By Phil Lanning
At the Utilita Arena
PETER WRIGHT has opened up on a new family heartbreak during a nightmare Premier League campaign.
The two-time World Champion travelled to round eight in Newcastle without his trusted management of wife Jo and father-in-law Paul.
He lost for a third week in a row to Michael van Gerwen 6-4 and remains rooted to the bottom of the table.
But Wright, 53, revealed that wife Jo had returned from hospital from another op just as Paul had suffered a stroke earlier this week.
In a shocking run, the family of Jo, Peter and daughter Naomi have had NINE operations in two years.
He admitted: “I was rubbish again tonight. It’s just been one thing after another. The main thing is that it wasn’t a bad stroke for Paul, he has blurred vision and obviously needs rest.
“We’ve been in and out of hospitals constantly for the past year or so.
“Jo was back in hospital to have a stent removed at the same time her dad went in after his stroke.
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not in some kind of nightmare.
“We just need some luck and a clean bill of health. Hopefully Jo is finally on the mend now and, after some rest, we are sure her dad will be all good as well.
“Jo stayed home this week just to rest and says she is planning to be back travelling with me for the next Premier League in Berlin. I just want to get back to normal to be honest.
“We make a special team with Jo and dad Paul. If Jo isn’t around then Paul does my hair, but to be without both is an odd feeling. A big thanks to Dimitri Van den Bergh’s manager Mac Elkin for stepping in to help out with organisation at the venue.
“It’s been incredibly hard to focus on playing darts when at home it’s like an episode of Casualty.”
Wright has, not surprisingly, suffered his worst run of form since reaching the World final in 2014.
He has only won one match in the Premier League and, by a quirk of fixtures, also faced dominant league leader Michael van Gerwen for three weeks in a row.
He added: “It’s not been an easy few weeks. I said at the start of the year that I just wanted the family to be fit and well and then I could concentrate on my game again. That obviously hasn’t been the case.
“I will always keep going, keep fighting. I can still win a couple of nights yet and be back in the fight for the finals night.
“It’s a tall order I know. But the format of the Premier League now actually gives me that chance to climb the table. I like a challenge and I will do everything I can to make a comeback.
“I know everyone is writing me off. But you never ever should write off Wrighty. People should have learnt that by now!”
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Images by Taylor Lanning.