October 30, 2023 - Wright Wins Second Euro Crown

A Week In Darts – October 30, 2023 – Wright Wins Second European Championship Title

A familiar name was back in the winners’ circle in the European Championship at the weekend, while the race to earn a spot on the PDC tour next year heated up as the Challenge Tour neared its conclusion for 2023. Here’s our round-up of the last seven days in the world of darts…

WRIGHT WINS SECOND EUROPEAN CROWN

Peter Wright returned to major winning ways as he clinched his second European Championship title in Dortmund on Sunday night.

The 2020 champion became only the fourth multiple winner of the European Championship, beating 2018 winner James Wade 11-6 in the final.

‘Snakebite’ had started his campaign with a comeback 6-5 win over home favourite Gabriel Clemens, having trailed 4-1 to the German number one in their opening round clash on Thursday.

Wright got the better of world number one Michael Smith 10-4 on Saturday to advance to the final day, where he edged past Chris Dobey 10-8 with the help of 161 and 164 checkouts.

In the semi-finals, the Scot reeled off six straight legs to beat Danny Noppert 11-8 before seeing off the challenge of Wade in a repeat of the 2020 final to regain the title.

“The old guy can still do it,” said the 53-year-old Wright, who has also returned to number two in the world rankings.

“I was fortunate in my first game against Gabriel Clemens. I pulled out two 180s to get back in the match, but it was just brilliant to play in front of this amazing crowd this weekend.

“My throwing action went totally out the window in the last two matches. I didn’t know what I was doing, but luckily enough I got over the line.”

The tournament also boasted a record 30,000 darts fans in attendance at the Westfalenhalle over the four days, with the German crowd watching one of their own rising stars Ricardo Pietreczko dump out defending champion Ross Smith in the first round.

Sunday’s final day of action saw debutant Gian van Veen reach the last four, knocking out four-time winner Michael van Gerwen 10-6 in the quarter-finals.

Wade ended the Dutch youngster’s run with an 11-9 victory in the semi-finals with his appearance in the final securing his place in the Grand Slam of Darts next month.

“I’m gutted (with the result), but I’ve not been very good for the last 14 months, so this is a step in the right direction,” Wade reflected.

“I’ve been fortunate today because a few of the players didn’t play as well as they can, but for me this is a massive building block, and I’m moving forwards again.”

HENDERSON EYEING A RETURN TO THE TOUR

Former PDC World Cup winner John Henderson is on course to regain his tour card heading into the final event of the Challenge Tour season today.

The last three days of action in this year’s Challenge Tour got under way in Wigan on Saturday, with Henderson and Dom Taylor claiming the two titles.

Sunday’s double-header saw Andy Boulton and Vitezslav Sedlak share the spoils, leaving a five-way race for the last tour card on offer.

Berry van Peer has already secured top spot on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit, and with it a two-year tour card and spots in the PDC World Championship and Grand Slam of Darts.

The player who finishes second on the Order of Merit after today’s final tournament will also earn a tour card and a place at Alexandra Palace, with Henderson currently holding a £750 lead over third place.

Owen Bates, Andy Boulton, Cam Crabtree and Christian Kist are all still in contention with each event offering £2,500 to the winner.

AROUND THE BOARD

The complete field for the 2023 WDF World Championships is set to be confirmed today following the last events before the cut off being held over the weekend.

The Hungarian Masters and Hungarian Classic took place in Budapest with players vying for the final ranking points available in the race to Lakeside.

Patrik Kovacs, who had already secured his place in the tournament, beat Tomas Houdek 5-2 in the Masters final, while Jitse van der Wal won his first WDF title, beating Laszlo Kadar 5-2 in the decider of the Classic.

The WDF confirmed on Sunday night the last seven players to qualify for the men’s World Championship, with the list of final qualifiers including America’s Leonard Gates.

The draw for the World Championships will be conducted on Wednesday this week, with the tournament to be held at Lakeside from December 2-10.

Neil Duff (men’s) and Beau Greaves (women’s) are the defending champions from last year’s event and are amongst the confirmed players competing in the 2023 showpiece in five weeks’ time.

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