ALEX MOSS: Can bad defeat provide the venom for Snakebite?


Push on: Snakebite will want to put things right when he plays in Japan this week Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

It is hard to picture another time when Peter Wright left the stage after a match as disappointed as he was in Shanghai.

After cruising into a 7-1 lead against Phil Taylor in their Shanghai Darts Masters quarter-final, Wright spurned five match darts and lost seven legs on the spin to somehow lose 8-7.

Wright’s sudden rise in the PDC from relative unknown to a regular fixture in the Premier League and World Series has shown little signs of relenting, but there is a cloud hanging over him still.

Can he win a major title? Over the last two to three years the Scot has reached three major finals, the World Championship in 2014 and the UK Open in 2015 and 2016.

On all three occasions Wright has been beaten by world number one Michael van Gerwen. MVG has also gotten the better of him in two World Series finals, while Taylor has been on the winning side in the other two televised finals that have featured Wright.

Darts commentators and fans have said it is a matter of when, not if, he will get over the line in a final on the TV.

But with each final defeat that falls Wright’s way, you have to ask what is the man nicknamed ‘Snakebite’ missing to win when it really matters?

Wright’s performance in the Shanghai Darts Masters showed all of the intricacies in his game right now.

From making adjustments to his darts during his first round win over Royden Lam, to the big finishes and 180 hitting in the quarter-final against Taylor, and then to the capitulation at the final hurdle.

For Wright’s fans, and there are a huge number of them around the world, it must be frustrating following their man’s fortunes each week. A player who possesses a huge amount of ability and desire, but perhaps lacks the killer instinct that a van Gerwen or a Taylor has.

To become a winner in the big finals Wright must find that killer instinct and bring it into his game.

‘The defeat to Taylor in Shanghai could be a career-defining moment for Wright’

The defeat to Taylor, after being ahead by such a wide margin, would have been utterly soul-destroying, but Wright must use this as motivation to propel himself to the next level.

He wasn’t the first person to throw away a big lead and he most certainly won’t be the last. Wright, along with most of his fellow World Series competitors, elected not to enter the Players Championship double-header in Barnsley last weekend.

With the next World Series event coming up as soon as this Wednesday in Japan, it is a sensible move, and for Wright it gives him plenty of time to assess what went wrong in Shanghai and look at how it can be corrected.

Although there were no ranking points at stake, or a major trophy up for grabs, that defeat to Taylor could be a career-defining moment for Wright.

Followers of the sport will be watching on with interest this week to see how he reacts to losing in that manner.

I hope Wright will be spurred on by the emotions he felt after losing to Taylor and will use it to good effect.

We could well be on the verge of seeing our next first time major winner be crowned, has Wright now got the bite to make it him?


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