gabriel Clemens
- Chris Dobey
- Simon Whitlock
Additionally, Devon Petersen, Dave Chisnall and Danny Noppert were all eliminated at the second round stage.
Day Four Results
Peter Wright 8-7 Jose De Sousa
Jose De Sousa 7-5 Adrian Lewis
Peter Wright 7-1 Joe Cullen
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Ryan Murray
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Peter Wright 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Joe Cullen 6-2 Damon Heta
Round Four (last 16)
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Ryan Searle
Ryan Murray 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Brendan Dolan
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Michael Smith
Peter Wright 6-1 Ricky Evans
Jermaine Wattimena 6-3 Kryzsztof Kciuk
Damon Heta 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Joe Cullen 6-5 Simon Stevenson
Round Three (last 32)
Adrian Lewis 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Ryan Searle 6-3 Joe Murnan
Ryan Murray 6-3 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Ian White
Jose De Sousa 6-2 Adam Hunt
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Mike De Decker
Michael Smith 6-1 James Wilson
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Dirk Telnekes
Peter Wright 6-1 Steve Lennon
Ricky Evans 6-4 Matthew Dennant
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Steve West
Kryzsztof Kciuk 6-1 Benito Van De Pas
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Jeff Smith
Damon Heta 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Joe Cullen 6-4 John Michael
Simon Stevenson 6-2 Steven Bunting