An emotional Peter Wright picked up his first World Matchplay title thanks to a dominant 18-9 win over Dimitri van…
An emotional Peter Wright picked up his first World Matchplay title thanks to a dominant 18-9 win over Dimitri van den Bergh in the final on Sunday.
Wright ended Van den Bergh’s hopes of retaining the Betfred World Matchplay crown as he capped off a memorable week with another rampant display to seal glory at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
World number two Wright had lost in the final four years ago, but this time lifted the trophy named in honour of his conqueror in 2017 – Phil Taylor.
The 51-year-old averaged 105.9 in the final, ending with a tournament average of 104.91 – the fifth highest in the history of the tournament – as he became the eleventh different Matchplay champion since the event began in 1994.
“That one was for Jo [wife],” said an emotional Wright. “She’s been through a lot over the last year or so, but she insisted she would be here for the final.
“I used to watch the World Matchplay as a kid and now my name is on the trophy forever and that’s special.
“It was amazing to lift that trophy in front of this amazing crowd.
“As soon as I walked on, the crowd were behind me and it was a real goosebumps moment, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck.
“A lot of players have commentated saying I should leave the talking to my darts and that’s what I’ve done.
“I might have a big mouth but I’ve backed it up and I’m only going to get better.”
Wright was clinical in punishing early Van den Bergh misses to open up leads of 3-0 and 4-1, before reeling off four straight legs – including breaks of throw in 11 and 12 darts – to move 8-2 up.
Van den Bergh stepped in following five uncharacteristic misses from his rival in leg 11, and produced a 12-darter to reduce the gap to 8-4.
Wright, though, restored his cushion with a 13-dart leg and produced a ten-darter to move 10-4 up and close in on glory.
Van den Bergh rallied, finishing 87, 96 and 84 in winning four of the next six to pull back to 12-8, only for an 11-darter from Wright to halt his momentum.
The Scot then took out 62 to lead 14-8 and punished misses from the reigning champion in the next two legs as he edged clear.
After Wright then took out 84 on the bull to create a 17-8 cushion, Van den Bergh landed the game’s only ton-plus checkout of 105, but it proved to be only a consolation as Wright sealed the deal with a 13-darter on double nine.
Van den Bergh’s quest to become only the fourth player in World Matchplay history to retain the title fell short, but the popular Belgian remained upbeat despite a frustrating final.
“Every game I’ve played, I’ve dug deep and played my best but tonight Peter was just outstanding,” said Van den Bergh.
“Of course it was a disappointment [to lose] but I can say that I gave everything and never gave up.
“I said to Peter that I’ll be back stronger. I’m number five in the world and I’m only 27, so I’ve got time on my side.
“I have tears, but I’m still very proud.”
Van den Bergh climbs to a career-high fifth in the PDC Order of Merit following the tournament, while Wright remains second but has closed the gap on Gerwyn Price to less than £200,000.
Betfred World Matchplay 2021 Result
Sunday July 25
Peter Wright 18-9 Dimitri Van den Bergh