Wright aiming to end “rubbish” year in Blackpool

Reigning Betfred World Matchplay champion Peter Wright (15/2 Outright) is confident he can retain his title at the Winter Gardens despite admitting he has had a below-par year for his very high standards.

“Snakebite” won the Phil Taylor Trophy for the first time last year, beating good friend Dimitri Van den Bergh 18-9 in the final with an average of nearly 106.

After that, the world number one won the Players Championship Finals in Minehead before a storming finish saw him overhaul Michael Smith and win his second World Championship title.

Despite a phenomenal end to 2021, this year has not gone to plan for the 52-year-old with a busy schedule hurting his form.

Wright only has a solitary Players Championship title to his name this year but is confident he has rested up well in order to have a go in Blackpool next week.

He has been drawn to face Latvian debutant Madars Razma in the first round (Wright 1/4, Razma 3/1 – Match Betting).

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“I’ve been rubbish this year!” Wright candidly said.

“I started off alright, but I’ve found it really hard work getting used to a busy schedule again. The new Premier League format was more demanding than usual, so I needed a break.

“Nine times out of ten I do well at the World Matchplay so hopefully I can win it again and move clear of the chasing pack in the rankings.”

Elsewhere, Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen will face former two-time world champion Adrian Lewis in a blockbuster first round clash at the Winter Gardens (Van Gerwen 1/3, Lewis 23/10 – Match Betting) in a blockbuster first round clash at the Winter Gardens.

The Dutchman has been recovering from wrist surgery and has been picking and choosing which events to play, while Lewis arrives in Blackpool fresh from his first PDC title for three years in Barnsley last week.

Gerwyn Price – another man who has had an underwhelming year – faces Martin Schindler in round one (Price 4/11, Schindler 21/10 – Match Betting).

In-form Luke Humphries, who has picked up four European Tour titles this year, faces former UK open winner Nathan Aspinall first up (Humphries 4/7, Aspinall 7/5 – Match Betting).

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