Peter Wright Gets World Title Defence Underway With Mansell Victory

Snakebite blew the Northern Irishman away in straight sets in night one at Ally Pally
23:20, 15 Dec 2022

Peter Wright got his World Darts Championship title defence up and running as he breezed his way past Mickey Mansell in round two at Alexandra Palace.

Wright beat the Northern Irishman 3-0 in what was a routine victory for the two-time champion. It was an interesting night to kickstart darts’ grandest tournament with the world number two defeating Mansell, who got the tournament underway as he defeated Ben Robb in round one.

Wright showed his class at being able to find a treble 20 in tight situations as he marked his return to darts’ biggest stage. He moved into a 2-1 lead in the first set thanks to a stunning take out of 301 in two visits, capped off with a finish on the bullseye on his way to taking the decisive fourth leg.

Mansell, desperately in need of landing some trebles in the second set was able to do so but it wasn’t enough to close the gap on Wright as the reigning champion went two sets up. Wright wasn’t at his best and he did give Mansell some openings but the 49-year-old couldn’t capitalise. It was once again another premature exit for Mansell as he still waits to progress from the second round of the World Championship.

Here is how the rest of night one unfolded.

Mickey Mansell 3-1 Ben Robb

Mansell defeated Ben Robb 3-1 in the World Championship’s opening match. Mansell hit the first 180 of the tournament in the second leg after a couple of 140s in the opener. Robb soon followed with a 180 of his own but the Northern Irishman was proving to be too much for him as Mansell swept up the opening set. It was a contrast in the second set as the New Zealander fought his way back to level the tie with a lot more composure at the oche, while Mansell appeared to lose his. Cyclone rediscovered his form to win the match 3-1 but the final set was very tense.

Keane Barry 1-3 Grant Sampson

It was a dream World Championship debut for South African Grant Sampson as he defeated Ireland’s Keane Barry in a tense four-set battle.The young Irishman Barry had a great opportunity to stroll in the first set but a lapse in concentration invited Sampson back into it from 2-0 down to take the set 3-2 in what was a great comeback from the debutant. Sampson then turned up the heat in the second set as he made a wonderful 125 checkout to give him a two-leg lead as Barry struggled to find any rhythm. Sampson’s confidence grew and he started to become more clinical with his checkouts as Barry left him with openings.

Jermaine Wattimena 2-3 Nathan Rafferty 

There was another shock at Ally Pally on night one as 22-year-old debutant Nathan Rafferty stunned Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena in a gripping match that went all the way. Both players had their own phases in the match where they were on top. But in the end the youngster was able to prevail after Wattimena struggled with his finishing when it mattered most as Rafferty hit double 10 to land the biggest win of his career to date.

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