SCOTLAND’S Peter Wright produced a stunning performance at the Alexandra Palace in London last night to beat Australian Simon Whitlock 6-2 and claim his place in the final of the the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship, where he will face Dutchman Michael van Gerwen – who crushed Adrian Lewis 6-0.
West Lothian-born Wright, 43, showed little sign of big game nerves as he started with scores of 180 and 139, on the way to an excellent 13-dart finish, against the throw. The No 16 seed then hit double six for a second leg running, to convert a 69 finish and comfortably take a two-leg advantage.
However, Whitlock held throw in just 13 darts, to get a leg on the board, but Wright responded in the next leg by hitting double ten to win the first set 3-1.
The second set was a repitition of the first as Wright held his throw on double eight after Whitlock missed double top for a 100 finish.
Whitlock then passed up a glorious opportunity with 81 after nine darts thrown, but failed with four attempts at doubles, and Wright punished his opponent by hitting double 16 for a 64 finish.
The Australian then landed double nine for an 87 finish to break throw and reduce the deficit to one, before drawing level at 2-2 by hitting double 18 with an accurate third dart for an 84 finish, with Wright waiting on 32.
But Wright converted a 61 finish in the decisive leg, on double top, and moved further ahead by taking a two-set lead.
In the third set, Wright found the double five bed with his third dart, to break Whitlock’s throw, but Whitlock hit back with scores of 180, 140 and 133 before hitting double 16, to win the leg in 12 darts.
However, Wright once again showed the greater nerve and broke his opponent’s throw on double 12 before taking a three-set lead as the Scotsman hit double 16 to establish a creditable lead.
Whitlock did start to eat into Wright’s lead by taking the fourth set, impressive in the opening leg with a 130 checkout on the bullseye. The No 4 seed then landed double 20, for a 13-dart finish as Wright had no answer.
The leader responded by hitting double 16 at the first time of asking to reduce the deficit, but subsequently missed double eight for a 127 finish and Whitlock hit top to take his first set.
However, there was to be no comeback for the pre-match favourite as Wright established a three-set lead to move 4-1 ahead with a meaty showing and, despite whitewashing Wright in convincing fashion in the next set to reduce the score to two once again, the Scot was able to clinch his place in this year’s final on New Year’s Day by upping the tempo and sealing victory in style with a 180 in the the third leg.
He then landed double eight and completed a superb 6-2 victory.
Wright said: “I’m pretty emotional as I’ve just realised what I’ve achieved.
“I held myself together throughout and my finishing was excellent. I didn’t give Simon a sniff at any stage.”