By Phil Lanning
PETER WRIGHT has revealed he might have to go without his multi-coloured mohawk after his wife’s latest health scare.
The 2020 World Champion faces Michael van Gerwen tonight (Tuesday) in the Unibet Premier League at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
But Wright, 51, admits that his biggest concern is for wife, manager and chief hairdo expert Jo who has to undergo a second major back op in a year.
He said: “Of course it’s a huge worry. Jo’s health is my main priority. It’s annoying so far that the surgery hasn’t worked and the amount of pain she’s in every single day. This has been the same every day since last March.
“It’s really not nice for all the family to see her going through so much. She tries her hardest to get to the darts and do my hair. It’s really hard now, she can’t even stand up now.
“Jo now has another operation in mid-May, hopefully it all goes to plan and get it fixed.
“It’s the second half of the Premier League just after her op. I’ve told her ‘you are not going’. I’ll go and play without my hair done.
“Yes it helps me. But mainly we are doing it for the fans and the people tuning in on TV, people like seeing someone different.
“It was a worry over Covid before. But we’ve both now had our first jabs. It’s a great relief.”
Wright has had a bit of a Premier League hoodoo, missing seven darts to beat Van Gerwen in the final in 2017 and then had a stinker of a performance to lose his semi-final to Nathan Aspinall last year.
He added: “I think the main thing with me in the Premier League is that it comes too early in the season. Around about now in April I like it because you’ve played a few Players Championships and a few Euro qualifiers.
“But when we normally start the Premier League it’s just after the Masters and thrown into the league. I’ve always started slow apart from my first-ever year in it. Fingers crossed I’ll start quicker this year.
“I really feel fresh this year. I feel like I’ve got my mojo back. It seems easier than before with less travelling to do.”
Wright also played down his outburst last month when he said that rival Michael van Gerwen “wouldn’t win a TV tournament this year”.
He continued: “I like to fire people up. I do it because I want the player to play well against me. Not just MVG, I’ve done it with other players like Kim Huybrechts. I want them to be annoyed, to be playing at their best.
“If I can make them concentrate on the dartboard, to bring out their best, I want to play my best against them. That’s my idea.
“Of course Michael can win a TV tournament this year. I just said that, at that time. It had been a long few days and I was a bit tired. He normally wins one anyway!”
Wright admitted he was “too rusty” after beginning his Unibet Premier League title bid with a draw last night.
The Livingston-born was forced to work very hard for the point by debutant Jonny Clayton in an epic encounter.
Wright averaged 101 but admitted he was disappointed with his performance against a Welshman bang-in-form.
He said: “It was very rusty. I felt Jonny let me off by missing the bullseye for a 161 finish. To get a draw against one of the guys in the best form right now is quite good in the end. All the other guys have got to try and beat him now.
“I don’t know I was just so rusty. I had some bad deflections up there, went into the wrong trebles. That was down to feeling a bit nervous.
“I averaged 101 but I’m disappointed. I said I was going to go up there and average 117 so I was 16 points off!”
Last year’s runner-up Nathan Aspinall avenged his final defeat to Glen Durrant with a comfortable 7-3 win.
Rob Cross, relegated in the last league, began with a 6-6 draw against Jose de Sousa while Gary Anderson versus James Wade and Van Gerwen against Dimitri Van den Bergh also ended in draws.
Images by Taylor Lanning.