Snakebite Wright aims to thrill at Ingliston

COLOURFUL CHARACTER: Peter Wright's wacky appearance is heavily influenced by his hairdresser wife. Picture: Lawrence Lustig
COLOURFUL CHARACTER: Peter Wright's wacky appearance is heavily influenced by his hairdresser wife. Picture: Lawrence Lustig
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He may not display the broadest of Scots accents, but there is little to disguise darts player Peter Wright’s affection for the country he was raised in as a young boy.

The world No. 15’s early days were spent in West Lothian before, aged three, Wright and his mother moved to London. His recollections from his time north of the border are, understandably, patchy at best.

However, as he prepares for the three-day PDC Masters event at the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston – a tournament that starts tomorrow and features the world’s top 16 players, including Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld – Wright can retrace some of the small steps he made as a toddler.

The 43-year-old said: “I remember very few things from my time up here, but I do remember staying with my mum’s sister and my Nan when I was little and things like that. My mum had me when she was 16, but we moved three-years later when she was 19 down to London for a new start.

“I’ve also lived in Kilmarnock and Cheshire, so you could say I’ve been all over the place, but we’ve been settled down in East Anglia for about ten years now.”

Despite spending such a short time of his life in Scotland, Wright’s passion for the country is clear. He admits that when the announcement was made that the Capital would be hosting a prestigious event like the Masters, it was a date he couldn’t afford to miss out on.

He said: “As soon as this tournament came up, which was about three months ago, I was sitting at about No. 20 in the world and I knew I had to win at least £30,000 to get into the top 16, so I was determined to make it. I’ve now just got to go out and prove I can be one of the top five players in the world and that’s my target.

“It’s brilliant as I’m looking forward to representing my country this weekend and the adrenalin is going to be absolutely mental. I cannot wait. When I got the Scotland shirt for the World Cup two years ago, I was like ‘wow’.”

Wright has been drawn against Dutch star Michael van Gerwen in a formidable first-round match tomorrow as he looks to advance into Saturday’s quarter-final.

Wright, known as ‘Snakebite’, approaches the tournament in good form after reaching the quarter-finals of the Dutch Open in Eindhoven last weekend, losing to eventual winner Kim Huybrechts of Belgium.

Wright is hoping the vocal support of a patriotic crowd can aid his cause and hinder that of his rivals. “They might find it tough,” Wright explained. “I was just in Holland last weekend and I played Barney (Raymond Van Barneveld) and I beat him 6-3, but all I heard was ‘Barney, Barney, Barney’ from the crowd who were going crazy and he must have thrived off it.

“My form is pretty good at the moment and I think I can do well. I want to get to the Grand Slam of Darts and I need to get to the final this weekend to do it, so it’s my last chance.

“I’ve played him (Van Gerwen) many times this year and he’s always usually had the upper hand, but I’ve learned from getting beat and out of the last four times we’ve met, I’ve beaten him three times. Michael knows how I am playing now so he knows what to expect. I believe I can win any tournament I enter so there’s no point in playing if you’re happy just to get to the first or second rounds.”

Renowned on the circuit for his extravagant hairstyles, influenced by his hairdresser wife, Wright says it will be just as much a surprise to him as to how he will look when he makes his way onto the oche.

He added: “My wife comes up with the ideas so I’m not sure what she’ll do yet. Obviously I’ll have the snake and a bit of blue on the side of my head, but we haven’t decided on anything for sure.”

Tickets are still available for the Masters by visiting pdc.seetickets.com or by calling 0844 871 8807.