Peter Wright makes winning start to PDC World Darts Championship defence dressed as The Grinch

There were  1,000 fans in attendance at Alexandra Palace before Wednesday’s ban on spectators as London moves into tier 3

Jonathan Veal
Tuesday 15 December 2020 23:42
Fallon Sherrock: 'Last night I proved to myself and everyone else that women can play darts against the men and beat them'

Peter Wright lived up to his colourful persona to begin his defence of the PDC World Darts Championship dressed as ‘The Grinch’ by stealing Steve West's Alexandra Palace dream with a winning start.

The Scot seized the moment in the sport's flagship tournament where 1,000 fans were in attendance for the first and potentially only time before London moves into tier 3 as part of England’s Covid-19 restrictions.

His colourful hair and outfit were as rich as ever, as he showed off a bright green outfit in homage to the Christmas character, complete with matching beard, mohawk and flights.

READ MORE: PDC World Darts Championship 2020/21: Full schedule, results, draw, TV and live stream information

The 2020 champion might have come dressed for a party but he meant business, taking West out 3-1 at the Alexandra Palace.

He surged into a 2-0 lead before West, who had already beaten Amit Gilitwala in the first round earlier in the evening, threatened a comeback by taking the third set on Wright's throw.

<p>Peter Wright of Scotland in action during his round two match against Steve West</p>

Peter Wright of Scotland in action during his round two match against Steve West

But the 50-year-old, who has been playing with a rib injury, regained his composure and hit straight back, fittingly winning with a double 10 - just as he did in the 2020 final on New Year's Day.

READ MORE: Fans ban a ‘slap in the face for sport’, says furious World Darts Championship boss Barry Hearn

"Cheer up everyone, it's Christmas!" Wright said on Sky Sports. "The two darts were near enough exactly the same.

"When I hit the first one I thought, 'This is exactly like to win it'.

A view of fans during the first round match between Diogo Portel of Brazil and Steve Beaton

"Steve didn't play his game like he can. It is hard when you have already played, he has been here hours and hours before me in preparation for his game. I got away with it. I have got stuff to work on."

Wright, who admitted before the tournament that he had been "miserable" playing in behind closed doors events, will now not play again until after Christmas, much to his dismay.

"I am annoyed I am not playing before Christmas, I wanted to wear another Christmas outfit."

Steve Beaton's 30th successive appearance at the World Championships ended on the first night as he was surprisingly beaten 3-0 by Diogo Portela in the first round, while Jeff Smith beat Keane Barry 3-1.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments